In this episode of HR on the Mat, Courtney and Peggy chat with Greg Odle, orthopedic device company executive and co-owner of Baptiste Power Yoga Indianapolis. They discuss being okay with where you’re at, the importance of practice, getting out of your head, and more.
This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.
Welcome back to HR on the Mat. I’m Courtney Scott with Balance and Harmony Yoga and I’ve got Ms. Peggy Hogan with me with Purple Ink. And we happen to be at the…
We’re at the ink pad in Carmel, Indiana. So.
And we’re excited for our special guest today. Greg, do you mind introducing yourself to our audience?
Sure. Happy to be here today. Thank you. My name is Greg Odle and I am co-owner of Baptiste Power Yoga Indianapolis. I also am a father of two boys, 14 and 11. And I’m also an executive of an orthopedic device company.
So Greg, first question we ask all our guests is tell us about your yoga journey.
Yeah, so that started eight years ago. And Cindi and I and – my wife – were living in Fort Wayne at the time, and we were invited to a dinner party up the street, and there were four couples there, and one of the couples happened to be owners of a Baptiste studio in Fort Wayne, and I was sort of curious about yoga. I’d always worked out, but I’d never really done yoga, and so I was curious about what they were saying about yoga. And they said that they had an early 6am Monday class that appealed to me, because I generally work… have to work out early mornings, and I was driving, commuting to my job at the time. And so I decided, I told them, I said, “Well, I’ll show up on Monday and take part in this class.” And so six o’clock AM power yoga class, and it absolutely kicked my butt. It was one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever had. I was pouring sweat from every pore in my body. It was really… it was difficult. It was… it was, again, one of the toughest workouts I’d had. But at that point in time I was… it broke every myth that I had about yoga. It also helped that there were three other guys in the class that I could relate to, and… and so just seeing that, wow, this is a real workout. This isn’t just coming in for a nice stretch.
This is… this is…. this is intense. And so there’s obviously different forms of yoga and… and power yoga is what I really related to. And so I just kept going, and ultimately, I just kept getting stronger and stronger and certainly flexibility. But I tell I tell my friends about this and people that I know, especially guys, is that it’s the only form of exercise I’ve ever done, I feel like I get stronger every year. Like, I can honestly say that since I started, I was 43 years old, and every year I get stronger, and when you’re middle aged and you’re getting stronger every year, you know, that’s pretty good. And so… and it’s so… it’s so full body in terms of the workout. So, like, I’m working absolutely every muscle in my body. But then there’s also certainly benefits of the mindfulness side of it as well, which can be very helpful.
Yeah. So a lot of our audience are professionals, and we spend a lot of time in HR on the Mat talking about parallels between your yoga mat and your work life. So do you mind sharing, as an executive and eight years into your yoga journey, where have you seen the greatest parallels?
Yeah, well, I think, you know, one of the things that was taught early on, especially, like, with some of the Baptiste methodology, is that what… what stops you on your mat also stops you in life. And so things like noticing where… if, say, you know, you’re, you know, a certain pose is coming up that is either hard for you, or whether it’s a strength thing, or flexibility thing, or I’m going to look stupid thing, that you know, you get in your head. “Oh, crap, that pose is coming up. I’m not good at that. I’m not strong enough for that. I’m not flexible enough.”
Yeah, the wheel, right.
[Laughs] For me.
Peggy hates the wheel.
But, you know, I started to realize that those… there’s similar things that happen from a leadership standpoint, where I’m like, “I’m not smart enough for that meeting. I’m not smart enough to be in with those people.” Similar trains of thought that then you kind of just learn to get over that stuff, right? And, like, you show up in yoga and everybody’s in a different… wherever they are in terms of their physicality, their strength, balance. I talk to guys that say, “I can’t do yoga, because I’m not flexible.” And I always just kind of think that’s funny, because it’s like…
And women say that, too.
Right. Because there’s some sort of expectation that in order to do something, you have to be flexible. And I joke with people, it’s like saying, “Well, I don’t run marathons because I’m not in good enough shape.” Right? It’s like, you do it… you do it so that you get there. And it’s a journey. You asked about a yoga journey. It’s the journey of it all, which is there’s a starting point, where I was, too, where I was not flexible, not strong… strong, all that stuff. And then it unfolds over the course of time. But those improvements are incremental. But if you can kind of get over this whole notion that you can’t do these things, or you’re not strong enough or smart enough, whether it’s a work thing or whatever it is, and just show up as you are realizing that it’s all about the growth journey along the way. And that could be leadership, parenting, yoga, it all fits.
Yeah, I definitely think even as a leader, it’s not like you come in as a leader, right? You have to have some little steps to get there and some bumps and, you know, maybe the first time you have to coach someone is not so fun, but you get through it and you get better and maybe you do it a better way the next time going forward, learning and just getting kind of stronger in your confidence with those difficult situations, too.
