A New Way to Integrate Everything (and describe your work)

A New Way to Integrate Everything (and describe your work)
Like many of you, I have a lot of different projects going on and a lot of different things I love. Kellie Adkins (featured here) named it well: multipassionate. And while every part of my life is related to every other part, I hadn’t yet figured out any one way to describe what I do without using the slash. But on a recent retreat that I was co-leading, I had the realization that everything I do falls under one umbrella. What I do, what I care about more than almost anything, is reminding people who they already are.
All my fiction centers around that theme. I talk about it when I teach yoga. It’s what I focus on in my personal relationships. It was even what I did when I worked in science.
This realization made me start thinking about defining ourselves in different ways. What if we define ourselves not by the things we do, but by the overriding belief, love, passion, or value under which everything we do lives?
If this resonates with you, consider taking a step back from the events of your world and look instead for the umbrella. I find this has helped me describe what I do much more easily — not because I use that as a tagline, but because it helps me center my attention on how to write about myself. I want to be sure that what I care about most is what shines through. For an exercise to help solidify what it is you do, check out the Creative Jumpstart column and see where it brings you.

If you’d like to bounce ideas off me (and anyone else who wants to weigh in), feel free to leave a comment below!

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Creativity Jumpstart: Defining What we Do


Creativity Jumpstart  

Finding Your Umbrella


It may be that you already feel clear on what it is you do, in a wider sense. For most of us, though, it can be hard to find the common, uniting theme for all the different parts of our lives. If this is true for you, here are some ways to start discovering the common thread that weaves through all of your work.


1. If you teach yoga (as many of you do), think about you favorite class themes, topics, or tone. Write these down. If you don’t use themes in your class (as I don’t), then think about what it is you speak to most of all. Is it compassion? Self-awareness? Alignment? Authenticity? Whatever comes to mind, jot it down.


2. This next step is for everyone, whether or not you teach yoga. Think about what conversation topics get you excited, happy, inspired. Jot these down. What do you most love talking about?


3. Last, write a list of everything you do in your life THAT YOU LOVE. Please note the emphasis! This exercise is all about finding the over-arcing theme that most defines you at this point of your life. 


This list hopefully includes what you do for work, but be sure to include other things you love as well: hobbies, parenting,things you do for love that may or may not support you financially in the future. Truly, list anything you do that you love.


4. Now look at all your lists. Look for connections, for themes that stand out, common threads between everything. Write these down. Maybe it’s a full sentence, such as “I love to start projects and talk about big ideas.” Maybe it’s a single word, such as “Friendship.” Write as many as you like.


5. Once you have these written down, step away for a while. Let it percolate. 


6. When you come back to it, look again with fresh eyes to see whether anything else jumps out at you.


7. Now – and this part is key – rephrase your themes in ways that indicate not just what it is you love, or what it is you care about, but also how that contributes to the overall good in the world. For example, if one of your common themes is “I love to start projects and talk about big ideas,” you might rephrase it to say, ” What I do is inspire people to become the leaders / creators / innovators they already are.” 


A sentence like that gives you a whole new way to look at your life’s work. It allows you to write materials that explain what you do in a way that people will understand, even if they don’t know the details. It helps tell you what to leave in your marketing materials and what to take out.


For feedback or suggestions on your own theme, leave a comment below.

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Letter from Lori: Defining What we Do

loripic_cropFor many of us who make our way as entrepreneurs in the world (and yes, that includes most yoga teachers whether you own a studio or not), the new Mandatory Career Punctuation these days seems to be a slash. In other words, we can’t just say something simple like, “I teach yoga.”


And why can’t we? Because most of us do so much more than that. You might be a yoga teacher / studio owner / psychotherapist / life coach. Or a
PhD in environmental science / yoga teacher / somatics teacher / activist. Or me: a writer / editor / yoga teacher / former studio owner, with a background in marine biology and an on-going fascination with all things science. (Like me, you might have slashes AND commas in your self-description!)


