Most entrepreneurs are experiential learners—we learn by doing. Though we read articles and study decorated entrepreneurs, no lesson leaves a greater impact than the one learned from personal successes and mistakes. The downfall to this learning style is it requires making many mistakes—and the risk of making one too many as an entrepreneur is irreversible.
There are also alternate avenues of learning. For instance, yoga and entrepreneurship may seem worlds apart, but actually they have many underlying similarities. The word "yoga" means "to join" and "to unite," and its practice aims to bring the mind and body together to work as one. Similarly, entrepreneurs juggle many different relationships, challenges, and responsibilities, with the end goal of harnessing these entities to work in synch.
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Here are three lessons from yoga that can be applied to your entrepreneurial journey:
1. Be present. The lesson of being present is the essence of yoga; being present requires letting go of expectations and distractions to fully participate in our every moment. This lesson translates well into entrepreneurship, as our days tend to be filled with a roller coaster of ups and downs. As you juggle varying roles and responsibilities, it is important to become aware of the dangers of letting one part of your day carry into the next. Make sure to take time to clear your mind and fully transition, so that you can approach each new task with the full attention it deserves.
2. Everything in moderation. Yoga teaches practitioners to find balance between challenge and comfort. Some days, we are ready to challenge ourselves to new heights; other days, we're better off sticking within our comfort zone. Staying within your comfort zone is hardly a plan for success, but at the same time, "harder" and "faster" does not always lead to greater achievements. The trick is to forgo falling into familiar habits, and instead become acutely aware of your own needs. Stay mindful of your tendencies to push ahead or hold back, and find the meaning of "moderation" that works best for you.
3. Win with persistence. Yoga teaches that persistence pays off: the more diligent you are in your practice, the more of an expert you'll become. As an entrepreneur, it is tempting to find shortcuts to reach success more quickly, but the truth is that they almost never work—and if they do, you'll probably have missed valuable steps along the way. Make sure to set realistic goals, and don't be discouraged if your route to achieving them takes a few tries. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Abbie Davies Steinbacher is CEO and founder of MyFirstYoga, a kids wellness company that provides yoga outreach to schools and has a growing line of kids yoga products. Steinbacher has a degree in Psychology from Harvard, and is a certified adult and childrens yoga instructor. She is also a member of The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business's development and growth.