I thought I'd do something very different on this blog for a bit. Consider this an experiment on multiple levels. We're actually in the process of giving my site and blog a full "facelift", so things are a-changing here, and today I feel compelled to play.
Quick preview: a 60 day blog series integrating energy/leadership development with my personal aha's/experiences from doing a Bikram Yoga Challenge while training for a 1/2 Marathon all at the same time. I get some serious clarity when I push myself physically, and integrate business, leadership & the body. It's no surprise that this has had such a strong impact on the work I do with people. In this series I'll be linking leadership/Bikram yoga/running (lead/beek/run) to share some ideas that 1) I hope are fun, 2) will serve you in your own business and life, 3) will provide space for us to learn together and create more connection, and 4) will push me out of my own comfort zone in bringing you more deeply into my internal quirks!
A little background: What I know is that my energy, success, effectiveness, and personal levels of joy and groundedness directly correlate with my level of activity, what I eat, and how well I do at "getting in front of" and "leading" in my life and relationships. The more I ground in this way, the more intentional I am, the cleaner I eat - the more my energy soars, the more grounded I feel, the better I am in my relationships and leadership, and the more my business and life thrive. This is the virtuous cycle, as I've shared with many of you, and one that I work with clients on just about everyday. And of course, as we all teach what we need to learn, this virtuous cycle is on the front lines with me daily.
So, here we are. I've noticed that I get my best and clearest ideas in two places; 1) 33,000 feet in the air while on a long flight, and 2) while I'm being physical - especially when in the hot room. As I'm embarking on 60 days of focused training, yoga, nutrition to match it all, AND, in the midst of all of it, some healthy simplification in my business, I thought it might be fun to capture some of the "aha's" here. What do you think? So here we go, for the next 60 days I'll be using this blog as a platform to integrate the work I do in energy/ leadership development, with my personal practice and experience of Bikram Yoga, with my personal experience (and what is soon to be a very huge growth spurt in the land of mind, body, and spirit) of training for a half marathon. Again, this may flop, and it may be a great idea, and here we go.
So today was the start of the 60 day Bikram Yoga Challenge. The studio I practice at, which I adore for multiple reasons (reasons worthy of their very own blog post), is doing it in a way that makes it even a bit more fun to me in that you can make the challenge fit your lifestyle by doing 30-45-or-60 classes within the 70 day period. Depending on where you land, you get a medal. (I'm a sucker for a prize - internal or external.) I personally, am going to shoot for 60, and I know this is going to test my mindset on commitment and also flexibility. I have some hesitation on making the promise of 60, as I also have a running event I'm committed to in November as well (not to mention a life, business, and family to run), and I am agreeing with myself to dive in, go for it, bring it...and be flexible. See if my body says "60 + many many miles +++ = bad news", this flexibility, should it be required, will be the test. It will also be a test of knowing if I'm "letting myself off the hook" or if I'm truly practicing self-care, and where I let my ego vs. inner wisdom prevail.
Flexibility is a big thing for me (internally.) I'm kind of an...extremist. I either like to do things full in, or full out. That middle ground is tough. I used to try to change this. Didn't work. What I've learned about myself is I kind of have a "let's get real or let's not play attitude", and I really like to do things fully (this applies to every part of my life, can you relate? I'm fairly sure I am not alone here.) While this can be a gift, it can also be a curse. There is a cost involved. What I also know is that if I can't do it fully, my default can be to...ah...let it slide. This never feels right (except when it does.) So where I've found peace with this "quirk" is in being really conscious, and knowing, within myself, that I've brought it "all" to the table (or to the mat.) For me it's about being in integrity with myself - if I say something is important, have I truly - in my deepest heart of hearts and knowing - leaned in and made it important? Have I shown up the way I want to show up? Even if that means I failed or that I only landed in the middle. So I suspect that these next 60 days are going to teach me more about myself in that. What is it to set an intention, show up 100%, and still have compassion and flexibility for self when things get tough or an well intended plan truly doesn't work? What if I only do 30 days, does that mean it's a failure? What if my running is not what I envision it can be, does that mean it's a failure? Only I, in my gut will know. Because only I will be able to tell if I brought it all to the mat.
So that's the start of this "series". At this point, I'm excited, I'm all over it, I'm mapping out my schedule and contingency plans for travel and quirky schedules as we speak. I'm a tad nervous about the running, I have an old injury that reminds me to stay humble and go slow, and my intention is that between the yoga and the running (and possibly some nice ice), that injury, should it care to pop back in, will feel well loved and cared for. Ah! What were my lead/beek/run special awarenesses this a.m.? (BTW, I'm using "beek" for these because "bik" sounds like bike.) Well here they are:
- Bringing love to the equation and doing the littlest act of kindness and care can make all the difference in the world - especially when times are tough or when folks are stepping into something challenging. For example, Katherine Troyanek-Body, the owner of the Bikram Yoga Lincoln studio where I practice, greets students with true presence and care, provides iced lavender infused face clothes after class for the final savasana, and today, to make the kick off day even more special, gifted students with watermelon and cool treats after class. This is not just a one time thing (which would be great too), rather the experience is consistent which makes it all the better. The love and care that is brought to the table brings up the energy of the class and the entire experience. (Jamba juice and prizes are just the bonus!) Take this into your business and life, your team...what's happening? Regardless of what you're all working on, bringing a bit more love, acts of kindness and care into the equation (love don't cost a thing, remember) will give your team, yourself, and those around you more joy and energy to work from.
- Did you bring it all to the mat? One of the things I often notice when I'm practicing is where I "hold back" - just a tad. And then (assuming of course I'm conscious enough to realize I'm doing this), I have to ask myself, "what am I holding back for?" I've found it's usually nothing productive. It's often fear - "this is gonna hurt, this posture is hard" or a "made up illusion" that I should hold back for something - ummm...what? Here's what my brain chatter might look like "Well, I'm glad I even made it in...this posture is my nemesis...if I save a bit in set one, set two won't be as hard (ummm...never true btw)...I'm running later, wanna make sure I'm not spent...etc." Sometimes holding back is just totally unconscious. Sometimes I need just a little push. And sometimes, I know, my body needs to chill a bit. Again, it's one of those things that only I know if I'm holding back. And if I catch myself doing so, what a total gift. There's work for me to do there. What are the stories I'm making up? What am I afraid of? Where am I just in a cozy comfort zone? Where am I not present? Very cool. And of course, no surprise, this all concept of "bringing it all to the mat" lines up beautifully with business and life...Are you bringing it all to the mat? Where do you hold back? Personally, I have some "me-time" lined up this week to look at some of the places I'm holding back on the mat of business.
- Gratitude is where it's at. I could put this on any list of "aha's" no matter when I write the list because every day I find about 100 new things to be grateful for. Today, laying in a pool of sweat, my gratitude was for the privilege I have of being able to do these classes, for my body getting me through, for the delicious water I was drinking, for my family's flexibility and support so I can get my training in, for the idea to start this blog series, and for the cool air that awaited me on the other side of that door.
Okay - as always, there are more thoughts to share! And this post has completed its arc about 3 times. I'll be back soon with shorter posts and more food for thought. Seriously, people, please join me in the conversation or if you like these posts and want more, let me know you're reading! It can get lonely in the bloggosphere and I know one of the places I get my energy to write is from engagement with others. So...Lurkers, lean in! Cheers to all!