Marianne Elliott

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An unexpected journey.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

I got a job.

I know. A job. It’s a bit of a surprise to me too. After being self-employed for the past four years, I didn’t expect to go back on anyone’s payroll. But this is no ordinary job. It’s the perfect job for an entrepreneurial advocate & story-teller like me.

About six months ago, when I got back from my book tour in the US, Canada and Europe, I had a very clear sense that I wanted to get back into working more directly on social justice, human rights, environmental justice and democracy. I was coming to the end of a four year cycle of commitment to my book – two years of writing and re-writing plus two years of launching, touring and talking about the book – and with an election looming in New Zealand, I had a sense of urgency about getting back into the change-maker saddle.

There were also changes happening at the restaurant, which meant I wasn’t needed there in the same way. My partner was leaving his job to take over the full-time responsibility of running our restaurant, freeing me up to find a new project.

What happened was the day after my partner finished his job, I was offered a job – as National Director of ActionStation.

ActionStation is an independent community advocacy organisation that enables individuals and organisations with progressive values to take powerful, coordinated action for a fair society, a healthy environment and accountable politics. Based on very successful campaigning models like GetUp, MoveOn and 38Degrees – but with a distinctly Kiwi focus, ActionStation is independent and democratic, co-ordinating online and offline action to hold powerful political and corporate interests to account.

This job will take courage, creativity & curiosity. It will give me the chance to play a part in rejuvenating democracy and promoting equity and transparency in New Zealand. My success in the role will depend on my ability to build trust and connections. Above all else, it’s a start-up – so I’ll get to build it from the ground up (although there is an excellent foundation already in place) which means I feel more like an entrepreneur than an employee. All of which makes it the perfect job for me.

What does this mean for my online programs?

Well, thanks to the amazing team who have been helping me run those online programs for the past few years, little will need to change. Nita, Brit and Lesleigh (aka Team Awesome) will continue to make sure registration opens and closes on time, they’ll answer your administrative questions, resolve any technical problems you might have, and be your first point of call at all times. Amanda will continue to co-teach the aid worker course with me. Anna will continue to be the lead teacher on the Curvy course. Lesleigh, a wise and compassionate yoga teacher who shares my philosophy and approach to yoga, will help answer yoga questions in the beginners, busy and standard versions of the course.

What does this mean for my writing?

I’m not entirely sure. I expect that much of my writing energy will be taken up with producing engaging, inspiring content for ActionStation campaigns, although I also expect I’ll still have things to say (or write) about my eternal themes of courage, compassion, curiosity, clarity and change – which you can expect to find on my blog as usual. I am working on another book idea, and I’m part of a writing group which I hope will encourage me to keep working on that in the wee hours of the morning.

Whatever else happens, I plan to keep sending a once-a-month round up of what I’ve been learning, reading, watching, writing. If you aren’t getting those already, you can sign up to get them here.

Horia Mosadiq on living without regret

Friday, March 21, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

Today I’m sharing a snippet of wisdom from the last of our guest teachers in the upcoming session of 30 Days of Courage – Horia Mosadiq. I met Horia in Kabul, where we worked together at a human rights organisation. From the moment I got off the plane Horia, who was waiting for me in […]

Andrea Scher On The Courage To Trust Yourself

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

Last week I told you a little about Andrea Scher – and what she helped me understand about the courage to trust that our work has it’s own place and purpose in the world. But the truth is that Andrea has helped me learn many things over the years. Andrea lives an ocean away from […]

Amanda Blake on Sweaty Feet (or, Your Body + Fear)

Saturday, March 15, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

I’ve been fascinated by the biology of fear – and courage – for years. I first noticed, in detail, my own physical reaction to fear while I was in Afghanistan. Obviously, before then I was already familiar in a generic way with the relationship between stress or fear and sweaty palms. I have very specific […]

The courage to trust — a wise snippet from Kate Swoboda

Thursday, March 13, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

Almost two years ago, when I was launching the 30 Days of Courage course for the first time, I got an email from Kate Swoboda — who I already knew as Courageous Kate — a life coach and author, creator of the website and of the Courageous Coaching Training Program. Kate was writing to let me know […]

We need you. No one else will do.

Saturday, March 8, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

I want to live in a world where we all work together to find solutions to the big challenges facing the planet, where every person on the planet knows that their part in the big pictures matters and that their story needs to be heard.

I’m so tired of seeing amazing people – like you – being told that they are not qualified enough, not important enough, not educated enough, not famous enough to make a difference. I’m tired of hearing brilliant women (and men) tell me they don’t have anything important to say or do, or that someone else can say it just as well.
It’s not true.
No-one else will do. We are all in this together.
And we need you.

I want you to know how important your voice and your participation is for the future of our planet –and to I want you to have the courage you need to tell your story and play your part.

How Jen Louden, Danielle LaPorte & Rachel Cole changed my puritanical view on desires

Saturday, March 1, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

It’s the beginning of a new year, and it seemed like a good moment to revisit my systems, including how I plan my days. I’m a minimalist when it comes to planning. I plan as much as I need to: to reduce stress for myself and others; to give myself some parameters around how much will be enough so that I don’t work all night; and to make sure the things that really matter to me happen.

But I’ve always been wary of traditional approaches to planning – guided as they often seem to be by external ideas of success, and sufficiency. Many planning approaches feel too restrictive and rigid for me – as someone with a constitutional tendency towards rigidity, the last thing I need is a rigid planning tool!

So I was excited when two of the women I’ve learned the most from over the past four years as a business owner – Jen Louden and Danielle LaPorte – recently released (or in Jen’s case, re-released) books sharing their own approach to planning.

What 41 years have taught me

Thursday, February 6, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

Nearly two years ago I woke up on my 40th birthday in the tiny town of Chagcharan, in the mountains of Afghanistan and wrote: Yesterday was my 40th birthday. I woke up thinking of all the people who I’ve loved who didn’t make it to 40. I was at once sad and deeply grateful to […]

Food guilt in Ghor [seven years later]

Saturday, February 1, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

This week I’m revisiting posts I wrote nearly seven years ago, when I was living and working in Afghanistan, as a way of reminding myself why I decided to commit myself to creating resources and tools to help aid workers – and other people in caring professions – to take better care of themselves. Here’s […]

4.00am [revisited seven years later]

Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

This week I’m revisiting posts I wrote nearly seven years ago, when I was living and working in Afghanistan, as a way of reminding myself why I decided to commit myself to creating resources and tools to help aid workers – and other people in caring professions – to take better care of themselves. Here’s […]

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