No attachment to final outcomes — Sometimes we have a vision of the way things should be and more often then not, they don’t turn out that way. They turn out better than we every imagined it to be. If something is not working and we have tried other avenues, it is time to step back and see what happens.

For my series on strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing actress Elena Murzello. Elena is also a Registered Nurse, MBA grad and author of The Love List: A Guide To Getting Who You Want, published in 2013. She holds both SAG and ACTRA qualifications for her reoccurring acting role on the Showtime series The L Word, (available on Netflix) and contributes to several online outlets including Cosmopolitan UK, Huffington Post Canada and Thrive Global.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thanks so much for the interview. I will be the first to tell you my career path is not the norm. As an Aquarian, I think that my love for both arts and sciences has pulled me in two completely different directions. Yet, I still manage to fuel both consistently. Always indulging in arts while I was in nursing school created a nice balance. Pursuing acting after I graduated Nursing gave me the great advantage of perspective on everything — real life and make believe. Working on a graduate degree while working as a nurse, consolidated my natural creative skills. Building relationships after my book was published, opened doors to contribute to outlets as a freelancer.

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

I think that living “on purpose” means having intention and being able to carry it forward. You are guided in a certain direction based on your work ethic and what you breathe your energy into. Being authentic to how you live your live is a way to achieve living “on purpose”, which can be hard to do if you are situations where you are suppressed based on ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation etc.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

My life has not been the same since I wrote my book. It starts off with the break up of a ten-year relationship that was a dark period of my life where I hibernated. I worked full time, went to grad school part time and then wrote in my free time. I kept myself busy. After the book was published, I felt lighter and there was new lease on life. People are surprised to hear that I did not enjoy writing or thought I would pursue any form of writing before my book came along. Writing my book changed my life in more ways then I ever imagined.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

The ranking is based on a cumulative score of life expectancy, social support, income, freedom, trust and generosity. Although there is a general awareness of health prevention measures, it may not be high enough to affect life expectancy. I believe the current political climate may inform the general feeling of freedom, trust and generosity in the country.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I would like to think that I have used my writings to either inspire people to think of things differently, shed light on topics that warrant discussion or at the bare minimum work foster teamwork with cool people.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

1) “Getting off the rollercoaster” — If ever I feel overwhelmed or if I feel like too much stuff is happening all at once I think to myself, I can always get off the rollercoaster. Then it becomes a decision of what would life be life off the rollercoaster.

2) “What is the alternative?” — When things happen beyond my control, things can either be seen as negative (and you go down a rabbit hole of dissecting of how it happened) or you can see it in an alternative light.

3) Hard work — I always give 10 000% in everything. This way, I am never disappointed because I know that I did everything I could in a situation. There is no regret or second-guessing because everything else is beyond my control.

4) No attachment to final outcomes — Sometimes we have a vision of the way things should be and more often then not, they don’t turn out that way. They turn out better than we every imagined it to be. If something is not working and we have tried other avenues, it is time to step back and see what happens.

5) The “How” is irrelevant — So often an idea will come up in my head but I will have no idea how I am going to get there. Sometimes I know the first few steps, but there are gaps missing. And that’s ok. It’s really about listening to what is presented to you and how you can connect the dots to move forward.

6) Trusting your instinct — It takes a while to decipher how a gut feeling can guide you. Sometimes it can be mistaken for fear. You can learn to build it when you trust yourself when you are in situations that are right; you will have zero doubt.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

The Alchemist is a great one. I also like biographies and I am looking forward to reading Michelle Obama’s, Becoming. I follow a few inspirational feeds on Instagram including @cleowade @hdfmagazine @mindsetofgreatness @amessageoflove @thegoodquote. They are a nice positive reminder every now and then.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

To stay present and be open. It’s something easy to do when things are going well in your life. Yet, when you are thrown for a loop, or someone/something hurts you, it is hard to be open when all you want to do is hibernate and protect yourself. My greatest joys in my life have been when I have taken chance and risks and I am not vested on the outcome. In fact, there could be several outcomes and at that moment — it does not even matter. Anything can happen. There is something to be said about trusting your gut, yet I also think that sometimes we can confuse gut feelings with being scared.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am always working on new projects. After my book, I realized that I only want to work on extra curricular projects that I love and that bring me joy. Working on projects for other reasons can make the work mundane and futile. I must have a vested interest in the work.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would be to have the courage to live authentically. To keep the outside noise at bay and really pursue things in your life that speaks to your talent. It sounds simple, but it’s a very hard if those around you persuading you to lead your life in the opposite direction.

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