Exercise has always been a way to balance my busy life – whether when I was a student in school, in a public accounting firm or running my businesses over the years. I love all forms of exercise, but I am most passionate about yoga, spinning and running in my life as a way to release stress and be ready to take on each day. When I was out running one morning, it occurred to me that pacing myself running or in my yoga practice, is much like pacing yourself in your job or business that you run.
When I start out each run, it takes me awhile to feel good, get my breath in line and get a good pace. Even in my yoga practice it is the same thing, I start out getting in touch with my breath, clearing my mind and stretching slowly so I am ready to go. It is the same when you start out in business or a new service you want to offer in your business – you can’t start off too fast. To really achieve success and optimize the opportunity, you need to plan and ground yourself with goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. I know if I start out a run too fast I peter out – it’s the same thing with business, you need to know where you are going to have meaning in what you do each day. Even when it’s really hard, you can set the intention to visualize and focus on your end game.
When I was out running, I noticed a runner on the same path ahead of me getting ready to start her run. That moment of anticipation of whether it’s going to be a good run or not happens right in that split second. Once she started running, I ended up following her along the path for a while until eventually the path split and I went another direction. It was nice having her in front of me to focus on my pacing, but it was ok when she split off and went in her own direction as well. It reminded me of the many mentors along the way that I modeled either different parts of my business after or milestones I wanted to achieve myself that they had paved the way. Not all of them knew I was admiring them from afar, nor did they know me. Some did, because I reached out to them when I wanted to learn something from them and developed relationships that I could call upon for advice along the way. When it’s been time to split off and take my own direction, that part of them have stayed with me. My successes (and failures) are my own and a mix of so many people along the way that I aspired to and learned from. But when each time was right, it was time to split and take my own path.
In running, the most challenging part of a run can be going uphill. But, how do you take the downhill? When you are in the midst of a yoga practice, and its heating up and really challenging, what do you do? To me, it’s at these types of crossroads that test our ability to persevere in business. If you just let the downhill take you with it without doing it with purpose, or if you let your mind take over during a challenging sequence in yoga, instead of coming back to your breath, you aren’t controlling your destiny. In business, when you are going uphill, everything feels hard. But when you are coasting, that’s a testament of the type of entrepreneur you are. Do you coast? Or do you take that time to control the downhill and run it with purpose, set proper goals for the next phase of your business, new customer acquisitions or at least think about what the future looks like. If you coast, will you be caught in the next uphill and stagnate or get behind in your business. Where can you look for opportunities and keep growing your vision for what you want to do? In yoga we learn to breathe through the chaos and clear the chatter from our mind. When things are the toughest, its important we distinguish the noise from reality and clear out what isn’t useful.
When I finish a run, I feel accomplished. I measure myself against my last run or what I had intended for that run when I started out. When I finish a yoga practice, I feel refreshed and open. My mind is clearer and I can move a little more slowly through what comes up next in my day. As each day finishes in your job, try to find a way to identify accomplishments or progress you have made. Even if it was a day of different areas of failures – what have you learned by it and how can you improve the next day? How can you take time and step back from your day and review it and feel more open to take on your evening or your next day at work? Find ways to stay on the path of learning from your business and listening to what your customers or employees are telling you. Taking that time to reflect can help you pace each upcoming day, in addition to the upcoming goals you have for your business.