Are you in your Element? Do you love your life or the work you do? Sadly many people don’t have any great sense of purpose or fulfillment. They put up with what they do and wait for the weekend.
The Element is where your natural aptitudes meet your personal passions. It could be playing the guitar, basketball, cooking, or teaching, working with technology or with animals – anything for which you have a natural feel. An essential step in finding your Element is to understand your own aptitudes. But being in your Element is more than doing things you’re good at. Many people are good at things they don’t really care for: to be in your Element you have to love it too. The Element is different for everyone. Whatever it may be for you, as Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
People often ask me how they can find their Element, or help others to find theirs. They ask other questions too, for example:
- What if I have no special talents?
- What if I have no real passions?
- What if I love something I’m not good at?
- What if I’m good at something I don’t love?
- What if I can’t make a living from my Element?
- What if I have too many other responsibilities and things to do?
- What if I’m too young?
- What if I’m too old?
- Do we only have one Element?
- Is it the same throughout our lives, or does it change?
- How will I know when I’ve found it?
- What do I do to help my children find their Element?
My new book Finding Your Element is a wholehearted attempt to answer these questions. It includes basic ideas and principles, practical exercises, a range of tools and techniques and links to other resources. It also has stories from people in all walks of life about how they found their own Element, about what it took to do that, and the difference it has made to them. My reason for telling these stories of other people’s paths is to help you plan yours. I want to inspire you with real examples of how finding your Element can transform your life. I also want to illustrate the obstacles that most people experience along the way, which are an inevitable part of real life.
In medieval Europe, knights undertook quests to accomplish a goal that they valued. Quests involve journeys, adventures and risks. The quest for your Element is a two-way journey: an inward journey to explore the world within you and an outward journey to explore the world around you. Whether you fulfill your quest depends on how much you value the prize and whether you’re prepared to do what it takes to achieve it. You may be:
- Frustrated that you don’t know what your real talents and passions are
- At school, wondering which courses to take and why
- Trying to decide whether to go to college or to do something else instead
- In a job you don’t like and wondering where to turn
- In midlife or later and feeling the need for a new direction
- Unemployed and wondering where to turn
- Retired and trying to work out what to do now.
In the end, only you will know if you’ve arrived or if you need to push on to the next horizon. Whichever it proves to be, you should never doubt that this is a quest worth taking. My aim in Finding Your Element is to guide and support you along the way. You’ll find the details here.