How many times in jest has someone told me to just go write a book. Well, here you go. From start to finish, this project took a little over a year and here are my reflections.

Sparked started in 2018 with a passion to help individuals and teams bring out their best, particularly when they aren't able to move forward. Sometimes, it might even involve helping people figure out what they want to be when they grow up.

One of the most effective tools in coaching others is to use metaphors that make their situation relatable. Many instances I use metaphors from my life, either as a parent or as the owner of a homestead. December 2022, I had an idea that could provide a framework for first-time managers to learn leadership techniques and tools similar to learning how to drive a car. What didn't strike me immediately was the fact that most first-time leaders will be too young to have kids that are driving age, so how will they relate? Still, I think many first-time leaders will have learned how to drive recently enough that the experience still resonates with them.

The framework came together in a straightforward manner, with the words flowing onto the paper. Having never been an author, or a person that is passionate about writing, it was something of a cathartic experience. Similar to coaching, it involves getting the reader to think about the qualities of leaders they respect and would like to emulate. Being ever so practical, I wanted the book to have tools that provide information and enable the reader to see progress on their journey.

As the book progresses, there is a map that provides directions along the journey.Getting the reader to think about their team, individuals and the whole, and what could make them better. Understanding how to be an authentic leader that instills confidence and trust in the team is central to the next stop.

We then move outside the team to look at their surroundings – their stakeholders.Identify information flow and the needs of others to successfully negotiate through these 'streets.' One thing many new leaders overlook is how critical other teams and people can be to your success. The book provides a structured approach to leave little to chance.

There's more to the story, and I'll leave that for the book to tell, but the overall experience of putting my thoughts down on paper has been pretty cool. My daughter, who is an amazing editor (yes, I'm biased) has taught me so much through this experience. I'm sure I have driven her crazy with the length of time it has taken me to be consistent with my Oxford commas, or too many dashes, or the misuse of semicolons, but she's been amazing throughout.

One of the hardest things to do is ask friends and clients to read the work. When you don't write for a living (hmm, can I say that now?), this vulnerability is akin to that which I ask my clients in their coaching sessions. I have a desire to be inspirational and motivational, and trust that the words I put on paper help someone in their leadership journey. I got a phone call from a new leaderI asked to review the book who told me that the book is easily relatable and very practical; this was music to my ears! For him to say it was easily relatable when he has no children made my day!

We are now one week away from the book going live. Excited and nervous barely describe my emotions. There's still a lot to do, and my best friend and graphic designer is working to help me make this succeed. He's been my inspiration throughout my entrepreneurial journey: designer, motivator, mentor, and rock.

 One thing I always ask my clients is how they define success. For me, it's helping people transition to leadership with the knowledge and confidence to keep moving forward. Every situation and question will not be answered, but with this framework in place, readers can rely on a direction forward.  I didn't have a book like this when I first managed people. It took years to figure this out, so let's take this journey together.