Since it’s the holiday season, I thought I’d write a quick post sharing one of my favorite quotes.

“Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves.” Italian proverb

This quote has been on my bulletin board forever. It caught my eye when it came up on one of my page-a-day calendars, the Zen Calendar. I’ll bet I’ve had it for 15 years; and I’ll bet I’ve said it to myself at least 100 times during those 15 years.

I think it’s the ultimate advice for taking advantage of the situation you find yourself in. For me, it’s been helpful when I’ve run out of ideas (or money), when a potential client has slipped away, a marketing campaign has failed, when things are just a mess.

So, how do I implement the “warm ourselves” part? First, I examine the situation I find myself in. Then, I poke and poke at it until I find one little tiny grain of hope.

Then I work that little tiny grain of hope hard. I roll it around in my mind. I say it out loud. I go through the whole “what if” crazy thinking thing, and then I sit for a minute (or 15 or 30 or 1440) – also known as a pause.

It’s in that pause that the good things happen. All the thoughts that I’ve been generating get to percolate without my interference. They just bubble along while I do other things. And, yes, sometimes I have to force myself to not think about the situation. I just shut my conscious mind down and do something that takes concentration, like playing solitaire or Lines ….

And then it happens, the insights come. Potential solutions come to mind and I realize that I’m open to them (which also took practice). Then I try out the solutions and see what happens. The emergency/ quasi-tragedy/ inconvenience/ life stuff becomes something I can work with instead of fighting.

Next time you find yourself in a sticky wicket, try it. Turn the situation into something you can work with. It takes a little practice, and it’s totally worth it.

Stay ferocious,