What if I told you changing your physical environment was part of the answer?
Let’s talk about the Power of Place.
Imagine yourself working in the following settings:
You are in the middle of a desert, in a pure white room filled with golden light. Outside is triple digit heat. Melting time. The room is air-conditioned to the perfect temperature to keep you lettuce-crisp, alert and comfortable. Never mind it is a converted RV with fake wood wrapped around its metal body. Nor decorated in EZ-recliner beige-and-blue middle brow taste. The soul spaciousness it provides is immense.
Every wall is filled with your thoughts and creations, your sand-dune dreams inked onto poster-sized Post-Its.
Outside, palm trees sway. The distant mountains are pale and pointed against a clear blue sky. Like your sharpened brain. But you don’t even look at them because you are so focused on your work. What matters is the blank canvas the quiet desert provides. Days go by with no human contact and you relish the solitude.
Your brain fills in the blanks. Your soul can finally breathe.
You are a guest in a seasonal home in a beachy-chic town in a foreign country. All around you, the sussurous sound of a foreign language. Everyone looks exotic and inviting. The house is airy, fashioned from wood-and-glass, designed by a renowned local architect.
There is the exquisite smell of burning eucalyptus wood, the hum of lawn mowers and tree-trimmers, the bustle and clatter of housemaids. There is always someone around, tending to the house, the grounds, you. Sometimes when you meditate, a gardener passes by with loud scissoring hedge clippers and you forget your serenity. Yet the fire and the smoke tap your most primal self. Your essence.
Every day, you set up your work at a wooden table outside with a view onto a green marsh. The soft ocean air luffs against your skin and you can’t help smiling. Birds and clouds drift by. Some days, men with strong jawlines and straight backs ride by on horses. The original, mythic cowboys.
It is so lovely, there are times you find yourself spaced out. In a trance state of pure gazing. The nearby beach and all the novelty is a siren call from your work. You are distracted. Yet you are filled with joy and renewed vigor.
You are tucked away in a forested mountaintop, in a rental house filled with strangely luminous Sanskrit art and leafy plants. The ceilings are so high you feel your lungs expand and your creative mind rise to the rafters. Your heart expands as the dappled sun filters through the skylights. The scent of sweetgrass burning. A fresh cup of rosehip tea steams at your side as you work, standing. Feet planted firmly on cool tiles. Every chakra is activated, engaged. Your content generator and blog-writer is on full throttle.
Outside, a blue jay squawks. A sparrow thuds up a metal step ladder resting against a live oak. Step. By. Step. Choppers fly overhead. Young men shoot hoops at a homemade basketball court. Someone strums guitar and sings an earnest rendition of a Woody Guthrie tune. Content flows, even though you itch for a decadent party or a debauched night at a cityslick bar. You quash the restlessness with a hooping session on the creaking wooden deck. World moves on a woman’s hips. Wind chimes sound. The Peruvian hammock swings. You are in the eternal groove. Grounded and committed.
Do you know what your optimal work environment is?
Did any of the above resonate?
Take this moment to write down a list of five essentials for Your Optimal Environment. Don’t overthink it! Set a timer for five minutes.
Voila! Did you learn anything about yourself? What you truly need to shine and focus in your work? Perhaps this is the first time you’ve deeply considered your surroundings. The power of place. Congratulations!
Mine, so far, are the following:
2. Proximity to Nature
3. Clean and uncluttered
4. Aesthetically pleasing design and furnishings
5. Blank white walls
Most of you know, I am taking a year as a digital nomad. A global wanderer. The rule I set myself is that I am not allowed to find a permanent base.
When you are truly nomadic — when each place you land becomes your home, for the time you spend there — it changes the game. Completely. You notice things you wouldn’t notice if you knew you had the comfort of home to return to.
Add into the mix running a business from the road. The plot thickens.
Confession: the locations I mentioned above were all places I stayed or am staying during my journey, which started the end of February.
Of course my personal bias affected the descriptions! Also, they are incomplete. I could write volumes on each special spot! Still, I hope the sketches of settings give you some grasp on and help trigger what places have inspired or deadened YOU during your time as a creative adventurer, as an entrepreneur. As an author, speaker, coach. Let me know by posting in the comments below!
As I continue my experiment this year, I am testing to see what are the essential ingredients to my ideal environment. The setting which inspires and fires me up the most.
I challenge you to do the same!
I’m not asking you to leave your homes! You do not have to follow my extreme example. Instead, here are some simple suggestions to see if you can improve your environment for more productivity and more pleasure!
Change your office. Why not rearrange the furniture? Go Feng Shui on your office (or office space if you work at home.) Experiment for a week and see if it feels better and you shift your results. Then do the same by trying the following: De-clutter. Add plants. Add art. Dress differently when you come to work! Either dress to the nines, or perhaps dress in a wig, a kimono, glitter platforms!
Change your workspace. Why not experiment with new places to work? Try a space outside your office or home! Why not a few hours at the fanciest resort hotel in town, or a funky cafe, or the botanical gardens. The zoo. A museum. A junkyard. See what happens!
I’d love to know what works, what doesn’t. And to hear your adventures.
You run your own business. Your physical environment is an integral part of your business. So give it some attention to see if that focus shifts your work into a creative, inspired flow. Let’s get rid of procrastination and welcome inspiration and electric energy.
Environment extends beyond physical setting. Environment is also about your body. Your human connections. Your mind. Stay tuned for more blog posts about those other kinds of environment, and how you can maximize them for the best business and life.
Here’s to your improved energy and creative flow in your brand new domain!
Yrs in truth,