25 Aug #108 Assessing Your Spark for Life | Jonathan Fields
Does your job make you come alive? Does it fulfill a great need in you that brings meaning to your life? If the answer to either of those questions is no, it may be time to reassess. It’s time to find your spark for life.
WELCOME TO THE DARIN OLIEN SHOW
Jonathan Fields spends his life helping others assess their lives.
As the host of one of the top-rated podcasts in the world, Good Life Project, Jonathan helps his listeners live more inspired and meaningful lives. The podcast has been featured in several prominent publications and has a massive following. And it inspired Jonathan’s other passion project – Sparketype. This innovative assessment test helps “discover the work that makes you come alive.”
The conversation I had with Jonathan was actually our first time meeting. But it sure seems like we’ve known each other for years! I genuinely believe that we need more people in the world doing what makes them come alive. Staying at jobs or in careers for the sake of making a living is collectively killing us. I understand necessity, but you have a necessity inside you as well. And the longer you ignore that inner drive, the sicker and unhappier you’ll become. Trust me guys. I’ve seen the effects with my own eyes. This is your life we’re talking about!
This episode may be one of my favorites because I think the message is vital, especially now. We spend so much time educating ourselves on everything but ourselves. Success is meaningless if you’re empty inside. And if you feel empty, you’re more likely to try to fill that void with negative, unhealthy, and ultimately damaging things. So tell me, what’s your spark for life? And if you don’t know, when are you going to figure it out? Now is the time.
ALSO IN THIS EPISODE:
- [00:07:25] How do you live a good life?
- [00:14:00] When Jonathan realized he needed to find another way
- [00:28:00] What is Sparketype?
- [00:35:30] Darin’s assessment results and what they mean
- [00:40:00] Gentle ways to shake up your life
Jonathan on Social Media – @jonathanfields
Buy Jonathan’s Book SPARKED: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work That Makes You Come Alive – Coming out September 21, 2021
Want to get rid of your uncomfortable shoes? Get the next best thing to going shoeless with VIVO Barefoot. Your feet – and your body – will thank you! Use code DARIN20 for 20% off!
Darin: You are listening to the Darin Olien Show. I’m Darin. I spent the last 20 years devoted to improving health, protecting the environment, and finding ways to live a more sustainable life. In this podcast, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. I hope that through their knowledge and unique perspectives they’ll inspire you too. We talk about all kinds of topics, from amping up your diets to improving your well-being to the mind-blowing stories behind the human experience and the people that are striving to save us and our incredible planet. We even investigate some of life’s fatal conveniences, those things that we are told might be good for us but totally aren’t. So here’s to making better choices in the small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you and the people around you and the planet. Let’s do this. This is my show, the Darin Olien Show.
Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. This is Darin Olien. This is The Darin Olien Show. Thanks for tuning in. How are you doing today? How’s everything going? Are you focused on what your goals are, what you would like your future to be? That’s what I’m focused on through the crazy world that is always changing. I just did a fatal convenience on watching the news. So even I am backing off on the news, focused my energy towards the things that I can control and the life that I want to continue to generate for myself, for my life, and for the global community. That’s what I’m focused on. And you know what, my next guest, Jonathan Fields is gonna help you do just that. But before we get into it, this episode is sponsored by this awesome, sustainable, active shoe-wear company called Vivobarefoot. That’s right, I am super stoked to be partnering with them. So stick around to find out how you can get 20% off these incredible shoes. And these are my go-to shoes. So Jonathan, and I know several of the same people. This was an absolute treat because we literally just met each other on this podcast, and I feel like there was such a resonance, there was such a kindred spirit. I hope you guys pick up on that and have fun. He is literally a badass entrepreneur, but he also hosts and has one of the top-ranked podcasts in the world, Good Life Podcast. Come on, who doesn’t want to check out Good Life Podcast. He shares powerful stories and conversations and resources because he’s on a mission to help listeners live a more powerful, meaning and inspired life. Well, dude, as you can tell, I’m into that, right? His podcast has been featured in Wall Street Journal, O magazine, Apple’s iconic annual product events and so much more. Jonathan is also a founder and CEO of Spark Endeavors, a research initiative focused, listen up, on helping individuals and organizations reclaim work as a source of purpose, energy, meaning, and possibility. And now here’s the difference. We could talk about that, we can tweet about it, we can Instagram about it, and the next saying, but Jonathan took it a whole nother level and dedicated his life and wrote a book called Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work that Makes You Come Alive. It’s coming out on September 21st. Another buddy at Harper Collins, amazing. And this is delivering this important message at this time more than ever. We need everyone to come out of this pandemic so that you have your unique imprint, we get into it. Oh yeah, we do. He also gives this takeaway so that you can discover and take this little test to discover more about yourself so that you can line yourself with your strengths and your passion so you can kick ass because you know, I’m all about lining yourself up with yourself, with your truth so that you can kick ass in life, and we need it. We need all of you to be kicking ass in life right now more than ever. We need to create the future literally right now what we want to see in the world. Are you with me? Okay, I’m glad you are. So hook in and hold on because this is my next great guest and friend, Jonathan Fields.
