Entrepreneurs have much to learn from the practice of yoga.
An entrepreneur’s journey is filled with unexpected twists and turns but with the lure of treasure atop the mountain.
But sometimes we get so fixated on the treasure that we forget to enjoy the journey itself. And we forget that the journey itself can prepare an entrepreneur for the challenges that lie ahead.
As a yogi and an entrepreneur, I’ve learned several lessons from yoga that have helped me achieve a great deal while still enjoying the journey. Below are six of these lessons.
1. Live in the present. An entrepreneur whose company is still in growth mode is often pivoting from one of two postures: Things are going great and everything looks good, or nothing is going the way he or she wants.
When you're in the latter position and the outlook seems dire, it's tempting to become overwhelmed with worry about the future. One way to move forward is to focus deeply on what's happening right now and work your butt off to achieve a small success -- and thereby gain some momentum. This is in line with one of the biggest philosophical teachings of yoga, which is to keep your mind absorbed in the "present" at all times during your practice.
2. Be flexible. A lot of people join yoga classes because it feels great to be flexible. Similarly in business, it is important to be flexible with our plans. Some of the greatest leaders in history made it to the top not because they had the best plan, but rather because their plans evolved over time.
Your business also needs to evolve over time, especially considering today's rapid advances in technology. Otherwise, it may get left behind.
3. Find balance. Yoga is all about balance. No part of the body, from top to bottom ignored. Similarly, people immersed in business should lead a balanced life. When you take the rare moment to spend time with friends, do you spend it checking your e-mails and worrying about work? Do you do the same during a vacation?
Remember that entrepreneurs thrive on creativity. And stress kills creativity. So take time for a break for activities that make you happy every now and then. And have fun doing it.
4. Simplify. In yoga, one doesn’t need to work with lots of equipment. In fact, the only equipment you need is your own body. Yoga emphasizes simplification. When it comes to spending money or adopting processes, often an entrepreneur should opt for the minimum.
A deadweight can drag down a business enterprise and prevent it from moving forward. So find out what’s causing you to slow down in your journey.
5. Understand the mind-body connection. Your mind and body need to be in the best possible shape for you to think clearly and make good decisions. So exercising and meditating should be high on your priority list.
Time spent meditating and exercising is devoted to taking care of the most important asset of your company: you. Meditating in the morning along with yoga keeps me alert for the rest of the day without the need for coffee.
6. Become a student of life. As I’ve learned from the teachings of yoga, your growth as a person reflects on everything else in your life. And that includes the progress of your business. Unlike what happens when you prepare for a school exam, in real life you have the test and then can learn the lesson. So become a student of life and learn everything it is trying to teach you.
If you are going through a frustrating experience over and over, sit down and think about what life is trying to teach you through this repeated outcome.
A Chinese proverb advises, “Ignore the dragon and it’ll eat you. Confront the dragon and it’ll defeat you. Learn to ride the dragon and you will take advantage of its might and power.”
By approaching life in this way, you start to enjoy everything thrown at you and your growth as an entrepreneur will be exponential.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy being an entrepreneur!
Related: How to Find Your Money Zen