Including the aspect of business in my blog was a bit of a struggle for me. Having grown up under the belief that work must be hard, money is scarce, and being successful in your career means giving up major parts of your private life, even talking about getting involved in any sort of “business” used to make me cringe.
I am a yogi after all, right? Displaying an alternative way of living for the essential, spending hours and hours in practices of detachment, fighting for every minute of quality time to fill it with meaning and joy in this very limited timespan of my years on earth. Sounds like noble goals, no?
Yet, we all sense that the mindset of complete monetary denial might not serve very well living in a world that asks you to pay your rent, buy your food, prepare for your retirement and be part of a social circle. Detachment from the material might be a healthy practice to a certain degree, but we are still very much attached to some basic physical needs and simple rules of living together in a society.
Does it have to be a split like that? Do you have to choose between a fulfilled internal life and a wealthy way of living? Does walking the spiritual path exclude having money in your bank account?
I’ve spent a few years juggling this juxtaposition around, trying different concepts and perspectives on how to close the gap between “what I have to do” and “what I want to do”.
And came to a blindingly simple conclusion. I am indeed a “yogi”. I am doing all these mindful practices and have learned to use the tools for changing my inner state to my own preference. Why wouldn’t I use these skills in favour of developing a healthy relationship with my workplace as well? Why wouldn’t I apply the same principles learned through meditation and self-work to my day to day office-life?
Connecting head and heart
After all, we typically spend about half of our waking day in a work setting. What a wonderful chance to put theory into practice!
So I started to make little changes in my behaviour. I started to treat my office as a case study to analyze myself as a human being put into different kinds of conditions. I started to treat my working hours as part of my quality time and to take up the responsibility to make this time just as valuable as my after-work activities.
Being a part-time yoga teacher as well as an architect at that time, I quickly discovered how to take what I am teaching on the mat and bring it to my desk. You can work in front of a screen and still keep your posture upright. You can get involved in a heated conversation over the phone and still connect with your belly breath. You can have a tight deadline coming up by the end of the day and still have a calm 5 min coffee chat with your colleague.
Now these little twitches definitely helped me to create a more pleasurable work experience as an employee. But it goes even further. During my researches in blogs and youtube videos I came across a term that sparked my interest.
It spoke about individuals who take my principle a few steps further. Who take these mindful working principles and start something on their own. Starting companies, start-ups. Classic achievers. But ones who take themselves and their passions into account and make a good living out of it. Ambitious people who claim to be actually wealthy while doing what they love. Basically people who have it all.
The mindful entrepreneur
Let’s take that term apart.
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
someone who makes money by starting their own business, especially when this involves seeing a new opportunity and taking risks.
Voilà, there we have it!
See what happens when you put those two terms together? Right, you get a person that is surely connected to themselves, that is attempting to be their best version, including spirit and mind practices, and yet also a person that is driving in money through a project, and makes things happen on a physical plane.
Someone who turns insights gained from intuition into healthy investments. Someone who checks the effects of their work against their values, using introspection as a navigator.
Simply, someone who combines the best of two mindsets into a greater picture.
Making money without losing themselves. Caring for their wellbeing while thriving financially.
Doesn’t that sound super smart? It did to me.
The person behind the job
Back then I had never heard of the term mindful entrepreneur. God beware, remember, I was still on the fence of fighting off any form of business as the source of all evil. Yet, having developed into a kind of mindful employee myself, I realized that the central point of any job, no matter if in an office setting or as a self-employed, is you.
Now stick with me, since I know this sounds a bit obvious.
The same person that goes to work in the morning is a completely free individual after 6pm.
It is you as a person that comes with all the trained skills and knowledge to perform a certain task. It is you who is being chosen by a company or a client due to your profile, your experience, your expertise. It is you who is matching a job description.
Flip this idea around for a moment.
It is also you who has a complete autonomous point of view in the world, a unique perspective centered around a human being with a certain set of upbringing, interests, and talents. A human that is skilled yet also flawed in many ways and, most importantly, subject to change. You as a person have the full capacity to make and remake new decisions regarding what you do, who you work for and under which conditions.
Let’s just say you are pulling the strings.
Now that is good news, right? Yet it also comes with a certain amount of responsibility. Your humanness doesn’t stop at the door to the office.
What if you took that full human version of yourself into your work? Watching yourself on how you feel, how you communicate, what patterns you might bring into interactions?
What if you took to heart that not only do you have the benefit of choosing what you want your work to be like, but also the duty to check in with yourself where you are best suited? What if you, as an individual, are being asked to find and take on your role in the world, instead of just following on what you’re given by default? What if you are the driving force behind your work, instead of filling in for someone else’s ambition?
I am by no means intending to tell you to just quit your job.
Rather, I would like to show you how the basic principles of mindful entrepreneurship can be boiled down to be used in any area of your life. Being a better employee, becoming the leader of your own business, it all comes down to finding out who you actually are. What are your strengths, what is your passion, and how can you show up as the best version of yourself, not only earning your income, but also leaving a positive imprint in the world of work, and maybe even as a whole?
Stories of work and life
This is what I’d like to talk about in this section of my blog. I’d like to give you some inspiration on different business concepts, hacks for workspace improvement, and tips on mindful work-life integration. Ideas on how to turn what you love into income, and how to find out who you actually are in this world of money and pleasure. New perspectives on how to take the best out of all different worlds of expertise and life and piece them together into something new.
Now, I am not a trained expert, and I am not intending to give you any kind of business advice. I am, maybe just like you, a beginner in this game of wealth and success. But I am so excited about it. And looking forward to sharing my experiences, my trials and errors, and creating a place for you to do the same.
Cause in the end, none of us knows what’s possible or not. None of us knows the whole story. We could just sit and accept that whatever our life and work circumstances are, is out of our hands. Or we could pick up the slack and take authorship of our own story.
Up to you.