Darin: Just radically excited and stoked to talk to you, just seeing what you’re up to, massively successful and many avenues of entrepreneurship. What a great name, I have Superlife, you have Good Life Podcast. I’ve been poking around at what you’ve been doing. I took your sparketype assessment, and I was immediately like, oh, wow, this is really fascinating. I was like, this is very cool. And then it came back, I got my ring. We can unpack all of that because I’ve always been obsessed in a certain way of improving, and I have this ability and desire to kind of explore because I think the human condition and the human experience is intimately and ultimately unbelievably miraculous, and mysterious, and all of that stuff. So dude, unpack a little bit because I liked the accessibility of what you’re doing. The pragmatic side of it, the passionate side of it everyone talks about, there’s a lot of things to learn about ourselves to be able to even access that which people say to do. But talk to me of how you got there, and how you got to this place where you’re literally everything I see you’re doing is promoting a good life and to be able to exercise that as individuals.
Jonathan: Yeah, it’s funny how you mentioned, we see a lot of sharing on Instagram. And I sometimes wonder whether we share these things like in one part because we’re trying to remind ourselves what matters to us and how we want to be in the world. And then on the other part because we feel like sharing the quote, or the idea, or the image, or the video counts as an action, and we feel like we’ve checked that box, and now we’re kind of off the hook. And now like, in real life, you don’t have to go back and actually do something about all these things that we’re posting about. Preaching to the choir here, like you’re the guy who goes out into the world that just does, does, does does, which is amazing to see.
Jonathan: I had been obsessed for my entire adult life with sort of the question of how to live a good life. That question of how we step into our potential. What does it mean to be in the world to be a good person, to live a good life, to experience meaning and love and connection and all these different things? And really probably long-term fascinated at the notion that the deeper into the learning process I’ve gone. And I’ve gone down the spiritual and philosophical and theological rabbit holes, a lot of Eastern philosophy. I’ve gone down the applied positive psychology and social science rabbit hole where I’ve been through thousands of peer-reviewed published studies, and really deconstructed them, which funny enough very often, especially in the world of positive psychology, to me, I kind of look at that as a whole bunch of scientists trying to effectively just prove Buddhism actually is real. So I’ve looked at all these different paths. And what I’ve always been fascinated by is we’ve got so much information and so many possible ways to go, and yet the human condition remains fundamentally one dominated by a level of suffering, a level of stifling, a level of this sense of unexpressed potential and not even knowing what is that potential that I would love to express more fully in the world. And I’ve been on a decade’s long quest, probably similar in a lot of ways to you. You sort of really went down the path of health and well-being and its relationship to food and the environment. And for me, I felt more called to exploring the inner life and the mindset side of things. And of course, we all know now like it’s a seamless feedback mechanism. So I’ve spent a lot of time now trying to find what I consider in body teachers diving into the literature in every domain that I can possibly dive into. Been super fortunate to have been able to literally build an organization and a media property and a podcast that allows me this opportunity to sit down with some of the most stunning minds on the planet and just learn from them on a regular basis. And more recently, what I’ve started to realize is that there’s amazing wisdom out there, but a lot of it requires you to buy into a certain amount of dogma, or commit to these much broader sets of beliefs that people struggle with, or it’s jargon loaded or heavily academic. And it’s really hard to tease out a simpler way to actually apply this wisdom, this insight in the world. And I’ve been on a bit of a mission to try and create bodies of work and tools that are pretty straightforward that are super accessible to anybody where they can step into them, they can interact with them, and they can much more quickly figure out, like, what are some of the things about myself that make me come alive and also they’re emptying me out that are specific, granular, actionable, and can really guide my behavior without me having to buy into anything else? And they’re so true and so accurate that they’re literally self-validating, like when I hear them when I see them, I know in my bones that something’s real here, something’s true. And that’s been a big part of my quest. I think there is essentially because I think there are a lot of interesting parallels about how we sort of you and I move into the world, but sort of in different domains.
