THE EXECUTIVE YOGI
How bringing a yoga mindset to your business can boost your bottom line.
I have said it many times, “Who you are at home is who you are at work … eventually the two of you meet!” Are you that person who is practicing daily at a studio but when you show up at work you become someone else entirely? Perhaps you find your stable and good paying job so unrewarding that you want to quit so you can attend a YTT in Costa Rica or somewhere exotic, in hopes of reconnecting with your true self, purpose and/or dharma?
I have come to find this story is really not that unique. During my career of teaching for more than 24-plus years, and as a faculty for Meta Yoga Schools while running retreats around the world through GOYO Adventures, I have come to find most people dive into a retreat-like environment or a YTT immersion because they are seeking some sort of transformation or are in transition in life, relationships or careers. What I have also noticed about this trend is that a lot of people have simply forgotten how to bring their passions with them, instead, are seeking their passion and purpose outside of themselves or thought their work or someone else was going to bring it out for them.
Over the past decade, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with individuals whom have felt similarly — so deep into their career and lifestyle they can’t seem to figure out how best to positively influence their business and life, so they can be truly happy and still get the high-pressured job done. At any level, making money and moving the needle (or even paying your rent) become a priority, and passions and influencing in a positive way take a back seat to business goals and company growth.
I have since devoted my career on influencing others by bringing yoga to those who may never visit a studio or who may never even realize their newfound clarity in life and business can be attributed to the practices of yoga (and I am not talking about asana — though I recommend sneaking it in when you can). I have also committed to dispel the emerging stereotype that yogis are soft, poor business people, and that abundance in terms of financial gain isn’t of importance. The process of bringing a yoga-mindset to the boardroom dwellers began with my intention to do so, and fortunately, I have had the opportunity to work with amazingly influential people and businesses who were also progressive enough in their thinking and were open to the idea of doing things just a little bit differently.
Here are a few things I have implemented or observed on an individual or business level that have increased the bottom line while creating a trajectory of career growth and personal development leading to a happier and more productive and balanced individual/team/company.
(RASA) our practice we learn to “monotask” or shut off backwards and forwards thinking as we aim to become present. It is time to focus again and practice the skill of mindful listening. Not just because we owe our full attention to others when we converse, but because the positive emotions of a truly good conversation have the potential to make us happier. In the boardroom, really focusing on the thoughts and opinions of others allows you to create empathy and a true understanding of where someone’s motivations may be. And with an open-mind you become infinitely more creative in strategizing together. It creates an environment of growth and development and our responses come from a place of openness. As an influencer in your company, taking this approach can also help you lead by example in your behavior so that those you work with will also start to become more present listeners and this can leverage the entire team and even persuade when necessary.
SHUT DOWN + LOG OFF
(Meditate or Dyana) This may seem counter-intuitive, but we all have our highs and lows throughout the day and when we hit those lows (typically around 2 to 4 p.m.), our cognitive ability is diminished, and our productivity goes down. In the board room or in the office, a supported environment of five minutes of meditation reboots our synapses, reduces brain clutter and increases that cognitive coherence. This is also an important tool to use prior to giving a presentation, crunching numbers or when you need to confront an employee on performance issue as our emotions can sometimes get in the way of our thinking and communicating clearly.
(In the realm of Reiki) This is one of my favorite yoga to boardroom transfers. In the yoga studio, we share a unique kula (community) experience where by the end of a class or practice we all have shared something unique together but unspoken. How do you bring that same impactful energy to your workplace? I have studied the practice of HeartMath® of syncing your own energy vibrations to that of the people you are working with and or possibly selling to. In this practice, you learn to sync your energies together and some believe it is possible your hearts will beat synchronously. This is very beneficial when trying to sell or pitch an idea or a product to someone you just met. The initial five to ten minutes of meeting this person is getting to know them and syncing up. Small talk and energy syncing practices are done without the other person even knowing it. It is a tried and true technique in top sales performers across many industries in around the world.
PASSIONS TO WORK
(Dharma) We all have something we are passionate about whether its reading books, traveling, volunteering, music, yoga, good food, etc. How do you share these passions in a job environment in a rewarding and fulfilling way? When I’m coaching an individual, their energy and facial expressions usually perk up when they tell me what they do when they aren’t at work. When pressed with the question, “Is there a way you can share that enthusiasm in workplace?” Most people respond with “I don’t know!” Perhaps you can start a book club with some peers at work or teach yoga at lunch time in an unused office space or boardroom! I will never forget walking into a boardroom and found ten people lying on the floor with the chairs scattered. They were in sivasana at 2 p.m. in the afternoon on a Thursday (low cognitive time for the 9 to 5’er). They had dialed up the Headspace® App and connected someone’s phone to the Apple TV to broadcast throughout the room. If that isn’t bringing your passions to work and positively influencing others, then I don’t know what is.
I truly believe there is a shift in how people who aren’t currently practicing yoga are perceiving the benefits of yoga and meditation. I hope you too can see the opportunities that lie ahead for bringing your yoga mindset to your work and possibly even influencing in such a way where you are sharing your passions and rallying your co-workers to think bigger while continuing to be creative and innovative in a world – at this time and place – that needs it most.+