I had settled into a consistent yogic routine for only a little over a year when I left the corporate life and ventured out into the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.
I had to learn to let go of a lot of things during this transition time including security, a bi-weekly paycheck, health insurance, co-workers, regular hours and my office space.
The one thing I was unwilling to leave behind was my yoga practice because I needed the consistency it provided on a weekly basis. It’s only now that I look back that I realize how much I needed yoga for other reasons during this transition.
Here’s how yoga has become an important part of entrepreneurship for me:
1. Yoga helped me find peace in the midst of chaos.
Transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship can be nothing short of chaos, but yoga transformed my way of thinking and allowed me to find peace in the journey. There was something incredibly freeing about making all of my own decisions and following my passion.
I recognized the risks and instead of letting those risks overwhelm me or create chaos, I used the recognition to make my business plans stronger and find new ways to minimize the risks.
2. I've learned to let go.
Losing sleep at night over decisions is common for many entrepreneurs. We stay up asking ourselves if we made the right decision, if we made the decision in time, and if we carefully considered all the options. There are plenty of “what ifs” that accompany those obsessive thoughts.
Yoga put me in the practice of doing my best to make informed decisions and then trusting the process and trusting myself enough to know that if I made the wrong decision, I have the power to deal with it in an appropriate way. If I don’t ever make mistakes, the only possibility is that I’m not making enough decisions. We’re all bound to make mistakes, but we have to know that we have the strength and ability to rectify them and learn from them for a stronger future.
3. I've learned to accept and improve.
Every time I step onto the mat, I’m willing to accept where I am physically, mentally and emotionally. I give myself permission to be at whatever level I happen to be at that day while still being attentive to form and working to improve each pose.
When I step into the office in the morning, it’s important that I accept where I am and where the business is on that particular day. I don’t have time to waste, wishing we could be where we were last month or daydream about where we hope to be in a year. Instead, I recognize and accept where we are that day while working in several different ways to improve our business and create a better future.
4. Yoga helps me focus.
Yoga has proven to be a great way to keep me healthy, mentally and physically. The practice of doing yoga a few times a week gives me the opportunity to back away from the emotion tied up in decisions and allows me to gain perspective.
It also enables me to find focus and bring that focus to work with me in the morning. I can get things done in half the time it would normally take if I can maintain a peaceful focus and keep perspective.
5. Yoga's taught me to serve others.
If your business has complete focus on the bottom line, being in the black and getting deals closed, it’ll be short-lived. By no means am I saying that cash flow and being profitable isn’t important! I’m only saying that while you keep one eye on your financials, it’s critical that you focus your attention on other areas for the long-term success of the business.
First and foremost, your business needs a reason to exist. You have to be able to create value for others, understand your consumer and consistently deliver value to them.