Darin: Let’s look at that then. So obviously, and I agree with you down many paths, there’s a level of commitment to really seeing the path for what it is and it isn’t. And that’s consumptive of time and energy and all of that stuff. And at the same time, they’re all seemingly trying to point to the same thing. And some of them have pluses and minuses and traps and catches, whether they admit it or not. And so for you, having really dove into this in many different aspects, I’m so curious as to your methodology, if you could even call it a methodology, of those things that popped up that were like, oh, I need to remember this, I remember this, because then I want to get to like how you came into this whole sparked idea. And then really, I want to understand, like, man, it’s so complex, and then how you came to the construction, and the revealing of the potential that that has.
Jonathan: It’s funny because I keep trying to understand my own process because, to a certain sense, some of it is linear and analytical. I’m like, okay, I’m checking these boxes and mapping that. And then there’s always the insight based side where when you have so much data that you’re bringing into your cognitive process, a lot of the sort of like the aha’s are not a linear analytical process. It’s sort of like you’re putting it in, you’re putting it in and your brain is working on a 24/7 in the background. And then all of a sudden, you’re walking down the street, you’re like, oh, wait, this piece fits with this piece, which fits with this piece, and the pattern starts to emerge. And that’s a lot of the way that my brain works. But what’s happened with me is probably in the last decade or so, the broader pursuit has started to really focus in on the topic of work. And so we may define that as our job, the thing we get paid to do. We can define that as a role that we play in the world where we’re investing energy and effort, could be a devotion. Oftentimes, it’s a blend of all three. But I look at work fundamentally as you wake up in the morning, we open our eyes, and we’re all in some way committing to exerting ourselves, to exerting effort and energy throughout the day in particular ways. And the way that we do that, the choices we make around it can either fill us up, or it can empty us out. And my own personal experience, I’ve made some choices that have been incredibly emptying. I have a very past life as a lawyer actually. I lasted about five years in the profession, but there was a moment in my career where I literally was working for about three weeks straight, barely sleeping, rarely going home. It was a super high stakes deal. I was in a giant law firm. You’re like getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to be there. And the expectation was that we would work nonstop and be perfect. And towards the end of that three-week window, I started to feel this intense pain radiating from the middle of my body. I couldn’t really pinpoint where it was coming from. But every day, it got worse and worse, every hour, every breath. I could barely stand by the end, I was doubled over, and the whole team was so consumed by this process and so overwhelmed and exhausted and stressed at the same time. Everyone was living in their own worlds. Nobody was paying attention to anyone else. We kind of hit the button on that deal.
Jonathan: I took a cab back to my place. It gets fuzzy from that point because I either slept or passed out for a few hours, woke up and I said something was really not right here. Something bad is happening. I saw my doctor on an emergency basis. He kind of turned white, walked me immediately to infectious disease guy. Within a matter of hours, I was checked into a hospital and shortly after that an emergency surgery because what appeared to happen is my immune system effectively just gave up on me. I had so mistreated my body, and probably a very low-grade infection that had been brewing in my body for a while. There was just nothing left to counter anymore. And it just kind of exploded inside of me and literally ate a hole through my intestines from the outside-in. So thankfully, it was a fairly direct fix. They were able to take care of it. But I emerged from that. I had always been curious about the way that I worked and how I could be really nourished by the work I do in the world. And I think that experience really was a bit of an inciting incident to focus a lot of my energy on work because it’s the thing that so many of us do for the vast majority of our waking hours for our entire lives these days. And if it’s more emptying than filling, it’s really hard to live a good life. And there are some times where based on circumstance, based on constraint, limitations, privilege, or lack of privilege, based on a lot of different things, we have a certain amount of control over the choices we make, and sometimes we have less control, but to the extent that we can exert control, to the extent that we can be intentional. I’ve been really curious about what are the choices that we can make that nourishe us, that fill us in the context of work, in the context of how we devote our energies for the majority of our days, how we contribute to our lives and to the world around us. And I think that one experience working really set the motion of a much bigger now decades-long quest. I went back to my office a couple of weeks later. And if you walk by my office, you would have seen me madly scribbling on a legal pad with a bit of a smile on my face. I wasn’t smiling because I was enjoying the work. I was smiling because I was brainstorming a list, the biggest list that I could make of the things that I would do with my life if I could figure out how to support myself doing them. And that led me after about, I stayed there for a while longer, but I knew at that point that I was on my way out. And that led me out of the wall and back into the world of wellness, human potential, entrepreneurship, starting a series of companies, and eventually to really deepen into in the last five years or so how