Have you ever woken up one day, looked around at your life and thought,
“This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife! MY GOD!…WHAT HAVE I DONE?” Yes, I’m quoting the Talking Heads, where David Byrne plays make-believe imagining himself as a suburban husband smacked with a midlife crisis.
This was my life a few years ago.
I was unhappy in my job (which was really bad because it was a business I created), in my relationship (which was even worse because I was married to my business partner) and just in general…my life.
How did I get here?
Well, let’s look back. When I was a teenager I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Does anyone really? So, off I went to college and majored in Marketing/Sales because that’s what field my father was in. After a couple years of horrendous sales jobs, I decided to go back to graduate school for Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. I’d been an avid runner and lifter for years, so it seemed to make sense to pursue Exercise Physiology as a career. Fast forward ten years and I’d had jobs as a personal trainer, weight loss coach, health club membership sales rep, college professor and director of education and sales at nutritional supplement companies.
But…nothing seemed to fit. After a few months to a year, I’d be uninspired and just plain bored.
I thought…maybe I’m just tired of working for someone else. I’d always been entrepreneurial – having side businesses in fitness and nutrition – so I decided to take it to another level. In 2007, I completed a life coaching program at IPEC and started a natural health and wellness magazine in Connecticut (Natural Nutmeg). I built it to be a hugely successful statewide print publication and launched a sister magazine in Portland, Maine (Essential Living Maine.)
And…that didn’t fit. I kept getting more and more frustrated and unhappy. Coincidently (or not), my relationships seemed to follow the same path. I’d meet a guy I thought was amazing, we’d immediately start a relationship and within 2-3 years I’d be bored out of my skull with him.
Considering I’m the common denominator (in both jobs and relationships), I started to take a hard look at… ME!
Did I rush into things too quickly without really thinking through if this job or this man was truly “The One” for me?
How could I lose interest in something that I was so excited about after a few short years?
Is it possible that I’m just not built to stay in one job or one relationship FOREVER…or was I afraid of long-term commitment?
I began to seriously contemplate something that’s perplexed me for years…
Do you become bored in a relationship because you haven’t found ‘The One’…OR…is your boredom a defense against the fear and vulnerability that comes with intimate relationships?
I’m still not sure I’ve figured it out, but what I do know is that after years of studying successful people in both relationships and business, I’ve found that there are 5 essential characteristics that these people all have in common that I call the SPARK: self-confidence, passion, ambition, resilience and kindness.
But the word SPARK came to me years ago from a friend I’ve known since 5th grade. We were both single and actively dating at the time and she used to say, “He’s got to have that spark in his eye. That’s what I’m looking for and I know it when I see it.” What she meant was that she was looking for a man who was excited and passionate about life and embodied those five essential characteristics I listed above. We would also joke about how so many people just didn’t have it. If I was talking to a guy I just met in a bar and he didn’t have the spark – as soon as I would look over at her she would give me this look – no words needed!
I started developing these 5 characteristics in myself and I would look for them in every guy I met who I thought might be “The One.” I’ve always been pretty self-confident, but I continued to push myself to do things that were out of my comfort zone (both physically and mentally), like traveling alone, rock climbing, and silent retreats.
I spent a year on a “Passion Quest” – where I critically studied all of my strengths, values, past experiences and things I was extremely passionate about to figure out what I wanted in my life (in a career, in a relationship, in day to day life). What was going to make me jump out of bed every day? What was it that I couldn’t not do?
I started meditating and really giving myself time to figure out exactly what work I was meant to do in this lifetime. I worked with (and still do) life and business coaches to help me maintain my focus and drive to pursue my ambition. I surrounded myself with positive people who were on the same journey as I was.
I built my resilience by realizing that failure is a positive thing and if you’re not failing, then your goals and dreams aren’t big enough. In order to succeed, you have to fail. I gave myself permission to make mistakes as long as I was willing to try again. I promised myself not to take any rejection personally.
I implemented a gratitude practice and tried to find one thing every day that I was thankful for. I learned to forgive myself and others when we both made mistakes. I successfully ended an 8-year marriage and business partnership with my ex and we are still friends today. I became kinder to myself.
And as I developed these characteristics, I found my true passion in work and my true love. I believe that if you want to live your life to its fullest potential and you want to find a partner that is doing the same, you have to develop these five characteristics. So I developed the SPARK method to teach men exactly how to do that.
The SPARK Method:
5 Key Tools to Master Life & Love
S = Self-confidence/Self-knowledge
Learn to move from a place of, “I can’t do it,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never get there,” “What if she rejects me?” to a place of, “No matter what, I’m going to win,” “I’m not going to get stuck in feeling shameful or angry,” “I’m going to figure out how to make this work for me.” In a low self confidence state, you are constantly releasing destructive hormones into your body that dramatically further lessens your confidence and ability to attract women. It’s crucial for every man to identify what is at the core of his negative thoughts, so he can free himself from them.
P = Passion
Remember when you were the most excited about your life and bring that spark back. How can you integrate fun and adventure into your life? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning eager to start your day? Discover skills to become more comfortable with intimacy, understand what’s attractive and exciting for you, and how to avoid attracting the same kind of women that are not right for you.
A = Ambition
What do you want to accomplish in your life, what legacy do you want to leave? What do you want to do so you have no regrets in life? How can you find a partner that supports your drive and ambition to accomplish things outside of the relationship? Learn how to get more done in less time, how to prioritize and prevent overscheduling, and maintain a high energy level.
R = Resilience
What is your “why” that will enable you to persevere to accomplish anything you desire? How will you develop strength to overcome obstacles without becoming hard and jaded? Discover how to deal with fear and rejection by moving toward the emotions instead of away from them.
K = Kindness
How will you stay open to love and compassion after you’ve been hurt? What kind of gratitude practice will you have? How will you forgive yourself and others? Learn how to stay calm amidst chaos and quiet your mind to allow your inner guidance and intuition to be heard. Discover how to amicably end negative relationships that no longer serve you with lovers, friends or family.
Develop these 5 areas and it will be impossible not to find your true calling and your true love!
For one month, we’ll work on all of these areas to help you get your spark back! Train your mind like you train your body.
Dr. Diane Hayden is the owner and publisher of Natural Nutmeg Magazine. She holds a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland and is an Empowerment Life Coach. Her passion centers on helping men and women break the failed relationship cycle through her proprietary SPARK method. You can learn more about her online at http://drdianehayden.com/.