Spark.

I’ve always wondered what it took to have a burst of energy or thought that became an idea then became reality. We have these moments where a spark of inspiration calls us to dig deep and work hard for a cause. These moments can be life-changing, leading us towards a happier more satisfying calling in life.

I think about TOMS shoes as a prime example of this. Blake Mycoskie saw an opportunity to build a for-profit business that could resonate with many, provide shoes to those who need them through a one for one business model. As of 2016, Mycoskie’s dream that became reality has donated around 60 million pairs of shoes.  

Another person with big ideas that needed to be shared is Lewis Howes. Lewis decided that he wanted to not only find out the why behind success he wanted to live a successful life. To find out how successful people lived, balanced, and found true happiness he began a podcast called the School of Greatness where he interviewed people who were known as successful folk to the masses.

Lewis has talked about his struggles after his fall from professional sports finding himself on his sister’s couch and looking for an opportunity where he could find it while battling depression. This led him to start his podcast interviewing hundreds of inspirational people and eventually authoring a book of the same name, The School of Greatness. Today Lewis continues to motivate and inspire many through his podcast, and Facebook show.

Why did I choose these two as people who felt a spark to do that ignited their way to achieving their dreams? I am a believer in both of them, when toms launched I purchased 3 pairs shoes within the first year and after struggling through some personal low points listening to Lewis’ podcast helped me see the bigger picture of life and success. The ideas they have shared resonate with me and I use them both as aspirations for the big dreams I want to work into reality.

Speak up.

Speaking up can be a challenge no matter who you are in a uncomfortable situation. The ability to say what you need to when it’s needed to be said is a tactful gift that few have. A few thoughts on sharing the hard truth.

First off, use your words wisely. Say what needs to be said, don’t beat around the bush when delivering the message but be tactful with the way you say it. People may not appreciate you speaking up and saying what needs to be said at first but will respect you for having the gumption to say it.

Second, keep your message simple and filled with the truth. Allowing the discussion to be built around fluff and misinformation can deteriorate the trust you share with the person you are conversing with. Keep the message as lengthy as it needs to be but not too long. Use clear words that communicate the message effectively without question, use strong statements that effectively relay your message without belittling the person you are talking to

Thirdly, be mindful not to back your communication partner into a corner. When giving a hard message it’s essential to deliver a clean message with the intent to help not harm the other person. Giving others clear options will be a safe bet to avoid emotional defense and rebuttal from another. Although you clearly know where you want or need the conversation to go have options for another than can effectively lead them through the desert to the oasis that is your desired resolution.

Is this an easy skill to learn? Not really. Is it a good way to become a better communicator? Yes, say it as it needs to be said, use your words wisely, share the simple truth of your message, and keep the trail ahead open with options that lead your communication partner to a clear understanding of your desired outcome. You’ll fumble a few times until you get the hang of delivering the hard message, but once the message is delivered and you can breathe a sigh of relief it’ll be easier to relay the next time around.

Process.

Whenever you begin something new there is usually a build-up to actually starting the journey. There is a process we have to pursue before we can actually say “I’m doing this.” Every January a new wave of gym goers flood the gym with new resolutions to lose weight, improve their flexibility, lower their hours on Netflix watching from the couch, or on doctors orders. No matter the reason, these people are attending the gym and willingly putting themselves into a new routine that they are not going to love. Their backs will hurt, pride will be crumbled, and their comfort zone will be left behind.

Why is that you might ask if you’ve never been to the gym between January and March because we hate admitting that we’ve let ourselves slip out of youth, strength, and ability. Most all of us who have endured this process know that day one back at the gym you start out lifting heavy like you used to and the next morning you struggle to perform routine tasks without a little grimace from sore muscles and joints. Day two you might lift a little less weight, and recognize this is a better decision for the start of your marathon back to better health.

The process of self-evaluating your next moves in life doesn’t only apply to get back into the gym, it goes for everything you might be preparing to do. Creating a vision of where you want to be in the future should be looked at as a marathon instead of a sprint. It’s the steps taken along the way of a set timeline that will make all the difference in where you will end up.

As a writer, I’ve chosen to write Three Hundred Words A Day for 365 days, to build up my writing portfolio one day at a time, improve my vocabulary, and share inspiration with others. For others, their processes might include running a distance every day, taking a picture of a different subject each day, say kinder words to others as often as you can muster, or test out a new recipe each week while prepping a meal. Though these processes are similar they will be very different for each person who takes the effort to work through the struggles they might have to enjoy the process one day at a time.

Idea.

We’ve all felt it, that strike of genius that inspires us to take action and do something. The lightbulb clicking on above our heads at just the right moment when we needed that extra push to act. Ideas that resonate with us and encourage us to take up writing, running, painting, or dancing. These ideas that create motion and enable us to be our truest selves. There is nothing more powerful than an idea that sparks action and change.

In the film V for Vendetta, V mentions that “Ideas are bullet-proof”. I agree with this statement, many a martyr have been slain and their words have lived on and inspired thousands to continue with their ideas and visions for humanity. Ideas often become words, written on paper or verbalized before the masses. If you think about it you can name many people who shared their visions for the world who were, civil rights leaders, musicians, artists, writers, scientists, and leaders. A few that come to my mind would be The Beatles, Martin Luther King Jr, Charlie Chapman, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Nelson Mandella, and Anthony Bourdain. Obviously, this is a short list of people whose ideas have influenced me personally. I’d assume a list created by you might share some of the same people but overall would be different due to the difference in your personal preferences and varied personal inspirations.

When we share our ideas with others, we not only put our perception of the world out there for others to relate to but for others to debate. Perhaps you see my writing here as subpar and too heavily based on opinion, that is okay. I say this is okay because I understand that not everyone sees the world as I do, I’ll be the first to admit there are a hundred sides to a story, and everyone who has ever witnessed, experienced or read about different parts of history have felt differently about things that were good or bad about those events.

Remember, do not be afraid to share your ideas. Share your ideas and be prepared for feedback from others and be willing to not only speak but to listen, as you may never know what the ideas of others may add to the table and what influence they might be for the greater good of humankind.