do we find and do work that makes us come alive? What does it even mean to come alive? Like if you deconstruct that, what does that mean? Because like you said, we looked on Instagram, you see all these words, but nobody really understands what they mean. One of the early realizations for me was that it’s not necessarily wrapped around happiness. Happiness is this grand aspiration that we’re held out, and the goal is to live a happy life and to be happy as much as we can, and in fact, it’s held as a standard. But sometimes it’s kind of a punishing standard because we’re not happy all the time. It’s not possible for most of us to be happy all the time. Happiness is not a sustained state for most people. And a certain amount of our ability to reach it is actually controlled by genetics, which a lot of us don’t want to own. It’s a complicated thing. But what we can always do is find meaning. We can find meaning in really good times. We can find meaning in really bad times. We can find meaning and exaltation and love and relationships. We can also find meaning in struggle and suffering. And meaning is profoundly important in the way that we choose the work that we’re going to do. So that’s a part of it. And then, over time, I started to realize, well, meaning is a piece of this puzzle when I think about the work that makes me come alive. And then I started to realize that excitement and energy are what the business world calls engagement is really important. A sense of flow, the ability to drop into this kind of absorbed state where the world drifts away, you become one with the activity, time fuse. It has been described in a lot of academic literature as this state beyond emotion, and it is incredible to be in that place. Expressed potential, where you feel like you’re actually able to bring all of yourself to the task and you’re not hiding or stifling anything. And then finally, a broader sense of purpose in life. So when I use the word come alive or spark, I shorthand a spark when you feel like do work that sparks you. I’m always really trying to not just use generic terms, but I want to deconstruct it. And I can tell you like when I talk about it, there are five components that I’m talking about. And when I build tools around it, I’m building tools designed to sort of tease out those states so that at least people may use similar words and mean different things, but at least when I use it, and I’m talking to somebody else about it, we know we’re talking about the same thing.
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Darin: Yeah, and I love that you’re doing that because you’re taking it from this kind of unattainable situations like happiness. Of course, everyone wants to be happy, of course. Now you throw these terms out, and I don’t know about you, but most people don’t even know what their happiness is anymore. It’s like this off, it’s over here, and I hope to catch it one day. And one thing that popped up when you’re saying that is when you have this purpose, it doesn’t automatically take you out of the pain and suffering of the path you’re on, and let’s talk about this, but from my experience when you’re in and on that purpose, it propels you through with a greater sense of understanding awareness. And obviously, call it a future thought or whatever that is that can pull you through those times where it sucks. And there’s a level of contentment that’s even occurring while it sucks.
Jonathan: Well, it’s like if somebody is like, you should only do things that make you happy. Like, are you happy right now doing that? No. It’s evil, it’s just brutal. But does it give you a sense of really deep meaning knowing why you’re doing it, knowing the people that you’re taking care of? And to me, that is the sustaining feeling. Of course, you’d love to get to a place where you have it all back and you show up and you walk in the door, and everyone’s smiling, and it’s like, hey, Darin, and that’ll happen. But if you tell yourself well, in the middle of this thing, that really means a ton to you right now, and you’re investing a lot of effort, probably resources, and money. And if like your standard is I’m not doing it if it doesn’t make me happy and you’re not happy right now, then you walk away. Whereas you walk away from meaning, you walk away from relationships, you walk away from connection, you walk away from love when that’s the only standard by which you make decisions when it’s all about happiness. We want to be happy as often as we can. It’s kind of like just the baseline. But to hold that as the main standard for when you choose to just keep working at something, it can be destructive at the end of the day.
Darin: That’s why I love where this conversation is going, the realism around all of that because you get this kind of almost bypasses. And when I was in school, I’d call them the spiritual bypasses or someone says, it’s all good, when in fact you’re looking at them going, you don’t freaking believe any of that. You’re like tormented inside and you haven’t liberated yourself. You’re just going around it as if that mantra is going to magically take you through something that you haven’t processed and haven’t actually understood that that hardship is actually sitting there as a superpower that you haven’t fully materialized or deconstructed yet. And I hate that throw-away stuff when in fact– listen, I lost everything two years ago in a fire. Did I want that to happen? Hell, no. But sitting with it and understanding it and ripping it apart and seeing it from every angle, I wouldn’t change it for a second because it’s extracted more of me from me in the world and put me on purpose and path towards the things that I really care about. I think people are easily defeated because they don’t have what you’re saying. You gotta take that time to really understand who the hell you are, and that comparison of other people like oh, they’re doing it, so I’m gonna do that. Whereas you’re not even that type of person. You’re not even gonna get there. So again, I’m so fascinated by this.
