Catch on Fire but Don’t Burn the Laundry

family, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life

” Catch on Fire with Enthusiasm and People will Come from Miles to Watch You Burn”

John Wesley

There are days that the moment my feet hit the floor, I am driven by the desire, the passion, the very need, to succeed at my mission. Whatever that mission may be at the time, I can not drive the singular focus out of my head. It is a drumbeat, a rhythm, an obsession that calls to me. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I am pulled back to the mission, the plan…the goal…and I am practically useless to anyone or anything else.

My close friends and family call this Wendi’s “radar focus”. It is my best secret for success and my biggest flaw all rolled into one.

I can’t help it.

One thing I am an expert on is enthusiasm. When I catch on fire, its hard to put me out. It can take entire fire departments to derail me and get me back to the land of the living. Smoke ends up all over the place, and things can end up in a big mess as I probably haven’t even looked around at anything else other than my goal for a long time.

 One of the things that I have been working in the past few years is balancing my surge of enthusiasm with living in the day to day”real world”. The simple ( well, simple for other people) act of managing parenting and household tasks, along with working, while in the throws of unbridled enthusiasm for a project is very difficult for me to balance. For most people, this is where the enthusiasm starts to ebb away. For me, this is where the laundry starts to pile up.

Often, I get comments from people that know me regarding my enthusiasm. “Man, I wish I had half of your enthusiasm” they say.

That part is easy. Here you go:

Wendi’s Tips for Getting out of Bed on Fire:

1. Find your passion. Name something you feel very strongly or passionately about or something that you have always wanted to do. Journal it, daydream it, play the “If I could do anything I wanted and fear or money was no object, what would it be?” game.  Ask yourself what you want your legacy to be at the end of your life. What would you like to be remembered for?  What do you most regret having NOT done so far in your life? If there is an answer to any of these questions write it down.

2. Make a list. Write down every single reason you have not taken action on that goal. Look at that list. Everything on that list that has to do with fear, cross off. It doesn’t count. Never run your life based on fear. Dare to fail. It’s good for you. Everything else on that list is a learning experience, not an obstacle. Start numbering them and start learning. Accept no excuses as to why you can’t learn about those things.

3. Start seeing the possibilities. Get out a new piece of paper and write down what your life will look like after you have succeeded in your goal. Will the world be a better place? Will you have improved as a person? See the vision. Make an action plan with the items that were left on your list. Make sure you put it in writing. Just thinking about it isn’t good enough.

4. Break down the vision into reachable goals. Once it starts to look doable, your confidence will start to build. Once you begin to believe it is achievable, the spark of enthusiasm will start to ignite.

5. Fan the flames. Read as much inspirational material as you can from several sources. Zig Zigler, James Allen, Jim Rohn are three sitting on my desk right now. Currently popular are The Secret and Law of Attraction. Whatever feeds your fire is great, but feed it you must, fires require oxygen and positive energy is the enthusiastic fire’s fuel.

6. Proclaim your vision to visionaries-not vampires.Sharing your goals and dreams with other like-minded positive, energetic, enthusiastic people will create a windstorm of energy flowing in your direction. You will feel the current as it swirls around, creating ideas, solutions and connections that you never even dreamed possible. Conversely, share your dreams with an energy vampire and watch them suck the life-energy and confidence right out of your soul. Stay away from them if you can, but for sure, DON’T tell them your plans!

7. Speak the language. Watch the words that are allowed to come out of your mouth. The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” Do yourself a favor and take this one literally. Words are king! They have the power to affect thought and action. The language of enthusiasm is positive, energized, creative, fun, adventurous, electrified! Don’t speak the language of the defeated, the downtrodden, the bored, the worn out…feel how the energy goes up and down? Keep your energy supercharged with supercharged words.

8. Create a community of Enthusiasts. When I was in Real Estate, I found that the average Realtor was very competitive with other Realtors and therefore did not function in a state of community with other Realtors. It was hard to keep enthusiasm going day after day, year after year all alone in such a stressful job. That is one of the reasons that burn out in that field is very high. Several of us top-producers got together and created a small group that met monthly to brainstorm, share tips and ideas and build enthusiasm. It created synergy and made us all better than we would have been working alone. Helping others to succeed will always help you to build more excitement for yourself. It’s fun and its rewarding. Energy builds energy.

9. Absorb the Vision. Create a written one or two sentence mission statement for your goal and read it and say it out loud to yourself every day. Say it the first thing when you wake up in the morning. Say it the last thing as you are drifting off to sleep at night. Don’t fall asleep listening to the news or negative information. Fall asleep thinking about your mission, reading information about it or writing in your journal about it. You will wake up ready to hit the floor on fire!

