We had the good fortune of connecting with Elena Rangel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elena, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As a queer, creative, loving, dynamic human, coming into my full truth was a risk from the beginning. I grew up and came out as gay in a conservative state where homophobia is part of casual conversation. Having to come out in that space paved the way for me to continue to follow my truth because I learned I could not hide who I was. This was before the open conversations about sexuality and gender that we are seeing today. Even though the outside world wasn’t always so kind, I was blessed to be in a family that was fully loving and accepting. So from a very young age, I chose to follow my joy and take the risk. That decision as a teenager has shaped so much of my life.
I knew that the traditional path that we were fed as kids wasn’t going to work for me, so I ignored the advice of every adult in my life and I didn’t go to college. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I did know it wouldn’t be found following a well worn path. I took risks by staying open to different types of jobs, saying yes and allowing each new experience to shape and teach me what I did and didn’t want.
When I was 24 I left a stable job I’d been at for three years. I’d excelled and moved up the ladder of leadership fairly quickly and soaked up the opportunities for growth that were there. On the surface it seemed like a great place, but the truth was that I was miserable inside and simply scared to leave and start over. Eventually I decided that my mental health was more important, and I left the job and went on unemployment. That risk of leaving the “good” job was what pushed me to find work that fueled my soul and had me excited about my career path again. I had to step away from what looked right on paper to find my career and eventually start the business that fulfills my life in every way.
The biggest thing I want people to take with them is that, no matter what you’re searching for, safety and stability are never guaranteed. All we can do is listen to what the heart wants and follow the joy. Passion and fulfillment are all on the other side of risk. I learned at a young age that I can’t shy away from transformation and evolution just because for the moment, life is good and easy. No one has ever achieved greatness by being satisfied by good or easy.
So take the risk! Take the leap and take it with full faith that there is something better on the other side. Ignore the naysayers because that is someone else’s fear talking. Take the risk. The life that is on the other side of it is so worth it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The work I do today combines my education in body work and yoga with life coaching. Our bodies hold all the answers and if we listen, we can heal and overcome even the greatest of challenges. I specialize in one on one sessions with clients who struggle with addiction, mental health or those striving to create a life filled with true happiness and fulfillment.
In my life I’ve had to overcome the challenges of anxiety, depression and addiction. I use those experiences to help guide others to reconnect with their bodies and overcome the blocks. So often we let those old wounds and patterns be the guiding force in our lives, and it leads us to a future that is full of fear and dissatisfaction. Pain, obstacles and fear are all a part of life, but do we have the tools we need to move through them and come out on the other side stronger and more capable?
The lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn every day are endless. Some of the greatest gifts that I’ve come to realize – especially in this last year – is the value of taking action and letting go of the result. One of my favorite ways to approach any situation is, “I trust that whatever is on the other side of this is better.” Just that simple mantra helps me move through moments when I’m questioning what to do. For me, I realized that I just have to take action and then live in the faith. I help my clients realize what that action is for them and I help them build an unshakeable faith.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Depending on what you like to do, Los Angeles is basically a giant “choose your own adventure” playground. When it’s warm outside I’ll hit up Venice Beach for skating on the boardwalk, especially to watch the sunset. My friends over at The Dream Team Society host surf meetups on the weekends to get women and gender non-conforming individuals into the water, creating a safe space to learn something new. I love to hit up Malibu for hiking and a jump in the ocean on the way home. My favorite food is in Silverlake. I highly recommend Bowery Bungalow for dinner or brunch; you can’t go wrong either way. Night + Market Song is my favorite Thai spot, and it’s also the best for people watching! Just make sure you don’t mind waiting, there’s always a line (it’s worth it). For a super cute date night be sure to catch a drive in movie at the Andaz West Hollywood. If you’re in the mood for drinks and a view, Mama Shelter in Hollywood never fails to deliver both.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Today I want to highlight my friend’s over at The Dream Team Society. They do incredible work to create an inclusive community in the surf world. Learning how to surf this past summer was a huge shift in my perspective of “hard” things. Surfing is hard and can be scary but the opportunity to be taught by queer women that are passionate and encouraging made the whole experience fun and empowering. I fell in love instantly and I think everyone should follow what they are doing and support women led initiatives. The world needs more communities like this one and I am very grateful to call them friends.
There are so many people I could list in this section but that would take up the whole article. I do want to mention my family. My family is my biggest support without a doubt. Knowing I have them behind me has paved the way for me to follow my dreams.