Sparking is the approach I have developed to help changemakers around the world create lives full of joy, meaning and impact.
There are T.welve I.ntegrated P.ractices for S.parking. I call these “The T.I.P.S.”
Together, these T.I.P.S. can help you boost your energy, happiness and sense of possibility, as you cultivate a life filled with what you value and enjoy most.
The twelve practices are designed to help you cultivate: clarity, mindfulness, gratitude, satisfaction, openness, connection and creativity, as you work to make a positive difference in the world efficiently and sustainably.
Each of these practices is explained in more detail in a dedicated post on this site but here is the quick overview. This post is intended as a reminder/cheat sheet for those I have already coached; I do not expect those new to Sparking to be able to take action from this post alone.
- Start each day with your own First Thing—an activity to take responsibility for jump starting your own spark out of your Fuel Sources, while putting back in front of your awareness again that which matters most to you and which you will aim at throughout the day ahead, before you get on the hamster wheel.*
*Note: This tip is of great importance to the Spark-etype known as “The Swinger” and unnecessary for the Spark-etype called “The Uber Sparker.” Some people are such great Natural Sparkers that they start most of their days full of energy, clarity, possibility and joy; they do not need a “First Thing.” For the rest of us, this practice can be very helpful to remember what we are aiming to create out of whatever presents itself to us throughout the day, while getting us on the most solid ground possible to start going about our business and interacting with others. I am putting in bold here the practices that I regard as valuable for everyone.
- Exploriment as part of your First Thing or as early in the day as you can to cultivate your openness and playfulness, in order to balance all the intentionality of the Sparking Life. In your Explorimenting you will purposefully make decisions to get out of your comfort zone; and thereby experience things with a more open, confident perspective.
Note: This tip is of great importance to the Spark-etype know as “The Planner,” who might want to aim at more openness.
- Review your own “Book of Sparks” — the collection of your own Aha Moments, tips and practices for feeding your spark that you have built– soon after you complete your First Thing. This not only can but should include insights you have gleaned from other sources and experiences that have worked for you, as well as tips from me. As a placeholder until you create your own Book of Sparks you can use the Twelve Integrated Practices for Sparking as your interim “Book of Sparks.”
- As you start your day — and certainly before you begin working — review your Good Life Index (GLI) and remember to aim at creating G.L.E.E. (experiences of joy and meaning that fuel you that you will tuck into your “Good Life Experience Envelope) out of whatever presents. As you progress to what we call Next Level Sparking, you will aim at “Threefer Madness” by choosing activities that will make it as likely as possible that you will simultaneously experience three or more of the Fuel Sources on your Good Life Index. Ideally, you will experience Threefer madness for at least part of each day. If you operate with a to do list or a calendar, you should check out your GLI before leap in so you do not confuse “means” with “ends.”
- Aim at “3-GLEE Vision.” That is, living with the awareness that throughout the day you are looking for opportunities to create GLEE at least three times and that once a day you will reflect on — and record in a way that is easy for you — the three or more experiences during the day when you felt most alive.
- Answer open-ended questions you are asked (such “what’s going on?” “How are you?”) with a story of the most recent moment of your G.L.E.E. that you have not yet told anyone about.
- Cultivate your lyrical living and positive perspective by keeping track of your “Story Material” (experiences that are NOT delightful but from which you might be able to create some meaning) and a running list of your Possible Story Titles for your Story Of The Week (S.O.W.) Remember: “PST!” (The universe is giving you a gift by whispering P.ossible S.tory T.itles to you).
- Review your G.L.E.E., P.S.T.s and Story Material at the same time once a week and craft your S.O.W. to celebrate and try to remember what is best and let go of the rest.
- Stay aware of your Spark Number (which corresponds to your energy, happiness and sense of possibility) throughout the day and make choices accordingly. This means that whenever you come back to awareness that your Spark Number has dropped below an 8 (on a 1-10 scale of your own assessment), no matter what you had thought or planned as your next task, you should immediately move to the top of your to do list the most readily available activity that will get your Spark Number back up to at least an 8 (Sparkers call this “reaching for the next highest ING”).
- Steward your energy wisely by coding your to do list by ING number (the Spark Number that you think will likely result from engaging in this activity) and practice “Sudoku Scheduling” or “Sandwich Scheduling.” Remember to make sure you leave work at an 8 or higher.
- Practice the Four Frames approach to decision-making. This involves getting to know your own cues that tell you when you are about to make a decision and which decisions matter most, then making sure you PAUSE before making a “decision of consequence,” get your Spark Number to an 8 or higher, “clarify the question” to make sure you are attempting to answer THE question you need to answer next and THEN make your decision about your Clarified Question based on your “Four Frames” (Best Self, Good Life Index, INGs and Vision of Success, each of which is explained in a separate post on this site).
- Finally, in terms of the Key to Feeding Your Spark that I call “Living Connection,” greet every person you encounter as if you might never see them again or as if they might become your best friend. Either way this is THE moment to share some spark – hear a good story from them, learn from them, share something with them that matters. Any transactional encounter can be transformed into a moment of genuine human connection!
Copyright. The Sparks Center. 2015-2017. All rights reserved.