10. Keep Physically fit. Make sure your body can keep up with your brain! Its hard to stay on fire, when you are exhausted, sick, sleep-deprived, starving or hung-over. Schedule in time for exercise breaks, healthy meals, fresh air and plenty of sleep.

Now about that second part? Like I said, it’s a work in progress.

I am not an expert on being enthusiastic with balance. Maybe Leo over at Zen Habits can write about that when he is finished with his book, or one of you will have better tips.

So far, what has been helping me is to create rituals that I can do automatically without thinking. The key to this is the “not thinking”part, because I will be up in my head somewhere writing or creating or wondering up a big “what if I do this?” idea for my project. Having systems and routines in place that can happen on auto-pilot has been a huge help. has been a big help in getting me started with morning and evening routines that have become a daily habit.

 Here are just a few of the things that FlyLady has taught us that are making a difference in keeping me on fire without setting the house on fire too. Her website will explain everything in detail.

1. Create rituals for daily maintenance items. Lay out clothes the night before, pack lunches, get the coffee ready, and her most important one…shine the sink and lay out a fresh towel! It is remarkable how lovely it is to wake up to a shiny sink!

2. Do a load of clothes every day. Wash, dry and put away. Keeping that mountain of laundry from taking over has been a huge help at our house!

3. You can’t clean clutter, get rid of it! The more I do this, the better off we are. Period. End of story.

4. Swish and swipe bathrooms as you “go”. It only takes a few minutes. Really.

5. Plan out weekly dinner menus in advance. Write them on the calendar so you don’t have to think about it, while you are busy thinking about other things!

6. Spend Fifteen Minutes. It’s amazing how much you can do in fifteen minutes. Set a timer and promise yourself that you will spend fifteen minutes on something. You will be surprised how much you get done. Start sneaking in those extra 15 minutes and they start to add up.

I would love for you to leave me your ideas on this too! Although I have come a long way, the only thing I am really good at balancing is my exercise ball! Feel free to send in your tips! I could use them!


12 thoughts on “Catch on Fire but Don’t Burn the Laundry

  1. WOW! I have always admired you and your willingness to get things done. I knew you had a plan of action going in your head no matter what, I just never realized how much it took for you to get there! This is an area I definitely need work on and reading this has inspired me to start working on it, I may have to re-read this several hundred times to truly get it going but right now I think I know one thing it may help. Thanks Wendi!

  2. Jenny,
    I am So glad you are here! I hope you come often and comment and get to know others, its a nice group of people. everyone, Jenny had been a good friend a long time as has been Jackie K and they personally have helped put out a few fires! Especially at the theater where I can get more than just a little intense! In fact, Jenny is my favorite stage manager and a HUGE help!

  3. Daz,
    Thanks for that compliment but after viewing all of your amazing art, I have to believe you are very motivatied and a very enthusiastic artist.
    If anyone would like to see some amazing art work check out Daz’s site!

  4. I wish I had some ideas to add to this, but I think you’ve done a spectacular job at covering all the bases! I get pretty absorbed in my work too, and have a hard time maintaining balance with other things in life. It’s tricky!

  5. Oh, My!
    I must refrain from any ideas. Being a Compulsive Obsessive about many things in life, it would be best if this poster kept a bit of clutter and a tad of unbalanced chaos.
    My twin is Monk on the television series. Cute to watch, but try living it for real!

    So enjoyed this whole post, Wendi. Well thought out, well written.

  6. Hi Melissa,
    Do you think it’s part of being a writer? Something that we are just doomed to have to deal with? Or is it my ADHD peaking out?

  7. Mrs. O,

    Could I borrow some of that OCD spotless behavior for just a few weeks? I promise to give it back when I am done cleaning up the house!!!

    Good to see you!

  8. Now THAT’S a pep talk!

    I’m printing your Getting Out of Bed on Fire list and will add it to my nightstand/shelf. Armed with that, I’ll have no excuse to be inactive on my low days. If I don’t feel I can rise to the challenge of real life, I can at least hunker down under the covers with a notepad and work through your exercises, one by one.

    Great post!

  9. Oooh, I love “radar focus”! And I’m with you on FlyLady — what a life changer. Once I got over the shoes-in-the-house thing… fantastic. Super list!

  10. Crystal,

    Hi and welcome,

    I am very happy to have you here and I am so glad that you took the time to make a comment! I love that we are building a nice group of people here all determined to make the best out of life.
    You know what? I might put the list by my bed too! Even though I do them myself, I never thought of sticking a copy by my bedtime journal. It will make a good review. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Naomi,
    Nice to se you here!

    I’ve been brainstorming for a tagline for you, but haven’t quite pulled it together yet! As someone who has been a parent for 31 years, your site gives me fond and not so fond memories!

    FLyLady is my saving grace:)

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