The Feed Your Spark Glossary

Art credit: Alice Muhlback

Art credit: Alice Muhlback

SPARKspeak or

The Practical FEED YOUR SPARK Glossary


The tool I use to help people define their visions of success for their work in the world each quarter. I encourage people to articulate their vision of success in a way that would meet the “A.C.E. Challenge.” That is, while helping you “take at least a small step in the (right) direction of your “Thinking Big Three Year Vision Of Success,” your quarterly objective should be stated in a way that is Achievable, Clear and Exciting (A-C-E). To me a good indicator of “achievability” is that you have articulated it at a scale that is no smaller than would be satisfying to you, but no larger than you would stake your job on. It should be largely within your own control. “Clear” means that you would definitely be able to recognize your success when you see it. “Exciting,” means that it at least captures your own imagination.


The tool and practice I use to help people cultivate one attribute in themselves (at a time) over a three-month period. The first of the Four Frames to be run in sequence before you make a decision –once you have already paused, decided if the matter at hand is a decision of consequence (see below) and if so, waited for the eight (see below). The mechanics of the Best Self are explained in “The TIPS” document. In contrast to what some people did with me on Best Self 2-25 years ago, my focus now is a “building on islands of success” approach wherein you choose an attribute of you own that is already a strength of yours, as a way to get towards how you want to be. For example, if you are expressive but want to grow in your confidence, we might have you aim at cultivating your Expressive self as a way to move towards your confident self. I can happily explain that more but will leave it here for now.


 A mnemonic device deriving from the letters B-G-I-V to help you remember the sequence of the Four Frames for decision-making (Best Self, Good Life Index, INGs, Vision of Success—which is your ACE Challenge, informed by your Three Year Big Picture Vision of Success).


The process I advise people to engage in before making a decision, by which they attempt to get clear about which of the many questions clamoring for their attention is the most important question to attend to next, understanding that you should make one decision at a time since the facts on the ground in your life will then change and that it is key to become adept at figuring out which is the RIGHT decision to make NEXT.


 The notion of waiting for crisp clarity whenever possible before making a decision of consequence. As in, “did you get to the point where you really felt ‘The Click?’’ if someone says “well, I think I felt a click,” then there was NO click! J



The term I use to describe a decision that might well have implications for your life for seven or more days. The idea behind this is that if a given decision at hand clearly will not have implications for your life for more than seven days then you should make it quickly and make sure you don’t squander precious energy fretting about it before or after and if it might well have implications for you life for more than seven days, then you should Pause.


The activities at work or in your personal life that drain your energy most of the time.


The practice of trying to balance all the intentionality of my approach with a significant openness by aiming at getting good and lost to start each day and thereby making a new discovery or having a new idea/insight.


the art of making that which is right in front you new, fascinating, exhilarating and full of (possibility for) new discovery if not also beautiful.


The practice of taking responsibility for jump starting your own spark first thing in the morning, while putting back in front of your awareness that which matters most to you by reviewing your GLI and aiming at an experience of Threefer Madness, before you get on the hamster wheel. This is NOT just “having a cup of coffee” to lift your mood, this is about lifting your spark number THROUGH activities that give you meaning and joy!


The term I use to collectively describe the Best Self tool, the Good Life Index, the INGs framework and the “Think Big Start Small” vision of success.


The name I use for each of the ten elements of your Good Life Index.


The second of the Four Frames. The tool I use to help you identify what matters the most to you (“what is truly important?”) and what is “enough” to consider a month “on track” an “successful.”

GLEE (Short For “Good Life Experience Envelope”)

The (hopefully daily) practice of noting moments you are grateful for when you feel really alive, having experienced one or more of the Fuel Sources on your Good Life Index that you are now “tucking in” to your Good Life Experience Envelope by recording on your phone or writing down somewhere you will be able to easily find it on Friday afternoon. Thus, “how do I do my work while aiming at GLEE” does not just mean “to be happy” but to create one or more of the ten fuel sources you have identified as most meaningful to you. This has big implications for how to make choices when your life is very full and time feels tight.


See “INGs.” Activities that are really energizing to you that you would say based on past experience will likely enable you to experience (co-create) a spark number of ‘8,’ ‘9,’ or ‘10’ on a 1-10 scale.


The third of the Four Frames. The tool I use to help people consider the actual activities they do at work and in the rest of their lives, with a notion of whether a given activity is really energizing. A ‘10” is an activity that will likely give you a spark number of a ‘10’ and it is so energizing you would do it for free. A ‘1’ is so draining that if you were told you would be paid a million dollars if you did this all day long every day for a year, you would not be able to do it.


A term used in connection with INGs to mean the conditions that can make a given ING become very energizing or very draining.


The parts of your “Three Year Thinking BIG Vision Of Success” that you do not yet feel clarity about but want to name. These get less weight in your decision making process than the parts you “know for sure.”


The key step in the decision-making process I recommend. This involves having the awareness to know that you are about to make a decision or that you have been called on to make a decision. The practice involves closing your mouth, assessing if the question at hand is the most important question to answer right now, then noting if it is a Decision of Consequence (see above) and if so, engaging in the Four Frames process (see above).


An acronym for Possible Story Title. This means a unique word or phrase that you know you have not heard anyone else speak to you in a year and that you can imagine no human being every having spoken. See elsewhere my “Master List of PSTs” for more than 100 examples.

S.O.W. The Story of The Week

The central practice of my Feed Your Spark approach (see details under “The TIPS”) which is like a party game to help you create a sense of coherence out of your week by using a unique word or phrase you happened upon during the course of your week, to connect two or more of the significant development from your week.

This practice helps you to aim at your Good Life Index (GLI) and note GLEE and story material throughout the week, look for and share the significant developments and big juicy questions in your week and live lyrically by listening for and writing down possible story titles as you hear or see them throughout the week.


The combination of your energy, happiness and sense of possibility.


The experience of disappointment and loss that can sometimes follow a period of extended exhilaration.


The practice of assessing and ascribing a 1-10 numerical value to the current state of your own spark – especially with regard to whether you are in a place where you should or should not be making a decision – including the decision as to whether or not you should open your mouth (if your spark number is below an 8).

THE T.I.P.S. (The Twelve Integrated Practices of Sparking)

The collection of the twelve practices I suggest you DO to help you thrive in your life, succeed in your work and change the world.


The term I use playfully to suggest that you should aim as often as possible (which is about as often as you have the thought) at engaging in an activity that enables you to simultaneously experience three or more of the Fuel Sources on your GLI. The state of mind that comes from experiencing three or more of your Fuel Sources simultaneously.


The practice of aiming in the morning at creating at least three moments of GLEE, out of whatever material presents itself in your day, no matter how challenging. This sense of surfing the save of your life is close to the essence of my practice.


The practice of not making a decision about a decision of consequence until you get your spark umber back to an eight.

Copyright. The Sparks Center. 2015-2018. All rights reserved.

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