What yoga has taught me about being successful in business
Many of us lead such fast-paced working and personal lives, that it can be difficult to switch off. My job managing social media channels and PR for businesses on a freelance basis, involves a lot of multi-tasking, fast-thinking and the feeling that you’re always connected to the 24/7 digital world.
Thankfully, yoga exists. Simply stopping to focus on your breath and be ‘present’ in the moment has helped me to create more balance in my work.
I successfully did a crow pose at a class last week and I was secretly bursting with pride. I wanted to high-five myself. For those of you who don’t know, a crow pose is an arm balance where the arms are bent and the knees rest on the backs of the elbows.
For years, I refused to even attempt the pose because I was convinced I couldn’t do it. Then over the past three or so months, I started to give it a go and after countless failed attempts, I finally conquered the pose.
That small achievement was one of those wonderful ‘ah-ha!’ moments where you’re reminded that persistence pays. As I practically skipped back to work, I began to realise that a lot of the lessons learnt in yoga, can be applied to building a successful career, too. Here are three lessons yoga can teach us about being successful in business:
1) Never stop trying
As I’ve already noted, the crow pose incident reminded me that persistence always pays off in the end. This mind-set is key when building my client base and trying to generate new business. Some prospective clients may rubbish the value of social media marketing or press exposure, while others entirely understand its importance. The more marketing managers and business owners that I approach, the more likely I am to come across the latter.
2) Believe in your abilities
Yoga instructors often talk about the mind – or the ‘ego’ - stopping us from getting into poses or holding them for long enough and, if you can shift that mind-set, anything is possible. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, you probably won’t be able to do it. And even if you fall or lose focus, the instructors urge us to do so without judgement.
Self-belief is something that comes with taking the time to reflect on your achievements. I recently put together some case study pdfs for prospective clients to highlight examples of results I’ve been able to generate for clients within a month of managing their social media channels or to showcase press coverage I have placed for clients.
I’m glad I did it because it was a nice confidence booster and reminder of what I’ve been able to achieve for clients. Some of us dwell too much on set-backs, while forgetting to remember positive feedback from our colleagues and peers.
3) Learn to focus
Yoga teaches us to quiet the mind by focusing on the breath through movement. Many of us have never-ending ‘to do’ lists and it can be difficult to prioritise at times, especially in the age of emails and instant notifications. Focus plays an important role in managing this process.
Working with a number of clients from different industries means I'm constantly switching focus. For example, one minute I’m responding to a Twitter question about where’s best to see the Northern Lights on behalf of a tour operator client and, the next moment, I’m talking about the benefits of at-home laser hair removal on Instagram for a beauty client.
I find that I’m more productive if I start my working day by highlighting priority/urgent tasks for the day, and making it my goal to tick off those tasks by the end of the day.
Do you practice yoga and find it has enhanced your approach to work and life? I’d love to hear from other yogis or from any cynics! Namaste.