Have you ever felt like you couldn’t focus on what you need to get done on your business? Yes, note the word “on” as in the important work on your business vs. the day-to-day work in your business.
You’re not alone, and a lack of focus to get done what needs to get done by both you and your team is robbing you and your business.
For example, team members are spending on average 5 hours a day on email alone not to mention the biggest time suck of all… pointless meetings (during which your team is — you guessed it — likely trying to stay on top of their email!) All of that is time stuck in the business that could be better spent on the business.
There is hope. And you can do better.
In Yoga, we have a word “Drishti” (Sanskrit दृष्टि) that refers to the focused gaze or focal point that is used to deepen your practice during yoga asanas (postures).
The story behind the yogic word “Drishti” can be traced back to the origins of yoga in India when in ancient times, yogis and sages devoting themselves to the pursuit of self-realization and enlightenment discovered a powerful technique.
They discovered that by directing their gaze in a specific way, they could deepen their concentration, improve their awareness, and experience a profound connection between the mind, body, and spirit.
The concept of drishti is often mentioned in ancient yogic texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. According to Patanjali, drishti is one of the most powerful tools for refining your state of consciousness and achieving a state of both stillness and tranquility.
Within the eight limbs of Yoga, drishti is a connection between dharana, getting ready for meditation by focusing on a single point either internally or externally, and dhyana, actual meditation.
In the practice of yoga, drishti is used in conjunction with specific postures to train the mind to focus and redirect attention inward.
Different yoga styles have their own variations of drishti. For example, in Ashtanga Yoga, there are nine different points of gaze, each corresponding to a specific asana. These points range from the tip of the nose to the navel, thumbs, or upwards towards the sky.
By fixing the gaze on a particular point, whether it’s an external object or an imaginary point, you calm the fluctuations of the mind and enter a state of heightened awareness.
The intention behind practicing drishti is to cultivate a single-pointed focus, concentration, and inner stillness. It helps to anchor the mind, prevent distractions, and create a state of harmony between the physical body and the mind.
Today, drishti continues to be an integral part of the yoga practice, not only for its physical benefits but also for its ability to bring about a deeper sense of mindfulness and connection. It serves as a reminder to keep the gaze inward and to stay present in each moment — both on and off the mat.
Wouldn’t that same kind of focus be powerful in your business, too?
Applying Yogic Drishti to Your Business
So how do you apply drishti to your business? Or use your improved drishti from your practice in business?
By practicing drishti, you develop the ability to maintain unwavering focus on a specific task or goal. In your business, this focused attention can do more than improve productivity, efficiency, and decision-making.
Remember those times where you questioned a decision you made? Or a mission you set out on? When you had a month that didn’t go as planned, or a project that got off the rails, or that client that challenged a process of yours that normally works without fail, making you question everything?
This unwavering focus reminds you of the objective you’re after and helps you stay on track.
Clarity of Vision
Yogic drishti involves directing the gaze to a specific point — either internally or externally — which clears mental clutter and brings clarity to your thoughts. This gives you a huge advantage when you sit down for your business planning, creative strategy session, or making important decisions.
(You DO make time for business planning and strategy, yes?)
More than just having mission, vision, purpose and values, you want to be using those in guiding your decision making. Starting off your meetings or decision making times with a refresh of these is a great way to use drishti to focus on your guides.
The Dwyer Group famously reviews one of each of their 4 core values before any company meeting with 3 or more people. Share the value. Tell a story about where you saw a value come into play recently. Or discuss why one of the values is important. Then you start your meeting. That is drishti in action!
Improved Presence and Communication
When you practice drishti — both on and off the mat — you learn to be fully present in the moment. This translates into better communication, active listening, and building strong connections with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.
We’ve all had the experience of not being heard. We’re saying something, but it’s just not landing, and — big surprise — the other person is looking at their phone or trying (and failing) to multi-task. Don’t be that person.
