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November 10, 2011

Self-Employment Yoga: Stretch for Authentic Success

Why are there so many injuries in yoga?

It used to surprise me when I heard about a yoga injury. I thought of yoga as inherently gentle.

Then I started practicing myself. I soon discovered that there are two ways to do yoga: with awareness or with force.

And force leads inevitably to injury.

Self-employment is like yoga
Like yoga, self-employment requires you to stretch. You have to stretch to learn effective business practices. You have to stretch to promote yourself and your work.

You have to stretch to bridge the gap between conventional business practices and authentic self-employment success.

You need to fake it until you make it.

Constructive faking is yoga for your business
Faking it may seem to be the very antithesis of authentic self-employment success. But there’s a big difference between healthy, constructive faking and false, destructive fakery.

Constructive faking serves specific goals that align with your values. It is informed by a vision that inspires and motivates you to try on a new way of being.

It recognizes that there is a gap between how things are now and how you imagine they might be. And it helps you to bridge that gap.

Constructive faking is inherently developmental rather than absolutist; it serves growth rather than control.

It’s yoga.

Destructive faking is magical thinking
Destructive faking lacks an overarching vision or serves outcomes that are not aligned with your values.

Destructive faking ignores the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It projects impossible results, leading you to quit in discouragement when those results fail to materialize. It is magical thinking.

Business yoga is gradual, conscious stretching
Faking it for the sake of authentic self-employment success means stretching consciously, with care and attention.

It starts out easy. (Tune into your reasons for doing what you do.) From the easy stretch, move into a developmental stretch, reaching for a position in which you experience a mild increase in tension. (Tune into the reasons others value what you do.)

Gradually move deeper into the pose as your skill, balance, and flexibility allow. (Start talking about what you do with people you meet.)

In contrast, destructive stretching is drastic. It stimulates muscle fibers to contract–the opposite of what you want. The result is strain, even injury. (You force yourself to make cold calls. Shudder.)

Faking it until you make it means stretching the way you think about marketing and promotion in a healthy way. It means stretching your vision of what self-employment success might look like.

Take it easy, but keep practicing
Practice business yoga gently.

Ease into those stretches. Pay attention to the size of the gap you want to bridge. Remind yourself of why you are practicing (and remember that it is a practice).

Gradually step back from the way you have always approached marketing and self promotion. Gently detach from your biases and fears about business (without closing your eyes to real concerns).

And gradually reconcile your vision of authentic self-employment success with conventional business practices.

When you fake it this way, successful self-employment becomes a vehicle for personal and professional transformation. Each day is a new opportunity to bring the business of business into alignment with your highest and best self.

 

Photo by Terry Oda via Flickr

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