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June 30, 2011



That's profound. I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was practically in the third grade. The older I became, the less confidence I had that I would ever develop the skill to ride. There were 4-year olds on my street with better balancing abilities than me. My parents tried to help me learn repeatedly. I didn't want to fail them, but I could tell they were disappointed and embarrassed for me. My wheels were gathering dust in the garage and I had pretty much given up. Then one Summer day my sister - bike at her side - asked me to join her and her friends to play a game. "You KNOW I don't know how to ride a bike," I said. She just calmly replied, "You don't need to know how to ride for the game we're playing - we're only WALKING our bikes." I went to the garage, grabbed my bike, and got on. The moment my foot hit the pedals I magically started riding it up and down the street effortlessly. It was like I'd been doing it all my life. It was the first time someone said it was okay if I didn't know how. That was such a magical feeling. I rode my bike up and down the street well into sunset. It wasn't until years later I realized the power my sisters words had to lift the long-held limitations in my head. So yes - You're more likely to try if it's safe to fail!

Tom Schuler

Side crow was my equivalent to your headstand. There was just no way, but the teacher kept encouraging me (a person that could in no way do side crow) that I could. Now I can. I guess I'd just build off of your repetition comment, but with a slightly different twist. I've been working with a company on their strategic plan. Stressing the importance of making strategy a daily conversation that provides context as opposed to something that happens once a year. At the end of three months, they now begin each meeting with strategy to provide context and they're getting more resources than they ever wished for because people see how they fit in to the bigger picture. Just like me and side crow, they finally bought in and achieved their own unachievable goal.

Scott Eblin

To my friend from Postcards -

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and heartwarming story. I shared it with my wife and she said she suspects your sister grew up to be a coach. I suspect she's right.

Ride on!

Cheers -


Scott Eblin

Tom -

Dude, you're rocking the side crow!?! Awesome. That is on my longer term list of yoga poses to learn.

Love the application of the reps and persistence point to what your client is doing.

Thanks and congrats!

Cheers -


Account Deleted

Great insights! Thank you for sharing! I really loved your point about the importance of the right kind of coaching and instruction. Good coaches invariably turn out to be good leaders because they have the ability to inspire and influence.

And thank you also for highlighting the fact that one can learn from almost any situation, in any setting when you keep your eyes, ears and mind open.

- Sindoora (

Rob Volpe

Side crow continues to challenge me as well. Wonder what the significance of that pose is.

Thanks for a great post.

Heather White-Laird

I am in complete agreement with your thoughts. I began doing regular headstands to cure a nasty case of sciatica years ago (it works!) and ever since then have made them a part of my daily routine, whether I do yoga or not. In fact this morning, I took a run on the beach and did a headstand at the waters edge. Watching the waves upside down brings a whole new perspective to something I take for granted...isn't that the point? I prefer 10 minutes. It's the equivalent of a good nights sleep or at least a 30 min meditation. And yes, it's great for business too as a wonderful tool to bring focus to your thoughts. Everyone should try it!

Scott Eblin

Thanks Heather. I've done headstands on the beach before too and agree with you on the point about looking at the water from an upside down perspective. Wonderfully disorienting. The other benefit of headstands on the beach is the sand is a lot softer than the floor if you fall out of the pose.

Cheers -



Thanks for sharing your story! I had a similar experience with handstands -- never thought I could do them and with simple coaching and a lot of practice, I'm able to go up just like that (though I still use the wall as a crutch!). One thing I've learned from being upside down that I apply off the mat is that ordinary things I see regularly and take for granted look very different from another perspective. When I'm working through a situation at work, I remind myself to look at it from a different spot -- to view it upside down and look for things that may be easy to miss but right in front of me. Another thing: Practice Makes Progress on and off the mat. It's easier to be self forgiving and take risks when I expect progress instead of perfection. Yoga can be a powerful metaphor all the way around.


Thanks a lot for this valuable story, Scott! Beautiful to see the parallells between yoga and leadership. I've been exploring similar work recently as part of my thesis research, which is now summarised in a practice guide ('The Lotus', which you can download from In the guide, we mention yoga as a good practice to help your leadership capacity to deal with paradoxes and dualities, since you are literally forced to stretch your body. Yoga in itself is paradoxical, since you have to develop a kind of inner strength in order to rest in stillness. I believe that also applies to many leadership tasks in complex environments. Any other thoughts?

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