I had an interesting experience in my yoga class. The instructor was playing random music from Pandora, and chose a classical station to end our practice with. What she didn't realize when she turned on this station was how it affected me. I immediately went back to being a teenager as soon as I heard the first piece play. Life takes us in so many directions; we sometimes forget where our beginnings were. The pieces that were played were ones I played as a High School student on my viola in a local symphony orchestra. For that moment in time, I wasn't in that yoga room anymore. I transcended back to my childhood bedroom where I practiced every note of those pieces over and over again. I heard the notes I used to struggle with and was amazed I still remembered the whole piece. I then found myself remembering working on those same pieces with my viola teacher, the things he said, the goals we set, the measures upon measures we worked on over and over again so it would come out sounding right.
As the piece continued...I remembered the feeling I would have on stage. As the music grew louder during the concert, the stage floor vibrating and pounding with the instruments, the conductor waiving his arms furiously with the music and remembering the exhilaration I used to feel that sometimes brought tears of happiness to my eyes when it all came together on stage. All the work that led up to that final concert and how amazing it felt to be a part of an Orchestra at that moment in time.
We all have forks in the road - when it was time to make a decision on college majors - the choice was between music and business for me. I chose business, and packed my viola away. However, just because I no longer spend hours practicing my viola and playing concerts, the experience of playing came into my business life without realizing it. These roots that we have inside us, create the education for us on how to conduct our careers later. I learned through playing viola, the concert was the fun part, practicing was not; but it was necessary to be able to achieve a successful concert. The discipline and redundancy of playing the same notes over and over until you got it right - is the same discipline you need in business. We all are performers, in one way or another. Whether we are presenting in a meeting, pitching a sale to a prospect or speaking at a conference, we have to practice and know our subject matter better than anyone else does.
"Practicing the wrong note over and over will not translate into a good experience for the audience of a concert."
The way you win in business is to have discipline and to set goals. Making decisions too fast is really hard not to do. Making sure that each decision is in alignment with the goals you have with your business is even harder. Taking your yoga practice in your business can help you with slowing down and making sure the steps are in place. Learn to breathe. Take a deep breath before making a decision and think through the impact. Just like in our yoga practice or playing an instrument, it’s the details that count. No one may actually know what happens behind the scenes before it all comes together, but the time has to be taken to go through the steps and "practice" to achieve the outcome you want. No one may know when you couldn’t touch your toes or you played out of tune, because the end result creates an amazing business that the outside world appreciates.
Take some time to go back to your roots. Let yourself go back to something in your life that had real impact to how you do things today. Was it the right way to do it? Are you following a path because you have always done it that way? Or is it time to step back and assess how to do it differently and set goals that take you into a different direction. Make sure you are achieving the successful outcome that you want. Practicing the wrong note over and over will not translate into a good experience for the audience of a concert. Going into a pose incorrectly over and over will create injuries and frustration that you are not getting it right. Instead aim for the appearance of a seamless orchestral concert where the audience doesn’t understand the mechanics to get there, nor needs to. You did the work and took the necessary steps behind the scenes so they get what they paid for.
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