Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The "Sparkle Factor"

I was born and raised in Alaska. It’s common knowledge that there is gold in Alaska and you can find it if you know where to look and if you have patience. When I was a little girl, my dad would bring me fishing along the Kenai River and he would often tell me to look for gold. He said if I could find some, I could keep it.

So as any little girl who loved Barbie’s and dress up, I would look for shiny, sparkly things along the water’s edge. Sometimes I would run my hand through the water gently stirring the silt at the bottom of the river looking for a glimmer something. I would see that “shine” through the water and I would get goose bumps. My heart would pound and my palms would sweat. My breathing would become rapid and I could think about nothing else except focusing on finding that object sparkling in the water. I had to be careful so I wouldn’t fall into the river and sometimes I needed to figure out a way to get to the Sparkle since it wasn’t always within my reach. But that didn’t stop me because each time I saw something glimmer in the water, I was convinced that it was the treasure I was seeking and I wouldn’t know for sure unless I tried to get it.

I found lots of shiny things, fishing lures, hooks, candy wrappers and lost or broken pieces of jewelry, but I never found gold. In retrospect, I realize my dad was giving me a project for the day so he could enjoy his day of salmon fishing. I do look back on those days with fondness. I collected piles of sparkly items that we usually threw away when we were done. But, I loved the hunt and I loved the idea of what could possibly be found and to this day I have an addiction for sparkle. In fact I sometimes refer to it (tongue in cheek of course) as my favorite color.

Do you have something that you just know is “IT”? You feel it in your bones and it gives you goose bumps? Do your palms sweat and your heart beats faster? Does your breathing become rapid and you find your mind drifting and then focusing on “IT”?

That’s your “Sparkle Factor”.

It makes your eyes shine and your heart sing and when you talk about it you sparkle from the inside out. It can be something tangible but it can also be a goal, a business idea, even a person. Whatever it is for you, use it to your advantage and run with it. Sometimes it’s out of immediate reach and we have to find a way to reach or achieve it but don’t lose your focus. If you don't try, it could become a missed opportunity.

When I have a sparkly idea or plan it becomes part of me and I’m driven to accomplish it no matter what it takes or how hard it is to reach. “Sparkle” is something that makes my heart happy and gives me joy in all its forms and I have to reach out to grab it. If I would have found gold, those summers long ago, I would have probably been a small flake or nugget of little value. "Sparkle Factor"- Priceless.

What’s yours?

Tara Schmakel
The Once Timid Networker
Entrepreneurial Excellence
The Workroom at Tara's


  1. Amidst insurmountable obstacles lie golden opportunites --- my sparkle may not always be out of reach -- but I always reach for it. Some days I seek it out. Just today I found a new way to always have it with me if I have trouble finding it. I'm carrying it in my pocket from now on and I call it sunshine. "My pocket full of sunshine". Thoughts of you, Tara, always put sparkle in my day. You just don't fit in my pocket, so I keep you in my heart!

  2. Great article Tara. I love the word Sparkle as it defines something that stands out and shines among the dull. Just like a smile can do in a crowd. Well done

  3. :) Adam makes me sparkle! I think we have a mutually sparkly relationship!!

  4. thanks for a thought-provoking article - mmmm - my sparkle factor has to be watercolour. this is a hard but wonderful journey with disheartening pitfalls all along the way. the trick perhaps is to seek out the sparkle when it fades, through rest, learning, giving, prayer, getting organised (even that), working, dreaming and well there must be more. for me life loses colour when the sparkle goes so I really like your comment about your favourite colour. all the best with your journey - stephen