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Last week I wrote about the power of a supportive environment and it hit a chord. Thanks for writing in with your thoughts (and if you missed it you can read it here.)

For this week’s leadership offering, let’s do a deeper dive into the power of the environment. If you are stuck in achieving what you seek, it might not be because of you – it might in fact be the context or the environment you are in.

The environment is context. It determines a huge part of who we are and how we show up in any situation. Our environment, or the context we operate in, shapes behaviour. Not our willpower or motivation! A great example of this is being an audience member. If the context is a football game, and I’m an audience member, it’s completely fine and indeed encouraged to yell, pump my fists, sing loudly, and wave my scarf in the air. The context football game gives rise to my behaviour.

However, if the context is ballet at the theatre, my behaviour will be very different. I’ll clap politely. I’ll stay seated. I’ll dress up a bit. I’ll keep my voice low. I won’t take up space. In both examples, I’m still an audience member, but the context is radically different.

So what sort of environment do you need to be supported? What context is required for you to show up as your most magnificent and empowered self? An Environment Audit can help you identify this. I do this in the Rising program for women. Let’s do a quick drive-by here, for you to get started in your environment audit

Choose some key areas of your life – I’ve got some examples below, and identify what’s not working for you in that environment. (You’ll remember from last week’s newsletter I shared about my work set up.) Consider what you might need to remove or what you need to add to your environment so empowers and enables you.

The aim of the Environment Audit is to get rigorous around what is specifically not working for you, in the different areas below. What are you complaining about or feel constrained by? What are you settling for? What is inhibiting the future you, you now want to be?

I’ve included a few questions to get you started, or to spark your thinking. Play with it, and see what emerges.

  • Home environment: What’s dragging on my energy? Is it the decor I hate, is it the cleaning burden not shared equally? Is it who I’m sharing with?
  • Work environment: Do I have the tools and training I need? What’s missing? Is it unsafe at work? Am I doing work aligned with my values? Is it culturally toxic? In what way?
  • Spiritual or inner environment: Am I always thinking the same kind of thoughts, on a negative loop about something or someone? Am I ignoring my inner life, not nourishing it in the way I know works for me? Am I focused too much on the outer world? Do I create experiences of joy?
  • Physical environment: This is about the body. What’s in my environment that’s not supporting me? Is it certain foods in the cupboard that aren’t good for me? Am I drinking enough water, or sitting for too long? Are there tests I should get done, or a dental visit I am overdue on?
  • Social environment: Do I have enough friends? Do my friends keep me small, or enlarge me? Do I have outlets for fun? Do my friends all look and sound and live like me?
  • Intellectual environment: Am I watching too much stuff that’s not supporting my growth and intelligence? Are there books or articles I could be reading, but I scroll social media instead? Am I reading information that’s challenging my intellect, and not just confirming what I already know and are comfortable with?
  • Global environment:  Am I supporting polluting industries with my investments?  Is my energy consumption too high? Do I shop unethically, buying clothes made in unsafe factories, or single use plastics that I throw into landfill?

Phew! How did you go?

In most sections, there will be something you want to remove or add. Get clear on what that is. To complete the audit, go through each section and identify actions you can take. Make each action specific, and put a time next to it for when it will be completed.

Removing friction and choosing the context and environment we can best show up in allows us to make more of the impact we want to make.