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Step into Action with SARK’s Four D’s

an adorable picture of SARK drawing with huge crayons

(Thank you, SARK, for letting me use your picture!)

This summer, I had the delightful experience of participating in Kyeli and Pace’s amazing World-Changing Writing Workshop (the second). One of their featured guest speakers was SARK, beloved author of books like “Glad No Matter What,” which feature her signature technicolor illustrations. She was speaking to the group about creativity and writing.  I have to tell you, peeps, this was one of the most inspiring calls I’ve been on – and I’ve been on plenty of fabulous calls recently!

I wish I could download for you the entire conversation, but what I will distill and share was SARK’s parting words.  She said that to cultivate a writing life, we would do well to always remember the four D’s: dreaming, daring, doing, and delighting.

Here are my thoughts on each, as they pertain to making a difference in the world.

  •  Dreaming.  The vision drives the process – always has, always will.  If you don’t have a Wildly Improbable Goal, if you don’t have a dream of the life you would love, you will never get there.  Martin Luther King Jr had it right – you declare a dream so powerfully and so vividly that you stir tens of thousands of people into action.  It’s not your job to control the outcome and have a perfect road map of how this dream will happen…it’s your job to name it.  Over and over.
  • Daring.  Any big dream will spark your social self into a panicked we-can’t-do-that-you’ll-get-us-into-trouble monologue.  It takes guts and gonads to step out against your inner critic, your stay-safe patterns, and take the first step in the direction of your dream. But remember: the first small turtle step is always doable.  Just dare to take that first step…
  • …and then you will be Doing!  The doing of the dream is the hardest part.  In fact, Martha Beck offers a wise mantra to use in this part of the process: “This is a lot harder than I expected, and that’s OK.”  Remember the “and that’s OK” part, please.  Remember to take turtle steps.  If all else fails, take a nap and come back at it with a little more rest. Be patient with yourself.  Have compassion.
  • Delighting.  This last step is key.  Positive psychology teaches us that those that have a positive outlook and are able to shift their interpretations of events to a positive frame are more likely to achieve their goals.  You want to be a mover and shaker?  Start by getting happy.  Start by noticing what you’ve done well.  The many things you’ve already accomplished.  The many lessons (thank you, Universe!) you’ve already learned.  The accumulation of small turtle steps that have actually changed your life quite radically, when you look back and remember where you started.  Share your delight – go big with it.  People don’t want to join your cause or make a difference because you’re so pissed you’re scaring them into action…they want to join in and help when your delight for the possibilities is so contagious they can’t help but sign on.

So there you have it,  SARK’s incredible four D’s formula.  Which one is your strong suit?  Where do you struggle?  Let me know in the comments below, my dear peep, and you shall be supported!

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2 Responses to Step into Action with SARK’s Four D’s

  1. kellykingman September 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    I was on that call, it was awesome! And I have no doubt that “dreaming” is my forté, followed by daring.

    Looks like “doing” mirrors the square 3 of change we were talking about. It’s important to remember to delight in every little “do” we do!

    • Julica Hermann September 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      You and me both, dahling. Though I think I’m 50/50 on daring and dreaming, I love both. But the doing is always the trick! Thank you for reminding me that delighting is what helps me keep doing.
      And thank you for “making me” go live with this blog. (hee hee.) You are a wonderful midwife.