What I have learned during covid-19 about running a business.
Businesses across the United States have been forced to change in response to the pandemic. The response to this change varied, as business leaders found themselves in one of three mindsets. Here is what I have learned during covid-19 about running a business and the mindset required for success.
Group #1- Fixed Mindset
The first group either did not or could not pivot, in which case they slowly went out of business. CNBC reported that almost 100,00 businesses permanently closed in 2020.
Group #2- “Stand By” Mindset
The second group is patiently waiting for things to reopen and “go back to normal.” Because the future is uncertain, these businesses are treading water and may face monumental challenges in the near future.
Group #3- Infinite Mindset
The third group was able to quickly change in response to the new demands, and most likely will continue to be successful in the future.
How yoga helped me during covid-19
I am tremendously grateful to find myself in the third group. What I have learned during covid-19 is that quick action, a growth mindset, and the quality of “no-attachment” helped me get to where I am today. When we take notice of what isn’t working or what no longer exists, we create space to see things differently. Yogis call this vairagya.
Covid has been a formidable teacher of vairagya. Since 2012 I have been pouring my heart and soul into building Office Yoga, and I feel intimately attached to what I had created- the partnerships, my instructors, our clients, and the results of our programming. At the beginning of the pandemic, in a mere two weeks, it all crumbled.
I went into survival mode, picking up the shards of what remained by teaching virtually at first, and then piecing together what I could by connecting with my instructors and clients. I found myself doing this with a very heavy heart.
Teaching virtually is not the same as in-person classes. It made me so sad! I missed being “live,” in-person, working with the energy of the room, and giving witness to my students’ progress. None of that was available virtually, and I went into these virtual sessions with some shadow of misery.
In order to move on, I felt I had to mourn the loss of my business as I knew it. So, briefly, I grieved over what I had built–and lost.
Then I stopped comparing virtual teaching to what I had known, and started to see the benefits of what was real and right in front of me. Something changed, and I didn’t feel so “compressed,” so weighed down by the past. I started to appreciate the influx of more, and new, participants. Employees who previously were too intimidated to show up in the office were now in class. They would leave their camera off at first, but eventually the cameras turned on and I could see their smiling faces.
I began to notice their rapid progress. Teaching online removed the commute, too, so I could offer more sessions throughout the week. I began to see the silver lining of doing something different, something new.
When I looked at teaching through this new lens and stopped comparing it to what I knew, I started to appreciate it. I have grown to enjoy teaching virtually so much that I can’t imagine Office Yoga without it.
The lesson continues…
An old pattern doesn’t die quickly. A year into the pandemic, I find myself now attached to this new business model I have created. This came up for me when I was recently being interviewed by Nola Agha, a professor at the USF Sports Management program. She mentioned her daughter was starting school on Monday and didn’t want to go back. I couldn’t help but relate.
As offices begin to reopen, I feel the attachment to this new pandemic life and all of its silver linings. But when I embrace vairagya, I am reminded that what’s to come is just going to be different. I continue to hold what I know lightly so I can see the fountain of possibilities ahead.