The Funny Thing About Fire

“Don’t give up on it yet, dad.”

“But bro, I’m about to pass out.”

We were alternating taking massive exhales of hot air into a pretty much dead fire.

“It will come back, stay committed.”

“OK dude…”

We kept huffing and puffing. I was so light-headed I was getting angry at him.

“Keep going,” he demanded as he slightly rearranged wood.

In a few more puffs, sure as s**t, 🔥🔥🔥.

“Told you,” he smiled.

It’s so Captain Obvious I had to caveat it as such before I made my brilliant (sarcasm) observation in a few of our team’s 90 day check-ins.

“If we can all keep moving towards the strategic and proactive vs. the frantic and reactive, it will go so much better for all of us. We’ll do more valuable and life-giving work, freeing us up to be better partners for our clients.”

My colleagues were too kind to eye roll me, but it had to have been what they were thinking. Instead they walked me through their plans, the ones they authored, the ones that will go a long way to solving big problems with equally big ideas.

I’m not sure about you, but at times, I’ve felt like work, life, and relationships resemble our dwindling fire pit that Friday night.

Not in the “it’s going to go out completely” or “we should give up on this thing and go watch Dude Perfect” kind of response like I wanted to tell our son in the midst of my light-headedness, but the one that had me looking at it, going “man, I know we built this fire the right way with the right people and we’re surrounded by the right components, character, and opportunities.”

But maybe life is still not a strong, raging fire, at least in the ways we’d all want and expect.

Fire is a funny thing.

You can trick yourself into thinking you built a really strong one by tossing in the empty Lucky Charms box, the discarded Amazon packages, your daughter’s scribbly school drawings, and the horribly designed direct mail pieces.

It will burn big and bright.

For a few seconds.

But a great fire requires three critical components. Well, maybe four.

The right wood, arranged the right way.

A spark.

Patience.

And just when you think you’re out of component three, give it a heavy dose of oxygen, watch it ignite, and enjoy its power for hours.

I might be dead wrong and pass out from dizziness first, but I think if we all show up consistently with big hearts, our true selves, and the gritty sticktoitiveness this tough, broken world demands, perhaps we can all be part of something that will provide collective warmth, opportunity, and a story bigger than our own desires.

Not the glittery, sparkly, flash in the pan Lucky Charms box kind of fire. But a real, strong, powerful, captivating, intriguing, warm, sustaining one.

Hang in there. Keep going. Don’t give up. Stick to it. Even when you feel light-headed.

And, sure as s**t, I bet it will be 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥.

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