Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Three New Leadership Lessons from Yoga

ARCHIVES
PhotoXpress

So, for those keeping score at home, over the past year and a half I think I’ve become a yogi. Am I on the verge of releasing my own instructional yoga videos? Fortunately for you and the rest of the world, I’m not that kind of yogi. Nah, I’m just a guy who’s showing up for class consistently and learning lots of little things bit by bit. As I’ve written before, it turns out that with hours of practice (still far away from the 10,000 that Malcolm Gladwell recommends) and good instruction, you can change the way you show up.

Apart from the physical and mental health benefits (and learning a few fun party tricks), one of the things I like about yoga is the opportunity it provides for making connections to the rest of the world. As a leadership coach, I’m big into encouraging my clients to practice self-observation so they form and practice the habits that best serve their goals. With that principle in mind, here are three things I’ve observed through yoga over the past several months that I think apply to leadership and the rest of life:

 

  • Don’t Focus on the Change, Focus on Showing Up. I go to yoga class five or six days a week most weeks. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from being there that much and having a clear point of reference from one day to the next is that change is constant and you can’t really predict what you’re going to get on any given day. One day, I’ll feel awesome — and next day crummy. I usually don’t have a clue when I step in to class how it’s going to be. It’s not uncommon that in a 90 minute class I’ll go from feeling bad at the start to pretty good at the end. It can easily go in the other direction, too. It doesn’t do much good to try predict how it’s going to be, so I just show up. It’s taught me that I’m usually capable of more than I thought I could do. Leadership Lesson? No condition is permanent. Show up and deal with what’s presented.
  • Ego Can Lead to Injuries. This one’s kind of ironic because I wrote about the common denominators between injured yogis and injured leaders a few months ago. It’s not much fun eating your own dog food, but I should have followed my own advice. I learned this last month when I ended up with a really stiff neck for the better part of a week. I got it from forcing myself into a headstand when I didn’t really have the mojo to do it one day. It was a total ego thing – “I always do the headstand and, damn it, I’m going to do it today.” I got the headstand, but also got a stiff neck. Leadership Lesson? Your ego can get you in trouble if you don’t pay attention to all of the input.
  • Good Coaching Has a Ripple Effect. A great yoga instructor calls out adjustments that students should make when they’re in a pose. It could be “Jenn, lengthen your stance,” or “Jason, deepen your twist.” What I’ve noticed is I benefit from the coaching that Jenn or Jason are getting. I check my stance or deepen my twist and make a little bit more progress. For the past six years, we’ve led a lot of group coaching programs in my company because leaders can benefit from the coaching that other leaders are getting. Good coaching can have a big ripple effect. Turns out that the same thing applies in yoga. Leadership Lesson? Pay attention to the coaching that others are getting. It might just apply to you as well.

What leadership lessons have you been learning from the non-work domains of your life lately?

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.