Jonathan: And I just want to share one thing to put a bow on that last thought of yours because it’s so great. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Bhagavad Gita, which is like this seminal text. And one of the fundamental teachings of that is, it translates roughly from Sanskrit to far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another person’s path perfectly. And I think so many of us spend our lives doing the latter because we’re afraid to do the thing that we feel called to do but not be perfect or even super good at it, not realizing that you can be masterful at somebody else’s calling and be utterly empty the entire time.
Darin: Therein lies the look at the path you took, and it was literally eating you from the inside out.
Jonathan: I thought it’s literally rejecting my career.
Darin: Wow. I mean, think about that, and one of the incredible awakening in your life. And we’re so silly as humans like that. So it’s like, if we know more about ourselves, we can at least stop some of that destruction along the way, but you then set out on this spark, right? How did you start to peel out these things that you knew and obviously, you have an ability to organize that and take out what you feel is going to work? So how are you doing that?
Jonathan: I started to really zero in on like I said, this question of work. And I start to say, okay, so can I do something? Can I make something that will be helpful in allowing people to figure out what is the thing that makes me come alive? What is the thing that empties me out? And then be better equipped to do something about it. And I started looking at all these different paths. And then I started saying to myself, when we normally talk about things like this, we usually start at jobs. Like, what are the jobs that made you feel this particular way? What are the roles or the devotions or the companies or the titles or the industries? And I was like, you know what, what’s underneath that? I’m always the person who’s trying to peel the onion. I’m guessing you’re pretty similar that way. I was like I’m not happy with the surface-level answer. So I start really trying to peel that onion, and I start to read my own scientific process of anchoring. And I’m wondering, what’s underneath that? What is the impulse for effort that is underneath all of these different things? Because if we associate them only with a job, well, then when that job ends and eventually all jobs do, the average person changes jobs, careers so many times these days, we won’t understand what made us feel good if we love that thing, and we won’t be able to replicate it, we won’t be able to choose intelligently. So I started asking myself, what are the deeper impulses for work that give us this feeling? And I started mapping all the potential ways that we invest effort, and then distilling down like is this just a part of that, is this just a part of that. And eventually, it distilled down to these 10 impulses forever that give different people that feeling of coming alive. And I realized that they’re fairly universal. And then I had sort of my theory, and my theory was that every person has a unique impulse or a set of unique impulses for work that makes them come alive. And it’s one of these 10 or a blend of these 10 impulses.
Jonathan: Then I started asking a lot of people and talking to people, and this was really resonating. And then in 2018, and I call these impulses of sparking types because what I started to realize is that for every impulse, there also is a fairly common set of behaviors, preferences, and tendencies that tend to get wrapped around it the way that we move into and relate to the world. So really there’s a bigger archetype that relates to each one of these impulses or imprints. So I called them sparktypes because just a fun shorthand for the archetype that sparked you. And I said we need a bigger level of validation here. So we spent much of 2018 developing an assessment. And if you really tease out, if you look at the assessment, and with your background, you can probably now think back at the prompts that we ended up in the language that we use in the assessment and relate them to those five different domains that I had talked about earlier. So we built it around that, and we kept developing and developing and then we release it to the public, and it kind of took off. We have since had about half a million people complete it generating about 25 million data points and some really strong validation of the core proposition.
Darin: Yeah, just so everyone knows it’s free. You can just go on–
Jonathan: Yeah, totally free.
Darin: It really takes as fast as everyone wants information. It really takes like, what? It took 10 minutes.
