Contributing Philosophies

The Science Behind

Sparkle School

Despite our glittery moniker, Sparkle School isn’t just all beauty; our Sparkle School curriculum is backed by a whole lot of brains!

You may have heard us talk about our 20+ year journey in developing and refining this program; for those of you curious about the who, what, when, where, and how, Shayla Roberts, our sparkling co-founder and Sparkle School curriculum designer, has put our contributing philosophies and original thinking to paper. Below you will find a synopsis of Shayla’s seminal perspective (and many more reasons why Sparkle School kicks ass!)Sparkle School curriculum

Entrepreneurial Qualities Support Successes in All Arenas of Life

Through the course of 25 years as coach to highly creative, top-performing entrepreneurs, I have identified an important reason why so many business builders fail; they do not have ready access to the innate personal qualities that successful entrepreneurs easily tap. Not surprisingly, the same qualities required for successful entrepreneurship also enhance one’s ability to take command in all other vital arenas of life including health–creation, wealth–generation, and quality relationship-building.

Top performing entrepreneurs are naturally: purpose-prompted, passion-powered, extremely self-confident, relentlessly resilient, thoughtfully self-investing, reasonably risk-ready, and boldly self-directed. We ascribe these qualities to the ‘natural entrepreneur,’ and we assume that people who do not possess them are probably better off working for someone else. However, I have consistently seen that while these qualities do indeed appear to be innate, they are not exclusive to top entrepreneurs. I have discovered them lying dormant within every client I have coached, and I have helped clients tap these qualities by delivering to them, a potent system of original tools and methods. The system integrates key insights from diverse disciplines including psychology, creativity, brain science, personal growth, and distance and experiential learning. It has had various names throughout its history of development, including Life Design, and LifeGate, but the most complete, effective and exciting version is Sparkle School.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of would-be entrepreneurs, business owners and just plain folks have no way of knowing about the importance of the seven qualities listed above. They may feel frustration, confusion, and lack of confidence, but prior to Sparkle School and the 25 years of research behind it, they would have no way of identifying that those feelings were due to the fact that they had lost direct contact to the innate qualities that would most help them to succeed.


Supporting Research

I am asserting that I have a unique understanding of key entrepreneurial qualities and how to tap them, so I offer the following information to show how my thinking connects to that of other visionary entrepreneurs and scholars.

If seven key entrepreneurial qualities are innate in the great majority of people, why do so few readily tap them?
Answer:

Common sense indicates that nearly everyone does tap them in early childhood as they learn to walk and talk. Every early step requires a sense of adventure driven by purpose and passion; supported by self-confidence and self-direction; and fortified by resilience, self-investment, and risk readiness. These qualities are closely linked to authentic, emergent creativity and intuition––all capacities that directly support one’s ability to think divergently, to problem solve, and to intuit the need for, and undertake, original actions.

One of my early coaching clients in 1991, was a pioneering company called Leadership 2000, owned by general systems scientist and creativity analyst George Ainsworth Land and his wife Beth Jarman. Their book, Breakpoint and Beyond, was published by Harper Collins in 1992 and has become a classic on growth and change in business. It provides a key insight into the reason why most adults have not retained the ability to tap their innate entrepreneurial qualities.

In a 1967 study, Land tested 1,500 inner-city, Head Start children under the age of five, measuring them for their levels of genius in divergent thinking. Astonishingly, 98% of these disadvantaged preschool students tested at the genius level in their ability to think divergently. The same group was tested again 5 years later after 4 to 5 years of standardized education, and the percentage of genius level thinkers had dropped to only 32%. Five years later, it had dropped to 10%, and when 25,000 young adults in their early twenties were tested, only 2% of them rated at the genius level in divergent thinking. Land’s conclusion was that the drop was largely the result of exposure to compulsory, standardized education, where the unique perceptions of children were not valued.


What is divergent thinking?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a “correct” solution. Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking.

Psychologists have found that a high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among people with personality traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.
Activities which promote divergent thinking include creating lists of questions, setting aside time for thinking and meditation, brainstorming, subject mapping / “bubble mapping”, keeping a journal, creating artwork, and free writing. In free writing, a person will focus on one particular topic and write non-stop about it for a short period of time, in a stream of consciousness fashion.”

Why has standardized, compulsive, public education had the effect of diminishing rather than developing divergent thinking and creativity?
Answer:

John Taylor Gatto says in his book Dumbing Us Down,

Schools were designed by Horace Mann and by Sears and Harper of the University of Chicago and by Thorndyke of Columbia Teachers College and by some other men to be instruments for the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.

––John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down–The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

‘Educationist’ Sir Ken Robinson said the following in a TED talk in 2006:

Our education has mined our minds in the way that we strip mine the earth for a particular commodity and for the future that approach will not serve us. . . . Our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology one in which we reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity.

––Sir Ken Robinson, TED Talk – June 2006

Parker J Palmer, a prominent, visionary educator, contends that individual uniqueness on the part of both teachers and students is key to the future of education. Speaking of himself as a teacher, he says:

I want to learn how to hold the paradoxical poles of my identity together, to embrace the profoundly opposite truths that my sense of self is deeply dependent on others dancing with me and that I still have a sense of self when no one wants to dance.”

― Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life

Another quote from John Taylor Gatto:

I’ve come to believe that genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us.

––John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down–The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

The need for a break-though, experiential, distance-learning system like Sparkle School, is an unrecognized societal need to regenerate the kind of culture-wide, creative, entrepreneurial spirit that Americans had 200 years ago, before the impact of a school system designed for the industrial age. As entrepreneurial education proliferates in universities, think tanks, business incubators and start-up accelerators, there is an emerging recognition of the need to regenerate that entrepreneurial spirit. This is best accomplished by giving people full access to the needed success qualities.

On August 27, 2012, the Yahoo Small Business Advisor published an interview with Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Director James Boyle and Program Manager Alena Gribskov. I cite their thoughts below, linking them to the seven qualities that Sparkle School is proven to fortify.

“We started seeing students interested in entrepreneurship but maybe not as interested in a founding role or without an appetite for that kind of risk.

Boyle and Gribskov
Sparkle School Insight:

These students lack the quality of being ‘reasonably risk ready.’

“People who are successful here [at YEI) see an inefficiency in the marketplace and feel very strongly that they have a unique handle on solving it. They’re the ones who have the most zeal and the most get-up-and-go to solve the problem.”

Boyle and Gribskov
Sparkle School:

These students are ‘purpose prompted, passion-powered, and extremely self-confident.’

“The one common trait we see among people who are successful as entrepreneurs is that they’re comfortable in an environment where there are no guideposts or rules. That’s really important. For students who are looking for a guided experience, entrepreneurship seems especially scary.”

Boyle and Gribskov
Sparkle School:

These successful students are ‘boldly self-directed.’

“We’ve also seen that students who excel at entrepreneurship have a kind of stubbornness and dogged persistence so that they will face it down till they get to the end.”

Boyle and Gribskov
Sparkle School:

These students are ‘relentlessly resilient’ and ‘thoughtfully self-investing.’


There is a confluence of emerging societal factors that has primed the marketplace for Sparkle School.

Factor One:

Our society increasingly recognizes that our 200 year old, standardized, compulsory education system was designed for the job-focused, industrial age, and that instead of fostering key, entrepreneurial qualities, it actually stifles them. Sparkle School begins reversing that process in just 8 to 12 months.

Factor Two:

Our culture increasingly understands the vital part that emotional intelligence plays in creating successes of all kinds, and Americans have been primed by popular media (like TV sitcoms and dramatic series) over the past half-century to experience themselves as ‘personal-growth-and-development works in progress.’ Sparkle School gives them a user-friendly structure within which to actualize and focus that self-concept.

Factor Three:

As a society, we now comprehend the important role that creativity plays in business and other successes in life. Sparkle School applies principles of creativity directly to the process of enhancing self-awareness.

Factor Four:

The new brain science, and brain plasticity in particular, indicate that we can access reservoirs of latent personal potential that we did not know existed, and change the way we experience ourselves in life and work from the inside out. Sparkle School provides a powerful cognitive reprogramming tool that has been proven effective over 30 years when used to manage moods, overcome limiting beliefs, and activate creative possibilities.

Factor Five:

As a culture, we understand the important part that the support of a community plays in our challenge to co-create an optimal future in business and in all areas of life. Inspirational trainer, Jack Canfield says, “Success is a team sport.” The formation of new, highly targeted communities on line is now a mainstream function of our global society. Sparkle School organically proliferates a virtual community of mutually supporting members.

Factor Six:

The Internet gives us the ability to target specialized markets through social media, to establish communities of common interest, and to deliver experiential training content to them virtually.

“Whatever en education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important; how to live and how to die.”

––John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down–The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

The March 2013 issue of FORBES features the story of Nicholas Woodman, the surfing fanatic turned entrepreneur who made his debut appearance on the World’s Billionaires List earlier that month. The founder and CEO of digital camcorder company GoPro, 37-year-old Woodman has turned an initial idea to tether cameras to athletes’ wrists into a social phenomenon valued at $2.25 billion. Woodman gives the following three pieces of advice to entrepreneurs:

  1. Follow your passion
  2. Fear failure
  3. Obsess over your product

Business KnowHow.com (http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/business-failure.htm) states Seven Pitfalls of Business Failure and How to Avoid them by Patricia Schaefer: “. . . if you start your business for these reasons, you’ll have a better chance at entrepreneurial success:

  • You have a passion and love for what you’ll be doing, and strongly believe — based on educated study and investigation — that your product or service would fulfill a real need in the marketplace.
  • You are physically fit and possess the needed mental stamina to withstand potential challenges. Often overlooked, less-than-robust health has been responsible for more than a few bankruptcies.
  • You have drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude. When others throw in the towel, you are more determined than ever.
  • Failures don’t defeat you. You learn from your mistakes, and use these lessons to succeed the next time around. Head, SBA economist, noted that studies of successful business owners showed they attributed much of their success to “building on earlier failures;” on using failures as a “learning process.”
  • You thrive on independence, and are skilled at taking charge when a creative or intelligent solution is needed. This is especially important when under strict time constraints.
  • You like — if not love — your fellow man, and show this in your honesty, integrity, and interactions with others. You get along with and can deal with all different types of individuals.

Sparkle School curriculum