Ever see something that made you stop in your tracks? You weren’t exactly sure what you were seeing, but you knew there was a story behind the image? This weekend I decided to take a drive to Mt. Charleston to get a change of scenery and take a hike in the cooler elevations of Vegas.
As I started ascending up the mountain, something seemed different that I couldn’t put my finger on. It had probably been a year since my last trip to Mt. Charleston. The scenery had a different look, and then a faint odor tickled my nose. Then, it hit me. The small brush that covered the base of the desert mountains were charred. What made me realize that was when I saw a line where the fire had been stopped. The contrast between the burnt brush and the still evergreen bushes met. Clearly something was different. The fire had been put out at that exact point so that it spread no more.
I had forgotten about the 10,000 acre fire near Mt. Charleston in July. I recalled seeing the smoke bellowing over the mountains from my house and hearing about the devastation of the California fires on the news. When the winds shifted in Las Vegas for a couple days, a blanket of smoke hung over the Vegas strip.
My brain is trained, whether I like it or not, to always search for the metaphors. They are the tools of speakers and trainers. What does this fire line mean? How is this like life? Yikes! I was so close I almost walked through my own fire.
To put this fire out, there were professional fire crews who worked tirelessly. It took a lot of concentrated effort to achieve that goal. Eventually the fire was extinguished. When driving, I what caught my eye was seeing the fire line. The exact place where fruition occurred.
Where in your life do you have “reoccurring fires” that never seem to be extinguished? Where do you want to make a change? Relationships? Finances? Speaking skills? For me, lately it has been about money and my relationship with it.
Many people may see me as “successful.” There are as many definitions of success as there are people. I love the perspective Patricia Fripp gave me. “It’s not how much you make; it’s how much you keep.” And “Your money should make more money than you do.” Brilliant.
I’m thankful and appreciative of the business I have. I’m still working on changing some limiting beliefs I created in my youth. My fire line is doing what I love, while working fewer hours and being financially free. I did put in my time of 18-hour days for years on end. I’d now like to focus on more personal time and receive more in abundance.
What I’m striving for is being debt free and having financial freedom. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I’m not where I want to be. As a speaker, one challenge is when we walk off stage, we are unemployed. Though many people think the answer is more money, the truth is…managing what you do have is the first step. Learning to live beneath your means is part of that.
If you follow my articles, you know that I recently paid off a huge business debt I was carrying. Though that was a huge success, that is not where my fire line is…just like battling the fires takes not only the ground attack, but also the helicopters dropping tons of water until the fire is out. Committing to my goal helped turn the boat and head in the right direction; I’m now stepping it up and educating myself more. Though I’ve been through some courses and read some books which have helped immeasurably, last night I started on a Dave Ramsey course at my church called Financial Peace University.
In the first night of this nine-week class, I had some breakthroughs. I got choked up at one point; he struck a chord. Another friend created some affirmations for me that I’m committed to saying each day. I’ve asked the people in my class to keep me accountable for doing my homework. Somehow knowing others are going to keep me accountable motivates me. How about you?
Though I drew a line in the sand that I was going to change my financial situation ten months ago, the fire is still burning. I love what Dave Ramsey said when he talked about changing your financial picture. He said, “We are not in the microwave business, we are in the crockpot business.” Meaning, it takes time. Whatever you want to change in your life, it may have taken years to create the fire; we can’t expect to put it out in an hour. I like the honesty of his statement.
Have you committed to put out the fire in your life? Maybe it’s big. Maybe it’s small. What will the contrast of your fire line look like? It starts with the commitment. Right now I’m somewhere between my commitment line drawn in the sand and the fire line where it is finally put out. I don’t know it all, yet I can see my fire is under control. I still have hiccups but now catch myself much sooner. I can see I’m getting closer to that fire line. The air assault and the ground attack are helping, as well as volunteers who are jumping in.
Notice, too, that nature is always a great example for us. As I drove down the mountain I took some pictures to remind me of this lesson. As you can see, the area looks like a waste land. If you look close you can also see that even though the raging fires were only put out a couple months ago, there are already signs of new growth in that devastated area. Hmmmmm, think about that. What hope could that give you?
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