12 Mindful Tips for Start-Ups. ~ Linda Fenelon

Via elephant journal
on Feb 16, 2013
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image: quatriemedimension via Pinterest
image: quatriemedimension via Pinterest

Last year my husband and I each decided to pursue some long deferred dreams.

My path: the adventure of yoga certification.

His path: the founding of a mobile app company.

While the yoga path had inspiration built into it, the tech path required support from the outside. To boost his spirits I sought out success stories from young entrepreneurs blazing the tech trail. Can it be a coincidence the lessons apply so beautifully to teacher training?

1. Just Do It.

Trust your gut that this crazy thing you are called to do is the right path. Venture capitalist Mark Suster has taken Nike’s Just Do It campaign one step further with the acronym JFDI. Don’t whine, procrastinate, worry or create drama to derail yourself. Just Do It already.

2. Show Up.

Whether on the mat or in front of the computer, being present is more than half the battle. Research shows 80 percent of success is determined by showing up ready to do the work.

3. Fail. A lot.

Empower failure. Expect it even. Failure bears so many gifts we wouldn’t have access to otherwise: a developed character, an esprit d’corps, the skills needed to deal with future challenges. Nobody ever learned anything without failing first. Immerse yourself in a culture that gives feedback. Use this formula from Stanford’s Start Up School: Spot mistakes, Correct, Don’t repeat. The lessons learned become part of the next iteration

4. Ship.

One of Steve Jobs’ favorite words. In the tech world “ship” means build minimum viable product, version 1.1, and ship it already! Get it out there. So you know only Sun A and Sun B? Then teach a Sun Salutation class. Knowing what isn’t working will show you what will.

5. Tell Everyone.

Stealth is not healthy. There is no scenario where becoming a yoga teacher needs to be a secret. Put it out there. Letting everyone know allows for two crucial elements, feedback and accountability. It’s hard to quit when even the grocery clerk is asking, “How’s teacher training going?”

6. Steal Stuff.

Every successful entrepreneur knows old Thomas Edison had it right; genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. You don’t have to re-invent yoga. Let the order of the sequence be the one percent, and allow the other 99 percent of the practice to be a result of the breath and being totally present with what is.

7. Admit You Don’t Know.

Humility is a rare and beautiful thing. People always see through the BS of faking it. No need to be shy about a weakness. Successful starters recognize that the flip side of a weakness is a strength, often a unique and crazy awesome strength. If you don’t know, admit it. Then go find out. Or find someone who does. Someone has a gift of fixing the HVAC or balancing the books. And that’s okay. Pretending is the opposite of authenticity. We want authentic.

8. Don’t Assume.

As the Groupon team admits, when hundreds of thousands of users flock to a site the founders have to admit they have no clue who these people are. Continuing to build to Who You Think They Are is nowhere near as valuable as building What They Want. Ask them and they will tell you. You have no idea who will walk through the door. Or why. Planning an intense fast paced vinyasa flow to a hip playlist won’t serve when a 65-year-old veteran walks through the door with a new mat. Slow down and teach to what you see.

9. Try Easy.

The Instagram team admits to quickly learning that the simplest problems get difficult at scale. Being brave enough to sit with your class through a three minute malasana (garland squat) pose can be much more effective than a half-dozen frustrated attempts at pinchu mayurasana (feathered peacock arm balance). Easy works.

10. Embrace Uncertainty.

Yes, please plan ahead and remove the speed bumps and foreseeable detours. But there will always be a roadblock; some big beautiful obstacle whose very purpose is to have you dig down deep and unlock your potential. Ain’t life sweet?

11. Create A Pause.

Start-ups seek the pause, the micro second when a user does not click the back button, but rather lingers long enough to find out more. In teaching yoga we must create the pause—something to make the client return for more. Breath work, flow and time-holding the pose long enough for the muscles to be reminder later. And then there’s the ultimate pause—the gift of savasana (final rest). There’s a trend to skip this happy ending, but not giving it is like pouring your heart out into a word document and forgetting to hit save. Savasana is the wax seal on a beautiful letter written to self. Don’t skip it.

12. Laugh.

I mean, what else are you going to do? LOL please! There is always some life situation on the horizon, something somewhere ready to toss you off-balance. I know a teacher who insists when someone falls out of a pose we all say, with love, Hahaha. Then get back up with a smile and try again. As the Buddha promised, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.



Linda FenelonLinda Fenelon is a writer, mama, yoga lover and a proud member of the T.I.T.S teacher-in-training program at Baptiste inspired studio Epic Yoga in Nashville, Tennessee.




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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Assist Ed: Madison Canary


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8 Responses to “12 Mindful Tips for Start-Ups. ~ Linda Fenelon”

  1. jen says:

    Linda… soooo well said…. You create beauty even in a check list!!!! Love your information, love your passion, love your heart!!

  2. Lisa Quish says:

    Hi Linda, lovely article; so well researched and something to learn from each point, I teach yoga to a group of senior partners on Tuesday evenings and I find that my understanding of the business world and my love of teaching combines to make for a positive experience for all of us.

    Coming to yoga from other disciplines brings a lot more than you might realise. My favourite paragraph is the pause and being mindful to let savasana be luxurious and long it is the ice cream on a sunny day or the log fire on a cold and rainy Sunday just bliss. Best of luck to you both on your new adventure.

  3. shanan says:

    great post! Ain't life sweet?

  4. Jillian says:

    Beautiful article. I especially loved the part about how essential savasana is – I just wrote a piece talking about intuitive living and how essential rest is, just as essential as savasana at the end of a yoga practice. Practical, rooted, strong article – thanks for sharing! And good luck with completing your training!

  5. Linda says:

    Thanks jen – luv ya lots

  6. Linda says:

    Thanks Lisa-appreciate you very much

  7. Linda says:

    Thank you Jillian – Looks like we are birthday girls this month. Loved your insight on your blog about coming to the page everyday. So true – cannot be for anyone but self. Thanks for reading. Namaste Aquarian fellow.