It has just been oSetting up your own businessver a year since I taught the first class at my new studio space. Needless to say it has been a journey. It is a journey that only other small business owners can relate to. I say this as a person who has worked as a sub-contractor in the finance world for over 7 years.
I am going to indulge myself with a bit of reflection on what helped me through the year!
Helper #1: Are you prepared to be with it all?
I asked myself the above question almost on a daily basis. It helped me to be able to be with all that is good and difficult in this start up process. Like all start ups, the path of making true my dream of creating a yoga studio space and to manifest the vision that I have for the space, is a path filled with ups and downs. I am off on another day of adventures as long as the answer to the question is ‘yes’!
Helper #2: Making uncertainty my friend!
The week before my studio opened, my main co-teacher had to move to Singapore for familial reasons. Initial reactions were ” How could she? WT#@1&, what I am going to do now?” – together with everything else within the realms of my human-ness. Well, welcome to the unpredictable nature of running a business – all good plan changes. There is a need for control in some element of business, but there are other elements of business where you need to relinquish that control and figuratively go with the flow! However, not easy to do when anxiety looms large. I will do a chant or a mantra meditation to get me through those moments and still do.
Helper #3: Be ok with self doubt and negative self talk
OMG, what can I say about this that you don’t already know. All of a sudden, self doubt and negative self talk become my newest best friends that need my attention all the time! Not only are they coming to breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and definitely supper, they call me on the phone every hour if not every minute. There was no point in ignoring self doubt and self talk. Just accept them as part and parcel of the process, be mindful of their presence! That helped me to spend less energy resisting them and also not dive deeper into the held belief and stories behind the self doubt and negative self talk. Thank goodness for a mindfulness and meditation practice!
Helper #4: Practicing Self-compassion
This practice was how I pick myself up after making mistakes (there were a few). It is, of course, ok to make mistakes. The issue is not to dwell on the mistakes longer than necessary. Self compassion allows me to move forward. My self-compassion practice includes looking at myself in the mirror and saying my affirmations (I think some members of my family thought I was going crazy!), reading Theodore Roosevelt’s quote on the man in the Arena (over and over again), having a self-help book on my bedside for a quick pick-me-up and having a well worn quote on ‘Courage’ in my wallet! All this just reminded me that I am human and ok and doing it all at the same time!
Helper #5: Leaning on Key People
This is an obvious one. I can not emphasize enough how important it is having your key supporters around you. However, do watch out for the pseudo supporters. You know what I mean, the ones who say they support you but silently they think you are crazy to embark on this venture that has no hope in hell of making a living or to be a success. Let those detractors go. I am very lucky that my support group was very close to home (literally!) and a skype chat away!
Helper #6: Be grateful
Like self compassion, this is totally invaluable. It is a practice that I keep as part of my daily practice to remind me on how blessed I am to have a profession that I enjoy and can share with others! Very blessed.
Helper #7: Keep things real with family or friends
Well this is the part that keeps me on the straight and narrow. Setting up any business is time consuming, fraught with long hours and problems as well as being self absorbing. It was important for me to stay grounded and maintain perspective through the process. Close friends and family helped me to keep things real!
Helper #8: Yoga practice
Like many people, my yoga practice can be affected when the mind is pre-occupied and busy with the never ending list that keepsWhat is on your mind? growing (yes, it does happen to yoga teachers- Oops, did I let a secret out?). There is a huge temptation to do less practice as I might get more work done. That is a fallacy (I say this from experience). Keeping to the commitment of starting each day with a practice has ultimately helped me come home to myself with all that is happening around me. I even end my day with a 20 minute restorative posture, so so amazing!
As I am Chinese, I will stop at Helper #8. I have been asked whether I would do things differently, the answer to that is ‘Yes’ as I did make mistakes (refer to Helper #4). Would my helpers be different, probably not!