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How to Find Your Inner Energy (Your Spark)
Finding Your Inner Energy
Why do people lose their spark?
And how do they get it back when they do?

These are the questions I found myself pondering in the middle of 2018. I’d been feeling a bit disengaged from life for a while and had come to realise that, the feeling wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Why had I lost my spark, my strength my essence?

Honestly, I had no idea.

I was a middle-class guy in the middle of my life residing in the middle suburbs of one of the most liveable cities on earth , Melbourne, Australia.

Professionally, I’d been living the entrepreneurial dream for 16 years. I owned and ran businesses that gave my family financial security, allowed me to travel the world speaking and teaching (two things I really love), and involved work that was generally very fulfilling.

On the home front I was happily married and father to two healthy beautiful kids. Given how good my life was, I felt huge guilt at being in such a funk.

After talking with a few people close to me, and discovering that others had experienced or were experiencing similar feelings as mine, I wrote about how I was feeling in a blog post.

And then I thought long and hard about actually publishing it. Would this post actually help other people (my usual criteria just before publishing a post)? Or was it pure self-indulgence? In the end, I decided if only it could help one other person feel a little less alone, it would be worth it and my job is done.

Then in that moment, I pressed publish and to my greatest amazement the response was overwhelming.

The article received thousands of shares and hundreds of public comments from people who said it resonated strongly. A large number of people messaged me privately to say my story connected with their present situations. And there were also many encouraging messages from people who were on the other side of what I was experiencing.

How is it that so many of us feel quite stuck in life, broken inside and struggle to find joy and contentment in lives that are, for the most part, great? Always struggling to find something to live for.

I suspected evolution plays a part. We, humans, are inherently competitive creatures, hardwired to be dissatisfied and always keep pushing for more.

But, I also wondered if it might be because we weren’t paying attention. Or, were paying attention to the wrong things. Therefore, I thought it was worth doing a little experiment. At the end of my blog post, I invited readers to take part in what I called the Sparks (or inner chi) Challenge, a simple daily journaling exercise where participants answered two questions:
What gave me energy today?
What did I do to give other people energy?

Essentially, these questions were asking people to pay attention to, and reflect on, the moments in their days where they experienced little sparks of joy and contentment. To reflect on that moment when their actions put smile on the faces of others.

Nearly 600 people signed up to take part in the month-long challenge. Here are some of the insights and findings that emerged from that challenge.

What Gave Me Energy Today?
Some people found answering this first question easy. They quickly realised sparks could be found in the tiniest of places:
1. Drinking a cup of tea by themselves before the rest of the house got up,
2. Sitting with their partner on the couch,
3. Going for a walk.

Some found it rather hard. They felt each day was much the same (groundhog day!). Or they realised much of what they did each day actually took energy away from them.

My experience was interesting. I found it easy to answer this question for the first half of the challenge because I was on vacation with my family. There were lots of new stimuli and experiences and I was spoilt for choice at the end of each day.

For the second half of the challenge, I was back at work. I was still able to answer this question, but because work is more of a routine and repetitive thing for me, it took more effort to notice the things that gave me energy.

What Did I Do That Gave Other People Energy?
The reaction to this question was interesting. Many people felt it was presumptuous to feel something they did gave someone else energy.

And perhaps I should have worded the question differently to say, ‘What did you do for someone else today?’ Because that’s where people found they gave other people energy, by doing something for them, be it:
Helping their child with their homework,
Listening to a friend talk about a problem they were having, or
Even something as simple as a smile.

The people who found this question most difficult to answer were those who worked alone and/or didn’t have much contact with other humans during a typical day. Several of those people made the observation that they didn’t realise just how isolated they were until they did the challenge. The challenge inspired them to seek out more opportunities for connection.

Finding Your Chi or Spark (Strength or Energy)
The main thing that emerge from this challenge was the Sparks people identified in their days which usually fell into one of four categories. Everyone can find their spark either in one or more of these identified categories. Which are,

Paying closer attention to one or more of the categories listed above in your daily lives shall bring the spark back in.

For those of us who weren't privileged to partake in the first challenge, here is you chance...! Submitting your thoughts as comments...
What gave me energy today?
What did I do to give other people energy?

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