If there is no struggle there is no progress – Frederick Douglass

Life can be really tough. It can sometimes feel like we are being dealt a whole pile of s&*t when the curve balls are coming from all angles. You’re merrily going along, work is great, you and your nearest and dearest are healthy and happy, you have a few adventures planned and then something comes along and knocks you sideways.


You might lose a major account or your company announces a restructure, redundancy could be looming or you get overlooked for a promotion. You may have chosen to leave the corporate world to join the entrepreneurs and after months of making a pittance of an income, you start to wonder if you ever were capable in the first place.


Let’s just say it feels more than a ‘plot twist’.


Confidence drops, self-doubt creeps in and you become your biggest critic. All those upgrades to life that you were planning suddenly feel like a pipedream and out of reach. The days of feeling competent are fading into the distance. Then you get a grip and make a choice to push on through because you won’t be defeated.


‘When the going gets tough the tough get going’ – Billy Ocean


As someone who is pretty hard on themselves and partied in the eighties, I can now hear the cheesy tune from Billy Ocean and it can be really tempting to keep going no matter what. To do more. To take more action. To get a grip and push through with sheer grit. To bury the inner voices under a mountain of ‘busyness’ and before you know it you are burnt out, hitting the boundaries of adrenal fatigue and feeling like no matter what you do it just isn’t enough.


To add fuel to your fire your best mate/ co-worker/ competitor are all guns blazing with promotions, dynamic career changes, and accelerated business growth. You are witnessing people around you stepping up and stepping out and achieving YOUR dreams. You take a respite from the hard slog and crawl back under the stone of self-doubt, mutter some more words of self-criticism and indulge in an extra dose of comparisonitis.


You spend time reflecting on why they seem to get all the breaks, all the luck, what they are doing that you’re not and where you must be going wrong. In the process, you forget about the most important thing that is YOU.


It’s easily done and sometimes we have to take the counter- intuitive route of doing less not more to reset and make true progress. Doing less today for me was choosing a Yoga class over an ever growing to do list.


For fast -acting relief try slowing down – Lily Tomlin


By giving myself permission to pause I was able to remind myself of some important lessons in life and business. Here are just 3 of them:


  • Focus on your own mat – It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or how quickly they are progressing. You are on your own journey so enjoy it, getting into comparison is a dead end! Bendy Betty 3 mats down from may be able to get into a full lotus and hold a chaturanga dandasana (otherwise known as low plank!) with grace but what she does has absolutely no bearing on how well you can breathe in downward dog. It’s the same in life, no matter how much or little others achieve, how fast or slow they progress, it has absolutely no influence on what you have or can achieve. So stop glancing over and keep your drishti (focussed gaze) where it needs to be – on your path!


  • You always have a choice – Any good instructor will give alternatives for your practice so that you can get the basics right as a beginner or you can work at your edge as someone who is more advanced. That said there are days when even the most practiced Yogi will take a modified version of a pose. Who says you have to get out of your comfort zone EVERY day? Some days require ‘active rest’ for you to be on top of your game in the long run. You can choose in every moment whether you go to your edge or stay and refine the basics. You can grow every day no matter where you put your focus just do it with intention.


  • Openness to help – I really enjoy being ‘corrected’ in a yoga class and that isn’t true for everyone and it didn’t use to be true for me either. When I first started I often felt criticised and inadequate when an instructor came and gave me adjustments but for years now I always mention it to the instructor that I am willing and open to whatever adjustments they have for me. It helps me see the difference in what I am doing and what I could be doing. It gives me something to aim for and reminds me that people generally only want the best for you. How often do we take the time to ask for help and ‘feedback’? There is a saying that goes something like ‘if you want to go fast go alone if you want to go further go together’. Most great things are achieved with some form of support to make the time to engage with people that can help you go further.


Finally, the most important thing to remember when you are venturing out of your comfort zone to take yourself or your business to the next level is often right in front of you. You just need to stop to look and listen. As I rolled up my towel at the end of practice starting to think about what lay ahead of me for the rest of the day I smiled and noticed what had been there all the way through the class. Emblazoned across the top ‘just breathe … you’ve got this’


Are you constantly caught in the trap of doing more and more and feel like you are getting nowhere fast? If you would like someone to help you refocus on your own metaphorical mat, create better choices and help you make ‘adjustments’ then please contact me at hello@jocowlin.com. I would love to help and I promise you won’t have to Om 😉

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