Sounds a bit drastic doesn’t it! After all, who likes that much change? But I’m talking about good change, a positive challenge to you and your business. Let me take a step back so I can explain…
Recently I attended a day of workshops in London in the practice called Acroyoga. This is a combination of partner yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage – fantastic and a real challenge. As a kid I was always interested in gymnastics and as an adult got into acrobatics – even trying out static trapeze for a while – so I’m not scared of turning my world upside down which is a great start. I’ve also had a regular yoga practice since I was 18 and, through Acroyoga, have got to understand and practice (a little bit) of Thai massage.
The whole combination is a fantastic experience and involves an awful lot of trust as you can imagine. This is where turning your world upside down comes into its own! The acrobatics bit of Acroyoga involves balancing on the feet and hands of your partner who is generally lying on their back on the floor. As the base, the person supporting the flyer (the person doing the more acrobatic style moves) you have to be strong, flexible and have to have subtle intuition about what your partner is going to do next. As a flyer you have to hold your body very strongly (core muscles are very much in evidence here) but also there is great level of trust involved – trust that your body is going to be supported by the base.
A huge part of the practice is actually believing you can do some of these moves.After all you see a demo by the teachers and you think “there is no way I’m EVER going to be able to do that!” Sounds similar to challenges you might have in your business, doesn’t it? My personal experience however, is that my attitude in Acroyoga is completely different to my business, and there are many things I could carry across to my work life from the practice.
The first ever Acroyoga class I went to was about three years ago in Brighton. Group dynamics are really important in the practice, and a workshop or class often starts with a circle where everyone talks about something that maybe they are afraid of or is a challenge currently for them in their life. So in a way, the whole practice is set up not just to influence your physical well-being but the rest of your world as well. I think in that first class I mentioned something about being fearful of not earning enough money in my business (something to be honest, that’s been a bug bear for the ten years of being self-employed!) Maybe the class is led in this way so that there is always a bigger fear than trying out a new acrobatic trick when you begin the workshop.
Maybe it’s the element of fun (after all practicing Acroyoga is like being a big kid), or maybe it’s the fact that we always have a spotter when we work together in small groups of three (the base, the flyer and the spotter) to ensure safety when learning new moves. But every time I do a class I’m completely willing to throw myself (literally) into trying out new moves – almost being fearless – completely unlike in my business!
So what’s the lesson here? How can I be more fearless in my business too?
I think the first element is trust. Trusting my gut – it always leads the way, correctly. Trusting I can do it – believing in myself. Setting up a trusted group of cohorts or colleagues who I can go to for support when I need advice, help, sometimes a “kick up the bum” or a big hug.
The second element is fun – something we often forget about when doing business. Who says we can’t treat our business as play? The joy you get from turning upside down in Acroyoga is infectious – there are no end of giggles in a workshop. Maybe I can learn to treat my business lightly – after all there is plenty of time for seriousness in our work, who says we can’t have some fun with it at the same time? I really believe as soon as we have fun we let go of an awful lot of baggage we are holding on to. When we play we are curious – we don’t think “I can’t do it”, we just have a go.
I wonder if I put all these elements together when working on my business I could eliminate the lack of self-belief I sometimes feel plagued with. Now wouldn’t THAT be an achievement?
Photo credit: Kristin Wall