If I were to ask a complete stranger, “Who are the most “whole” people on the planet”, I would undoubtedly receive answers pointed at guru’s, yogi’s, and shaman’s. Eighty percent of the time, most women consider a whole self to be directly related to a spiritual practice. So, is being whole only related to spiritual awakening?
Before I began a personal journey into my heart and self, I too, was part of the 80% who believed a spiritual awakening was the answer to my “whole self” development. It has taken me many years to understand that I am and my life is made up of far more than only a spiritual awakening. I began to apply many of the tools I had learned throughout my coaching career to create a manageable system that was measurable and had the efficacy I desired. I identified the foundational areas that made up my wholeness. I, quickly, began to see that just because I was whole in one element, eventually a triage effect would occur where I was not whole or balanced. This is a work in progress, for me included, and has given me clarity where I do not want to see my “holes”. These holes are what – eventually – cause the chaos in our lives. So, I invite you to step out of what the general thought is regarding wholeness and step into the elements that create your wholeness.
The 13 Elements of Self
1: Foundation: What is an empowered woman?
The first thing you can do is explore what an extraordinary life means to you. Ask yourself hard questions like “What does ‘having it all’ mean?” and “what do I need to do to make it possible?” Come up with a strong “WHY” and a personal mission statement that leads you towards the extraordinary life you desire.
My personal statement is: To positively affect as many women as possible through relentless service, love, and integrity, while nurturing my own self development and freedom.
2. Wellness: What does it feel like to feel well, physically?
There is a lot of noise around this element and much of it is contradictory information. This information can make it difficult for anyone to navigate because it is loaded with bias, psychological marketing, and distractions from what you truly believe for yourself. There are two areas within this element – Fitness and Health – each of which are triggered or molded by the core beliefs that have been imposed on us throughout our entire life by other people and products. Identify and define the details that make up these two areas for yourself: physical activity, nutrition, and body care. Are they made up from comparison or fear? What habits do you have? Why or where have they developed from? What “image” would allow you to accept your physical self fully? What food makes you feel great? What effort are you willing to invest in creating this image? What motivates your image?
3. Intellectual life: What boundaries do you have to ensure quality mental health?
Your intellectual life consists of two parts — input and output. Input is the information that’s coming into your head. While, output is the thinking and processing you do to come up with a decision. How are you nuritiousing both? Are you in control of your input and output? How do your actions and reactions influence the wholeness of these two experiences? How are they managed? What systems or habits do you have in place to maintain their influence in your life?
4. Emotional Life: How do you want to experience your life?
If you want a great life, you have to choose to focus on quality emotions consistently. One of the biggest skills you can learn is to exercise the skill of focus. Through the ability to control your focus, you will gain a tremendous amount of awareness and control over your day to day experiences. The trick is to develop this skill, even when it seems petty. I can share with you, having a strong control over my ability to focus my emotions probably saved my ass this past year. Every emotion you’ll experience in your life is chosen 100% by you. You get to set personal goals for those emotions that you want to consistently experience in your life. Equally, you get to choose to not focus on those that do not serve the vision you have for yourself.
5. Character: What personal traits do you want to live through?
Reflecting on character is often skipped and overlooked. Your character traits are the foundation of what you, those you love, those who are close to, and those who come into your life – experience from you. What are your core traits and how do you want people to experience those when they share time and space with you. Are you true to your word, actions, goals and so on. What “character” do you want to bring into your life?
My core character traits are: honest, humble, genuine, tolerant, kind
6. Spirituality: Who or what is your greater connection to?
Almost all of what we believe about spirituality comes from what we were told as a kid, by our parents, our church or religious institution or by any other member of our family. Until I was 27 years old, I believed spiritually was related to a religion. The word pray scared me. It wasn’t until I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert that I realized spirituality was greater than I was taught. I, also, realized that it was not necessarily to name a religious denomination to describe my unique truth. Nor, is it yours if you choose not to. Take a deep look at your own beliefs and document them. This is an eye-opening experience that is not only challenging, but freeing in the same practice.
