Mar 062014

What a yoga class taught me about starting a new business

As I was twisted like a giant pretzel, trying to stretch one arm around my knee and behind my shoulder I realised my mind was having a complete meltdown.

The realisation was instigated by our yoga instructor, Ivan, as he encouraged us to become aware of what was going on in our mind while he did the move. He made it look so easy too with his lean muscly body clad in baggy red pants and a sleeveless white t-shirt. The green bandana around his head combined with a thick beard completed the look of our young yoga master.

“This is way too difficult!” I thought. “How the hell am I supposed to do this, I’m the worst student in this class. This really isn’t for me. I want to stop NOW!”

Catching my mind in the middle of its tantrum and observing what was going on in a detached way was quite surreal. It occurred to me that these were the exact feelings I, and many of my clients, had gone through when first starting a business.


Starting a new business: First comes the excitement

The excitement and the trepidation at the start of the class was a toned down version of how I felt the day I announced my plans to friends and family. Everything is new, everything is exciting. You’re nervous because you don’t know what to expect but it’s a good kind of nervous.

….. and then the reality check

Twenty minutes into the class, as the initial excitement died and the moves got harder things got a little bit tricky. The realisation that this wasn’t going to be easy, felt just as unwelcome and scary as when I had the same realisation at the start of my self-employed life. Ok maybe I’m being a little melodramatic here but there was definitely that moment of “Oh crap, this is tough!”

……. followed by a crappy time

Then came the doubt, the loss of confidence, the temptation to give up and run. Run away to a safe corner that is familiar and easy. This is the toughest stage of making any change in our lives -be it learning a new skill, starting a business or anything else that gets us to leave our safe world of familiarity. I know it will happen, I expect it, I prepare for it but it always hits me like a ton of bricks. Having Ivan remind us to “observe it, don’t get caught up in it” as it happened, helped me resist the urge to run and instead reach deep down to a place of determination and strength.

And then you push through

It was this strength that I knew I had in me that pushed me forward, urging me to keep going, telling me I could do this. And when I thought this was as far as I could go, Ivan came and pushed me deeper into my stretch, taking me further than I thought was possible.

That’s when I got into flow. That beautiful rhythm where the mind goes still, time vanishes and all that exists in the world is the challenge you’re about to conquer.

Know this, whenever you reach that point, you will have grown.

It’s worth it in the end

Lying on my mat, resting and relaxing after the class reminded me of the evenings I go to bed weary but elated at all I have achieved. Knowing then, that pushing through the pain, keeping going when you want to give up, is ultimately what makes it feel worthwhile.

So if you ever wonder what it would be like to start a business, go take a class. Practice anything that is new, that will stretch you a little. Notice what you go through during the class. Notice how your mind reacts to the tough bits. When do you feel like giving up? How do you will yourself to push forward and keep going? How does it feel at the end?

Become aware of all that goes on in your head, as this is exactly what you will go through when starting your own business. After all,

“How you do anything, is how you do everything”


Share your thoughts

What stage are you in your business right now? What are the challenges you’re grappling with right now?

  5 Responses to “What a yoga class taught me about starting a new business”

  1. Right now I am working full-time (40 hrs + 7.5 hr communting per week) at an Admin job while pursuing my business as much as I can with the amount of time I have.

    I am at the stage of making the jump to full-time. My business is getting bigger and bigger to the point that I’m not sure I will be able to handle it come wedding season as I’m a photographer and now have my entire summer almost booked.

    My challenge is leaving the security of a full time pay cheque every two weeks. I have lots saved up for my basic expenses for the next year but yet, I still continue to worry.

    I’ve always dreamed of having a home photography and yoga studio so I’m also in the works of conpleting my yoga teacher training.

    I guess I feel that if I have multiple outlets for income that I will have more security if my main photography business has a really slow season.

    • Hiya Tracey!

      Wow congratulations! It sounds like your business is great shape…and you’ve built it to this stage while also working for 47.5 hours a week. Think of what you can accomplish when you dedicate ALL of your time to it.

      Security is one of our most basic needs – which is why it’s always so scary to leave anything that is secure. The need for security is what keeps most people stuck in a job they hate. I still remember the sleepless nights when I jumped into self-employment. I’d lie in bed worrying if I would earn enough. It took me about 6 months to get comfortable with the unknown and trust that YES I would earn enough. Like you I had plan B and even plan C to make me feel a little safer.

      You’ve created a lot of security for yourself by saving some money, by having bookings in place and by developing another skill. You’ve done all you can, and done it well. Now is the time to trust yourself and trust that you CAN make it happen.

      Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations once again for what you have built for yourself. Women like you are a real inspiration for others who are just starting out on their journey. x

      • Thanks Karen! That thought has never really settled in my mind, even though others have also told me the same, until now. Seeing the number of hours a week I spend doing something I don’t enjoy is definitely motivation and total inspiration with my imagination wondering what I would do with all this time!

        I completely agree, it’s what has kept me in my job. Yes, I definitely like backup plans to help rid that fear of creeping in :).

        Thanks for the help realizing that I really have created a lot. Reading your comment was a moment of feeling extremely proud of myself for accomplishing this.

        If all else, I hope my story and journey can inspire someone else, just one person, to follow their dreams. It’s an incredibly fulfilling feeling.


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