Finding Your Element

I recently had the privilege of seeing a colleague in their element for the first time.

How did I know that I was seeing them in their element?

That's mostly what I'd like to explore in this post.

Sometimes we may be in our element and not even realize it. To us it might just feel natural. Easy.

In this post I want to take a bit of an outside view into what being in your element looks and feels like.

My hope is that by doing this, you might be able to ask similar questions to someone you trust, to help you better understand when you are actually in your own element.

So, let’s try and break it down.

How did I know or perhaps why did I think and feel that my colleague was in their element?

There was an unshakable ease about them.

Implied in this is observation is comparison. Comparison to a time when someone is not in their element because perhaps during that time their ease is shakable.

I’m not suggesting that they are at ease only when they are in their element, but I am definitely suggesting that there’s a sense of temporary permanence (oxymoron, I know) in their ease.

Of all the bolded observations in this post, this one in particular might require knowing the person most deeply.

There was also, strangely, a sharpness about them too.

By sharpness what I mean is a sense of attentiveness. If I just said ease, you might imagine I mean care-free, and that’s why I needed to add sharpness, because being in your element is the exact opposite of a care-free state. It is a state of deep care for whatever you happen to be doing.

I once heard a great analogy to describe this state of sharpness. Imagine you have a video camera (or your phone, since it’s not 1996), and you capture a video, it’s likely to be captured in 24 or 30 frames per second. Being in this state of sharpness is like having a camera that can capture video at 120 frames per second.

You are simply capturing more detail in the same amount of time. Practically, this means you are not only observing perhaps more than others around you, but you are also constantly pulling on those observations to enhance the current moment.

Their feelings were easy to absorb.

This observation in particular is somewhat compounded by the two points above. There is something magnetic about experiencing someone in their element, and once you’ve been absorbed by it, there is a resonance that temporarily sticks with you even when you’re no longer observing (or even no longer in the physical presence) of this person.

I’ve written about energy giving v.s. energy taking before and this last observation is that being in presence of someone in their element is extremely energy giving.

As I said earlier, my hope is that these observations will give rise to a set of questions that you can now ask to someone you trust, so that you might be able to find your own element.