As entrepreneurs we continually create, develop and refine the tools of our trade as we hone our unique approach to solving our client problems.
One of my key tools is the elements of earth, air, fire and water.
It certainly was not design (at least not mine) that brought the elements into play.
It was more of an ambush.
The concept dropped into my consciousness from the aether and refused to give way to more logical and practical matters.
Once I accepted their presence, I came to understand that the elements are the original archetypes of our soul expression. But unlike many archetype and personality-type models they are dynamic and fluid responding to our energy and situations.
They hold vital information and guidance to help all those whose mission is more than business, who are here to create transformation and impact for the world at large.
The elements are the building blocks of form – we are all made of them and depend upon them to live. It stands to reason (if not innate knowing) that the energy of the elements can profoundly impact our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state of being.
How many of us feel better for a day out by the sea, on the top of a mountain or lost deep in the woods?
The therapeutic value of the elements is unquestioned on a lay level and by medical professionals. What I have come to understand and put into practice, is their power to unlock business growth.
The Elements as Tools for Growth
Each of the elements has unique characteristics that extend beyond their physical form. These characteristics can support and guide us in designing, creating and communicating – the building blocks of business. These are the creative process in action. Creating anything is a form of expression – whether that is in words or actions matters not. Designing your programmes, your business model or your message is creativity plain and simple.
We are innately and inherently creative beings but that does not make the creative process easy.
What is easy is getting stuck or side tracked when those ideas or plans resist coming into being. If you have stacks of great ideas but find it hard to put them into practice or you start but never really finish projects you are already well aware of the perils of creative side tracking.
Using the energies of the elements can side track that side tracking.
Each element has a unique energy that is a core part of the creative process – when one element is skipped or excluded, the creative process stalls.
Creation is a cycle and it needs to complete a full turn through all the stages – when any stage is skipped, projects falter or get completely stuck and progress no further. They get shelved or consigned to the “maybe another time” pile.
The elements have the power to guide creative projects all the way through to completion and into their next stage of evolution.
The Characteristics of the Elements
Each element brings its own dimensions to the creative process.
Earth brings method and constancy – it anchors projects, programmes and ideas in practical, physical steps and systems that bring it into life.
Air is where there are no boundaries – it is the spirit of “what could be” without the limitations of practicalities. It gives us the freedom to go beyond what is and innovate.
Fire is the passion of belief and conviction. Fire has purpose which initiates and drives action towards a goal. This is the expansive energy of implementation and the charismatic energy of sharing.
Water is relationship building - relationships with self and with others. It consolidates the energy of fire, it flows from the fire into those it touches taking the message and the intent and harbouring it there.
Every element has a vital part to play in the cycle. It is the cycling through the different energies that is the make or break of the experience.
Where do you start?
Where many of us can trip up is starting creative endeavours in the wrong place – for us as individuals.
There is no one single creative process that we all fit into – our unique creative cycle depends on how we relate to the individual elements.
We often look to others to create or design systems that we can work with. Sometimes this works brilliantly, but more often than not it feels scratchy and difficult. It’s probably not that the system is flawed but that the starting place or energetic emphasis is wrong for you.
We each have a particular affinity with one element and it is this element that determines where we should start in the creative cycle.
If that element is fire and your process or system asks you to start with the earth related practical steps, you will feel like a caged animal. If that element is earth and the process asks you to start with the wide expansive air possibilities of what could be – you will retreat into your burrow and resist coming out with the tenacity of an earthworm besieged by starlings.
To know where to start to get the best out of your creative activities, you need to know which element calls you and defines the energy of your creativity. This is your Power Element.
I generally describe your Power Element as where you feel most at home. This isn’t about comfort zones (far from it) but where your expression flows most naturally. Many people assume that this is linked to their zodiac sign but, more often than not, it isn’t.
When you know your Power Element, you know where to start your creative activities. For earth it is in the practical matters of what needs to be done, for air in the unblinkered freedom of dot connecting and innovation, for fire in talking and taking action and for water in connecting and feeling into the idea and possibility.
From this starting point, you can consciously create a flow that taps into all the elements of creativity in the right order for you.
Simply allowing yourself to move through the 4 keys phases of creativity in order will have huge positive impacts on your planning and delivery of new business streams.
Your Power Element is just the beginning of what is possible.
Each of us is a unique bundle of elemental energies. In different situations we favour the energy of different elements. We may also “fear” some aspects of elemental energies and not use them to full effect.
The classic feared energy is fire. Fire is intensity and passion. It is high octane and all consuming. Many avoid fire for fear of burning out. Now if you stay in the peak of fire energy that will happen. But not everyone’s fire is the same. Some fire is gentle and warming, some is more flowing and others are more raging inferno. Your fire is unique to you. Feeling the energy of your fire is the key to working with it effectively. The same is true of all the elements – feeling into your unique connection to find the energy is where the potential is.
Individual elemental energies come from the balance of all the elements within each of us. You may have a quite distinct preference for water, yet air and earth may influence the way you perceive and act significantly. This changes the energy of your water giving it a different personality to anyone else’s.
Understanding this dramatically boosts the impact of problem solving and the way you respond to situations and people.
In my one to one mentoring with clients, I create a map of elemental energies that empowers them to understand their creative cycle. We then use this to amplify and expand their creativity through applying it to business development and marketing activities. We use it as a foundation for client journey creation, for community engagement and business modelling. As a circular model it is fundamentally and radically different to the classic linear business model which clients find liberating and empowering.
I wasn’t looking for a different model but the elements chose me to convey their power to support creative expression, to use the power of the creative cycle to bring the intangible into the tangible, ideas into action and transformation into global impact – this is what my clients do every day and the elements are proving a powerful ally in their mission.
The elements continue to surprise me every day as new aspects are revealed. And of course, the elements are a continuous cycle so my work will continue to evolve and grow as I follow the spiral through the 4 energies of creativity.