The Spark, The Flame and the Torch
Are you a human being, or are you a human doing?
I’ve heard that question a few times of late, and may have even uttered it to friends a couple of times myself. It makes you think, doesn’t it? Am I living my life with purpose or am I so busy doing stuff that I’m not even sure if I know what my purpose is? Am I busy doing, or am I simply being?
I read a book recently by Lance Secretan (he’s acknowledged as one of the most insightful and provocative leadership teachers of our time), entitled “The Spark, The Flame, and The Torch – Inspire Self. Inspire Others. Inspire the World.” The Spark is about the question “Why are you here”, the Flame is about “How will you inspire and lead?”, and the Torch concerns “How will you pass it on? What will your legacy be?”
As Secretan suggests in this book, I believe that each of us has a fire inside of us, a spark, something that is unique to each of us. Some would describe this as “why I’m here” or their “life purpose”. One of my new favorite quotes came out of this book.
“Motivation is lighting a fire under someone, inspiration is lighting a fire within someone”
This resonates with me. Many of us will read motivational quotes or listen to speakers and it will light a fire under our butts for a while. Motivation is often used by managers in business to light a fire under someone’s butt in order to get the person to perform at a desired level. In other words, motivation is getting people to “do” things to get desired results.
Inspiration on the other hand is helping people to “be” something, and to “be” all that they can “be”. It’s helping people to live their life with purpose, and when that happens, results seem to take care of themselves.
Sometimes people need a bit of a wake up call to help them figure out what the fire is that’s burning inside of them. I have a couple colleagues who have had pretty successful careers in the IT industry, and both have recently been given a wake up call in the form of “thank you, your services are no longer required at this company”. In both cases when I was chatting with them, they brought up the question of what they would “do” next. I asked them what they would “be” next. My belief is that if you figure out what you’re going to “be” first, then it will be much easier to figure out what you’re going to “do”.
My wake up call came in the form of a dis-ease diagnosis, after being diagnosed with RA in 2008. The subsequent journey I’ve been on has really ignited the spark within me. My journey has brought me to the point where I believe that the only limitations we have are the ones that we place on ourselves. Some people have suggested to me that I won’t be able to heal from the dis-ease that I have been diagnosed with. I politely thank them for their input, and suggest to them that while they may have that limiting belief, I do not.
I have a fundamental belief that autoimmune dis-ease is a physical manifestation of mentally and/or emotionally “beating ourselves up”. I have also come to believe that our happiness and our health are an inside job. If we do the work on the inside, we will get the results on the outside as well. I meditate regularly, I connect with people that have similar beliefs, I have exercises to help me catch myself when a limiting belief creeps in, and I reinforce my beliefs every day. And if I find out that any of my beliefs turn out to be wrong, I change them.
I go so far as to believe that we can eradicate dis-ease from society, and it all starts within each of us. I write a blog and provide thoughts to help you stop beating yourself up or limiting yourself, to accept yourself as the magnificent, unique person that you are, and to STEP into your own greatness. When we’re happy, we’re healthy. What was that “dis-” word again?
In Secretan’s book, he takes the reader through the process of defining their Destiny, their Character, and their Calling. Can you imagine seeing this on a business card? It’s not about what you do, it’s about what you are. Here’s what mine would look like:
Destiny – Helping the world heal itself from the inside out
Character – To be an authentic and inspiring leader (and teacher)
Calling – To serve and lead others through speaking, writing and teaching
My spark is lit, I am a human “being”. And by connecting with others whose spark has been lit, it’s turning into a flame. The torch for each of us is the legacy we leave behind. I’m planning to be part of a community that leaves this place at least a wee bit better than it was when we found it.
Are you a human being or a human doing? What will your torch be?
P.S. Health-tember (hyperlink) is coming, a couple weeks after the Olympics. Will you use September as a month to focus on happiness and health? Check it out, get involved.
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I loved what you wrote and I think this is a lovely way to share who you are with the Manna Reiki family!
Your articles are for when it absolutely, psoiitvely, needs to be understood overnight.
Ken, what can I say…? NOW you’ve inspired me to run out and get that book; seems to me a must read. Writing, I believe, is the truest form of television, tell-a-vision. If you can convey your thoughts so that another may picture and understand exactly what you’re saying… then you’ve mastered a wonderful thing.
Your blogs have made me want to dust off and get moving. I’ve found, of late, that even if I speak of negative things… be they truthful events or not, it doesn’t bless me. Instead, it leaves me with the feeling of being dipped in sludge. Along with the energy sapping that goes along with trying to remove it from my spirit – mind you, this too is a good thing. A negative eliciting a positive response, its making me not want to engage in the negative truth of a situation.
Early last week a coworker injected herself into a playful A-B conversation I was having with another coworker. She practically leap from her desk, stepped into the aisle where were gathered and put out a “warning” to me that I should not joke with her “that way” or I’d see her alter ego.. blah, blah, blah. We both paused with the look of incredulity on our faces, as if to say; “Where did that come from?”
Though I had every right to respond and inform her that we’ve, (she and I) have never had an issue or misunderstanding. I didn’t understand where that “warning” was coming from, etc. Instead, I remained silent; I looked at her for a moment then turned and responded to another coworker’s question. I did not engage.
A bit of background… I have an understanding with a few (2-3) of my coworkers that when they tell a story that is so incredibly funny, it defies logic we’ll say to one another, while laughing, “you’re stooopid”. (Yes, I spelled it correctly). We who use this term understand that this means funny or silly to the point of ignorance. Since our desks are next to each other and we’re often dealing with high-level stress we often look for momentary levity. So, as a stress reliever we need our “stooopid” moments to break up the monotony.
At first, my knee-jerk response was to engage and set her straight, as they say, but instead I remained composed and left her with silence. I did not engage her in the negative. The next day she comes to me during the course of the morning several times requesting my assistance on several projects – which I joyfully obliged. I showered her with every kindness, good morning, etc. Then mid-morning she comes to me and says, “It’s like you’re not speaking to me – like you’re ignoring me or something.” I politely responded to her, as I’d always done, with a smile leaving her with the guilt of the previous day and said, “No, I’m not ignoring you. We’ve talked this am, what do you mean? You know I’ll always help where I can. “
I remember thinking the proverbial “High Road” feels great. I noticed, as someone addicted to a drug, this feeling I wanted more of did NOT have that ol’ spiritually heavy, sludge-like feeling clinging to me. It felt awesome to able leave that negativity where it was and NOT engage.
The next few days it seemed she couldn’t get enough of being around me, engaging me in conversation, etc. The only other feeling I could relate it is to be popular. It’s like suddenly being one of the “popular” kids in high school – dare I say it adoration. Yeah, it felt like respectful, adoration.
There was no negativity on either side, no sludge, no fallout, no need for anyone to be hurt or healed. It was a mutual respect; turning the other cheek is truly a position of power.
Sorry for the verbosity everyone, but even recounting it here stirs up those wonderful, warm feelings. (Coy smile)
May you all find your own sense of Joy – my two cents…