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back to school spark of inspiration

Several of my friends and clients work in schools or universities and are preparing for early mornings, ironed shirts, new stationary and homework. I’ve enjoyed their company over the summer holidays and will miss the catch-ups, but they’ve got me inspired.

They hold a key to the future for their students. They share themselves, their passion and energy to create a spark of inspiration, a chain of fireworks and a vision of what life could be like for their students. We’re back to school.

Get your new notebook out and your finest felt tips or crayons. I want to take what they’re doing for tomorrow’s scientists, dancers, leaders, inventors, writers, carers and holders of jobs not yet thought of and bring it to you.

Create your spark

These can come from anywhere – a book, a speaker at an event, an documentary, a quote on a bumper sticker. Or perhaps someone you admire, who is doing or being what you want to. Or a place you like to visit. Look back at your journal or diary or photo library.

When something leaps out at you, drawing you in and making you want more.

That’s your spark of inspiration.

Next ignite your chain of fireworks

Working with that inspiration, build upon it – ask yourself: what does this link to in my life now and in the future? Then record the outcomes – brain dump, illustrate them, mind map their interrelations or use a dictation app (like Siri) and talk through where this spark takes you.

If you get stuck – ask yourself “what else?” and pause to allow other thoughts to bubble through. Invite a trusted friend or partner to bounce ideas back and forth.

Once you’ve got a chain of inspirations, that make your tummy flutter, heart beat faster or make you catch you breath – all with a huge smile on your face – you’re good to move to the next step.

Finally, a vision of what life could be like

Put aside today’s restrictions, barriers or blockers. Look ahead with your blinkers removed. Divide a page in 3 (or if like me, you’ve got giant handwriting, 3 sheets of paper!). In the first third, add a header “Tomorrow”, middle area “3-6 Months” and the final one “And beyond….”. Or in other words, short, medium and long term.

Taking your fireworks, add each one to your paper into the timezone, in which you can begin them. For example, water features in my work and life goals. Tomorrow, I can work in the Lido Cafe on the Serpentine and use the waters’ calming effect to allow me to focus on a new course design. In 3-6 months, I can book a long weekend away on the coast to feel the salty wind blow on my face and beyond that, I’d love to live somewhere near water with an office overlooking it.

My final step, as I often get my sparks from pictures or visuals, I like to make a vision board above my desk or on Pinterest (for on the move quick fixes..plus I can add more sparks as I go!).

I’d love to know how you approach your back to school futures, does this time of year evoke memories of itchy new jumpers and stiff new shoes? Perhaps thoughts of a teacher, who created your spark, fireworks and future? Share in the comments, your sparks, fireworks and where or who they come from.

How did you find this exercise? Need a hand? Shout. I’ve got coaching slots opening up and would be thrilled to help take you from spark of inspiration to future vision!

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