When I first started in business, I participated in a mentorship program to guide me. We began by talking about how to get in touch with our ‘essence’. This was the first step in determining what the foundation of our business would be.

Our Own Unique Gifts

Prior to this, I had always thought starting an online business would involve looking at the market, seeing where there’s a need, and filling it. I quickly learned that in the new paradigm of business, this is not the case. Instead, we identify our own unique gifts and then decide how to connect them with our people.

However, we can’t know what our gifts are or who our people are until we explore who WE are and what the essence of that is.

What Is Your Essence?

Our essence is defined as that invisible quality that radiates from you when you are doing things that make time stop for you, those times when you look up and realize it’s gotten dark outside while you were engrossed in whatever you were doing.

No that doesn’t include Facebooking 🙂

When we are in this flow, we are aligned with our essence. This allows us to express ourselves in ways that reflect our core values.
Connecting with ourselves in this way also provides inner guidance to help us connect with the outer world in a way that reflects our true purpose.

Expressing My Essence

After what turned into 4 years of exploring what my true essence actually entails, I finally got very clear on this.
My essence as I now understand it includes being an animal lover, someone who loves books and stories and words, someone who enjoys figuring out why people behave as they do, and someone who loves water, mountains, trees and wildlife.
Hence I became a therapist and a writer who lives by the sea surrounded by mountains, trees, and animals.

Staying True

My essence also includes the fact that I am a survivor of abuse and neglect. But I have felt wary about sharing this. Anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional environment will know that sharing the truth is often heavily frowned upon. Secrets are the order of the day.
But I reminded myself that many of the people I follow online have shared their stories – whether it be grief, loss, family dysfunction, or how to create a cottage garden – and that is how I found them.

They didn’t keep it inside, instead they make a difference in this world by expressing themselves authentically and unapologetically. As a result, this allows others to connect with them, and in turn possibly become clearer about their own essence and purpose.

In the midst of my explorations, I made the decision to study art therapy because it became clear that this was the way to connect one of my core values (creativity) with my purpose (supporting those who are struggling to be heard and acknowledged) while staying true to my own essence.
If you’re struggling to decide the focus of your business and who it serves, ask your essence to guide you. All the answers are inside you. We create our lives from the inside out.

Leanne ChapmanLeanne Chapman is a therapist, writer, dreamer, night owl, animal lover and introverted homebody. She knew she was a writer from early childhood but it took decades to find her voice. In the meantime, Leanne became a therapist, trying to help others make sense of their lives as well as learning to understand her own. She now lives in a wooden pole home amongst the trees with her rescue cat Jade, where she works with clients and writes about love, loss, and healing. You can find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ClaimYourTreasure/) and her blog (http://claimyourtreasure.com/).


  1. Sibylle

    Everything you say rings so true, Leanne. It’s that saying, don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive… 🙂

  2. Leanne

    Thanks lovely Sibylle – I love that saying and as it turns out, it’s totally true!


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