If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
They call me the fireman, that's my name....
Raging out of control...
Come on, baby, light my fire.
I've seen fire, and I've seen rain...
Fire and gunpowder do not sleep together. ~Traditional Proverb

Just when you think you have one fire under control, another breaks out. This past weekend brought more tragedy to Southern California in the form of another wild fire. This time, the little town of Wrightwood, just north of Los Angeles was affected. I took my children with me to visit two of my brothers, above Cajon Pass, in the growing high desert community of Apple Valley. On our return trip, we passed by Wrightwood, typically a sleepy snow village, on the West and Silverwood Lake, a local water destination, on the East. Wrightwood is the winter retreat and Silverwood Lake, the summer one. My children visit both, often.

As we passed these communities, we could see smoke billowing above the mountains and fairly soon enough, we were passing by the flames that threatened Wrightwood. To watch something you know and love being destroyed mercilessly is an odd feeling. You are possessed by helplessness, as well as a filling of awe at the power and rage. And you can only sit back and watch. It's kind of like when you witness someone destroy their marriage or career through carelessness or thoughtlessness. There is a path of destruction unlike any other...

My daughter said, "Oh Mom, it's so beautiful..." Then she felt instantly bad for saying that, as woodlands and brush were engulfed. I tried to explain that fire happens in nature as a rebuilding and that it isn't always a bad thing. But it is hard to say that, with much conviction, when you see homes and businesses: livelihoods threatened and destroyed. How often do we sabotage ourselves though careless words or over-aggressiveness? Perfectly placed words that given any other situation might have worked well, like a script in front of you, the magic words of the "sale."

But because you didn't listen, you were not in tune with the situation, you failed to comprehend the intricacies of a particular circumstance - a match was dropped and a fire swept through that chance with a potential client, candidate, or vendor. Who is your Smokey the Bear? As you rampage through a day in your career, who monitors your behavior, your over-zealousness, your inability to decipher a client's specific needs, your lack of cohesion with co-workers? You should always be at your watchtower. You need to be your own ranger. For only you can prevent your own raging forest fire.

Put the script away, clean out your ears, take your hands off your keyboard and listen. You'll be surprised at what you won't miss.

by rayannethorn

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