I used to start things and have the hardest time finishing them.
Today, I told a fellow coach this, and she didn’t believe me. But it’s true. I almost dropped out of college my last semester. It took me eight years to finish the CPA exam. I still have a half-complete baby blanket on knitting needles for my darling baby girl — who is now turning 6.
It is painful to have a vision of how you want to act and be in the world and to not see it through. Sometimes, it is completely right to drop something mid-stream (like, if you hate it and it doesn’t serve your higher intention for your life) but mostly we start stuff because we are excited about what we can bring to life, what we can do, what we can create, who we know we can be.
So why do we drop things that are really key to who we envision ourselves to be?
There are probably as many answers to that as there are people on the planet, but there are common threads in the answers. For some people, it is just their nature — there are those who simply don’t have great follow-through skills and need help completing what we start.
Another common thread is not finishing what we start because we are doing the wrong thing in the first place. We are wrapped up in the “shoulds” of our lives and, at a deep down level we sabotage ourselves from completing things because what we are doing is not in line with who we are really are, at our core.
But what if we’re doing the thing that is really OUR THING to do in the world, and let’s suppose we’re typically good at finishing stuff, but all of a sudden, we can’t seem to get anything done? In that case, we are likely being held back by our fears, our beliefs, and subsequent apathy.
No matter why we aren’t finishing what we start, yoga can help.
Yoga can teach us the vital skill of follow-through
I absolutely credit yoga with teaching me to finish what I start. By making an effort to show up on my mat each day (and often failing at even that) I started teaching myself the art of following through. By continuing to come back to the mat, I taught myself to show up and do the work – even on days I felt uninspired, tired, or otherwise apathetic about my practice. I had experienced enough of the magic of yoga, that I knew I wanted the way I felt during and after practice to be the norm, so I kept persisting, which taught me to show up and do what I say I’m going to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have days I fail to get on the mat, but now those days serve as a red flag that something is out of alignment in my life.
Yoga can burn through the “shoulds” and connect us to our wisest self
When we practice yoga consistently, the mental chatter of ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’, and ego-driven ideas are brought into sharp focus, which allows us to drop them (sometimes naturally, or sometimes with the help of counseling, coaching, or self-coaching).
I went to business school and became a CPA because it was a good job, it was a good income, and it held a certain status that I craved. But studying for the CPA exam was like nails on a chalkboard. I would sign-up for the exam, all gung-ho only to find that about 5 minutes into it, I could hardly pay attention. I wouldn’t study consistently. Everything else was more important.
I have found that we often unconsciously self-sabotage our efforts at getting things done when we are doing the wrong things to begin with. Yoga can help us see that and give us the courage to move in a more skillful direction.
Yoga can help us face our fears with compassion and strength
Even when we’ve cast off the shackles of social conditioning and we muster up the courage to do the thing we are here to do, often we are left with paralyzing fear (of failure, of success, of doing it wrong, of judgment) and overwhelm (holy crap! how do I do this??). At a basic physical level, yoga can help keep us calm. On a deeper level, yoga can help us identify our limiting beliefs and face our fears, with compassion and strength.
On the mat we challenge our bodies and perhaps do things that we never thought we could. Handstands, headstands, arm balances — in yoga, there are all sorts of postures that people naturally fear. Slowly, we approach these poses. We prepare, step by step. Eventually, we find ourselves doing poses we never would have thought possible.
This kind of training on the mat builds confidence in our ability to take on our fears, to walk straight toward them and do it anyway. In this way our yoga helps us have a friendlier relationship with fear — we can live with it and acknowledge it without having to resist it or succumb to it. We know that we can slowly, step by step, progress in the direction that we most desire.
Who and what do you know you can be? What needs courageous follow through in your business and your life? Let your yoga practice teach you how to finish what you start, yogini-style.
Namasté to you, business yoginis!
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