Ken Donaldson on Putting Out Fires, Crisis and Integrity
A REAL fire.
Evidently some trees rubbed my power line to the point of creating an open line and all the lights started to flash in my house, the backup battery systems started to beep and finally there was a puff of smoke followed by sparks and then an outlet burst into flames.
Wow…all before 9 a.m.!
I was fortunate to be here at home and not at my office, otherwise, I may not be writing this today as I’m sure there would have been a significant fire.
Yes, I am VERY grateful.
But I noticed something as all this was going on.
I noticed how calm I was.
I’m not meaning to brag, but I have to say that I impressed myself.
I guess all those years of deep breathing, meditation, positive thinking, mental reframing and self-hypnosis paid off.
I think I’ll keep practicing what I’ve been doing…it seems to be working.
All of which brings me to a question: How are you at “putting out fires?”
This term of speech, “putting out fires”, typically means responding to crisis, conflict, unexpected surprises or, as some call it, the “do-do” of life.
How are you at all of that?
I’ve noticed that there are four basic types of responses:
Freeze: These are the people who are the proverbial “deer in the headlights” reactors. They get immediately overwhelmed and their emotions override their intellect and wisdom. They don’t take action. They don’t do anything. They freeze.
Fight: Some people are so reactive that when anything is the least bit upsetting their emotions go into full tilt overdrive. They get angry, frustrated, irritated or just go into a rage. Their action is irrational and often inappropriate. They instantly burn the bridges between themselves and others. These are the “reactors” of life.
Flight: They run. They run more. They keep running. Sometimes they forget what they’re running from. Their emotional response is such that they instantly see things as “life threatening” and obviously overreact by running. These are the conflict avoiders of life.
Fix: These people stop, pause, think, analyze and then go into action. Although their emotions are present, they are able to keep their emotions in check. Their intellect and wisdom override their emotions. They go into rational action and stay focused until they have completed the task to the best of their ability.
Which are you?
I can honestly tell you that I have been all four at one time or another in my life.
Today, fortunately, I do my best to stay in the latter category. I stop, pause, think and respond.
It’s very easy to allow one’s emotions to make their decisions. Emotions are very powerful and very helpful in many ways, but NOT to make decisions with…especially the super important decisions.
In my case, I had an impulse to throw water on the fire, since I know that water puts out fire. However, if you throw water on electrical fires, you can create many more problems.
I wonder how many people in life react and “throw water on an electrical fire.”
I have learned over the years that when I practice meditation and Qigong breathing, I seem to have better control over emotional situations. I can’t tell that I really know how that all works, all I know is that it works for me.
I also have a very empowering mantra:
Every moment of every day, I get better and better in every way.
Every moment of every day, I get richer and richer in every way.
Every moment of every day, I get stronger and stronger in every way.
Every moment of every day, I get wiser and wiser in every way.
I think there’s a part of me that actually has begun to fully believe that message.
It’s only taken 53 years….and I know it’ll get better and better every day…in every way!
As somewhat of an aside, I was also quite surprised with the power company’s seemingly lack of concern that my house could have burned down. I found it alarming that the customer service representative wanted to tell me all about their policies and procedures. She also said she would get back to me regarding having the trees trimmed.
It’s been three days now. I have a feeling I won’t hear back.
No worries, I’ll write a nice letter to the CEO. Don’t really like to do that, but have found that that is sometimes the only path to any resolution.
I bring this issue up for only one reason: Integrity.
How is your integrity? Are you living at your highest standards? Are you “your living word”? Are you “being whole” with yourself?
So, a few things for you to ponder: Fires, emotions, meditation, integrity.
I think it’s called “Life”, or as one of my older and wiser clients says, “It all comes with the birth certificate.”
Feel free to leave a comment below.