A Yoga Business Grows From Giving

One thing I think all yoga teachers, and potential yoga studio owners and yoga business leaders, have in common is a desire to share yoga and their love of yoga with others. So many of us come to our practice with a desire for inner calm or to develop a sense of connection with ourselves, and so when we not only find that connection, but also develop it, we realize it is a natural desire to want to share the love and connection with others. Fortunately, sharing actually leads to business success.

It turns out that helping others drives success. In fact, the instinct to help others, rather than the instinct to beat the competition, is a more direct route to a thriving business. If your’e thinking that your love of yoga and your desire to help others is a sign that you can’t be a successful studio owner, think again.

Let me explain. For years, business leaders made an assumption success came from the drive to be “number one.” Along with that thinking, came this flipside stereotype: Since women are naturally more nurturing and helpful, they couldn’t be as successful at business. But, it turns out that givers—people who naturally reach out to others and build networks—result in success.

In fact, according to Adam Grant in Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Successtwo of the “giving” skills that drive success are collaboration and nurturing employees who are diamonds in the rough. If you combine these with self-interest you get a person who is otherish. “….takers are selfish and failed givers are selfless (but) successful givers are otherish: they care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests.”

He goes even further. It turns that being financially generous—actually giving money to others actually seems to make people richer. Not only does giving boost happiness and a sense of meaning, those two results encourage people to work harder thus bringing them more success. Being otherish actually leads to financial success in every way.

Here’s an example: Richard Branson, who started Virgin Records and Virgin Airways, started his first charity when he was 17 well before he started his businesses. He didn’t do it to be successful, but his hard work paid off not only for the charity he started, but in terms of what he learned. Branson’s desire to help others set the stage for his future accomplishments. He still says the thing that gets him up in the morning is making a difference, not making a fortune.

So, if you feel stuck or confused about your next step, here’s my suggestion: ask yourself a few questions, such as To Whom Can I Bring Yoga? and How Can I Help More People Practice Yoga?

Maria Turco