About This Episode
We all want to experience that spark, whether we realize it or not. And you're in luck today because we have Jonathan Fields. He joins Brilliant Podcast to provide his research-backed wisdom on how we may all rekindle our spark—the thing that makes us feel most alive.
Not only is Jonthan an award-winning author of the new book, Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work that Makes You Come Alive, but he also serves as an executive producer, and presenter of Good Life Project, one of the world's most popular podcasts.
He has shared some of his favorite anecdotes and pearls of wisdom in order to assist us all realize our full potential, drive, influence, and joy.
Where did the book's concept come from?
Fields indicated that 9-11 played a significant role. Fields, a lifetime New Yorker, was married with a 3-month-old baby and living in a new home in Hell's Kitchen at the time of the dramatic events. The day before 9-11, he signed a lease for a yoga studio. Then he "awoke the next day to a devastating experience." "Am I going to start a new company in New York City during this uncertain time?" Field wondered.
Fields was taking stock, understanding that thousands of individuals had not returned home that day. We only get one shot at this thing called life. We should do it in such a way that it offers joy, meaning, service, and a sense of purpose and connection to the experience. Why not put everything we have into it? Throughout our adult lives, we spend the great majority of our waking hours at work. What if we concentrated on optimizing that? That sowed the seeds for an idea that blossomed into a quest-focused pursuit with the introduction of Fields' "One in Every Good Life Project" in 2012.
What did you do to ensure that your impact lasted?
For starters, being in New York City made it impossible to pretend that September 11th did not occur. There was no getting away from it while living in NYC at the time. Nothing could divert your attention away from it. Fields and his wife went to see a friend whose husband was still missing after 9-11. He recalled going upstairs to read a book to the friend's two-year-old son. It had been that child's father's responsibility to read to him every night. Fields was now standing in his place. It was a wake-up call for Fields. He allowed himself to be completely immersed in the horror of the moment.
We have no guarantees in terms of money, status, or anything else. Life isn't permanent, and we never know what tomorrow holds. Allowing it all in rather than shielding it was the best thing to do. Allowing himself to be moved and realizing it could have been him - rather than his friend who had died in the attacks.
Fields faced a decision at the time: "Do I open a yoga studio or walk away from the lease I just signed?" It is critical that he carry out his plans. The yoga center became a healing community for everyone affected by the tragedy. It allowed everyone to be fully present, no matter how horrible it was.
How did you react to being in New York during Covid?
Fields stated that it was oddly similar. The entire city had been destroyed, and he needed to make some quick changes to his business model. His company, The Good Life Project, was an early supporter of in-person gatherings when it launched in 2012. NYC was the epicenter, and once COVID hit, everything moved quickly. Every day, over a thousand people died of COVID. Fields was terrified for his family's and community's health. "How do I keep my business going in the face of diversity?" he had to ask himself. "Is it possible to reimagine our production?"
He was taken aback to discover that it had worked. The world's perceptions of remote, virtual, and digital have been completely rewired. He had a massive global learning curve to overcome, but he did it. It was worthwhile to persevere.
“There is no such thing as disruption without possibility. They are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other.”
The greater the disruption Fields feels, the greater the possibility. That is how he sees the world. It enabled him to begin reframing moments and become a possibility hunter.
How do you cultivate those habits of thought?
The central one is a practice of mindful meditation. You meditate to improve your life skills. Fields became interested in meditation after teaching yoga. He couldn't meditate to save his life at first. He could only do it by meditating through movement. But he couldn't sit still long enough to do it.
Sitting practice trains you to be more focused and intense. When you arrive at that location through movement, you must pay attention to your movements. Sitting does not work. You must focus your attention. Skillset empowers you to take charge of your life on a whole new level.
Tinnitus is a condition that Fields has. It has a devastating effect on some people. This began for him around 2010. It was completely destroying him. He was writing a book called "Uncertainty" at the time, which was appropriate given his current state of uncertainty. It engulfed him. You can't sleep, write, or do anything if you have tinnitus. "How can I make it go away?" Fields wondered. “This is something that may never go away. I had to change the question: "If this is who I am for the rest of my life, what then?"
"Is there a way for me to be okay with this, and what would that look like?" he had to ask himself. He investigated this as well as how people react to immense pain. He discovered that mindfulness can be extremely beneficial. One part stimulus, one part processing by your brain. Is it possible to rewire the brain's processing?
So Fields started to develop his own mindful and breathing practice.
He made an appointment with a mindful-based company five blocks away from him. Fields discovered that a lot of meditation instruction begins with focusing on breath and making that an anchor for your attention, but if something continues to intrude, allow that thing to become an anchor for your attention. That sound has now become the focal point of your attention.
You must believe that you have the ability to let go of this. Fields returned to mindfulness practice as a result of this. It made him feel better.
Mindfulness trains you to focus your attention, to be aware of your attention in any moment of time (meta awareness), and to let go of any focus of attention that you do not see as constructive. Those three abilities are extremely valuable in all aspects of life.
How can we ignite our own spark?
Fields discovered ten distinct archetypes (and by combining the words spark and archetype, he came up with Sparketypes) that symbolize our primal urges.
The assessment provides you with a Primary Sparketype (anyway you invest effort - it’s the strongest impulse), the Shadow Sparketype (secondary) - (this is what you are good at doing - runner-up), and the Anti-Sparketype - (this is the work that takes the most out of you and takes the greatest amount of recovery).
10 Sparks Types - Overview
- Maven - Knowledge acquisition (all about fascination - want to learn everything)
- Maker - Make ideas manifest
- Scientist - Figure things out - burning questions, problems, and puzzles
- Essentialist - Creating order out of chaos (systems and processes)
- Performer - All about energizing and involving experience interaction
- Warrior - Gathering together, organizing people and leading
- Sage - Awakening inside, process of elimination (learning for purpose of sharing what they know - they love sharing)
- Advisor - To create safety and trust (they walk beside a person or community)
- Advocate - champion ideas, ideals, individuals and communities (they can’t stay quiet)
- Nurture - to elevate and lift others up (you feel the feelings of other people as a caregiver)
You, too, may take the free assessment to "get some very intriguing insights about who you are and what your biggest impulse is that makes you come alive."
Sparketypes will reveal a whole new level of insight into what makes you come alive at work, as well as what drains you and trips you up, so you can avoid those life-drains.
Written by Traci Hohenstein
DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed are well-trained experts and highly skilled in their areas of practice. They take many safety precautions prior to attempting the activities described. The activities or research discussed in these podcasts should not be attempted without qualified supervision and training with professionals.