D CEO: How Yoga Helps This YP Exec Get Through The Chaotic New Normal

By Scot C. Farber

Sometimes the most life-changing events happen by accident. Today, I’m a yogi who practices being in the moment and enjoying life every day. However, the path that led me to reach that balance was not one I had planned to take.

About 15 years ago, I lost a bet with a female coworker and had to go to a 90-minute hot yoga class. I was already struggling with prior long term injuries, including a torn ACL and a dislocated pelvis, which had impacted my gait and left me with unmanageable pain. Getting out of bed each day was challenging.

That yoga class was pure misery, even just five minutes in. I’ve never been a quitter. I was going to tough it out, and I did.

Once I finished the class, I thought I would keep doing it. It was hard for me, but I’m always up for a physical challenge. I wanted to keep on and prove to myself that not only could I do this, but I could master it.

I’m not just a Type-A personality; I’m a Type-A+. So I searched for the longest, hardest yoga classes I could find. I’d chug an energy drink and tackle it. I looked like a train hit me when it was over. While I burned off a tremendous amount of stress, I still was not at peace.

Then, about four or five years ago, the mental part of yoga clicked for me. I even became an RYT 500 Hour yoga instructor and began to embrace life from a different point of view. I started changing my life and my habits.

I live, think, and even breathe differently today. My core has changed, both mentally and physically. As a result, my life has improved dramatically. This way of thinking, breathing, and living is part of what is helping me get through this chaotic new norm we are living in right now.

Finding balance in life allows me the ability to monitor what I absorb; you can only take in so much at one time.

Any of us can get ourselves all wound up about our circumstances, but I find it critical for me to look at what I can do next. Sometimes, we just have to be in the moment, breathe, and know that everything is going to be ok. When it gets crazy, each one of us has something within ourselves that we were born with to help us through this–our breath.

Slowing down and focusing from one breath to the next one is a natural calming tool.

Balance requires both physical and mental attention. If you’re trying to balance on one foot, it’s almost impossible to be thinking about other things at the same time. You have to have an almost complete focus to maintain your balance. Life is like that.

I see things clearer today than I ever have. That’s not to say that I don’t get stressed, wound up or tight, because I do. However, I can find a way through, with breathing, yoga, and other things to calm myself and see the bigger picture. For instance, I look at what I can do this week to prepare for next week, month, and year that could position myself to be in the right spot to find a prosperous outcome from the current situation.

Many of us have been through these cycles before with stock market crashes and deals blowing up. We can hope things were like they were, or we can accept that things have changed dramatically. If you are waiting for something to go back to “normal,” you’ll be stuck in the past. We have to take a moment to figure out how we can use our current skills, or if we need to develop new ones, to create a new successful strategy. The current environment gives us all the opportunity to take this blank slate and create a new way to be proactive and successful.

While I was fortunate to close two deals in the past few weeks,  I’ve also had several deals fall out of a contract. Some owners are pulling properties off the market for now, and I assist them with reevaluating their options. I look at business day-to-day right now because it’s changing so fast. This will turn out ok, but when I feel like it won’t, I slow down my breathing, and  I focus my thoughts on what I can do next.

I’ve taken up hiking and enjoy being able to take my yoga practice deeper mentally while being in the outdoors.  I can connect to nature when I slow my breath and get outside. Like so many things in my life, I’m going big! I’m training now to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  Because I will use my breath to get there, I will send pictures from the summit!

While making my wish come true to Climb Kilimanjaro, I decided to combine this effort with helping others. I’ve teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas to help them grant wishes for critically ill children. My goal is to raise $1 for every foot I climb, which brings my goal to $19,341. To date, I have raised nearly $6,000 or 30 percent of my goal. #TheHopeClimb (You can donate here.)

While we are all feeling the punch in the gut from the economy right now, charities are being hit especially hard. Make-A-Wish grants thousands of unique wishes each year to critically and terminally ill children. It’s truly amazing what they do for these kids and families, giving children renewed energy and strength, bringing families closer together and uniting communities. For every wish granted, another eligible child is waiting for his or her wish to come true.

Please consider helping me help them?  No amount is too small. Collectively, we can all make the world a better place, one breath at a time.

Scot C. Farber is the managing principal for capital markets at Younger Partners. You can see the article here.