15 May 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?
Are You Cultivating and Pursing The Spark? - Introverts PowerPosted at 08:55h, 15 May
[…] I see the cultivation and pursuit of the spark as the ultimate practice for finding and doing work you love. This was the core …read more […]
Mike GoncalvesPosted at 09:23h, 15 May
Great stuff Scott. I love your idea of allocating time, whether daily or weekly to the three C’s you’ve identified. So often we think that in order to create a spark we must invest in this vast amount of time and effort when really all we need is the smallest of actions (reading a book, attending an event, beginning to write) that creates the spark that changes our lives forever. We just start somewhere, anywhere. The key is to just start. Thanks for sharing your ideas, they’re awesome…. Cheers!
Lindsey ParkinsonPosted at 12:59h, 15 May
I’m currently in the midst of a long trip in Chile and last week I was really down due to feeling I wasn’t getting everything I should be out if my time here. The last few days I have been pushing myself to explore more of the area, my own ideas and especially take more pictures. I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to talk to people but I’ll get there. This article came at a nice time for me. Something to give me a bit of extra prodding. Thank you.
Paula StreetPosted at 19:31h, 30 July
that is the challenge of every day of our lives, but we notice it when we have a limited time in one place! My goodness what I just wrote is a revelation to me!
PeterPosted at 13:11h, 15 May
I think you nailed the 3 C’s. I notice such a massive difference in my weeks when I’m able to do all three effectively! But I usually find the most difficulty with the CONNECT part of the equation – I allow myself to remain stuck behind my desk and use the guise of running a business (i.e. “my employees need me in the office”).
I have quite a few close friends that I admire (both personally and professionally), but I always seem to make excuses as to why I can’t go to lunch or hop on a call or skype. For me, stimulation from another person is what gives me that creative and inspirational edge! As Mike said, perhaps I just need to start small and get that momentum going so that it becomes something I refuse to live without.
ScottPosted at 21:33h, 23 May
I really don’t see any other way to start Peter – than really really small. Then it actually happens. And you get a taste for how fun it can be – especially the connection part.
We were walking home from dinner in Santorini last night and it was late and were ready for bed at around midnight. But on the walk home we noticed a few Greek locals sitting around chatting at a small wine bar. I peaked my head around to get a closer look and they yelled for us to come over. Suddenly we didn’t feel quite so tired and ended up spending an hour or so drinking wine and connecting with new friends. Tough to beat and could have never planned it. Just took being open to listening to the invitation and a little connecting 🙂
Paula StreetPosted at 19:30h, 30 July
being open… – great advice
Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.comPosted at 13:32h, 15 May
Happy that I wrote that first book, Internet Riches, that helped you start the path you’re on today. Sound like it lit the fuse for the explosion of success you’ve had here since!
Great to see you helping and inspiring so many others.
ScottPosted at 14:38h, 15 May
Awesome to see your comment Scott! And I can’t believe I forgot to link to your book. Sorry about that – just changed it in the post. Your work opened up a whole new world of ideas for me. Feels good to be able to call you a friend so many years later. Huge thanks for what you do!
Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.com Lifestyle Business Coaching ForumPosted at 15:20h, 15 May
LOL. No worries about that link to Internet Riches
Just glad to see you doing so well and inspiring so many others, too.
Lots of good stuff you are sharing (and great photos, too). Congrats!
NickPosted at 14:17h, 15 May
You’ve got it Scott! These identical steps led to my personal adventure with travel. I was in college. But also I was consuming incredible books that were available on campus but never in our public library–books by Fritz Perls, Jung, Alan Watts, Khalil Gibran . . . All of them urging exploration inwardly and outwardly. They were quite a spark at that time. I needed a summer job so went to work at a company making electronic modules. My boss thought my work was better than average so they put me in training for the first process control computers. They were PDP-8s,-11s and Foxborough SUE beta platforms. That led to them sending me to South Africa, Venezuela, Singapore–all over the globe teaching computer architecture, maintenance, and service. I was only 19 and the computer era was really just taking off. Lots of fun. It changed my outlook and perspective for the rest of my life, particularly in seeing at that time how basic the rest of the world was when compared to the U.S. and how fortunate we are.
Now I am cultivating habits to work more on my writing. It doesn’t come easily. There are so many distractions these days. Online and offline.
I might add one step that I think is important. That of gratitude. Perhaps you could call it consideration or maybe contemplation. Enjoy your work!
ScottPosted at 21:35h, 23 May
Excellent addition to the process Nick – the gratitude and reflection is huge!
EmilyPosted at 02:20h, 16 May
One thing I’ve renewed is meditation. It helps me be more balanced, which means I can be more me. Secondly is routine so I allocate time to cultivating and following the spark. Sometimes I spend too much time on it (yes obsessively lately) cultivating, cultivating. Blogs, leaders, authenticity, inspiration. It cultivates so much inside it has got to a point of frustration and paralysis. So one thing I do need to do – what I want to do – is to commit to scheduling time for MORE creativity. Not just cultivating. So that my ideas and creativity – sparked by others – can be documented. I feel that equal time cultivating and equal time creating will help me move forward from this paralysis I’ve been in for weeks and feels like months. It will help me just get started. It’s overwhelming. But I need to do it because its all I want to do. Thank you Scott, this blog post was incredibly timely for me. Thankyou. Emily, Australia
ScottPosted at 21:41h, 23 May
Agreed- It is easy to over consume Emily. At some point you have to move to the creation phase. They’re all important and can work of a progression of sorts at least in % time spend on each as you make your discoveries.
