Monday, April 25, 2011

The Yogi Approach to Business - How To Stay Focused

Did I stump you with my title? Huhhh!? The yogi approach to business? It's not as random or as 'out there' as you might think. I've been a student of yoga for ten plus years, but it hasn't been until this past year that I've embodied 'yoga' as a way of life - and what I've learned as a result of my yoga practice has truly made a positive impact on the way I conduct my business.

The literal translation of yoga means "to yoke/unite". Yoga is a state of being and not JUST a physical exercise. The Western approach to yoga concentrates on the physical benefits, but yoga is truly a way of life for those who practice (myself included). Because of yoga and meditation, it's helped me in many facets of my business especially with my clarity and focus.

While standing in tree pose (one of my favorites!), my teacher tells us to focus on a spot on the floor to keep our balance/focus- our "dristi". The soft dristi gaze promotes clarity and grounded calmness.

It comes down to your dristi - how do you stay focused? OR are your wobbling in the Tree Pose of Your Business because you have lost your dristi gaze and can't seem to focus?

Here are some 'yogi-style' tips -- how to find AND implement your professional dristi effectively and stay on course:

1. If you make a mistake, don't beat yourself up. Do NOT give up. You are human - yes, even in business. You will never be perfect. Don't let a one-time mistake interfere with your big-picture focus. Brush yourself off, learn from the mistake and move forward.

2. Listen to your gut instinct. That little voice inside your head won't steer you wrong, and will help you stay on course and focused. It's when you don't listen to your instinct  that you get thrown for a loop, and steers you away from your desired goals. Think of intuition as your internal life compass and don't ignore it!

3. Stay present in the RIGHT NOW! I know that sounds odd since I'm an Internet marketing consultant and my professional world revolves around long-range goal planning for my clients. However, it's when you start to dwell on the past and worry about the future - and fall into that trap of 'not enough! not enough!' - that's when your focus takes a nose dive. The future will happen no matter what and the past has already happened . Why waste your precious time and energy? Keep your focus on today - in this present moment. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you focus on the here and now.

4. Don't compare yourself or your business to your competition, colleagues, clients, etc. As a practicing yogini, I am not the typical poster child for yoga. I'm short and definitely don't have that svelte yogi look. But it's okay, because I'm on my very own Therese Pope path. My yoga journey is completely different than my fellow  students. The easiest way to lose your 'dristi' is to focus on everybody else BUT yourself. Don't worry that Joe Smith is making thousands of dollars more than you or Mary Jones just bought a brand new BMW. Concentrate on your goals and projects that bring YOU success and don't exert energy worrying about your competition down the street. I'm not saying that you don't want to check out altogether, BUT don't obsess over other's people success and don't fall into the 'not enough' mindset trap.

5. Cut out tasks and projects that waste your time and energy (including people, clients, etc. who drag you down). Work with clients who are a GOOD match and don't just take on any client in the world. When you work on projects, tasks and interact with people who pull you away from your business purpose/mission, your gaze becomes muddied. Outsource to sub-contractors or hire part-time help. Focus on what YOU need to do and leave the extraneous tasks to people who are better qualified and can lighten your workload.

How do you stay focused with your daily tasks and projects? I welcome your comments and feedback. 


  1. Really good post, Therese. I think your story about focusing on the 'dristi' is especially symbolic for our lives and the health of our businesses.

    In the tree pose, it seems you are challenging your senses and sense of balance by standing on one leg. If we lose our focus and equilibrium, we fall on the floor.

    So in business if we allow ourselves to be distracted and anxious and move away from our 'focus' we can waste a lot of time falling and getting back up again. Each time that happens, we're more and more worried about falling much harder to steal our minds into concentrating and expecting/experiencing calm and balance to be restored to us in a sustaining way.

    I also can relate to your tip #5. An ongoing challenge right there for us solopreneurs.

    I just bought a yoga mat last week and now just have to find the right class to attend :)

  2. Thanks for your introspective comment and input, CJ. It's this tug-o-war of sorts. We're afraid of falling again and sometimes we just give up altogether (especially if we really lose focus then frustration sets in and we just want to throw in the towel).

    I know the right yoga class and teacher will find you. :) If you have yoga questions, just let me know. :)

  3. I love this, Therese! The last one is what I've been working on for some time. It's been my biggest bear, and it helps enormously to hear it in this way. Thank You!

  4. Susan, Believe me, I struggled with #5 for a longggg time. It finally took standing my ground and saying "No" to situations and people just that weren't healthy and productive in my life (both personally and professionally). Who needs that kind of drama? It's a waste of precious time and drains your energy, and life is far too short.

    My health and well-being suffered as a result of stressful situations and the "energy suckers" (people who drain your energy) and left me feeling wrecked. For me, it was either be unhappy and unhealthy or do something about it. There just comes a time when enough is enough, and you have to make "YOU" a top priority.

    Susan, you are on the right path! :)


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