Jonathan: Yeah, 10-15 minutes. And the idea was, we wanted to make it accessible because if it’s not accessible, people won’t use it. So it can’t take forever, and I didn’t want to put a gate on it where we’re charging money for that upfront. So then we end up sitting on this giant data set that’s telling us a ton of information about these things, and then the story is and the use cases. And then we start interacting with and doing almost like citizen grounded theory research by just interviewing and deconstructing how this is showing up in people’s lives. And then over the years, I’ve been working with organizations and senior leadership teams and seeing how these ideas are getting deployed at scale, and really realized I think that there’s something powerful here. It’s funny, when I decide to build a tool like this because it takes a lot of energy and years to actually really figure it out, my primary things are, I want to create something that is accessible and that’s genuinely useful to people. It’s not about ego, it’s not about theory. You can do really cool theoretical stuff, but I’m much more fascinated about creating tools that are really useful in everyday life. And so to see how people have been responding and just the incredible volume of feedback and stories about how this is showing up in people’s lives, and how it’s helping them make decisions about what they’re saying yes and no to in the context of work. This is really, really powerful. It’s incredibly satisfying, especially for me because what I would call my primary sparketype is the maker. The fundamental impulse of the maker is to make ideas manifest. I opened my eyes in the morning, and I’m looking around, I’m like, there’s stuff that I can create. And the ultimate expression for me is to make things that move people. So I get to express that, and then what I would call my shadow sparketype, which is not the dark side as sort of a more of a Jungian way. It’s more that the impulse that lives in the shadow of your primary. You can think of it in one of two ways, either like you’re runner up, your next strongest impulse, or the one that helps you do the work of your primary at a higher level. So for me, that would be what I call the scientist, which is all about problem-solving. It’s about figuring things out. So I leverage my scientist impulse in the name of being able to make it at a higher level. And for me, it’s never just about figuring things out because I love the problem. It’s about figuring things out so I can create something that then goes out into the world, and is helpful to other people. So that’s sort of like to my primary and shadow, the maker-scientist work together. And what I found is that, if I move through the world, if I look at opportunities that come my way to partner or to start a company, to write a book, to build an experience, whatever it may be, and I can see in that a really substantial opportunity to leverage these two impulses to create and to solve, then I’m pretty much all in. And because I will be loving it the whole time, I will be on fire. I’ll have a sense of meaning. I’ll drop into the flow more easily. I’ll be excited and energized. And I’ll have this broader sense of purpose. It’s kind of remarkably simple at the end of the day. When you discover these impulses and then align the choices that you make and the work that you choose to say yes or no to with them, a lot of things start to change in a very organic way.
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Darin: You know, what I love about it is that it’s so distracting sometimes in this world to kind of take the time to really understand because we have to work, we have kids, we have stuff we need to do.
Jonathan: Life happens.
Darin: Life happens and we don’t have time to necessarily go, let’s just assess how this pandemic made me feel. It’s hard to kind of unpack everything that’s happening in our life, for example, because I did it. I did the assessment. I think I was nurturer and then the shadow was maker. I think that was it.
Jonathan: Did that resonate with you, by the way?
Jonathan: The fundamental impulse for the nurturer is elevation. It’s giving and taking care, you want to help people rise. And the makers like what I just said, like you create stuff. So what’s interesting is if your primary is the nurturer and your shadow is the maker, it’s a really fascinating pairing because what it tells me–
Jonathan: And I’m curious whether this resonates with you, whether it feels like that it’s valid to you, is that you create a lot of stuff. But fundamentally, at the end of the day, you don’t create it just so it exists, you create it, for the purpose of having something in the world that in some way helps other people feel better, relieve suffering, rise up higher.
Darin: 100%. To the detriment of getting all the business stuff lined up, which is why over time and destruction and building up again, you get people around you like oh, thank God, they’re here. Okay, now, I get it. And so I can just keep doing my thing, but 100% nurturer. You look at it, and you’re like, yes, the maker, I keep creating, I keep creating, I keep creating. I was just telling a friend who’s in from Colorado, and I was like, the only things I’ve not been successful at, no one knows about, but I keep creating, I keep going, I keep showing up, I’m not gonna stop. This is my mantra. It has to be good for people. It has to be good for the planet, and all sentient beings. If it doesn’t, I don’t give a shit, I don’t care about it, it’s not going to be powerful enough and eventually, I’m just gonna quit. But what I love about it is this is a tool that’s been thought out upside down and sideways. So that’s the cool thing as people can do that and literally, get this reading of themselves and all for free. And then I think that is a tool to develop a skill to continue to learn about who you are, what you are, and what you resonate with. Man, I just love the fact that you’ve created a tool like this.
