Live and Work in Your Element


Published: 8 Oct 2018

Emotional well-being

After the first edition of the book was written in 2014, I used it as a base to deliver workshops on living and working in your element, and to work with people on a 1-1 basis. All of those people changed their lives for the better. Testing out the theories on myself was a raging success – I genuinely manufactured my perfect life.  And if ever I feel the need for a pivot in my life I go back to the system you’re about to read……..because it works.

It’s like living your life in pencil, not pen! Change happens. Change is good.

This is the second edition. I moved on. I lived with even less. I found out so much from people who attended the workshops and why they were there. My minimalist philosophy is really simple. Only have what you love (and who you love) around you, and in your space. Don’t save anything for best. Communicate in the clearest, most compassionate way you can, so that all of your relationships are spectacular.

I love clichés, and always started the Live and work in your element workshop, after the introductions by saying, “What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?”  I then ask: What lights up your life?

Well? What lights up your life? And……why aren’t you doing more of that?  For many of you the answers popped instantly into your head.

Anything’s possible. Anything

Ask yourself this:  Can you do one thing, just one, right now, today, this week, to move you towards doing more of whatever lights up your life? Pick up the phone, make the time, get in your car and drive there, have that meeting…….

When the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of change, you’re ready

Ask yourself what needs to change in your life? – big or small. 

Be honest. Have no regard for obligation, responsibilities, or other people in your life….just answer the question, honestly.

If you’re doing what you love, it’s not like work. If you add into your week things that make you happy, then you’ll be happier. If you make your diary work around you not the other way around, you’ll ‘manufacture’ your perfect days.

When you decide what will make you happy that day – do it. Remember it’s contextual, so what makes you happy on one day, might not be so important the next day. I don’t like to make sweeping statements about happiness. Even if it’s building in a small thing to your day, sometimes the smallest things make all of the difference. What will it take today to add happiness into your day?   Why are you not doing that?

Remember, perfect days rarely happen just because you wish it, desire it, whinge, or try to manifest it. You need to manufacture it. In an ideal world every day will be your perfect day.  It’s a cyclical, not linear process.

Have enough self-love to work through this process  – it reaps rewards at every single step of the equation.

What’s stopping you getting started?  Imagine what your life would be like if you followed your instincts, listened to your heart, and didn’t bow to peer pressure or societal ‘norms’? Imagine it, and really think about it, because that’s what it will take to live and work in your element.

Remember – Anything’s possible.  Where do you see yourself in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year  and 5 years forward from this point if you do NOTHING?

Take out everything that is UNimportant.  Add back in everything that is. 

Now re-read that. The second line says ADD back in everything that is, not leave everything that is.

If it was there, you wouldn’t be looking for it. Simple. So whatever is that you are yearning for, desiring, missing, have ‘lost’, add it back in. Take out whatever or whoever you need to, to make it fit.

Living and working in your element is a process of resisting compromise. Have you been compromising up to now? Give the middle finger to your scripted life. You are the author of your own story after all, and can re-write any part of it at any time.

Need a practical way to make it easy to see the big picture?

Look at how you spend your time – currently.

Make a grid (manually or online) with 8 boxes across, and 25 boxes down. Across the top write Monday to Sunday. Down the side put 6am, 7am, 8am, etc until you get to 24 hours.

During the next week, (it doesn’t matter what day you start) write down a general description of everything you do during those time slots i.e meeting, sitting in traffic, coffee, working, gym, walking, meeting friends, sleeping, showering etc.

At the end of the week. Take a highlighter, look at each day and highlight the slots you would have preferred not to do or hate to do. Now add up how much time that took up each day and write it in the margin.

What it should highlight for you is where there is room, or a need for change. When I first filled the grid in on myself over an average week years ago I watched the final picture unfold with horror and sadness as I realised how little I was doing that made me happy, how little freedom I had.

Try out this exercise for 7 days and note all of the parts of your week you would prefer not to do – ‘in an ideal world’. Use big paper, card, a white board, a spreadsheet – whatever floats your boat.

Now let’s mess with the big picture

As Sherlock Holmes said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Once you openly admit to yourself, what you would like to do with your time and how you would like to spend it, one of three things happen:

  • You say to yourself, “Yep ok, that’s very nice having an idea of what I want to do with my life – but I’m going to stay the same/have to stay the same – I’ll be happy with what I’ve got and ‘make the best of it.’
  • You come to a compromise with yourself, fit in some aspects of what you want to do, which makes your life more joyful than it is right now.
  • You realise that there is no going back, and you have to fit the rest of your life around what you want to do – even if it means big changes!

NOW – Make a list of the things that you would LOVE to include in your week. Things that would bring you joy, make you happy, fulfilled and content.

Now go back to the grid you made of your actual week and have a look if any of the things on your list of things you would love to do can be put into your schedule right now.

Sometimes this could be because of a re-negotiation with your boss re: work hours, days or responsibilities, and actually leaving work on time instead of working unpaid overtime. It could be that you start taking all of your breaks and go offsite and meet friends in your break. It could be altering your ‘schedule’ or mundane tasks by delegating them to someone else, such as hiring a cleaner, food shopping online and getting it delivered.

It’s a revelation to many people – once they arrive at this point, the fact that maybe – (almost always!) they are doing tasks that they don’t need to. Just because they have always done them, or someone has put upon them. Mothers are brilliant at doing a multitude of things for their kids that the kids actually could, and should be doing for themselves. Business owners are brilliant at thinking that only they can do certain tasks when they have a perfectly competent team at their disposal.

In other words, revamp your work and personal life to accommodate your diary around you, not the other way around.

Now make a new grid with the things you would love to do. This is your first glimpse at what your life could look like.

Only you know which you are comfortable with. Which will work for you. I am not here to judge your decision. I will be cheering you on whatever your decision, because you took the time, effort, and courage to discover who you are, and how you want to spend your days.

When I got to this final stage whilst testing my theories in 2012, this was critical mass for me. When I looked at the new grid of how I wanted to spend my time, and having spent time (without a result) trying to negotiate with my boss on hours and times – it was obvious. And in the end, not even in a scary way. More in a resigned way. It made sense.

I calmly wrote out my notice and without drama (on that occasion) left it on the site manager’s desk. Rang a friend and asked her to come with me in my lunch break to buy a new car (so I wouldn’t be left without a car this time).

I worked a month’s notice then gave myself a month off to design my first workshop – ‘Say it Out loud’. I secured my first paid job from a company who booked me as a guest speaker for their conference, and my first public workshop ever was in Taupo. The seats were full, and I was off.

Every day is a new opportunity. And anything’s possible! Give it your all.

© 2017 Elemental Potential Ltd

Published by Elemental Potential Ltd  | First Edition

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