And I think one of the themes from one of our earlier conversations was this idea about practice. It’s a practice not a perfect. And you could apply that.. apply that to leadership, too, where every year, you’re continuing to work on your leadership style brand and continuing to be in the work of a leader.
That also gets… you get stronger in that aspect, just the same way you get stronger in the physical yoga practice. You continue to practice pulling it all together.
I think that’s a really… like, that’s an important part, because we tend to – I know I do this, I set an expectation of myself that I have to in that moment, in that meeting, whatever that is, the… I gotta be perfect, right? Like, I gotta be really, really good. And then when you don’t feel like you are, then it could be this thing like… I would I beat myself up, and I used to just absolutely beat myself up all the time about things from a work standpoint. I think that yoga has helped me realize that, because it is this kind of journey of growth and improvement along the way that… stop looking sort of backward at… and regretting certain things. Just, like, no, this is a part of it. And there are going to be some stumbles along the way, just like on your mat, certain poses are going to be difficult, or you’re going to maybe not feel like you’re in as great shape as you want to be or that your core is as strong as you want to be. But then it keeps evolving if you keep practicing and doing it, but you just gotta keep doing the thing, right? So getting on the mat and doing it is the only way that that gets better and better and you get stronger and stronger. It’s just like… leadership is that way, too. Just keep doing it, even though you’re not perfect at it.
And I think people around you appreciate that, you know, they… the whole vulnerability and, you know, just people being more aware of kind of how they’re feeling mentally now, I think it’s so much more out in the open.
And your colleagues and your employees appreciate if you screw up and say “I screwed up.” Or maybe you didn’t show up your best that day, you know, with all of us working from home, people are in sweatshirts, and you know, cats are running over, kids. And I think we’ve all cut each other a lot more slack and sort of seeing people as people, too.
Yeah, and seeing you in the work. But what I find interesting, Greg, in what you’re saying, and correct me if I’m wrong, but there is a… it seems like there’s a lot of internal conversation going, “Oh, gosh, that pose is hard, and it’s coming, I can’t do this,” or maybe, “I didn’t do… didn’t nail that… that conversation or that meeting the way that I wanted to.” All of it is so internally focused, and I have found, at least on my mat early on, I had teachers who would say, you know, “Don’t look at everybody else,” like, “Stay focused on what’s happening on your mat.” And I find now that I’m a teacher, it is really hard to… there are… sometimes I’m up in front of the class and get so in my head because I know I…
Like, gosh, I will even say it now, I don’t know how we got there before. I have no… like, I’m a loser or I mixed up my right and my left because I’m trying to, like… and so, like, getting into the head and how quickly getting in your own head can derail all the progress.
Yeah, no, that’s that’s a huge one, because that sort of self-assessment that can be triggered, they can go on and really take you – excuse me – away from what you’re really there to do. Right? And… and I think yoga, the… the parts of it that are more meditative there, where we’re breathing in a certain way, we’re looking in a certain way. And a lot of that’s all designed to be able to shut out all the thought that can be the thinking that doesn’t serve us very well – right? – whether we’re teaching or we’re actually practicing. But the getting out of… as we talk about yoga getting out of your head and into your body. Like, for me, that’s a big one because I tend… I have had a tendency… I’m kind of hardwired in my head. That doesn’t work well in leadership as well. Right? Like, the self-assessment and all of that. And then you kind of, you just get into the flow of what you’re doing, whether… whether it is… whatever domain that might be. And I think it’s helped me with being able to really just let go of a lot of that stuff that doesn’t really do a lot.
And go back to that phrase for a minute, “What doesn’t serve us.” Because doing yoga, we do hear it a lot.
But maybe tell everybody kind of what that means from a yoga perspective and how you might use that, like, in the workplace.
Yeah. So I think that, you know, again, when you when you have some of these… this internal conversation going on of, “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough.”And, you know, the opportunity is there to kind of turn those into something that… that could serve you, because saying that is not going to be a very powerful experience for anybody, when you’re talking about the things you don’t do well, so that can be that, “Hey, I’m not… I’m currently not able to do that pose,” or “I’m currently not able to hold a meeting like I want to or lead a meeting like I want to, but I’m going to keep practicing and working on it so that I can get better and better,” in doing whatever that is, is a different frame to be in, that you’re practicing for that sort of growth and improvement, instead of just beating yourself up about how you currently are in whatever it is that you’re doing. Because, look, we’re all going around in the world being husbands, wives, parents, children, whatever that is, yoga teachers, yoga studio owners, leaders, out in the workplace, and just being able to, like, feel okay showing up as you currently are in terms of your knowledge, your capabilities, your weaknesses, all of that. Likem yoga teaches… it teaches you to… I’ve found it’s taught me to just be, like, okay with how I show up, but I’m also working towards something. I’m not just okay with it always being that way. That’s why I’m in the practice. That’s where the growth is.