Peter Drucker famously shared that “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” which means listening beyond just the words being said. It requires that you’re fully present and tuned it. Active listening improves relationships both by increasing trust and reducing conflict.
Yogic drishti can help you reduce stress and increase your mental resilience. This is particularly valuable in the fast-paced and often stressful world of business, empowering you to stay calm, composed, and focused even during negotiations, conflict, or challenging situations.
The recent pandemic forced many businesses to adapt or die and that’s a rather high level of stress for business owners.
One of our Bay Area Mastermind members was opening a retail brick and mortar business with plans to launch the e-commerce arm of the business a year later. The grand opening was, unfortunately, set for the first week of March, 2020. Plans had to change — and quick. She and her business partner pivoted and launched the e-commerce business immediately while the retail space — ready for the grand opening — sat empty with the county on lockdown and everyone stuck at home sheltering in place.
That kind of business change is stressful. But with drishti, you can stay calm and resilient no matter what the world throws your way.
Drishti is not just about focusing the eyes, but also about cultivating a deeper mind-body connection.
This level of self-awareness helps you to recognize and manage your strengths, limitations, and emotions both on and off the mat.
Gut feel is the opposite of logical decision making, but if you ask most business owners, some of their best decisions were based on gut feel, and some of their worst decisions were made when they ignored what their body was telling them. Listen to your body!
At our Mastermind Group, we talk about decision making quite a bit, the frameworks for decision making, and the ways to make good decisions. At the end of the day, however, a decision needs to be made. And as the business owner, often making big business decisions comes down to you. And you need to execute even without all the facts.
This is the time to tune in, go back to your values, and listen to your gut. Use your drishti to focus on your mind body connection.
Bringing Your Drishti Yoga Practice Into Your Business
From a tactical standpoint, here are seven practices you can start doing immediately:
- Start any meeting with 3 or more people by recapping your mission, vision, purpose, or one of your core values. Use these as your guide for decisions made during your meeting.
- Before stepping into a discussion, negotiation, or conversation, take a few breaths, and set an intention. Just like you’d do on the mat. What is it that you want out of the conversation? What is it that you don’t want? What are you willing to do? What are you not willing to do? With that clarity and focus, enter the conversation, and keep a focus on the outcome you’re looking for.
- When in a conversation, really actively listen. Tune into what the other person is saying. Put your phone down. You can’t multi-task. No, really, you can’t listen to someone while looking at your phone or computer. Look them in their eyes. Hear their words. Focus on only them. Not what you’re going to say next or what is coming up later in the day.
- Tune into your body. Listen to your gut. The next time that you’ve gathered enough facts and need to make a decision (when you’re ready to exploit what you’ve explored), take a few breaths, listen to what your body is telling you to do. And make your decision.
- When you’re finding yourself stressed out — which is typically based on indecision or worrying about something you can’t control — take a few centering breaths, focus on your objective, and look at what you can control to get there. What action can you take? What actions can you stop taking?
- The next time one of those “oooo, shiny!” entrepreneurial ideas comes up (yeah, we all get them, you’re not alone!), take a few centering breathes, and ask yourself how that new idea supports your mission, vision, purpose, and core values. If it does, next ask yourself how it stacks up against the other projects currently on your plate. With that perspective, and focus on the bigger picture, make a decision about doing it now, scheduling time for it later, delegating it, or acknowledging it and letting it go.
- Bring the drishti of your daily meditation / yoga practice into the rest of your day. Calming of your mind and body doesn’t just benefit you on the mat. Bring that clarity and focus into your meetings, writing, creativity, and work. As you find your mind wandering, take a focusing breath, connect back to your body, and remember how focused you were earlier in the day and that you can focus. It’s a muscle you’re using more and it comes more easily and naturally with time.
By integrating the principles of yogic drishti into your business, you can not only deepen your yoga practice, you can cultivate a more balanced and focused approach to your business, leading not just to greater success, but greater well-being.