What are sparks and embers when considering our lives? A spark becomes a flame if the right conditions happen, a flame eventually becomes embers if the wrong conditions happen. There is a need to start and to keep that flame alive. One starts with a flash and the other ends with a whisper. The spark represents someone starting out in life and career and the embers are those individuals who are no longer happy with where they are in their life and career. They are similar in regards to the fact that both can ignite and become a burning flame if the right circumstances are present. They are different because one is starting out and the other has happened. How do I know this? Well, these are the two types of conversations that I often encounter in coaching.
If I represent the spark as an individual, they are those people who are trying to realize who they are and what they will be. They are seeking and searching and when they have an engaging conversation, a spark happens but does it ignite into a flame…maybe/maybe not. I also think of those on the other end of the spectrum as embers, those who have held a job for so long due to security, comfort and now find their job mundane and routine. It is no longer engaging and all they are doing is ‘doing’. The flame that brightly ignited when they got hired is now a weak flame and eventually, not tended to, becomes a pile of ashes.
We have the ingredients within us to turn that spark into a roaring blaze and to dig deep among the ashes to find those few burning embers that need to be fanned so that they once again, create that fire that burned so bright in the past. Sometimes we need kindle, starter, blower to help us. Think of those objects as the people around you that can get that flame started again. If the effort is there, a flame can rise!
So how does that spark become a flame?
• Reflect and take the time to understand who you are. What are the five things that make up your foundation and guide you? Ask yourself why these are important five aspects that make up who you are. By knowing yourself better, there is a spark.
• Talk to people and learn from people. Whether someone is in the field you think you want to be in or not, everyone has something valuable to share but you must be willing to take the time to listen and learn and there is a spark.
• Every time a student attends an event and meets a new connection, there is a spark. You have gained a valuable connection, do not let the contact go cold. Follow up and see where future conversations lead and there is a spark.
• When that student takes the courage to participate and get engaged beyond the classroom in a club or school activity, you meet new people and gain valuable skills and there is a spark.
If you are the embers, how to re-ignite those into the flame?
• Think back to when you got hired. Why did you get the job? What are your skills and abilities that excited you to start and what got you excited? By reflecting on what mattered, you find the embers.
• What can you do to either regain the interest you have in the job? Maybe find something you appreciate out of the office…or maybe it is time to spark a new career or position and then you will find the embers.
• Perhaps it is time to have some meaningful conversations with key individuals you trust. Share with them where you are in life and that you are needing a change because the current situation is not where you are to be, and you find the embers.
• See if you can change your perspectives. As we grow used to a position and lose some of the challenges and excitement, take the time to think about what you might enjoy about where you are. It is easy to get swallowed up by what you don’t like and then your entire world is crowded by what you don’t like and we stop seeking the good, and there you find the embers.
The kindling, starter and fan are not going to start a fire, you are. Whether you are a spark or an ember, you have the capacity to be that flame. You might need the tools to start or re-ignite and they are there; however, that flame within needs you.
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