In September I celebrated my business’s 1st birthday. For me this is a time to reflect and look back at some of my achievements, failures and lessons learnt.
Last September I “officially” launched The Yoga Room with a flyer advertising all my classes and shared it on social media. With my drive and passion, I waited for the flood of emails requesting more information and sign-ups for classes. None came – literally not ONE inquiry. I was shocked, depressed, despondent and even ashamed. I had set goals, done the leg-work, knew exactly what I wanted to do, so why hadn’t it worked?
Twelve months later I am a little wiser and slightly more knowledgeable about what it means to run your own business. I have listened to countless business podcasts, met and talked with wise women who were happy to let me learn from their experiences, left two jobs that were not providing me with the inspiration and time I needed to devote energy to my yoga business, and did succeed in teaching classes and workshops, and was also asked to substitute teach while a fellow colleague was away. It has been a roller-coaster journey.
So what are some of the lessons I have learnt and how do they prepare me for the year ahead.
1. Goals are your own arbitrary milestones!
A dear friend introduced me to an amazing podcast series called “The Mind Your Business Podcast” by James Wedmore. Every episode has made me think and re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about life and work. His philosophy on setting goals is mind-blowing. His theory is that goals are personally created milestones, that when achieved give you a false sense of security and when NOT achieved bring you to a place of shame and guilt. Be driven and passionate about your work, but when you become fixated on some random self-defined goal that you think will determine and define you or your business, you end up focusing on the wrong thing.
This has really touched me as I have been very goal driven this year – deciding arbitrarily how many classes I wanted to teach and what that meant to the growth and success of my business. I had to let go of these goals and realise that if I didn’t meet them, it didn’t reflect anything about me, my professionalism or the ultimate success of my business. Maybe the original goal had been unrealistic, a random selection imbued with more meaning then it was supposed to have.
So for the next twelve months I am setting milestones, goals to strive for, but I choose to focus more on the journey and learning experience of achieving them. I am not bound by them, but use them to guide my activities for the next year.
2. Create a supportive environment.
During the last year I have met some amazing women, women who have found an area of work that they are passionate about and are trying to turn into a business – just like me. These women have encouraged and supported me, shared their wisdom with me. I have seen how much you can grow together when each woman has the other’s best interests at heart. When we view each other as competition, each one trying to carve out their market share at the expense of the other, we all lose. But when we support each other, share our experiences and journeys, and help each other to grow, we are able to move forward and grow our business from a position of strengthen.
This year I choose to focus more on creating partnerships and finding other women to work with. I firmly believe that when we share each other’s passion we can all learn and grow more than when we are fighting the battle by ourselves.
3. Embrace the Unexpected.
I am a bit of a control freak – I like things to be a certain way, I like stability, I like to know what to expect from situations. It means that sometimes real-life sucks! Because in reality we are not in control at all. Just when we think things are calm and stable, life likes to throw us a curve ball and shake things up abit. The unexpected can often throw us off track with illness or a bereavement shaking you to the core.
But often the unexpected can appear as a new connection or relationship which takes you in a new direction or makes you assess things in a new way. What I have learnt is that all unexpected encounters, whether happy or sad, are always a springboard for growth and rediscovery. It is the irony of life, proved time and time again, that the biggest life lessons are learnt during the hardest or more unexpected life events.
So this year I will focus on grabbing those unexpected encounters, friendships and experiences with both hands, and releasing control just a little bit!
In Yoga Nashit we try to pay attention to the here and now. When we lie on the mat, we connect with our body in this very moment, using the mat for self-analysis and research to assess our mental, physical, emotional and biological state. We don’t look into the past or into the future, but appreciate what we have now. It is very difficult in the craziness of everyday life, when facing challenges or starting a new venture to remember NOT to look to far into the future, and to look back with positivity at the stepping stones that have brought you to this very moment.
I still have a long journey ahead of me, I have big dreams to share my Yoga knowledge with many more women. I have seen first-hand how the yoga I teach affects women – physically and emotionally, and I want to continue to find ways to share my message of using Yoga as a tool for women’s health and healing.
However, I know that this will involve plenty of hard work and many challenges that I can’t even imagine today. I am excited about the year ahead.