Monday, October 12, 2009

Are You a Fire Starter or a Fire Keeper?

If someone could peer at the traffic in my mind when I first awaken, they would be amazed there aren’t any accidents. It’s like ideas start getting in queue when I first fall asleep and patiently wait in line until the door of my consciousness opens again. The moment my eyes open, the torrential rush of thoughts begins, and if it was up to me, I’d move cities and mountains just in that first hour. Thankfully for me, one of the most important people I work with – Dena, my soul sister, consulting editor and PR person - is driven by a symbiotic type of energy and never sleeps.

My husband is quite the opposite. Although he rises early because of work related reasons, he would happily sleep in if he could, and it takes him a little while to really warm up to the day ahead. Once he is completely awake, he gets into an even and methodical set of routines which allow him to keep everything in balance. He gladly takes the ball and guards it until he can get it safely to the other side of the field; if anyone gets in his way before he has completed his task they do so at their own risk.

We have always agreed that I am a fire starter, and he’s a fire keeper – entirely different types of fuel propel us forward, but both are equally important in the final equation. I come up with a lot of the initial ideas, and he provides the means to manifest them into reality and keep them going. I have always been quite lucky to be surrounded by very capable fire keepers, who are able to take the flame and tend to its growth and existence, especially when my focus has already sped toward the next goal.

Most of us fall into one of the two categories, and struggle to keep up with the other side of things. In my case, for example, I love to write, but I’d rather shoot my own feet than edit my own writing. I see the story in my head like a film playing on a screen, and I transfer the images on paper in a very short time, but I couldn’t achieve the same results without Dena’s irreplaceable skills of dissecting my first draft and turning it into a story other people can also watch in their minds. Fact is that it is not important to fit both shoes, as long as we can let go of control and allow others to step in and pick up where we left off.

Feeling guilty for not being able to do both hinders our creativity in both directions. Once we understand what our strength is, there is no need to waste time or energy on our weaknesses. If we focus our attention on what we do best, and allow others to shine through the light of their own abilities, the fusion of skills can only lead to mutual success.

What about you? Are you a fire starter or a fire keeper?

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