Practicing at Inspire has done wonders for my physical balance, but practicing yoga studio ownership has had an equally powerful effect on my mental, emotional, and financial balance. It provides things I don’t get from my “day job:” participation in community, producing something people enjoy, and a source of income that isn’t dependent on an individual employer.
Read any of a hundred financial advice books and you will quickly glean this distinction: Having all of your income come from one employer is far more risky than having your income segmented fractionally from a couple hundred members. Things change. Members may come and members may go. This is manageable. However, when your employer “goes” what are you left with? Most people I talk to think that entrepreneurs take more risks than other people. On the surface that seems logical, but in my experience it is not a fact. The fact is that entrepreneurs MITIGATE risks.
My life has become infinitely more balanced because income is balanced between a patriarchal employment relationship and a decentralized membership based entrepreneurial endeavor. I’ll give you one guess which one is more rewarding? And I’ll give you one guess which one helped me to understand what type of rewards I should spend my life energy seeking.
Achieving balance requires making decisions about where to apply effort—push too hard in one place and you’ll topple over. Wait too long and the wave will crash over your. When I was starting my career, I thought productivity was the only thing that mattered. But I’ve realized that “productivity” is so narrowly defined it often makes busywork look like progress.
Balance is a tricky thing, because it’s usually depicted as a static, either/or deal: the scales of justice, for example. But true balance is fluid, because each moment is unique. Balancing a handstand isn’t a single event; instead, it’s navigating forces through time. That’s how balance plays out in daily life—it requires real-time adjustments because our modern world is constantly changing. In short: balance requires attention.
The onslaught of tasks in daily life can be exhausting: bills, groceries, laundry, practice, doctor’s appointments. Kids. Geez do we love kids. But I found that to succeed in business, I needed to apply the bulk of my effort to just two areas: relationships and decisions. This cannot be overstated so I am going to say it again! Successful movement forward can only be achieved after all your work is cleared in an organized and efficient manner. The only thing that remains is a constant investment in the right relationships and good decisions. Noodle that.
Relationships and decisions are the essential work that remains when all the to-do’s are off my plate.
Relationships with instructors, clients, and contractors are the bonds that maintain a healthy community—and decisions are the adjustments that keep a small business balanced in a changing world.
There’s plenty of work that goes on behind the asanas to keep a studio running, but the incredible team of Inspire managers and instructors help make that easier each day. Freeing space to focus on things like relationships and decisions helps provide a much-needed sense of balance in my own life. With any luck, the graph starts to look something like this. →
I’m always on the lookout for ways to create more space in my life, and I found one in the strangest place: the toothpaste aisle. I stopped investing energy in the difference between extreme white, advanced white, glamorous white, and every other variation of toothpaste in the 30-foot wall of options. These days, I grab one and go without a second thought—and my chompers are as cavity-free as ever, minus all the extra decision-making effort. It seems like a little thing, but finding ways to reduce the background noise of life is the only way to hear what truly matters.
Build your life in ways that make space, instead of taking space. You might be amazed by the balance that emerges. In this new space you will find that you truly matter.
Next week, we’ll access freedom. Until then, the light and truth in me is honored and inspired by the light and truth in each of you. It is an honor to be your guide.
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