After consideration, I realize that mine is an impossible goal.
I want to document the building of Sparksmore, to show the growth, the challenges, the struggle, victories, defeats…to remove the veil and let others see what and who I am.
My motives are pure, as much as anyone can understand his own motives. I want to help others. I want to create what could be the motivation and encouragement necessary for others to start.
You are going to see my art, me expressing myself through several media with one common goal.
It will be therapeutic for me, but concurrently dangerous. I understand the risks associated with what I am attempting, and though there will certainly be times that I regret sharing and would rather keep things private, I believe that the openness will eventually help you face similar challenges. If my life is a service to God and others, then putting my life on display would perhaps be the greatest service I could offer, if it has any value to others at all.
At the same time there are the voices and fears. I admit them. It’s part of this process. Who do I think I am? How can my life help others? Why would anyone want to read or follow such a journey when they have their own battles to fight and when they would likely do so much better at living than I will? I’m swallowing those fears with a spoonful of hope. I’ve been encouraged by seeing the lives of others, and I hope to do the same.
Those doubts are not coming from a vacuum. I’ve earned the fears through my life choices and habits as well as the natural insecurities of humanity so common it’s as if they are woven into our DNA.
I would not consider myself a failure in life so far, but certainly in some ways I feel like it. I look back over the 26 years I’ve lived as an adult, and wonder when it was that I really became one, in some ways wondering when I will finally become one.
I’m not going to bring everything out here because it would be overwhelming to consider and read. I am not a proper judge of my life, but I know how I have lived. And I know how I would prefer to live. Those two sometimes are not the same.
This could be a total failure.
- I may not have the energy or courage to complete it.
- I may fail in my attempt to communicate and come across as a fake or any number of unappealing characters.
- My struggle may bore you.
- My wins may underwhelm you.
- You will certainly see me differently than I see myself and come to change your opinion of me many times.
- My business may completely fail and you may get to see a train wreck.
But I am hoping you will see something better…
- a human who struggles and succeeds through tenacity and love
- a man who becomes your friend
- an example for facing challenges with dignity and faith
- a success regardless of the finances involved
Would you please come with me?
Would you come along with me as I open the curtain and share my journey? The highs and lows I submit to you with only the faint hope that somehow they will bring a little richness and encouragement to you in your dark times and that they share joy in your successes.
If you are starting a business, or just trying to live a better life, I hope you will follow along on my journey, and become part of it as my story unfolds.
The impossible part
The impossible goal is not to document a life. That seems overwhelmingly difficult at this point, but I have some plans for how to do it. At the very least I have a blog so that I can record my thoughts and feelings. I’m not going to attempt to become the Truman Show, but I do plan authenticity. The impossibility lies in documenting it from the beginning, because I am far along in my journey already. And so are you, even if you too are just starting out in business. You have a past and it directly relates to your present circumstances. But all of us must start at the beginning, whatever that looks like. My beginning looks a little like this…
As I start Sparksmore (It’s about 3 weeks old at this point), the business may be new, but I have lived 44 years. I have a background that suits me well for what I am going to attempt. In fact my earlier works have converged in a way that puts me in a place where I feel like I can compete. My current skills and experiences include video/audio capture and editing, public speaking, sales, writing, podcasting, management, leadership, teaching/training, and project management.
[For clarification, Sparksmore is a few weeks old, but I have had a client for about a year. I worked out a deal to trade martial arts instruction for some social media marketing. It’s how I eventually decided to pursue Sparksmore.]
Briefly stated, here is my current situation–my starting place.
- I work as the director for The Truth In Love television program produced by the Brown Trail church of Christ. I do recording, editing, distribution, and marketing of this weekly 30-minute program, with the help of a few volunteers. Yes, it is a full-time job even for such a short program. (I wear all the hats to justify my place and paycheck.) I’ve done this for a couple of years and preached at various churches for about 15 years before that.
- Two days ago I put down the microphone on my podcast called Constructing Faith. It was a year-long project that was gaining little successes and I hope to return to it in a year or two.
- I teach one day a week in the Brown Trail School of Preaching training men and women in Bible knowledge. I’ve done this for a couple of years.
- I am happily married and have 2 children, the youngest of which just turned 18.
- I’ve had two different blogs in the past, but they never really went many places.
- I’m proficient in computers, but nothing related to coding.
- I’ve had experience in building websites through WordPress, but no HTML experience.
- I now produce a daily blog for the television program, 300-400 words on devotional topics. This daily blog is new to me–less than a month into it.
- I also practice martial arts 2-3 evenings a week and on Saturday mornings.
- I am in personal debt, to the tune of $95,000 in school loans and a few other bills that have accumulated over the years.
- I earn enough to live well, but not enough to get ahead. (I’m sure some of that is inability to manage my funds well enough). At this point I have no retirement, no savings. I don’t even have the money to invest in Sparksmore like I want.
- My wife has been a stay-at-home-Mom since the birth of my oldest son, and now that my youngest is 18, she is moving into a business of her own.
A rough plan
I plan to share goals, ideas, efforts, things I learn through research and experience, etc. To accomplish it, I plan to post a journal for anyone curious enough to read it. I will update it as it needs to be, perhaps daily. I’ll also produce a weekly summary of what I learned and wrote about, a summary of events, or a tl;dr version of Sparksmore. I plan to use this for my email list so I don’t bombard them with daily emails (though some may want them and that would be an option too.) I also plan to write 2-3 long-form articles a week. It might be one long one and a couple short ones. And, periodically, I will have goal sessions where I share goals, plans, and how I am doing on them, what I learned, etc.
This is very much a work in process, which is actually the point of the attempt. It will grow and mature as I do. So if you have suggestions, I am willing to listen.
Will you come along with me on this journey? I’d love to get to know you better. Sign up for email updates, or just check back on this site and follow the progress.