When people find out that I am a partner in owning a yoga studio and have a blog where I talk about incorporating mindfulness habits into everyday life, their first reaction is usually, "That's so cool!" and I can almost see the thoughts scrolling by behind their eyeballs.
"She must be so happy, she must have so much free time, I wish I had such an easy job."
All of this assumes that I sit around contemplating my next bowl of kale while automatically paying my bills with the millions of dollars that people throw at me when they magically show up at the yoga studio.
Which, of course, is not reality.
Yoga and blogging are businesses, just like any other business. There are lots of bills to pay and marketing to do and people to connect with and unexpected fires to put out. Sometimes pipes burst in the building and the yoga room is flooded with water. Sometimes the washing machine breaks. Sometimes teachers get sick. Sometimes students complain. It is par for the course.
But because I do practice yoga and I do believe in the power of being mindful, there are specific philosophies I draw upon when it I feel like reaching across the sign-in desk and slapping a person would be the best answer. I turn to these thoughts when the hustle gets hard, the stress rises, and the calm yogic heart in me gets challenged.
1. "Just breathe, everything else is optional." Diane Ducharme
This is the first thing we share with new yoga students to help take the pressure off of their first class. This is also something we remind experienced practitioners of when they are struggling. Whether I am working a challenging yoga posture or wrestling with a tough business situation, if I am holding my breath or breathing shallowly, my whole nervous system is just ready to go into freak out mode. By reminding myself to relax and breathe more, the stress level is always brought down to a level that allows for clear thinking.
2. Take a break when you're in the rabbit-hole of self-doubt.
This is one of the newer realizations I have made about myself. Social media and interacting with other amazing people is a reality of most businesses today and it's very easy to get tripped up on all the stuff you should be doing. "Wait, am I blogging enough? Do I need a new haircut? I am definitely not doing enough workshops. I must eat more beets stat!" If I find myself spiralling into an obsessive list of things I need to change about myself or my business, I close down the technology, get outside, go for a walk, do some stretching, or sit down for a quick meditation session. You will never make a good decision (business or personal) when you are looking through the lens of "there is something wrong with me" or "I am not enough."
3. We are all doing the best we can.
Rinse and Repeat. This applies to us, and it applies to the people we deal with on a daily basis. Our customers. Our spouses. Our children. People will ask questions that are completely offensive. We will make decisions that we will regret. Arguments, misunderstandings, and miscommunication will abound. If you can realize that everyone is doing the best they can and may not have been put on earth to drive you insane, it will make dealing with the snafus that life throws you a bit easier. Cut yourself a break. Cut the people around you a break. And go back to philosophy no. 1.
4. If you are clear on your why, the rest will follow.
I started practicing yoga to heal an injury. I have helped hundreds of people use yoga to heal injuries and bad attitudes and heartache and bad days. I started meditating and using mindfulness in my life because it made doing hard stuff way easier. I did not start my business journey to make six figures or impress my family or get a lot of followers on Instagram. I went into the business because I believed in the quality and the effectiveness of the services I provide. I would not be in business if I was not able to pay my bills, of course, that's the point of a business. But when times get tough and lean months happen and frustrating events pile up, you want to be able to turn to the reason why you started your business in the first place. If you can identify a heart-centred why, you will be able to weather any storm.
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So now it's your turn my fellow heart-centred business owners. When times get tough and the hustle gets hard, what helps you to keep your cool? Share your tips with us in the comments below!
Audrey Holst has been teaching people how to use yoga and mindfulness techniques so they can chill out and enjoy their lives more since 2007. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Certified Bikram Yoga instructor. She blogs about her personal practice at UncommonZen.