Jonathan: Yeah. And it’s funny that the word that comes up over and over and over that we hear back from people when they discover their sparketype and their profile. It’s not like, wow, this is entirely new. I never, never knew this about myself. It’s like, no, no, they feel validated. And like nobody else validates anybody else, right? But a lot of times, we kind of know what these impulses are. We know what we’re wired to run towards and run away from. But so often culture, society, family, all these things tell us we’re either wrong, or we shouldn’t do it. So we don’t. So we pull away from it, we stifle it. And we don’t realize so much of the suffering that we feel is because we’ve built a life that is in no way shape or form created to allow ourselves to express this innate impulse in a meaningful way and it hurts over time. When you get your little report that shows you this is actually you. There’s this sense of recognition and validation that says, oh, this is actually real. Whatever message that I had, wherever it came from in the past that said, no, stow it away, run from this. I actually can’t because this actually is real, and this matters. And this could make a real difference in the way that I feel. And also, the level that I contribute to the world. It is one of the things that we found is that when people align the work that they do with the sparketypes, they perform at a higher level, everything changes, not in a very metaphysical way. Although if that’s your bend, that’s awesome. I tend to be more grounded in my approach. But we have a smaller scale follow-up study that we’ve been doing that has preliminary data that shows direct correlations between doing the work of your sparketype, and these feelings of meaningfulness and access to flow and excitement and energy and express potential and purpose in life. And that’s the stuff that, to me, is really exciting. And it’s the stuff where when people don’t feel that in their lives, especially now when we need something to hold on to, this stuff matters. It’s important. That’s the feedback that we get so much as like, people are just like, oh, I’m actually seeing myself. It’s like my inner self is being reflected to me in a way that rings as deeply true, and I can’t walk away from it anymore. This really matters.
Darin: You didn’t have to metaphysically understand that. It would literally throw you in the hospital and had surgery. But when things are subtle like that or not but also things are subtle, so when people do these kinds of assessments, they’re like, oh, wow, you can actually just start exercising your awareness around that and start dreaming again based on what this is revealing to you, and then let the world kind of meet you in that place. And sometimes it’s adjusting. Maybe you love part of your job, but you just kind of put yourself in the wrong role or not the most advantageous role.
Darin: So it’s like things don’t have to be black and white. But what I love is these pragmatic tools that can give you this broader sense to be able to zero in on what it is that’s really going to nurture you.
Jonathan: I’m not a fan of making big disruptive changes or blowing things up unless you absolutely have to. If you’re in a job or in a position where it is truly psychologically, emotionally or physically harming you, then maybe that’s a moment where you actually need to make a big, disruptive change to be safe, to be okay, to be emotionally and physically healthy. But the much more common experience is when people start to really think about it and they have the tools, they start to realize, oh, there’s actually a fair amount of stuff that’s right here. But there are a couple of things that are wrong, and they’re really causing me unease. So my approach is always well, rather than just blowing it up and starting fresh because we all tend to overestimate the joy that we feel when we blow things up and start fresh, and underestimate the pain of the disruption that’s gonna cause in our lives. So why don’t we just honor, especially when you’re an adult, honor where we are. Honor the fact that there is very often a much gentler path, a gradual way to make changes, and a more incremental way to get a lot of what you want in a way that also acknowledges where you are in your life, acknowledges responsibilities that you may have undertaken. If you’re a parent and it’s really important to you, you hold a deep value of providing security and a sense of stability to your partner or a family or kids, it’s gonna be really, really painful if you just decide to blow up your career. And there are much gentler and more practical ways to get there for most people. And at the same time, honor these other deeply held values that so many of us have, especially once we move further into adulthood.
Darin: 100%. It’s something I’ve been contemplating lately is realizing the push and pull of this reality, the polarities, even the evil and the good, and all of that stuff. And then try to kind of hang out in the middle. And doing this kind of assessment can bring up and reveal a little more of the pain of choice that you put yourself in. I’ve been thinking about my father a little bit while you’re talking, and it was interesting. My dad was an incredible dude, struggled with alcoholism early in his life, and then became a tenured professor at The University of Minnesota. But then later in his life, I started to see this duality come up where he thought he was this stoic Norwegian Lutheran Christian guy but then all these sparks of eastern religion and I care about other things, I want to be another aspect, I want to be free, I want to buy a Harley, I want so much of this stuff, and I could see these dualities going on. If anyone can understand, he was visionary but he didn’t really allow it, and he sit there and struggled for most of his life. And eventually, I think it crippled him. I mean, it’s infinitely more complex than that. He started drinking again, but literally, just to put a cap on that story, walking into his home after he had passed away, I am literally looking at duality. I’m seeing eastern religious book open and then a beer bottle sitting next to it. I’m seeing a cross with mala beads. I’m just going, holy shit, he was in that struggle, like who the hell am I and what do I really care, and I’m tearing apart this identity that I’ve carried with me for so freaking long but yet I’m being pulled to this person and this thing that I actually am. And he didn’t really survive it if I was to be completely honest. So the point is that we are disconnected from ourselves. We’re following other people, and there are mentorships and all of that, great, do it. I do it, you’ve probably done it, we need to learn about shit we don’t know about for sure. But at the same time, getting to know ourselves and know where our tendencies are is so– so this is really important to me. My first interview to my dad was what do you want to do with your life when I was 7 years old. I asked him that question. I know exactly what he said to me. And I saw him not really giving himself that permission. So this kind of thing, talking with you and exploring these concepts as to the purpose and the fabric of our existence, the most meaningful thing ever.