And most likely, you draw on all your experiences in the programs you offer or the way you teach. So when it comes time to write up a workshop or a class description or describe what you do, you might find yourself writing pages of explanation, unsure how to tie it all together.


The totality of who we are can be challenging to sum up. Kellie’s story, below, is a great example of someone who found her best way to do it. This whole issue is dedicated to defining what we do in a way that includes all of it. I hope it offers you some insight as well!


Much love ~
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Letter from Lori: Writing Your Best Bio

loripicTelling the world who we are is, for many of us, one of the most challenging things to do. If you’ve ever had to write a bio, you have probably struggled at least some with how to capture your unique tone and voice and history and life and then put all of that into a short narrative that doesn’t make you sound exactly like everyone else.


When I first started Yoga:edit, I thought that mostly what people would hire me for would be to catch typos and grammar mistakes. As it turned out, most people hire me because they are having a hard time getting themselves into their writing. This is especially true for bios.


What I’ve found is that often all it takes is a different way of looking at a bio to turn it into something that really represents YOU. After having three different people contact me this week alone asking for help combining all the disparate elements of their life into a bio that sounds like them, I figured that many of us must struggle with this same thing. So I dedicate this newsletter to tips on writing a bio.


Oh – and if you have specific questions about writing your bio, or any comments that might help others, you can now post them on the new and improved Yoga:edit website, which features all past newsletter content in an interactive format. Yay, technology!


Much love ~






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5 Tips for Writing Your Best Bio

Job offer letter
5 Tips for Writing Your Best Bio
First, a note. Different bios require different approaches. The tips below are aimed at yoga teachers who need a bio for their website,  a studio website, or for anyplace that allows for a more creative approach. It’s always important to know who your bio is for and tailor it accordingly.
1. Consider non-attachment to traditional methods.  A traditional bio is written in the third person and generally reads something like: Lori is this kind of person. She did this in her life, and then she went here and got inspired by this other thing, and now she does something amazing. She studied with these people. Here is a list of a few things she likes a lot.


There’s nothing at all wrong with a bio that follows this format. But how about changing it up? Write it in the first person. Or instead of trying to explain who you are, show us: make a list of things you truly believe, and then use that for your bio. Follow it up with a list of your training and experience, if needed. Or start with “Once upon a time.” Let your own unique personality dictate how your bio reads.


2. Allow emotion. We all know that good journalists are supposed to be objective. Bios should be like journalism, right? And the facts about our lives are just that…facts. Right?


Well…maybe. Yes, the information in your bio should be true. (Or, make it all up – but tell people it’s your imaginary life. That could work, in certain situations!). But the main job of your bio is to connect you to people, to make those who resonate with what you offer able to recognize it just from what you have written. So tell a story. Allow some of your heart and realness to show through. How much you show is totally your call. If, for example, your practice is built on vulnerability, show more of yourself than you might if you inhabit the role of teacher with more boundaries. There’s no one right way, just as there’s no one right path.


3. Write it like a story. This is why starting with “Once upon a time,” whether or not you keep that in your final draft, can be a great way to get going. Stories connect us. Start your bio in the middle of your story, in that moment where everything changed for you. Let us follow the story of your life.


4. Be specific. An important reminder, especially for us yoga peeps! We like to use lots of flowery words that can be vague. Use the most concrete, specific words you can. Instead of saying that yoga changed your life, tell us that the very first time you went into child’s pose without chastising yourself for resting, you knew that your life would never be as stressful again…or whatever it was for you. Have a friend or editor look through your bio and mark any part that feels vague, clichéd, or uninteresting. And then find a specific way to say it.


5. Don’t write with the intention to be different from everyone else or to get noticed. Instead, write with the intention to best capture who you are. When you do that, you will be different from everyone else and get noticed.

Remember, someone is reading your bio because they want to know about you. They want to see whether they resonate with you, whether you might be a good teacher (coach/employee/etc) for them, whether you might understand them. So let yourself be seen. The real you. That’s the only way your people will find you.



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