Dropping my nine year old at school this morning, I was reading a wall in her classroom which was plastered with beautifully drawn pictures, and each labelled with just one or two words.
The children had drawn and written their one word on what their spark was: what their one thing was that got them fired up, that inspired them to work hard, to give them a reason for doing what they are doing.
On that wall was everything from maths to singing, and playing rugby to playing the piano – a whole range of activities that they did at school. The kids in Charlie’s class are a good natured bunch and are full of excitement, fun and joy as you might imagine/hope for with a group of nine year olds!
Track forward to a group of 39 year olds. Or 49 year olds. Or 59 year olds.
Get a group of these together at a networking event or conference and I sense that the excitement, fun and joy is no longer a large part of their life.
Ask people in a networking event what they enjoy doing or what fires them up and you get a somewhat lame answer (sorry to be blunt, but I hear this far too often now): “I am passionate about helping people to [….]”. Fill in the blank with whatever you like.
These words are said with no excitement, no joy and no fun. And certainly with no spark. I’m honestly beginning to think they are getting rather over-used.
Let’s rephrase this then and get rid of the words “passionate” and “helping”.
Instead, just like those nine year old kids, ask yourself what your spark is.
What is it that fires you up and gets you excited?
What is it that fills your heart with joy and jubilation when you do it?
What do you find fun to do?
What makes your eyes light up and sparkle when you talk about it?
What makes you talk quicker? (When we’re excited, we naturally talk at a faster pace).
What – and here’s a thought – would you do for free?
Remember to answer those questions without using the words “passionate” or “helping”. Dig deep and feel the fun (or “the force” should you so wish), the joy, the jubilation and the inner love for those aspects of your work that inspire you, give you your reason for doing what you do, and create your inner spark.
Then when someone asks you what you do, you can answer them in an excited, joyful voice, and with a twinkle in your eye. You’ll have no need at all to use the words “passionate about helping people to….”. You can tell people straight what you do, but this time it will come from a different place. A place that gives life and has that spark. A place that those around you will pick up on and respond to.
Grab a pad and colouring pencils then and draw (yes, draw! – it doesn’t need to be a masterpiece!) your spark. Label it with one or two words. And stick it up where you can see it every day, just like the children’s are in Charlie’s classroom.
Every day you will have that reminder on what you love best about what it is that you do.
Every day you will have that something to spur you on when you’re finding it all a struggle.
And every day you will see your spark. And smile.
So what are you waiting for?
Do let me know what yours is!
Dedicated to your success