Jonathan: Yeah. We invest so much time and energy in learning things. We invest time in like we go to college, we learn about all sorts of specific fields. When you go to an organization, if you start working in a company, you get training in leadership, you get training in all these different domains, domain-specific expertise. We invest so much time, money, and energy, and acquiring knowledge in every domain except ourselves. I feel like that’s changing. I feel like there has been sort of a renewed focus on self-discovery, on self-awareness. And I feel like the moment that we’re moving through right now. The last 18 months have been really hard for a lot of people. And one of the things that I see coming out of it is a really renewed sense of people asking big existential questions. What am I here for? What fills me up? What empties me out? And some people are saying, what got me here, I’m fine if it gets me there as we emerge from this season that we’re in. We keep doing it, but a lot of people are saying, you know what, I’m not okay. The last 20 years, now that I’ve had this window of forced self-inquiry, I’m realizing that I haven’t been okay for a long time, that I haven’t been spending my time and my energy, my love doing things that I actually care about, doing things that make me come alive. And it actually matters to me more than I thought it did. And I think a lot of us are also being really pointed with the understanding that life can be fragile and short, and we’re awakening to a deeper desire to go deeper into ourselves and really understand ourselves on a level that may be lets us make choices that are more nourishing. On the one hand, so that we can feel more alive and more fully expressed, and on the other hand, I also feel like we’re in the moment where we need from as a culture, as a society, as a world, we need as many people to be lit up, to be at their best, to be functioning at the highest possible level because we have big problems that need to be solved, and we need all the contribution we can to help make that happen.
Darin: Function over fear, man, absolutely. Being out in the world, being largely in 20 years of third-world countries and stuff you realize that oh, wow, some system’s in place that people think or got the globe’s best interests aren’t working, they’re failing. So we gotta do it ourselves, we have to put and come together and solve some of these problems. And if you’re off in this other place and emptying yourself on a daily basis of not really being the full expression and functional within yourself, then you’re just gonna be a casualty in life. And it’s like, I don’t know about you, dude, but that’s not the life I’m living. No freaking way. I’m swinging for the fences.
Jonathan: Yeah. I mean, to the extent that I have a say and see what happens when I open my eyes every given day. I want to try and make the most of it.
Darin: Amen to that for sure. This assessment that you’ve created, I’m almost like every person should do it but people who are like what am I gonna do? This world is different. Am I gonna go to school? What am I gonna go to school for? Do this test. Do this kind of thing so that you can pop out of the ideas of everyone else and go in to discover, you’ll get a jump on yourself. Because from Down To Earth, from the TV show, I just got so many kids who weren’t necessarily looking in this space or aware of the world in this way, the environment or of health, and all of a sudden, they’re like woah, I didn’t see that coming. And now, what do I do, where will I go, and how can I be? Anyway, I’m a fan, that’s the bottom line. I love to help any way that I can to make people more aware.
Jonathan: That’s the bottom line. Without awareness, we can’t be intentional. And if we can’t be intentional, then life is left largely in chance and I think that’s just not okay for a lot of people any more.
Darin: Dude, we need to keep the tether of awareness to self, the sovereignty of the individual connected to themselves so that they can have that awareness that’s coming from within into the world and that’s, hell, I’ll go down swinging, push on that in the world. So hey man, this is such a pleasure. How can people take that assessment? Anyone listening, I know that there’s gonna be a ton of people like, holy shit, 10 minutes to learn more about myself. What’s that link, we’ll put it in the show notes too but you can say it as well.
Jonathan: So the link is just sparketype.com and there’s a little ‘e’ in the middle there, S-P-A-R-K-E-T-Y-P-E dot com but actually even if you misspelled it without the ‘e’, you’ll end up in the right place.
Darin: Great. And then how can people follow you, your social and all of that stuff.
Jonathan: Yeah, I’m pretty much all over the place. I’m Jonathan Fields, @jonathanfields. And for the podcast, it’s Good Life Project Podcast.
Darin: Perfect. Well, dude, I am stoked. I’m really jazzed about this conversation.
Jonathan: Pleasure. Thanks so much for having me on. I really enjoyed it.
Darin: What a fantastic episode. So tell me, what is one thing you got out of today’s conversation? If this episode struck a chord with you and you want to dive a little deeper into my other conversations with incredible guests, you can head over to my website, darinolien.com for more episodes and in-depth articles. Keep diving my friends. Keep diving.