Being in your element means effectively operating in your lane and passionately performing work that you’re designed to do.
Not only that, it’s doing something that you’re good at and probably being recognized for.
(You might even call it your life’s work.)
I recently posted this quote after facilitating a session on stability and balance at a women’s retreat a few weeks ago.
Be in your element often to experience your greatness.
Constructing learning experiences, and laying provocative ideas on the minds of others placed me in my element at that moment.
Ever since then I realized that I need to be in my element often. I’ll explain this later, but first, I’d like to travel down memory lane and provide a backdrop for you to understand why we need to be in our element as much as possible.
I discovered early in my career, in the 90s when I worked in Head Start, while I was in what I call my teaching/learning mode, I was in my element.
Many, many, many moons ago, fresh out of college, I was assigned the task of coordinating and leading an orientation session for Head Start staff returning from summer break.
I had no clue that this assignment would usher me into a career that would inevitably become my life’s work.
Funny thing was, I didn’t want to be a teacher, even though I grew up in a family of educators. A noble profession, yes, but not glamorous enough for me. A naive, inexperienced, clueless girl had ambitions to become a children’s television producer for Sesame Street, but God had other plans for my life and how I’d spend my time.
I have wonderful memories of supporting teachers, family service workers, and other Head Start staff as they constructed their own knowledge, experienced ah-ha moments, and challenged themselves to grow. And I remember how I felt after facilitating session after session. Energized. Powerful. Synchronized. Drenched in sweat. I couldn’t imagine a career doing anything else.
It’s been over 25 years now that I’ve been a learning and development professional in various positions covering the entire A.D.D.I.E model. I returned to school a few years ago to get a second Master’s degree in education, specializing in e-learning because I needed to upgrade my toolbox. That’s just how important teaching/learning is to me.
My life’s work was and still is so much a part of who I am. The teaching/learning process is in my DNA and I was born to have certain experiences to nurture this gene in me.
I’m pretty sure this sounds redundant, but when I’m the teaching/learning mode, I’m in my element. And lately, I’ve been paying attention to how my being feels when I’m in it. It’s such a mind, body, and I’ll even add, soul connection.
When you’re doing what you’re passionate about and subsequently in your element, every single part of your being is activated because of it.
On the other hand, if your work is not your passion, perhaps your being is deactivated. Just a thought…
I stumbled on this sentiment about mind/body connection the other day and it made so much sense to me.
“…Vitality isn’t just about our bodies. It’s about our minds. Why is that? Because, in truth, there is no distinction. Your mind and body serve as seamless feedback mechanisms, chemically and electrically. They are so hopelessly intertwined that it’s silly to speak of them as separate.
The state of your body—its health, strength, disease, ability, or disability—has a profound effect on your mind. If your body is in pain, so is your brain. We get that. Less intuitive, though, is that if your mind is in pain, so is your body.
Depression, anxiety, sadness, stress, and heartbreak all create real, measurable physical symptoms in our bodies, ranging from pain to inflammation and disease. By the same token, joy, love, belonging, meaning, peace, and ease create a cascade of positive effects that we feel equally,” says author Jonathan Fields in How to Live a Good Life: Powerful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom.
Have you ever considered that when you’re in your element, your being feels certain positive effects?
Me, in my element, I feel:
- No emotional stress, even in the face of difficulties.
- Focused and not much can shake my resolve.
- Content and at peace.
- Fluid which results in thoughts flowing from my mind with ease giving me the ability to speak lucidly and pronounced.
- Connected to others so I’m able to make direct eye contact with those I’m engaged with.
- Like breathing rather than holding my breath.
- Moist because my body perspires from my head to toe.
- Strong because my posture is straight, my chin is up, and my shoulders are back.
- Connected to something bigger than me.
- Expansive as I contribute my small piece of goodness to the planet.
And with these positive effects my being is activated AND they represent ways that I actually experience my greatness.
You’re meant to be in your element often so that you can know and feel the greatness placed within you.
Maybe then you’ll stop playing small.
Now take a moment to explore these concepts for yourself. Pull out your journal and have at it.
I’m in my element.
I know this because I experience my greatness in these ways:
I plan to seek opportunities like
to be in my element often so that I’ll remember to never play small.
If you’re not certain when you’re in your element, don’t fret. You have the rest of your life to figure it out. In the meantime, remain sensitive to the possibilities.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you. I appreciate the time you took to read this and complete the exercise. Do me one more favor and share your thoughts with me in the comments below or on Facebook. You can even email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to being in our element so that we can experience more of our greatness.
Zoe Brown considers herself a Big Picture Thinker.
Creative Soul. Foreign Film Aficianado.
Life-Long Learner. Master Facilitator.
Find out more about Zoe at GoneGirlGo.com.