The story of Barbara, elements, One Octopus and Grace

The story of Barbara, elements, One Octopus and Grace

barbaraelements hair beauty lifestyle salon owner Barbara McNaughton talks about her new venture, One Octopus, the importance of learning in her life and her mantra of ‘grace, simply courage under pressure.’

Barbara has owned the salon and training academy in Oxted for the last thirty years. The elements lifestyle team work closely and develop their skills using a learning and personal development system which identifies their individual behaviours, communication style, strengths and weaknesses. It supports them in setting small goals to work towards, which when added together, amount to significant achievements in their career and personal lives.

This system has been invested in and One Octopus, Barbara’s latest venture, is an online version which will enable more people to take control of their lives and achieve their full potential.


A passionate believer in lifelong learning Barbara and the elements lifestyle team have won numerous awards for their apprenticeship training and were invited to White Hall earlier this year to discuss apprenticeships with Nick Clegg and members of the government. But where does this desire to support others in their personal development come from?

It all began many moons ago when Barbara was staying with family in Canada. She explains ‘I was at a particularly challenging point in my life; I was emotionally raw and struggling to deal with various things that were impacting on my personal life. I started going to the gym with my Uncle Dave who has always been an inspiration in my life. I knew that physical exercise was good for my emotional health and whilst running on the treadmill I spotted a poster on the wall. There was an eye-catching image that caught my attention and when I took a closer look there was an adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway quote;

‘Grace, simply courage under pressure.’

It struck a chord with me; the words motivated me to find that extra bit of energy to keep going when faced with hurdles and challenges. It reminded me to always reflect my grace when feeling under pressure and to try to keep my cool and find the courage to move forward. I am a fan of Beyonce and she has an alter ego called Sasha Fierce, a character she becomes when performing on stage. This alter ego is braver, stronger, more confident than the real Beyonce. In a similar way I have Grace, she has been my inner strength, my motivator to always move forward in life and to believe in, to see and to bring out the best in other people as well as myself.

The definition of Grace became a key element in our team training and ethos.

The ‘elements of Grace’ helped us all focus on growing as a supportive team and delivering great customer service to our clients. The ‘Grace’ persona now embodies the theory of the development of One Octopus.

I am passionate about looking after, supporting and developing our team at elements. I want to enable them to enjoy a happy working life, and to offer our clients an enjoyable and positive experience every single time they walk through the door of our Oxted salon.’


One Octopus launches shortly and is an online version of the personal development system that has been used in practise in the elements salon for the last 30 years. One Octopus is delivered through a task-driven, fun and engaging system, helping people identify their long-term goals, gain support and check off those every day challenges that always seem to stand in the way of progress.

Not everyone needs an alter ego like Sasha Fierce or Grace but we can all benefit from support, motivation, and a system that enables us to take control of our lives and turn dreams into reality.

Keep up to date with all the latest news from elements hair beauty lifestyle salon on Facebook and if you’re a fan of twitter follow @barbara1octopus as One Octopus moves closer to launch.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the salon soon.

The Elements Team x