Elatia Abate is a seasoned career coach and entrepreneur who left the corporate world to revolutionize the way people think about careers and making money. She’ll share her secrets to success at the ‘Design Your Dream Job: Fundamentals’ online workshop at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies.

WORK

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I help people reimagine ordinary careers, transforming them into extraordinary experiences – the unbridled joys of being fully ALIVE at work.

What was the inspiration for your career route?
Before I quit the corporate world to work for myself, I spent most of my career interviewing, scouting and recruiting talent all over the world. I got tired of meeting fantastic people – talented, creative, interesting – who weren’t particularly passionate about what they did for work.

I did some research, and it turns out that the large majority of the world is disengaged or highly disengaged at work. (In Canada, it is somewhere between 60 and 70 per cent.) Although the business case for what I do makes itself (this situation costs companies billions of dollars in lost productivity every year), what lights me up is that I think humanity deserves better than to spend more than half of its waking hours doing something that is boring, or worse.

My life’s purpose is to ignite (or reignite) the purpose, passion and fun in others’ lives. I’m obsessed!

What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
I’ve been fortunate to experience some really cool things so far. Quitting the corporate world was huge for me, and the journey I have been on since then is wild. The feeling of being in the classroom, or giving a speech, and watching the wheels start to turn and the light come back on in peoples’ eyes is really freaking amazing!

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
As the next 20 years unfold, I see myself crushing it professionally and continuing to have a blast creating positive change in the world. I have a vision of turning universities into bubbling life design centres. I will create a global network of institutions that show people how to have the experience of being alive at work, preparing people for this exponentially changing world and economy. I want to figure out how to channel all of the latent genius that will be coming online as the internet and technology continues to penetrate the world.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice to others would be to follow the trail of fun. Most of us think that, when it comes to work, we need to be all “serious” because work is “important” and should be treated as such. NOT TRUE. Work doesn’t need to feel like work. Open yourselves up to the possibility that work can bring as much or more joy as our “play time.”

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I support the Anthony Robbins Foundation. Tony Robbins has helped me to completely transform my own life in profound ways. His organization empowers individuals and organizations to make a significant difference in the quality of life of people often forgotten, like youth, homeless and elderly. I believe everybody deserves to live a fulfilling and beautiful life, and his organization works to make that happen.

What is one major challenge that youve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?Making the decision to leave the corporate world and strike out on my own was a tough one – until it wasn’t. I had all these fears about failing. I wasn’t sure how things would turn out. And, thanks to some great coaching, what I realized was that all of those fears were made up stories about a future that didn’t even exist.

What does the word notable mean to you?
Notable means worth talking about – interesting.

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PLAY

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I am a citizen of the world, meaning I travel A LOT. This week, I am in Santa Monica in California. My favourite place to go here is Ivy at The Shore. Great atmosphere, and killer brunch!

Whats the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone? Facebook is definitely the most visited. I love messenger. The GIF keyboard is one of my secret obsessions. The most played song on my phone is “We Own It” by 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa from Fast & Furious 6. It makes me feel like I can crush anything like a boss!

Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Not exactly a person…For all of the good feels, follow Esther The Wonder Pig.

Whats your favourite country to visit and why? And whats the next one you plan on travelling to?
My favourite country to visit is Brazil. I lived there for a few years, and I LOVE it. As of today, my next planned trip is to Australia in May. Exciting times!

What gives you the greatest FOMO?
I don’t really have FOMO… I value freedom and adventure a lot, so I say yes to all of the fun things.

Whats your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching, literally, all of the episodes of Parks and Recreation from all of the seasons on Netflix as often as possible.

Whats something you wish you didnt spend so much money on? Whats something you wish you spent more on?
I don’t really have this kind of push-pull with money. I value experiences a lot more than things. So, if there is a choice between doing something cool or having something cool, almost 100% of the time I’ll pick the experience.

And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success to me is using my time and talent to help others improve the quality of their lives. It is experiencing the things that I value – growth, love, contribution, freedom, adventure – as often as possible. It is living a life in a beautiful state no matter what.

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