If you're anything like me I'm willing to bet you've read your fair share of self-help books or have followed influencers over the years that laud the importance of authenticity.
I'd also guess that you've heard, or even have given, the advice, "Fake it 'til you make it."
Now, I've got to tell you, when I hear those two pieces of advice put up next to each other, it sounds about as harmonious as a two year old on a keyboard. If I had to pick one route I'd probably pick the authenticity route.
No one wants to be fake! Am I right?
However, I'd be wrong. And you might be too.
Authenticity Isn't Enough
In truth the advice of being authentic to ourselves isn't wrong. And 'fake it 'till you make it' isn't either. In fact both of these seemingly sage pieces of wisdom are actually neutral statements. However, it's the mindset in which they operate that makes all the difference.
You see we can get ourselves in trouble riding the 'authenticity' train if we are operating with a cognitive landscape that is relatively change-resistance, and a sense that one's identity is set. When we operate from that lens, authenticity might mean staying congruent with an already established sense of self leaving little tolerance for learning, mistakes, and evolution
In fact research finds that people who genuinely view themselves as works-in-progress believing that skills can be learned and that they are able to learn new things ultimately do better in school and work (don't believe me - ask the smart folks at Harvard).
Yogic Philosophy Agrees
In Yoga one of the basic principles is that misperceptions are key contributors to suffering or mental distress. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras outline causes of suffering in the Klesha model. Klesha can be loosely translated to clouding or coloring, and a Klesha is a shading of a thought process. In other words Patanjali proposes that there are 5 basic shadings that contribute to unclear perception. The misperception contributes to suffering and our inability to be fully liberated.
One of these Klesha's is dvesa or aversion. Very often this comes up as change-resistance, a key contributor to suffering or mental distress. Of course within the Klesha's themselves you can see how they are all branches of the same tree and operate in concert. Within an aversion to change you might also identify ego-attachment (raga), ignorance of one's true nature (avidya), and even fear of death (abinivesah). (You can read more about how the Kleshas interact here.)
Growth Mindset Isn't Just Open Mindedness
Operating from a growth mindset is the contextual key to making both authenticity and Fake it Til You Make it idioms work. This manner of being goes far beyond being open to new ideas or experiences. A growth mindset is one in which someone believes that they have the ability to learn new skills, and inherent in learning new skills comes a willingness to embrace the discomfort of becoming skilled. When we prioritize skill building over innate talents escape the trap of personalizing our failures.
For example if you believe that in order to achieve the highest job at a company a person must display strong leadership, and you believe that leadership is a talent that you are born with, then you might not pursue that position simply because you failed in leadership positions before and that must mean you don't have the talent to be a leader. On the other hand, with a growth mindset, if you believe that leadership is a skill that can be learned, then you might see your past difficulties as simply a demonstration that you leadership skills are still in development and can continue to be honed as you work your way up to that dream job.
Both Work Within Context
In truth the advice of being authentic to ourselves isn't wrong. And 'fake it 'till you make it' isn't either. In fact both of these seemingly sage pieces of wisdom are actually neutral statements. However, it's the mindset or schema in which they operate that makes all the difference.
Can you do it all?
There is NO productivity tip that will turn you into a super human.
Nope. None. Nada.
Yes, you can give have empowering and purposeful work, and yes you can have passions and interest. You absolutely can (and MUST) nourish and exercise your body. And of course you've got to take care of your family.
But take a moment to look at your list. Because I have got to tell you most of us have our list so far out of whack that no wonder we feel like frenzied f-ck ups!
If you're juicing all you can out of life but still aren't satisfied trust me I know what that feels like. And like so many people you just might be stuck on the hedonic treadmill.
Here's the jist. If you're going to find more satisfaction in life you have got to start disappointing people immediately. And sometimes the person you are disappointing is the fake, unattainable version of yourself that you've been constructing in your mind. With the highlight reels of people's lives (ahem: social media) blasting away at us 24/7 and a world that seems to speeding up resource consumption at a break-neck speed, it's not our fault that we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. BUT it is our responsibility to recognize the trap and immediately begin to untangle ourselves.
Maybe you're asking yourself, "How do you maintain the balance pursuing your passions and maintaining a healthy body and mind, and a thriving home life?"
News flash. Balance is a myth. And doing it all is a trap.
There are seasons for all things. So if you are hoping to raise 4 kids, launch a multi-million dollar business, run a marathon, and travel the world all at the same time - it might be time to get very good at disappointing people.
Here aer some strategies, habits, and insights that you need to employ NOW if you want to move from FOMO & frenzied into YOLO & loving life.
Are you a fitness, nutrition, or mind-body wellness small business owner or solopreneur that needs help clarifying and activating your purposeful business? I help wellness-focused entrepreneurs get focused, and move into action with more abundance. I only take 5 business clients per year.
Email me if you want to grab a spot.
So, let's breath together!
To begin, find a comfortable seat in a chair or on the ground.
Place one hand on your abdomen, and one hand on your chest.
Allow your eyes to get soft or perhaps lower your gaze.
Now, let's begin to breathe with more intention.
Breathe in and fill your low abdomen all the way up to your chest.
Hold breathe in all the way at the top and count backwards from 4...3...2...1
Exhale from the chest all the way down to the low abdomen.
Repeat 10 times.
After the tenth round, return to normal, natural breath pattern.
Get up from your seat when you feel ready.
How do you feel?
Have you tried this breathing style before?
