6 Career Lessons You Learn from Yoga
Flexibility is not the only attribute valued by employers and yogis alike! Here’s how to be your own personal guru in the workplace:
Self-improvement is more important than trying to beat everyone else.
Ever walked into a “beginners” yoga class and panicked as everyone else folded themselves into pretzels while you could barely touch your toes?
It’s natural to want to be better than everyone else around you, but being the best at everything is impossible, and constantly measuring yourself against your colleagues will only result in disappointment and frustration.
Instead, focus on being the best that you can be. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make a conscious effort to work on the latter. Ask for feedback on your work from peers and managers and put good suggestions into practice. People will take notice your self-improvement and be impressed.
Making things look effortless takes a lot of hard work.
Like most yoga positions, it can be incredibly demoralising if you embark upon a new job or project and find yourself floundering while everyone else seems to just ‘get’ it.
Try to keep things in perspective. Malcolm Gladwell’s famous theory that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert is embedded in the idea that learning to be good at anything takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
If you know you’re trying your hardest, don’t sweat it if you’re not perfect just yet. And ask for help when you need it! Most people are happy to offer advice and guidance when approached.
Your mind and body are intrinsically interlinked.
Yoga is as much about mediation as exercise because practitioners understand that you cannot give something your all without using your mind and body together. So if you want to give 100% at work, look after your health.
Those yoga classes aren’t just a source of career inspiration: regular exercise makes you better at your job. And while we all know that eating well brings all sorts of physical benefits, putting down the biscuits improves your job performance and productivity too.
The third important factor is getting enough sleep each night. Nobody works at their best when they’re tired. So if you find yourself regularly staying up late to finish reports you may actually be harming your efficiency.
Every day, push yourself that little bit further.
We should all have goals – they keep us constantly growing and learning. But whether it’s performing a perfect yoga handstand or becoming CEO, we often focus only on the end result and forget to plan the steps to get us there. The task then seems so enormously impossible that we don’t know where to start and give up.
Break up each goal into small, manageable tasks. Start with something so easy it seems foolish not to do it, and every day challenge yourself to achieve that little bit more. Keep your expectations realistic and you’ll keep yourself motivated.
Regularly take stock of your progress. Little things add up, and soon you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come!
It’s okay to take a rest when needed.
There’s a good reason why the first position you learn in yoga is Childs Pose, the rest position. Working hard is great – but you have to know where your limits are or you’ll overstretch yourself.
Just like our muscles, the human brain isn’t designed to work continually. After just 45 minutes of taking in information, it starts to lose its ability to focus, and your productivity plummets. When you take regular breaks, however, you give your brain a chance to reset itself, and that increases your focus, creativity, and productivity.
Attitude is everything.
Having a positive attitude makes everything seem… well, more positive! Approaching complex tasks with a can-do outlook makes them seem more manageable. Positive thinking also opens our mind to new possibilities and makes it easier to learn new skills.
One of the most important attitude changes you should make? Stop seeing mistakes as failures, and start seeing them as learning experiences. Forgive yourself when things don’t go right, and create a plan to ensure that next time around you won’t repeat the mistake.
Show appreciation for others by praising them when they do a good job – and show appreciation for yourself too! Too many of us are intensely self-critical. But if you learn to commend yourself for things you do well, you’ll feel empowered.
Welcome to Beth Leslie as our newest columnist! Beth writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check them out if you’re looking to hire an intern or interested in graduate jobs London.