“Where’s the fire?”
The times when I get asked this, I’m probably flying around a million miles an hour like my life depends on it.
Usually it means: Slow down. Stop panicking. There is no real fire. Nobody’s going to die. Breathe.
In the main, I help people do less firefighting. And to fight fires with less headless chicken and more brilliance.
But there is something about a fire that makes us focused.
When we’re up against a deadline or a crisis. When there’s impending destruction that will get rapidly worse if we leave it. When there’s a wider impact and the fire threatens to engulf everything else. When there’s a risk of it all becoming very public and other people will know. That’s when a fire can be incredibly effective for getting us focused.
For some people it’s the only time they have complete focus. When they know for certain that everything else can wait.
That’s the beauty of a fire. It’s very very certain.
Sometimes we need others to light a fire beneath us to leap into action. Isn’t it amazing how long we can sit on something until someone else gives us a deadline?
But constant firefighting can be exhausting and unrewarding, especially if you’re always tending to someone else’s fires.
This week I saw one of my clients on fire. She’d been through a period of flitting – from one project to another, one direction to another. Every time we spoke she had a new priority. A new direction which was “definitely the right thing to pursue”.
Until this week. This week was different. She had a clarity of purpose that I had not seen in her before. There was no hint of ‘should’ in her language, and her reason why went way beyond what was logical and sensible. She was on fire. She knew exactly what she needed to do, and procrastination didn’t even get a look in.
When we’re on fire we have an amazing clarity of purpose. We know exactly what we needed to do – even when we don’t know. The unknown doesn’t stop us. It just drives us to find a way or make a way.
When we’re on fire, we can’t wait to get started. Procrastination doesn’t get a look in. Distractions pale in comparison.
When we’re on fire, it’s not a question of if we have time. “How do I find the time?” becomes “Get out of my way.”
Of course we need to fuel our fire to keep going and not burn out. Fire isn’t the only thing we need, but it is a damn good start.
So here’s my question to you. Where’s your fire?
Are you on fire? Or are you too busy reacting and tending to other people’s fires?
Do you need to start a fire – or get someone else to light a fire under you, to get you leaping into action?
Are you fighting too many fires that are threatening to get out of control?
Or have you gotten so used to fighting fires, that you’ve forgotten how to take action without it?
I’d love to know your take on this. Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know…