Let me know in the notes below.
And, if you are looking for some bonus (and FREE) gentle & meditation check out this video below!
(If you're in need of new yoga equipment for your home practice I have a full list of my favorite finds here. )
"I don't need a block, thank you."
I don't mind when someone says this to me. I understand why they truly may feel like a block isn't something they need for their practice. And, when I hear this I also begin to wonder about their idea of props.
Did somewhere along the line did they begin to equate yoga blocks and props as a signal of being less advanced... less able?
Very often to be honest I don't have to wonder too long about the answer to that question. I know that the answer is yes, and as for the reason they are tied to something very predictable - ego.
Somewhere along the line the idea that a yoga prop helps someone who isn't quite there in their practice starts to rub up against how that person wants to feel about their own physicality.
Props are often viewed like training wheels, something you are supposed to graduate and discard. While there are many ways our prop use might decline as we increase our mobility and strength, props - yoga blocks in particular - continue to provide new and interesting opportunities to enhance our practice and introduce new skills. They should be doing anything but growing dust.
To get full use of your yoga blocks one simple switch needs to be made in your mind: recognize that props are equipment, not crutches. When we reframe the way we view props the possibility starts to emerge.
5. Use the Block To Increase Your Range
When it comes to range of motion one of the best ways to use Yoga Blocks is to bring the floor closer to your hands when you are reaching out. This allows you to access the majority of your mobility for the pose from your hip rather than contorting your spine and shoulders to try and reach for the ground.
Give it a try: You can see use technique in any pose where the floor may feel far away Half Moon, Half Forward Fold, Triangle, Extended Side Angle and more!
When is this technique good? Feeling tight in your hammies? Noticing that you cannot 'flatten your back' or you feel the need to turn your chest towards to ground to touch the floor as you get deeper in some of the poses above? Grab a block!
4. Use the block to support your arms and engage your shoulders
Most blocks are several inches wide and are the perfect size to keep your hands and elbows tracking with your shoulders. This is helpful when you are trying to prevent caving in at your chest in poses like dolphin and forearm stand.
Give it a try: Try this technique by placing the block on the ground width-ways and aligning the corners of the block with your thumb and index finger (the L and J of each hand). Then take dolphin pose and notice your ability to apply pressure down into your hands and forearms without caving in.
When is this technique good? Anytime you are reinforcing your shoulder stability it is helpful to use a block to maintain good form and ensure your shoulders and forearms aren't rotating into wonky positions to accommodate your shift in weight.
3. Squeeze a block to engage your inner thighs
Blocks can add an element of challenge to your practice which can be particularly helpful in poses where inner thigh strength is necessary.
Give it a try: Place a block between your thighs in chair, boat or bridge and squeeze it enough that someone wouldn't be able to remove it from its place.
When is this technique good? There are a myriad of ways that this technique is helpful and it boils down to activating sleepy muscles. If you tend to be an external rotator by nature or you don't feel very powerful in your hips or pelvic floor this technique can turn on a chain of muscle reactions that can keep you stable and strong in poses like chair, chair twist, twisted crow, bridge and more!
Did you like this content? Let me know! Try some of these techniques and tell me how it went!
I'd love to you hear from you!
Need some new gear? Here's a list of my must-haves for a home practice.
I'm going to cut to the chase.
If you're a fitness or wellness entrepreneur and you're not keeping, managing, and growing your email list - you are not only leaving money on the table, you're not serving your clients as well (or as easily) as I am sure you desire!
Here is the Number 1 reason you need to tend to your list (or start one) right now!
#1 : You Own Your List!
No matter how many followers you have on Instagram or TikTok the reality is that consumer information on social platforms are not yours. As wonderful as the free world of social media is the truth is that it's evolved rapidly and with it the ability to reach consumers organically through it has shrunk.
Bottom line: exclusively relying on social for communication leaves you vulnerable. And if Facebook chooses to change an algorithm or TikTok decides to change it's policies, before you know it your entire communication and marketing strategy could be in jeopardy.
There are many ways to start capturing emails and in future blogs I'll chat about that.
But for now your job is to pick an email marketing provider. For those with 500 people or less I recommend Mailchimp. Here's why...
Free & Low Cost to Begin
It's free to begin and if you choose to pay for the service it scales as you scale. If and when you want to switch platforms, be it because you intend to offer digital courses or need a more robust customer management and e-marketing platform, it will be simple to download your list and move forward.
Landing Pages (even before a website!)
Mailchimp also has low-cost paid versions that offer landing pages. So if you're not quite ready to take the plunge in building out a full-scale website, a landing page is all you need to take your list building to the next level.
Plays Nicely With Other Platforms
Another great thing about Mailchimp is that it integrates with many other software platforms. Basic HTML functions can help you develop email newsletter sign up links once you do (and if you do) decide to build out a website. I've personally worked with Mailchimp integrations via Weebly, Wix, Wordpress, and many different CRM softwares. Even if you don't end up with Mailchimp forever you can go the distance with a free or low-investment provider for a long time!
Now, is Mailchimp the only option? No way! There are many great free and low cost providers out there. And truly when you're getting started it's good to anticipate that at some point your tech may change. But, dont let choosing a provider stall you. Start building your list now - it just may be the most important first step in going from dabbling to dazzling when it comes to your small fitness & wellness biz.
Body. Mind. Business.
Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 20 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 10 years I have worked as a wellness business owner and I am the Founder of Practice Everywhere.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