We’ve all heard the stories of start-ups that had their origins in dorm rooms or garages and are now publicly-traded companies that are raking in billions. The possibility of similar success can lure many people into trying their hands at creating their own companies and going after their dreams. And, being an entrepreneur can be a highly rewarding experience – it gives you the opportunity to follow your passions, be your own boss, and set your own schedule. It also provides you with valuable challenges that allow you to use your strengths, stretch yourself in ways you may not have anticipated, and become incredibly resourceful.
However, the truth is, the path from taking the first step of hanging out your shingle to raking in millions can sometimes be a long and arduous journey. As a result, self-doubt, anxiety, and stress are issues with which many entrepreneurs deal. Therefore, learning how to manage the uncertainty associated with getting a business off the ground is a valuable skill for all entrepreneurs to ensure they maintain a sense of well-being.
About ten years ago, I noticed that everywhere I turned, I was met with pictures of lean and beautiful celebrities, strolling in their designer yoga pants, carrying their environmentally-friendly yoga mats, looking impossibly serene despite the sea of paparazzi through which they had to walk to get to their yoga class. “I want that!” I declared to myself, and purchased several yoga videos to practice at home.
I know these videos work for some people (my sister has done them religiously for years), but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into them. Within about ten minutes, I was impatiently checking out the clock, wondering how much longer I would have to do sun salutations or struggle through downward dog. After a few weeks, I got tired of forcing myself to do the videos, and abandoned them altogether.
Six years later, I watched the movie version of one of my favorite books, “Eat, Pray, Love” and was swept away yet again by Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey. So, I decided to give yoga another try. However, this time, I ventured into a local studio and signed up for a class.
Immediately I was transfixed. The experience of being part of a small community of people all manipulating our bodies into various versions of the same poses, listening to the same ambient electronic music, smelling the same sandalwood incense, and reverently joining our voices in the same “om” at the end of the class, relaxed and nourished me in ways that doing it alone couldn’t touch. Interestingly, I felt an overwhelmingly positive experience even though I didn’t talk to anyone except for the teacher during my first few forays to class. Each time I left totally renewed, feeling as if I was walking on air, while also feeling a sense of connection to my classmates.
So had I grown immensely as a person across those four years? Perhaps. Had I just made horrible choices as a consumer in picking the videos the first time around? Maybe (though the five star reviews they got would suggest otherwise). Had my muscles become more flexible across time, making the yoga contortions easier this time? Sadly, definitely not!
In other words, a positive experience became more positive when it was shared with someone else, even though it was a stranger with whom the subjects weren’t communicating.
The flip side, however, is that negative experiences are also amplified by others’ presence. In the second study, the subjects were given bitter chocolate to eat. In that instance, they rated it as being less pleasant when they were with someone else who was also tasting it with them. The researchers suspected that when you are sharing an experience with someone else, it causes you to be more focused on it, and as a result, it heightens your experience, positively or negatively.
One of the researchers also noted that our attention to technology can cause us to miss out on opportunities for amplifying positive experiences. So, for example, if you are checking your email while with a friend at the park or posting on Facebook while at dinner with your spouse, you are missing out on possible positive shared experiences.
The bottom line? To up the ante on your positive experiences, share them with someone. You will be better off for it!
Here I was, thinking that my informative posts and skillful use of the English language were enough to keep people enraptured and engrossed by my blog. Alas, it has now come to my attention that I was blissfully ignorant, and some of the visitors of the site actually wanted to see what I’m like in-person. So, due to popular demand, I have finally caved in and put together a video!
In this video, I talk about the importance of self-awareness for leaders, and provide three practical strategies you can use to increase your level of self-awareness today. Check it out!
If you liked this video, you might also enjoy my FREE video series on the 6 Keys to Personal Transformation.