So confidence is one thing… See, it’s funny, because I was actually thinking of external things, like… like drama in the workplace.
You know, like, or… or somebody said something and what’s that making me feel, or I took it the wrong way. You know, somebody texted something, and it sounded harsh or something, and kind of not letting that stop me from doing what I need to do, really. It’s not really serving me or helping me be a better employee, even.
I heard some… a phrase that was, “Self-compassion is what happens when confidence leaves you.” And that’s the idea that confidence is really based on how others perceive us. They give us kudos, they say “great job,” – right? – and they affirm that what we’re doing is on the right path. But as soon as we start getting the positive affirmations from our external world, there is just a natural inclination for us to turn internally and going, “Well, why am I not getting them?” And that’s where self-compassion steps up to the plate and says, “It’s okay.” One, you may not need the external, right? You need to be okay internally, but to give grace to where you’re at.
And with how far you’ve come.
Well, and that’s… that’s good. I’m glad you brought that up, Peggy, because there is, like, the external stimulus, or those things that come at us that we can either misinterpret or view a certain way that also doesn’t serve us. And you can see where I go, because I tend to go internally, where I am with myself, right? But that… like, yoga has a practice, then, of being able to say, breathe through certain things. Like, breathing, is… you… we talk about that a lot. You know, again, I think people are like, “What’s all this stuff about? Breathing?” but, like, literally, in the moments where things are hard, difficult stuff’s coming at you, a pose is really difficult, a deadline, work, whatever that is, like, really tapping into your breath and taking some some breaths and just getting the air moved through your system, your body, just physiologically, like, really does something to calm the nervous system and allow you to be able to deal with things at a different level and not let that anxiety or whatever it is get to that sort of peak where it becomes destructive or doesn’t serve us I think is what…
And I can kind of do a reset. And anybody who knows me knows that I had a really stressful situation at work one time a few years ago and just left at lunch. Like, I had so much work to do. I was overwhelmed. And what I did was I went home, I did, like, a 10 minute yoga and I prayed for 10 minutes.
And that was the best investment of that time, because it just cleared everything and helped me prioritize and realize that the world wasn’t coming to an end and we would do the best we could to get through it.
Well, and when EMT or, you know, emergency response teams show up and they’ve got somebody who is in that, you know, threat stage or that emergency state, then the first thing they tell them do is breathe.
Because the breath is amazingly healing and can sort of ground. So Greg, last question before we let you go. I appreciate that all the time you’ve given to us and our audience. What’s a couple words of wisdom you would give the audience in terms of leadership that you’ve learned?
Wow. A couple words of wisdom.
A couple words of wisdom.
Lead strong. [laughs]
Yeah. So yeah, my… my personal journey with this I think informs me around this, which is to not take yourself so seriously. Right? And that it’s not about being perfect, right? Because I really… that’s been a struggle for me. And… and, you know, this is… yoga has really helped me with that. But if you can break from that feeling that you have to be perfect, and I think anybody who’s in leadership or a parent or whatever circumstance you’re in, like, that is a… our society, I think, tells us a lot of times that we need to be perfect. But getting okay with it just being an ongoing practice of… and a journey, as you started the conversation with, Courtney, of improvement and growth. And if you just keep at it, things will, you know… you’ll grow and that growth will result in probably more peace and just really enjoying… ultimately, enjoying life.
I think that’s one thing, too. People who don’t do yoga, they picture this room with everybody doing everything perfect and it… you know, everybody being flexible. And one of the things, though, there are times that we break out in laughter. You know, like, if you did the right leg sequence twice, you know, we might, you know, kind of…
…in a funny way correct you, or whatever. You know, you… you fall down in the middle of it, and everybody, you know, cracks up a little bit. So I think a lot of times, the picture of being super serious…
…too. And it’s not always. And… and there’s also such a variety of classes, like, you really connected with the power classes. I kind of connect more with the vinyasa classes. And then we’ve got friends who just do the yin and the meditative and more stretching classes. So it is… you can’t go to one class, really, and clearly judge it. You almost have to try different ones.
Yeah. And the thing is, like, just… just show up, right? Just go. Just go. And don’t worry about that. There’s so many different types of people doing yoga and so many different types of bodies and capabilities, and there’s certain things after eight years that I still can’t do on a yoga mat, because my body won’t let me do it. Like, I gotta be okay, unless I’m going to, like, go have surgery or something.
Which is probably not going to happen.
That’s a little extreme.
Yeah, yes. That would be extreme.
So anyhow, I think it is just about showing up. And, you know, it gets better and better.
Well, thanks for showing up here. We’re… the way we end is in a breath.
Which you kind of queued up for us.
So I will let Courtney do that, since she’s our certified yogi.
Alright, so we’re gonna take our closing breath together. We’re gonna inhale those arms up above. Inhaling, hands clasp. Exhale down to heart center, bow the head to heart. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us this afternoon, Greg, and to all of our viewers out there we say namaste.