I actually wrote a bit about this last year: https://liveyourlegend.net/consume-less-create-more/
AnnaPosted at 02:29h, 16 May
Thanks a lot Scott, great insight and agreed with Nick- gratitude can put you on the right track instantly- so powerful.
Wonder if all those C’s come equally easy to you Scott? Or do you have to make an conscious effort to keep them in balance?
I find connecting comes easy to me, that’s when I come alive, when talk to people. Love consuming also, but when it comes to taking action, especially uncomfortable and new oh I tend to hide behind more consuming (info).
Wonder if it’s something you guys experience too.
NickPosted at 21:36h, 16 May
It’s definitely hard to start to take action for me. Like any work,getting to finish an initial task gets the flow going. I begin with something easy and mindless like editing a draft for grammar and style. Then it’s off to the races.
AnnaPosted at 09:16h, 17 May
Great to hear I’m not alone Nick 😉 hmmm ticking or crossing tasks completed might be a good idea, as well as starting with something small just as you said.
Starting with the biggest task does not seem to work for me, I get terrifies and hide away behind excuses.
Thanks for sharing
Fayaz PashaPosted at 21:44h, 18 May
I suppose procrastination plays a major role in our lives due to which we keep putting off many things. The second culprit is being out of FOCUS. We pursue many things at a time and hence are unable to achieve the important ones.
NickPosted at 01:00h, 20 May
You are so right when you talk about focus. Give me more than a couple of things on my to do list and they all get done mediocre. I’m now studying how to apply purpose to a vision. Believe you will get there to.
ScottPosted at 21:46h, 23 May
Great question Anna. I believe that for most consuming is the easiest. Because it involves no risk. And if you’re not careful you can end up spending all you’re time on it without creating anything from what you learned.
Here’s the article I wrote on creating vs. consuming last year. Worth a look: https://liveyourlegend.net/consume-less-create-more/
Creating used to be the hardest for me. But oddly enough now consuming is – just because I find myself spending so much time creating and building LYL.
The connecting generally comes pretty natural to me but also has required more attention as the creating has taken up more and more of my time.
Make it easy on yourself and start small!
ImaniPosted at 07:57h, 16 May
Thank you for the wonderful insight Scott, it is refreshing to be reminded of these three C’s that we should implement in our daily lives. I find that I can connect easily with others for I enjoy helping others and feel I am a people person. I can consume fairly easily as well because I love to gather information. The one that I am working on now is the create, because I can be my own worst enemy in that I don’t follow through with an idea I have because I allow fear to creep in or other people’s opinions or perceptions. I know with time and daily mind sweeping I will become better at this and overcome this last obstacle.
AndreaPosted at 12:05h, 16 May
Once again, much good food for thought, Scott. I would guess I’m like a lot of people. I consume almost daily. I connect on occasion, and most of the time its happenstance rather than intentional. I almost never create. And I have whole laundry list of excuses about why. But all three need more equitable time and opportunity if anything is really going to happen.
Paula StreetPosted at 19:22h, 30 July
good luck with that
Dominic SohPosted at 20:12h, 16 May
Hey Scott! Thanks for sharing with us some tips to cultivate and follow the spark. For myself, I’ll definitely be reading books (on business and entrepreneurship), watching more TED talks, getting in touch with folks who are rocking in start-ups and publishing my ideas and insights in my online empowerment website.
Thanks for the inspiration!
DaniellePosted at 06:31h, 17 May
Great post! On a daily basis I try to get my blood flowing- even if it’s just by taking a long walk or practicing yoga. On a weekly basis, I try to experience something new. Both of those things seem to trigger parts of the brain that help with creativity and clarity.
Paula StreetPosted at 19:20h, 30 July
experience something new, or experience something familiar in a new way too! (for example by drawing a picture of it)
Ron WellsPosted at 08:31h, 18 May
I reviewed peer comments received early 2013 on a book proposal I submitted to a main-stream traditional publisher. One of the comments ‘sparked’ an idea that I have now crafted into a different proposal, which has made me excited to start writing. I have decided that I will publish my third book in August, so I have three months of creative fun ahead.
ScottPosted at 21:48h, 23 May
Now that’s what I call following the spark Ron – congrats!
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Cody ButlerPosted at 06:26h, 27 May
Having a great big end goal is what works for me, the 3 C’s are great and are totally on point but unless I have a reason to perform the 3 C’s then it’s just a lot of work. Having a big goal is what provides the motivation to make me do what needs to be done on a daily basis.
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Kristen PhillipsPosted at 18:44h, 30 June
Scott, spot on! I have integrated the three “C’s” in my life and as soon as I stepped out with sharing my vision, I have had more connections than I ever thought possible. Thank you for sharing your insight. I look forward to getting to know you better.
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Paula StreetPosted at 19:18h, 30 July
a daily sketch (drawing), even if it’s just a quick brainstorming doodle before bed, at least I am keeping up the practice
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SHANA JARAPosted at 17:39h, 27 June
Wow! Timely for my business journey…, which I’ve just rebranded to “Unique Sparkle!” Serendipity right here!”???????? SHANA JARA – Feeling grateful
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NinaPosted at 03:19h, 23 November
LYL inspired me to pursue these 3 things, even though I didn’t know how to connect properly, and create only by writing ideas. I can be called “the idea writer”. 😀 Also, I noticed that I rarely take real action. However, today I contacted one online friend and we agreed to meet via skype, to talk, and I plan on talking about some specific issues, regarding doing work you love, etc. I also asked her to be my accountability buddy.