Three Areas Leaders Must Spark

I went camping a lot as a child and a few times as an adult. One of my favorite parts of camping was the fire. This is because I really enjoy spending time sitting around the fire, talking, creating memories, and enjoying the outdoors. Another reason was because I enjoyed preparing, starting, and maintaining the fire. I’m not much of an outdoors man but I know it takes a lot of strategy to effectively build a fire. It requires placing the wood, brush, and paper in a way where it can easily light and stay lit until those small sparks turn into a raging fire. Of course a little (or lot) of lighter fluid always helps the process.

The illustration of starting a spark with the desire to create a fire should be something a leader thinks about when it comes to their leadership. A leader should be sparking and creating a flame in certain areas that will propel them forward. Below are 3 essential areas a leader should spark and make a habit of focusing on:

1. Spark your creativity- Being a creative leader allows you to better solve problems, develop good ideas, and to bring change into what you’re leading. To spark your creativity I recommend:

  • Imagine- Start to dream and imagine a better future. Take time to spark or re-spark the dreams you have. George Bernard Said, “You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” When you begin to imagine a bigger and better future your creativity will be sparked.
  • Think- Taking time to think allows you to create new or better ideas and it allows you to find the best solution to a problem or situation.
  • Write- Writing ideas and thoughts on paper can allow you to capture and clarify them. Taking time to free write can spark your creativity juices.
  • Associate- Take time to be around other creative people, being around them can spark your own creativity.

2. Spark your thinking- The practice of thinking is often uncommon in today’s society. If you want to separate yourself and leadership from the average then take time to think. Jack Welch said, “Ninety-nine point nine percent of all employees are in the pile because they don’t think.” Sparking and making thinking a habit is essential for success and a positive future. To become a better thinker I recommend reading my past post: How to Engage in Thinking.

3. Spark your growth- When I first started reading and listing to John Maxwell his passion for personal development sparked my personal growth. This spark flamed into some things I now value and that I am intentional in doing. Sparking your personal growth allows you to be moving toward your potential. The best leaders know the importance of lifetime growth. Frank Clark wisely said, “Most of us must learn a great deal every day in order to keep ahead of what we forget.” This means you should have a Personal Growth Plan.

Questions: How do you spark these areas in your life and leadership? What are some other essential areas a leader should spark?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I would add spark your passions. It can be very easy as a leader to focus on what needs to get done, rather than what you’re truly passionate about getting done. It’s only when we spend time sparking our passions that others will grab ahold and want to spark their own passions as well.

    • Great addition Jason, I totally agree. It’s great when a leader has passion because it’s contagious. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • I read books Dan. Books give me ideas, and the blogs like yours spark things in me that allow me to create ideas. I like to attend conferences and learn as much as I can. This helps me to create that spark that is needed to share with others.

    • I do the same thing man. Books have benefited me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

  • floyd

    I look for potential in all things. As crazy as it sounds I consider even the things I don’t know much about from a business perspective. For me the widget isn’t as important as the plan. I rarely follow through with the things I don’t know much about, but it sparks my flame for my own industry. Looking at the outside and trends in our own world makes us a natural leader, following up in action solidifies it.

    • What a great viewpoint Floyd, “looking for potential in all things” is essential, especially when it comes to looking at a persons potential.

      It’s one thing to plan and dream and another to put into action.

      Great points and thank you for sharing them.

  • InciteFaith

    A leader should spark their heart. Everything we do begins inside. A leader should consider where their heart is aligned and admit their mistakes. It’s about doing what is right and setting our hearts where it matters. Leaders need to ask themselves daily what’s in their heart and dedicate their life in doing what’s right.

    • Amen about that! Great points and insights, thank you so much for adding that.

  • I love that quote by Frank Clark. I forget so much and need all the “re-growth” i can get. :). I’d add spark your relationships. Love what you did as a child – there’s something about those uncluttered, unplanned, fun moments that deepen relationships
    Awesome awesome thoughts here.

    • Great and essential point, building and having relationships is such an important aspect of leading successfully. Thank you for sharing.

  • All three are majors, majors in leadership….stay creative, keep thinking, keep growing.
    Boom.
    M_

    • Thank you for reading and sharing. I appreciate it.

  • I love your idea of “sparking your thinking.” We often go through life so quickly that we never slow down and really think deeply. And that could make a major change in our lives!

    • Thinking should be a habit we all have. Taking time to think can set us apart! Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  • Dan, all three areas are things that I want to get better at. It’s about being a student of a discipline, or something you love and being intentional of sparking and keeping that fire lit at all times.

    • Same with me, the writer still needs to master them:) I have chosen to be a lifelong learner.

  • Last night, my friends built a small fire for us to roast marshmallows. The weather just dropped to the point where you really appreciate the warmth of the fire. Coming across this post today made it that much more visual. I spark ideas by reading, listening, and taking the time to contemplate.

    • That’s great! So you really connected with this post. I have a fire pit in the back of my yard and think I might have a fire sometime soon:) Marshmallows are the best. Thank you for sharing how you get sparked.

  • Great post Dan. I fully agree with these 3 points. Thinking is becoming a lost art, and if men or women can find time in quiet and solitude to explore their thoughts then huge things are possible. All the distractions around us are there to keep us from thinking.

    2 years ago my wife and I flew to Chicago in the middle of winter for 4 days and wrote a lifebook. This book has our vision, purpose, and strategy for every category of our life (there were 12 categories) and makes sure they are all pointed in the same direction so we could leverage our efforts. I actually keep my lifebook with me now so i can update it on the go. I would have to say it was the single greatest personal growth exercise I’ve ever done.

    • I actually wrote a post called “Spark Your Creativity” last year! It sounded familiar so I went to my archives and there it was, haha. It had to do with a research, chiropractic, and divergent thinking instead of leadership, but it is still serendipitous. http://colebradburn.com/2011/03/07/spark-your-creativity/

    • Cole,

      Thinking is such an important area to focus on.

      What a great idea to have a “lifebook.” Have you thought about writing a short eBook sharing your experience and how others could benefit from doing a similar thing?