Cup 5 | Elle Luna

Roll up your sleeves and start working.

Elle Luna found what so many young professionals are looking for: her dream job.

She was was well-regarded designer in San Francisco with a resume that included Silicon Valley stars: IDEO, Mailbox, Uber and Medium.

Then she quit.

To paint.


She traded a solid career path for the uncertainty of following the little voice in her head that kept pulling, nudging, and encouraging her to follow her heart. Elle found the studio space of her dreams, painted nonstop for four months, took a transformational trip to Bali and had her first-ever gallery showing, which was a huge success. A year after taking her leap she is flourishing in unexpected ways with continued opportunities for gallery shows, speaking engagements and progress toward new creative business endeavors.  

Elle makes it look so easy but the truth is that her journey, like all good journeys, has been filled with uncertainty and unknowns.  

Elle is in her early thirties with a soft smile that radiates warmth and openness – soft-spoken but in an enlivened and purposeful way. We met in her inspired San Francisco studio, sun streaming through the windows atop of her high walls illuminating her two fresh, triangle-inspired paintings against the wall and a whimsical rope swing in the center of the room. Snuggled in her her cozy seating area, her dog Tilly snuggled in her lap, we chatted about the fear and magic of chasing crazy dreams.

Elle’s act of leaving the comforts of conventional livingh to embrace the unknown is enviable. It was also the basis for a talk Elle gave outlining her recipe for taking big leaps. The title was Find Your Must and the premise is that everyone is born with a unique gift that only they can give. The trick is to discover what that gift is and then give it away mercifully.

It’s worth a watch, but here’s the recipe in a nutshell:


  1. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE: Start trusting your intuition and crazy ideas in the back of your mind.  
  2. THE LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN: Take action toward your idea!

  3. THE POINT OF NO RETURN: The scary and vulnerable stage where you question everything—keeping moving forward!

  4. THE GREAT REWARD: The space where you have found your gift and are able to give it away mercifully, which is the greatest feeling in the world.

The talk hit home with people because deep down, we all feel that burning desire to uncover our purpose—to be alive and connected to something that matters.

So if the recipe is simple and proven, why aren’t more people giving their gift?

It’s not a lack of knowledge.

It’s a lack of guts.

The great leap is scary. This is why Elle receives countless messages from people relaying the same thing: Yes! I want to find my must, how do I do it?  

Elle’s response is simple: you already have all the answers. Go do it.

"You don’t need any more handholding and you don’t need any more inspiration. I’ll talk for myself. For, it felt like months, I was reading books and looking online and researching places and thinking about paints and I got to a point where it was like, Girl, you’ve had enough inspiration. It is time to actually just roll up your sleeves and do the work. Like actually start cutting or chopping or laying out color or mixing or just drawing, who knows but just start doing something, anything, and the next step in all of this thing whatever it is that has started from that talk is just to do something and do something today."


It’s going to be scary and there’s no way around it—there is no magical antidote to eliminate the fear.

We search for answers, search for answers, search for answers. But after you’ve done enough searching, the answer is action.

“You’ve got to start saying ‘No’. You do have to be selfish, you do have to kind of put up some walls and protect your space and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to go on a little inward journey right now and I’m going to make time everyday or every week, every weekend that’s sacred’ and it’s just about investing in this thing.”

And with time your investment begins to grow until your small leaps of courage turn into big leaps that lead you closer and closer to your must: the gift you were meant to give to the world, the gift that brings you fulfillment and happiness.


It’s not easy to find because it’s not supposed to be—your gift is your most valuable possession. But if Elle’s glowing contentment is any indication, finding it is certainly worth embracing the uncertainty and adventure.

This week, Elle launched The Bulan Project, which creates limited edition livable art that is beautiful, thoughtful, and above all else, functional. For the first issue, Elle worked with artisanal group in Bali that felt like family and worked with ethics, intention, and impeccable craft to create a beautiful textile inspired by the moon’s cycles of change and transformation. Find out more about these limited edition pieces at Bulan Project

Illustrations are from Elle’s ‘Find Your Must’ talk. Check it out!