summer reading

My Lessons from The Spark and the Grind

the spark and the grind.jpg

I selected The Spark and The Grind by Erik Wahl as the inaugural selection of the View 112 Summer of Business Books Reading Challenge because the concept leapt off the dust jacket and struck me so abruptly.  I was casually browsing the business section of my local Barnes and Noble and there it was well placed in the center of the section, eye level.  I picked it up and have been compelled ever since. Check the top of the inner dust jacket: “We’ve been conditioned to think about creative genius. As a dichotomy: dreamers virus doers, creativity virus discipline, the spark vs the grind.  But what if we’re wrong? What if it’s the spark and the grind.”(Wahl). I highly recommend you read this book in its entirety as it is FULL OF GEMS.  Here are a few for me:

1. There is danger being all grind and no spark.

This book validated my evolved perspective on creativity. Many professionals idolize the super grinder and the concept of hustling. Although I am also writer, I have never considered myself a creative. In fact for many years, I’ve ignored writing as a childhood dream turned adult hobby.  I have taken much more pride in being a “grinder”. Having a strong work ethic is a career characteristic of which I am most proud. It’s an incredible feeling to be known to execute.  Contrarily, I have always viewed creatives as people solely walking around with their head in the clouds dreaming all day. While creatives are inspiring, to be labeled and known as a super grinder seemed much more aspirational. After all these years of working, its taken age and experience for me to build confidence in the fact that I am truly a creative grinder. When I made the decision to cherish creativity, I took one step closer to living a limitless life. I am no longer just a leader, great sales person, business woman, or writer. I am all of those things and MORE.

“If you lean toward being a Grinder, stop using focus as an excuse to ignore other opportunities around you.” p.55

The Spark and the Grind-Erik Wahl

 

2. Aggressively pressure the unfamiliar.

While I’ve not always been able to define it, I’ve always believed there is something more in life than my current experience. The book makes a compelling case that the only way we find that nagging “something more” is when we go beyond the familiar. In sales, I’ve seen the benefit of curiosity. The deals I’ve been able to close or rooms I’ve been able to enter from remaining curious has been proven repeatedly. We must be curious in all aspects of our life. Innovation is born of curiosity. Self doubt in our ability, manifests itself in the form of editing curiosity.  How often do you convince yourself a reoccurring thought or idea is not of value? How often have you compared a wild thought to your normal environment and dismissed it as “crazy”? We all possess creativity.  We just need to stop trying to make creativity convenient to our ordinary lives.

“By introducing ourselves to the unfamiliar, we open up our network to novel possibilities for efficiency. This is called innovation.” p.64

The Spark and the Grind-Erik Wahl

 

3. Don’t let insecurity stop you

Embrace your rookie season. Even publicly if need be.  If we are committed to life long learning, we will always have rookie seasons. In order to be an expert, you have to be a rookie.  Develop the vulnerability and patience to appreciate being a novice. I think often times the obstacle is the fear of looking like a beginner versus actually beginning. It takes a lot of courage to do things when you are not confident. I will stop robbing myself of amazing opportunities because I’m insecure about how I may appear to others while I’m figuring it all out. How many more incredible experiences will you miss from not working through the awkwardness of the beginner phase?

“We fight not to appear foolish. Stop fighting that fight. Let go of your self-consciousness and fear of humiliation. There are far greater things to lose than a little ego now and then.” p.198

The Spark and the Grind-Erik Wahl

 

This book really inspired me to look differently at how I pursue my life and career.  It is certainly one of my favorite books I’ve read in 2017 (I have all the highlighted passages to prove it.). Erik Wahl also has a pretty cool YouTube Series in which he highlights people who epitomize the concept of The Spark and the Grind.  Check it out

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