Light Your Own Fire

Imagine you’re camping and, in an effort to take the chill off and warm yourself up, you decide to build a fire.  You crumple up some paper, collect and arrange wood in the fire pit and then… you never put flame to paper and light the fire.  You’re still cold, and you’d still like to get warm, but you never light your fire.

Sounds silly, right?  Yet how often do we do the same thing when we have a goal or a dream we want to pursue, we know the first (or next) step we should take, yet lack the motivation to get started?  In a sense, we fail to light our own fire.

Motivation is the fire that moves us to get started and stay committed to our goal.  This “fire” can look like, but is not limited to, a desire to:

  • Life a healthy lifestyle
  • Achieve an educational goal
  • Start a business
  • Be debt free
  • Travel

What’s important about the fire of motivation is that it has to come from us, not others.  We are the ones who must light our own fires and motivate ourselves to take action.  If we’re relying on others to motivate us before we take action, I would have to wonder if we really want the goal or dream we’ve laid out for ourselves as much as we may say we do.

If you’ve got a goal, but have been waiting for motivation to come from somewhere other than yourself before you get started, decide today to light your own fire.  Determine why achieving this goal is important to you, focus on that, and move boldly toward the goal before you.

How to Make a Difference

Most people have a desire to make a difference.  Whether it’s in their family, relationships, community, or career, people want to know what they’re doing, or have done, matters; that they have added value to others; that their efforts have made a difference.

I feel the same way.

Sometimes it can be challenging to determine how we can make a difference or add value to those around us.  The challenge of “how” to do this can often keep us from taking any action at all.  I think one way to determine how we can make a difference is to follow this simple 3-part process:

  1. Determine what you do well, what you enjoy doing, and what you are excited about.
  2. Find someone who has a need you are able to solve and, excited about doing so.
  3. Get started.

I started doing this at work earlier this year, after feeling like I wasn’t making much of a difference.  Here’s what the 3-part process looked like for me:

  1. I enjoy providing information about our business in a clear, simple format that business partners can easily understand and use to make business decisions. I discovered that the company I work for has a great tool (QlikView) for building information dashboards, so I began learning how to use this tool.
  2. The business unit I support has been lacking clear, easy to understand business reporting.
  3. I began using QlikVeiw to put some dashboards together and share them as prototypes with the business. The business found the very useful and asked me to create additional dashboards to help measure the business.

Since I took this initiative to make a difference, I really feel like I’m making a significant contribution regarding how the business receives and uses data.   The work I do feels meaningful, relevant, and important.  Plus, I just love doing it!

What about you?  What do you do well or what are you interested in that you can share with others?  Look around.  Who has a problem that you can solve with the skills and interest you possess?  Have you identified them?  Good.

Now start making a difference.