Salisa Roberts recently published a new book titled “Thinking Just Hurts the Team” that brings together two sides of her life: yoga and her corporate job. In the book, she shares her advice with others on how to use the principles of yoga beyond the yoga mat and into the board room in order to get ahead at work and have a successful career in the corporate world. We conducted an interview with Salisa Roberts and here is what she had to say:

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What prompted you to write the book “Thinking Just Hurts the Team“?

Salisa Roberts - YogaSalisa Roberts: In July 2015, I attended a leadership conference. The CEO of my organization came to share with the group. She was asked what she felt the leader of tomorrow would look like. Two of the comments she included inspired me. First, she said that future leaders of tomorrow would be able to slide out of the left side or thinking side of their brains. I took that to mean that future leaders would be able to slide to the right side of their brain and be able to relate and connect well with others. She also reinforced the importance of bringing one’s authentic self to work.

Her words empowered me to start bringing the principles we work on at yoga, into the boardroom and workplace. I also felt comfortable talking about self-awareness and mindfulness in the workplace. I had teased my yoga instructor for several years that we could rebrand him a performance coach. He had dismissed the idea on several occasions. When I re-engaged him about applying the principles we work on in the yoga room to the workplace, he asked me to expand on what I meant. I told him that I would like to write down some examples to share. As I started to write, I realized I had a lot to say. With my two worlds colliding, I knew this was a great topic for a book.

Let me be clear. I love to think. The title Thinking Just Hurts the Team underscores that thinking or thinking too much can and does inhibit doing or taking action. I think about doing a lot of things, I’m sure you do as well. It’s an entirely different experience to get off the couch, or up from your desk and go make things happen or learn to do something well. Nothing actually gets done until you take the action necessary to make it happen.

Thinking Just Hurts the Team - Salisa Robertsseattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: Who is the book written for?

Salisa Roberts - YogaSalisa Roberts: The book was written for anyone sitting on the couch, or at his or her desk dreaming about doing more than he or she is doing right now. The book is for that person that wants to do more but doesn’t know what he or she needs to do to move forward and come into their true power.

The book is striking a cord with people feeling overwhelmed by what’s going on in their lives and in the world; especially at work. Simple concepts like controlling what you can control and slowing down are helping people pause and move forward more mindfully.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: How can yoga help in the workplace?

Salisa Roberts - YogaSalisa Roberts: Yoga helps me be the best version of myself that I can be. It helps me reach into myself and pull out and celebrate my best attributes. People that are most powerful and effective are comfortable in their own skin. Yoga has helped me get comfortable with who and what I am.

I started to do yoga to learn to relax. I continue to do yoga because the experience contributes positively to my feelings of well-being and happiness, both personally and professionally.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: Can you provide our readers with a few tips as to how they can bring yoga principles to the workplace?

Salisa Roberts - YogaSalisa Roberts: When I moved into my role as a leader, my supervisor told me that leadership is about getting people to do the things they otherwise won’t do on their own. This principle correlates well to my yoga practice. Yoga helps me be mentally tough with the awareness that I do my work in the yoga room because it needs to be done. I show up and do my work. This includes the things that I like to do and the things I’m good at. This also includes the things that I don’t want to do. In fact, the things that I don’t want to do at work or on my mat are the things that I often need to do the most.

I like taking yoga classes because it’s great to have an instructor watching and guiding my practice. My yoga instructor always encourages me to take up space and go big into the postures. Sometimes I’m tired and I don’t want to put in the energy and effort needed to take up space and go big in my postures. My instructor’s attention is essential in keeping me practicing at my very best. When you learned to put in the effort needed to go big in your postures on your mat, it’s easier to ensure you are doing the same thing at work or at anything else that’s important to you. You have to be willing to put in the hard work and effort into what you want to be good at. You get back what you are willing to put in on your mat and in the workplace.

Yoga challenges me to keep pushing and evolving by experiencing my edge. When you learn to hang out near the edge of what you think you are capable up, you learn that you can do more than you thought you could do. My confidence in myself and my ability to do things in the workplace and beyond has increased by showing up each day and doing my work on my mat.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What are some of the challenges they may face in bringing yoga to the corporate world?

Salisa Roberts - YogaSalisa Roberts: The biggest challenge that I’m asked about is the time commitment it takes to do yoga. You don’t get the full benefits of yoga with a casual, now and again practice. What’s important to you gets done. You also enhance your capacity to take care of others when you start with yourself first.

I think the better question to explore is how the corporate world can benefit by being willing to incorporate the principles of yoga into the workplace. You don’t need to look far to see many articles, books and magazines about being mindful. Time Magazine released a special edition called Mindfulness, The New Science of Health and Happiness. Mandy Oaklander wrote an article called Eight Ways to be Zen at Work (p.15.) Oaklander cited that “despite the rise of corporate wellness programs, disengagement at the office costs the U.S. $550 billion each year and work related stress tacks on an additional $300 billion.” The article goes on to say that if you want to feel better “you need to get your head out of work.” Yoga is a great place to start to help one get out of their head. In addition to getting out of your head, you also can increase your balance and manage or reduce anxiety and stress levels.

Companies would be well advised to take notice of what Mindfulness, An Everyday Guide says in their article titled “Mapping the Mind (p.27).” The article states “a calmer, healthier, more focused and optimistic workforce is a boon to any occupation or professional pursuit.” This is exactly what I get out of my yoga practice. I’m more calm and focused. Yoga has helped me learn to pause and take skillful action, instead of reacting to what is happening around me. Yoga also helps me deal with twenty first century challenges like distraction overload and feeling that I’m in a state of partial attention. For years, we have known that it takes us 15-20 minutes to get back on task after being interrupted at work. This challenge is only getting worse with all of the digital distractions that we face at work with our i-dependency. To do our best work, we must give ourselves the ability to think deeply without interruption. Yoga allows teaches us to focus and stay present and be the best version of ourselves we can be.


Salisa RobertsSalisa R. Roberts, CFP ™ – Bio:

Salisa Roberts is a senior leader at a leading regional bank. She has been in banking and financial services for twenty-eight years. She was raised in Yakima, Washington. She currently lives in Bellevue with her husband, Mark. Salisa enjoys yoga, cycling, cooking, reading and writing.

Salisa thought that yoga would help her learn to relax and manage her stress. She was surprised how much she applied the principles she learned in the yoga room in the boardroom to her role as a leader. With her two worlds colliding, she thought this was a great idea for a book. Thinking Just Hurts the Team was published in October 2017. The book is about finding happiness and igniting your full potential by taking the principles of yoga to the workplace.

You can follow Salisa on her blog at www.salisaroberts.com.


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