Are You Cultivating and Pursuing The Spark?
“Follow the excitement. The rest takes care of itself.”
There’s one habit I’ve noticed has lead to more possibility for me than any other. It has connected the dots in ways I could have never imagined, and it seems to be a practice that people making an impact on the world has in common…
The Pursuit of The Spark
On a college graduation trip around Europe, I met some people teaching English in Sevilla, Spain. Something about their story filled me with ideas, so I decided to stay and start a little English teaching business of my own. That year in Spain launched my obsession for creating and adventure and lead to a totally new mindset on work, life and priorities.
Eight years ago, while commuting to a job I couldn’t stand, I read a book telling me I could start a website without knowing code. The idea of the challenge left me buzzing, so I started experimenting. That first site got me writing. That writing developed my ideas. That little experiment eventually turned into Live Your Legend.
Six years ago I took a speed reading class in San Francisco. I noticed how inspired I was by the teacher. So I talked to him after class to learn about his story. I followed up the next week to see if they might need any help, and it turns out that he was the founder. That lead me to becoming their main teacher in San Francisco for the next two years, which taught me ton about public speaking.
I went to a TEDx event in San Francisco four years ago. The speakers left me mesmerized. So I watched more talks. Attended more events. Met the organizers. Three years later, I was invited on stage to share my own ideas. That 18 minutes transformed my work and its impact.
I’ve always tried to cultivate an environment where sparks are likely to appear.
When they do, I follow them. Sometimes they lead nowhere. Other times they lead to my life’s work.
I never know, but that’s the fun part.
I see the cultivation and pursuit of the spark as the ultimate practice for finding and doing work you love. This was the core theme of our First Steps Workshop yesterday.
But we must live in a way that gives the serendipity a chance.
That daily practice comes down to what I call The Three C’s:
1. Consume. Consume new ideas through books, talks, courses, podcasts, anything – and ideally everything. If we aren’t exposing ourselves to new ideas, the spark has no chance.
2. Connect. Connect with people doing inspiring things. Connect with businesses you admire. Spend time with people who support and encourage your ideas.
3. Create. Get it out of your head. Write ideas down. Craft stories. Play your music. Create your art. Practice your craft. Test out what’s interesting. Put it out for the world to experience.
These actions don’t have to be in a specific order, although consuming often leads to ideas on who to connect with and what to create. That’s the beauty of it.
The key is to make the three C’s a part of your daily practice.
Spend time on at least one of them every day and cover all three each week. That’s the practice that gives the spark a chance to show up in the first place.
When it does, notice the excitement. Respect it by taking one step to follow it. Consume, create and connect a little more to see if it’s worthy of more energy. As long as the answer is yes, then continue the pursuit.
That is the daily practice that leads to places you could have never dreamed up on the day you took the first step. It certainly has for me.
If you’re always following the excitement, it’s pretty tough to lose.
It all starts with the spark.
What are you doing to give it a chance?
Tell us in the comments: What’s one thing you’re doing (or will commit to doing) each day to cultivate and follow the spark?