|When I heard my friend say “you gave birth to a SPARK baby” at our brunch a few weeks ago, the room filled with laughter.
Then there was a pause.
I think we all pondered the power of that statement. Maybe we all thought about this question: “what have I given birth to these past 9 months?” (metaphorically but) …what has all my effort, discipline, love, sweat, and tears been creating?
“Really, you’ve done a LOT, Rachel. It seems like you’re everywhere. Have you allowed yourself to take it all in?”
I immediately smiled and said, “Sure! I reflect, I journal…” but then I stopped.
As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I realized something. I was doing that thing. That thing that happens when you don’t pause and you’re used to moving and doing and moving and doing…
Have you ever answered a question out of instinct rather than intuition?
Then, something happened. I exhaled. I gazed at the ceiling, an illuminating truth surfaced to my smile. I realized I hadn’t truly paused.
Now I know that my honest answer was no. I hadn’t really truly taken it all in. I hadn’t stepped back and celebrated how far I’ve come.
I have moved so fast, been responsive, listened to folks’ needs, offered support, put one foot in front of another, and created something with all of my heart. SPARK represents everything I care so deeply about: supporting visionary leaders and cultivating communities where all people feel valued, connected, and a sense of belonging.
Because I’ve been on a mission, I haven’t slowed down for an extended period of time to really appreciate how far I’ve come, so I can recalibrate and refine my plan accordingly.
Why? Because sometimes slowing down feels like a luxury. There’s so much work to do and so much pain in the world that weighs heavy on my heart, which motivates me to keep moving forward. But recently Lia reminded me that it’s imperative that I slow down if I want to go far, and for that I’m grateful.
Then I heard India Arie’s lyrics in the background “You can still smell the roses and be on a mission,” and I knew it was time to slow down.
At the beginning/end of each month, I committed to asking myself these three questions:
- What did I do that I’m proud of that I can celebrate? (Especially: where did I lean into my zone of discomfort?)
- What did I learn? (about myself, about my community, about my ability to accomplish my goals)
- What needs to be recalibrated so I can be in alignment with my values? (what didn’t work and what intentions do I want/need to prioritize moving forward so that I’m in alignment with what I stand for)?
As I reflected last week, I realized I’ve accomplished many goals and overcome many major fears these past nine months.
Wanna walk down memory lane with me and see how far we’ve come?
It all started with an idea on an index card after I said “enough is enough” back in June…
Soon thereafter, I recorded my very first ever video for a Kickstarter campaign, with sweaty palms and all. A few months later 80 backers raised $4,320.
Then, we celebrated. Of course. We had to raise a glass and PLAY after the release of the very first 200 card decks with a Launch party in November.
Once that happened, people wanted to know what was next. What WAS next, I asked myself?
I realized I needed to build my business chops. I graduated my first Uptima Business Bootcamp Accelerator Module.
As questions kept coming to me, I started blogging and sharing my story more publicly.
As people asked more and more questions, I decided to host a holiday SPARK Series Giveaway with daily tools/tips/videos, because…why not?
Then…since EVERYTHING’s bigger in Texas, we decided to host another launch party, Texas style.
We broke bread and connected with more inspiring leaders. We were asked to share more…
So what did we do? We committed to hosting monthly SPARK Brunches in 2017. Click here for more information on the May 21st brunch!
As the word got out, people expressed interest in staying connected in different states, so I committed to doing more Facebook lives in our private Facebook group. Each week I offer reflections as food for thought on Mondays and Wednesdays. (Hard to believe I was oooober-nervous before doing my first live video ever back in January!)
Then I was invited to speak on stage and share our SPARK story in front of 120+ inspiring entrepreneurs. Such an honor. I was blown away by the love and generosity of spirit in the room.
Soon after, two of our very own SPARK Family members hosted their own distinct SPARK events (Justice & Twila!) in Madison, WI and Canada, so I created a SPARK Facilitator’s guide for our community! If you want to host your own gathering, click here to download and hit reply to chat more!
After being asked more and more questions about SPARK For Humanity and my leadership approach, I developed the S.P.A.R.K. acronym to make it easy to remember. After requests and encouragement, I hosted a few Webinars to share my approach and mission more widely.
Then, the educator in me kicked in, and I figured, why not create an entire framework for the future SPARK leaders I coach and support? (based on the S.P.A.R.K. Acronym of course). It resonated with folks, and it is now the foundation for the 6 week / module leadership course starting June 5th.
Finally, Lia and I set big goals for the next phase of SPARK, and we celebrated with a Photo-shoot. The best part: our very own talented SPARK Family member, Simon Tsegay did the shoot. Here’s aSneak-peek of Album… Click here to see the whole thing.
And here we are now! Phew, that was fun.
Just like a really good conversation, the process of learning and growing has not been linear, and I’m certain it will continue to flow and adapt with the winds of change.
I have learned a ton. I have failed forward. I have celebrated my progress.
And now, I am adjusting accordingly, and my priorities for this spring are to:
- Continue hosting community gatherings (SPARK Brunches and Workshops)
- Ensure the next SPARK For Humanity deck is even better because of your feedback
- Support and coach more fearless, visionary leaders who want to lead with a S.P.A.R.K.
I’m excited. Are you?Now, here’s where we want to involve you and spread the love. Here are three things you can do:
- Order a deck of cards for your next community-building gathering:
2.Join our next SPARK Brunch. Click the “events” tab to RSVP.
It’s going to be our biggest and best gathering yet at an outdoor park so we can soak up the sun while SPARKING!
3. We now offer bulk orders and bundle packages at discounted prices for your next community event/retreat.
Please share with friends! Interested? Hit reply or schedule a 15-minute chat with me if you want more details.
Lastly, SPARK is officially taking on a new dimension, and I’ll be launching a new S.P.A.R.K. Leadership website and offering goodies and gifts for those who join…so stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information.
Now, we’d love to hear from you!
Comment below and let us know what resonated, what connections you make, and anything else you want to share!
Curious to learn more?
S.P.A.R.K. was founded in 2016 by Rachel Rosen, a seasoned facilitator, racial equity leadership coach, and LGBTQ advocate. S.P.A.R.K. offerings sit at the nexus of Rachel’s personal and professional passions, and she is on a mission to bring more empathy to the world, one conversation at a time. With a Masters from Stanford, and extensive training in leadership, coaching, team and organizational development, S.P.A.R.K. experiences are grounded in theory and practice. S.P.A.R.K. offers experiences that support leaders and teams to unleash their potential to facilitate powerful experiences, collaborate, and build trust.