Holding the Pose: 5 Tips for Going Steady with Your Business
Up until I met my husband, I was never much of a relationship person. Sure, I’d go on dates. Sure, I could imagine what a relationship might be like. But the reality of making a commitment was something my young mind couldn’t fully grasp - and I didn’t want it to anyway. Looking around at my life now, seeing the home I’ve built with a partner I’ve fully committed to, seeing our children run around on our wood floors laughing hysterically, I get it.
The benefits of going steady are real and I’m now reminded of them every single day. Every beautiful thing I have in my life is a result of my ability to say yes, to keep showing up day after day even when those days are difficult.
Business, I’m realizing, is no different.
Like my early relationships, my first businesses turned out to be based on the thrill of flirtation. I enjoyed creating something new. I would spend hours every day imagining what it would be like if I did commit to one idea - Where would we end up? What would life look like? But then, as soon as I hit an obstacle, as soon as a challenge arose, I was out. It turns out there isn’t much of a reason to stay through the hard times unless you’ve really committed to seeing it through.
Commitment, of course, is a mindset - nothing more. It’s believing that what you have in front of you is valuable and then being willing to stand up and fight for it when it needs you to show up.
While I’ve had plenty of success with earlier businesses of mine, it’s clear that the reason they didn’t meet my original goals was simple: I stopped showing up.
In kundalini yoga, you hold poses longer than you’d care to. You’re pushed to your limit so that you can be stretched into something even greater, something bigger, something capable of doing spectacular things. But, the only way to get the results you want in this practice is to hold the pose.
In other words, you have to commit.
For the past year and a half I’ve chosen to commit to my current business - and it’s paying off. Not only has it grown to be bigger than any of my former ones, but it’s developing roots that allow it to sustain itself. And, best of all, it’s providing me with more satisfaction than any of my other business ideas ever have.
Here are five things that have helped stay in the business relationship:
1. Build Up, Not Out. If I look at the five, even ten years, prior to starting my current business, it’s easy to feel like I’ve been all over the map - from school teacher to author, book publisher to content publisher, yoga teacher to content marketer. In my head, it felt like I was hopping from one lily pad to the next, not really knowing where I was going, just aimlessly trying to catch flies in the pond. It turns out, however, each one of these seemingly unconnected steps have given me tools I need to be where I am today. I’m now seeing my steps as strategic moves up a flight of stairs - not horizontal leaps. The biggest benefit of this shift in mindset is the confidence I’ve gained. I no longer feel like I shouldn’t be successful or that I don’t deserve where I am today. Just like you can look at past relationships as “learning experiences”, you can find ways to view your past business relationships in the same light. And, when you do, you discover that you’re a lot further ahead in the game than you may have realized.
2. Revel the Challenges. It might sound cliche, but the challenges really do make you stronger. There’s an old quote I used to share with my eighth grade language arts students: “A smooth sea never makes skilled sailors.” When I’m practicing yoga, holding the pose so to speak, I can feel the benefits immediately: my mind becomes sharpened, the beads of sweat hint at my muscles getting stronger, the pride I feel when I finish encourages me to make better decisions throughout the day. If you can learn how to embrace the obstacles in your path, enjoying the thrill of jumping over them rather than running into a different lane, you’ll get stronger in every area of your life. Your business will grow exponentially as you get stronger and, in return, it will perform the way you want it to so that you feel accomplished.
3. Focus on the Why. Like any relationship, it’s important to remind yourself why you made a commitment in the first place. What’s the benefit of staying in rather than checking out? What made you excited enough to start your business in the first place? Actually take the time to write all of this down (preferably in a pretty marker so you can hang it up by your desk) and remind yourself of your reasons regularly. While I always like to focus on the positives, you can by all means focus on the negatives if you resonate with them more. Ask yourself instead - What would my life look like if I ditched this business right now? Even though there might be a few tempting scenarios, when you get into the details, I at least always discover that where I am right now really is the best case.
4. Celebrate the Wins. Running a business is challenging. There’s always one more thing to do. There’s always something unexpected popping up on your radar. It’s easy to get caught up in your lists, in the goals you set for yourself, and, in doing so, always feel like you’re a step behind. But, remember, your mind is powerful. If you’re always focusing on what you don’t have, on what you need to do, you’ll find yourself in a hard-to-break cycle that is far from enjoyable. Instead, take time to celebrate your wins. Focus on what you do have. Remind yourself of the goals you set months, even years ago, and be proud of where you are.
5. Flirt, Don’t Cheat. Sometimes I’ll blame it on my being a Gemini, or my innate Vata tendencies, but, whichever way I look at it, I can’t deny that I get distracted easily. In the past, I’ve allowed these distractions to hop into the driver’s seat, taking hold of the wheel and getting me into all sorts of messes, some with irreparable consequences. In business, these types of distractions are lethal. The moment you take your focus away from your business, especially when you’re first starting out, it’s almost impossible to bring yourself out of the tailspin. New businesses, like new relationships (or babies or souffles), need all of your attention. I’ve discovered that if I allow myself to flirt with ideas, never really going all the way, I can appease my desire to try something new. Five years ago, had I become interested in making cupcakes, I would have quit my business, rented a space, and opened a bakery - all in the name of adventure! Today, I’ve set aside one afternoon a week to bake those fucking cupcakes for my family, no business plan required. And, as I’ve discovered, it’s so much nicer to not feel like I have to be “all the way in” with something because it keeps whatever that thing is fun.
Even though it’s tempting to avoid challenges, to want to see what life would be like doing something different, it’s so much more rewarding to stay steady, unwavering in what you’ve committed to right now. Of course, you don’t have to hold the pose forever. At some point it will be time to move to the next thing - the next business, the next cupcake. But don’t be in a rush. The longer you can stay involved with your current business choices, the more you’ll gain.
Not sure if you’re ready to go steady?
Ask yourself this simple question: Have I gotten the results I want from this business?
If the answer is yes, then move on! If the answer is no, however, then you have more to learn, more room to grow. Hold the pose a little longer and see how good the challenge feels.