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How to stay afloat; Lessons from yoga with Sheryl Miller

Our most recent Disruptive Minds webinar discussed the trials and tribulations both businesses and employees faced due to the pandemic, and lead a thoughtful conversation on how businesses can stay afloat in 2022. 

Taskforce member, business coach, award-winning entrepreneur, and author Sheryl Miller, provides us with advice and lessons on how you can stay afloat, in your personal and professional life, in her latest blog piece – Lessons from Yoga:

Lessons from yoga

Whenever it feels as though life is kicking my butt, I retreat to yoga. Those 10, 15 or 20 minutes first thing in the morning or last thing at night provide a moment of calm in what is often a hectic daily schedule.

Apart from the obvious physical and mental benefits, there is a simple wisdom in yoga which I find can be applied to all aspects of life, and business.

How’s your Downward Dog?

When going on holiday, I’ve been known to choose a resort based on whether or not there is a yoga class I can go to each morning. It’s such an important part of my decompression. Faced with a handful of people they have never met before, the very kind yoga teachers, perhaps fearing for our safety, always encourage two things – don’t watch what others are doing and don’t push your body to breaking point. Some poses will be easy and others will be nigh on impossible. Knowing and accepting that is key to avoiding injury.

When did you last do a belt and braces review of how each of your products and services is doing? So much has changed in the last few years that you probably haven’t even had time to catch a breath. With costs rocketing, you’ll no doubt have seen your margins affected. But do you know exactly which products are making money and which are struggling?

If finance isn’t your jam, get your accountant to help by reviewing everything you sell and working out how much it takes to deliver each individual product or service to the customer. Be sure to include all costs, especially time.

If you find you have products that aren’t doing so well or are loss-making, you have a few options

  • Increase price – only you will know whether customers will accept a rise, but don’t be afraid to ask
  • Bundle it – can you package it with another product or service to make a more attractive offering for your customers and eke out a price uplift at the same time?
  • Bin it – if one of your products is not cutting the mustard, it might be time for it to go

Does your Warrior need adjusting?

“Do you mind if I adjust you slightly?”

This is a phrase I’ve heard many times. Despite practising yoga for well over 20 years, I still appreciate those hands-on tweaks that an attentive yoga teacher can provide.

In many poses, you are unable to fully see the positioning of your body, like your back arm in Warrior II, or your top arm in Triangle pose.

In our business, there are sometimes things that aren’t quite right, that we can’t see. This is why it’s important to have trusted advisors and experts to help you. Edmund Lee summed it up beautifully when he said, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself “.

If your accountant, or in-house finance person, isn’t your best friend, they really ought to be; and this isn’t just the repressed accountant in me talking. Your accountant has a lens on your business which is critical right now. If you use an external accountant, you have invaluable access to someone who is helping many other businesses, all with similar financial challenges. Your accountant has a wealth of expertise, so ask them what they think you should do to increase sales, reduce costs or improve your cash flow.

Seek out the wisdom of mentors, coaches and peer business owners. You could even consider getting an independent board advisor, who brings a perspective you can’t see and provides a sounding board.

Last but not least, don’t forget your customers. Now is the time to listen more than ever to what your customers are saying and what they are not saying. Pay close attention so you can get a true 360 on your business and make those necessary adjustments.

Stare at a spot

Yoga balances are totally under-rated in my humble opinion. The strengthening of muscle and bone, as well as reducing the likelihood of falls as we move into later life, are all achieved through practising balances as simple as lifting one knee for 10 seconds.

One of the secrets to a good yoga balance is staring at a spot. Focusing the eye gaze helps to keep the body still.

It’s difficult to think of a time in history when there was so much going on, all at once. Global unrest, political disarray at home, financial pressures in our business, stress in our personal lives, daily showboating and spats on social media –  there is an almost overwhelming assault on our senses and relentless demand for our attention.

If you find yourself wobbling in your business, or even questioning why you’re doing it all, stare at a spot. Drown out the noise. Switch off the distraction of things that you can’t influence and get back to the few things that are important in your business and in life. Don’t be afraid to do fewer things. Find your balance and do them well.

Don’t forget to breathe

Breathing makes everything easier.

Register to watch our next Disruptive Minds webinar, which will discuss mental health, and how you can make it a priority for your SME. 

Register here!