Personal Writing

What scares you?

We’ve been dog sitting for over a week, and I’ve watched Bailey move from open and infinitely curious (see image above 😀) to timid and fearful of any unknown. Our poor little guest was panic stricken by the fireworks, of which there seemed to be an extraordinary amount in my neighborhood and over a number of nights, too.

She’s been a bit of a different pup ever since the 4th. Just this morning, she barely bumped into a metal tongs and spatula on the side of our grill and took off like a shot at the unexpected surprise. As I went to gather her up to console her, I thought about how like Bailey we can all be.

On Friday, I launched a new program, Spark Start.

I created it because of the fear I was hearing when people talked about why they weren’t engaging in Discover Your Spark work.

Look, I get it: life bangs us up. We all basically start out open and infinitely curious, but then we encounter that bully, that mean girl, that block in the road. We fail at something that really matters to us. We get fired, broken up with, lose someone we love.

Each of those knocks makes us a little more timid and fearful of what else might be up ahead.

So we stop looking at the unknown as a great adventure, and we start to imagine all that could go wrong. We decide, often unconsciously, that it’s better to stay in the ok place we’re in than potentially court more joy, passion and purpose because with that could come more failure, distress and loss.

That’s true.

But it’s also true that a life lived in ok is a life half lived.

And that’s a real shame because there’s beauty, mystery and delight to be discovered in the unknown, and you’re definitely missing out on that by choosing to stay in ok.

Spark Start isn’t scary, I promise. It doesn’t ask you to go to dark places or step off a ledge.

Rather, it invites you to take a few gentle steps to get quiet and curious about what tiny pilot lights you discern inside. And then it asks you to commit to taking a first step.

  • Discover Your Spark (DYS) for a beautiful garden but don’t yet have a yard? Start with a pot of herbs on your window sill.
  • DYS to be more active in the winter? Purchase a used pair of cross country skis, poles and boots and try a free path at your local park.
  • Remember YS to sew from your years in 4H or because your grandma taught you? Create some cloth napkins—you’ll be helping out the planet at the same time: double Spark!
  • DYS to read more classic literature but don’t have time? Find a narrator you love and stream the book while taking a walk. Exercise for your mind and body: another double Spark! Or listen to it with your teenager: be the one who introduces them to these great novels. Or start with short stories if you only have 20 minutes a day to read.
  • RYS for playing catch? Sign up to be a Big Brother/Sister and introduce the next generation to that simple way to while away the hours.

Whatever Sparks you discover, there are easy ways to get started now. Ways that don’t have to be time or money intensive; don’t ask you to leave your job; don’t expect you to upend your life.

But, and this is important: YOU have to do the work to Discover Your Sparks. They will rarely demand your attention. The pilot light in the stove never flares unless it’s turned on; rather, it burns steadily and out of sight until it’s asked to do more.

Spark Start is a chance to engage your pilot light. An opportunity to see what flickers and flares when turned on.

And through the month of July, it’s yours for only $47.

Watch this abridged Spark Start launch video I made on July 7 to learn more.

Then sign up and Start finding and engaging your Spark today! Don’t let your fear of “what ifs” outweigh the potential for so much joy.

Bailey might not be back to running with abandon out into the yard just yet, but she isn’t avoiding it altogether, either. Rather, she’s cautiously taking a few tentative steps and getting braver with each success. Be like Bailey, and let Spark Start help you get there.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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