7. Love and relationships: How willing are you to allow yourself to be deeply loved?
Your love relationship(s) is a subject that, perhaps more than any other, directly affects your level of happiness. This is where you will examine your deepest held beliefs about love (which control your behavior in this area or your life). By defining your values and expectations about love, you are able to achieve clarity on what you want and need from your love relationship(s). With this, you will also be able to define your personal boundaries related to your love relationship(s). Extraordinary relationships are an ongoing reflection of the work both people truly commit to doing. Furthermore, if you have clarity and boundaries, it is very easy to see where love is not. Through your love relationship(s) you will develop specific strategies you can use to go deeper into the love relationship(s) you have and desire. Disclaimer: This element requires a safe place where you are able to be vulnerable and respected.
8. Parenting: What do you want your children to experience from you?
Raising a child is one of the most powerful, deepest experiences life has to offer. Identify and examine what / where your beliefs about what defines a good parent come from. Reflect on who your children are, as individuals, and how you can support / guide them towards the growth they desire – both in the short term and long term. Draw your attention to the key values of your home and create a clear vision for parenting your children. Define the kind of relationship you want to share with your children, while developing a clear strategy that will support that relationship. Perhaps, and most importantly, you’ll realize what an incredibly important example you set by the way you live in each of these elements and how they directly serve or limit your child and their development towards independence.
9. Social Life: Who is in your inner circle?
You are the sum of the people closest to you. Your friends and acquaintances DO MATTER. DIve deep into your social life and the relationship you choose to make. Explore the profound reality of the effects and outcomes that this element has on your life. We’ve all heard it from our parents – you are who you hang out with. It’s true.
10. FInances: What is your relationship with money?
True financial abundance comes from your relationship with money. The best financial advice and guidance that I was ever given was that money is to be used as a tool, not as a need. How do you prioritize money in your life? Do you understand the true value and power that money allows you? Are your habits in alignment with your financial goals? Understanding the role of money and how it plays in your life will give you Infinitely more control of your financial world … and even freedom eventually.
11. Career: How do you want to spend 80% of your day for 50% of your life?
When it comes to career, we have a wider range of choices than ever before in human history. There are hundreds of professions that didn’t exist a few decades ago. What are the results of all these wonderful opportunities? Information overload. There are too many choices. In all honesty, many people are overwhelmed by the idea of choosing one career path. Not to mention the distraction of beliefs and influences that more often than not guide us towards a path that is not true to our own self. Be real with who you are and step forward from there. There is no reason that you have to suffer in a career that you chose when you did not have a relationship with your true self.
12. Quality of life: What would you choose if you could choose anything to have in your life?
This element is about your happiness and joy. This is where you define the stuff you want. If you’re a “car person” this is where your cars live. If you’re a boat person, this is where you create and manifest that vision. If you are a global traveller, this is where you put your wings on. This is where your dream house lives. It’s where that bucketlist lives. This is where all the material rewards for doing consistent work can be found. This element is made up of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly habits / routine that are consistently executed as your lifestyle. It all adds up to create your quality of life.
13. Service: How often do you serve others needs selflessly?
To give from a place of love freely without the expectation of receiving an intended outcome is powerful. Not only are you developing the skill of selflessness, but you are expanding yourself to limitless experiences that may grow you forward into a space of unknown pleasure. You’ve probably heard it before, “What you give comes back to your 10 fold.” I believe this to be true/ However, it is often returned in areas of your life that are needed, not wanted.
The 3 Action Steps
1. Life vision: How do you create if you don’t know what you are trying to create?
Your Life Vision is the most important first step you can take towards beginning a journey into your wholeness. This is where all the quiet thoughts and desires from your heart start to come together. It’s here that you’ll realize that the 13 Elements are far more than just 13 things. It’s about one big thing – you. By focusing on the most important single aspect of your journey towards wholeness – a singular, compelling vision will work as a guide towards who you want to become and the life you want to live.
2. Goal setting: What benchmarks do you need to get to where you want to be?
If you have made it this far, you’ve clarified what you want out of life. This step allows you the space you need to put in motion the habits and routines to create the effect you’re growing towards. Additionally, it gives you a plan that outlines what it will take to achieve your vision – overall and within each element.
3. Taking action: Are you willing and able to do the work to live your life?
This part of your journey is simple in essence, but only powerful if you take the steps you have outlined consistently until they become – you. A great place to start is to take a look at one of the most important goals in your life and take one powerful action toward the accomplishment of that goal. Preferably, you could choose a big, bold, and meaningful action that will really surge your growth forward. This may challenge your comfort zone, as it is meant to be a large step towards a new growth. The main objective is for you to feel that your life has moved in the direction you want it to – and action is the active ingredient!