Have you ever thought about “Fire and Focus” as twin pillars of success. If not, you may be someone who is or has been extremely frustrated because you didn’t make the connection between "fire" and "focus". Some people have tons of passion. They have a dream, a vision or mission and they are on fire for it. They get up early and work and try all day long, struggling endlessly to "make this happen." Unfortunately, they often become profoundly frustrated that their hard work has produced so little in terms of lasting results. They lack "focus". The other group is people who have defined their goals, created plans and know precisely how to achieve their objectives. They have mapped their lives, complete in every detail. They typically accomplish a lot, but are bored, restless or just tired. They have successfully reduced life to a "paint by the numbers" routine. They lack "fire". Sometimes we map our lives so carefully that, in reducing risk, we remove all the mystery, all the drama, romance and wonder. We get up, get dressed, go to work, run errands, come home, have dinner and do it again tomorrow. That stability may be rewarded with money, promotions, even prestige, but it often lacks a sense of being "real life". It's like reading the lines of a play, in which we are assigned the role of an executive, entrepreneur, parent, or whatever. Boring! The opposite, of course, are the "drama kings/queens", whose lives defy any sort of organization, consistency, or tranquility. They live for the flash and the fire, every day. They can see and do amazing things, but are always under the gun, scrambling to stay on top. If they are good jugglers, they may also be rewarded with money or fame, but the secret is that their lives are stressed to the max and they fear that one day they'll drop the ball and everything will fall apart. It seems to me that the key to long-term success is a balance between these two extremes. Highly successful people DO have a sense of fire. They are passionate about their goals. They are excited, determined, creative and restless, but they are also focused. They are able to discipline their energy and finish projects on budget and ahead of schedule. They know that systems and routine and simplicity are the keys to productivity. They know that in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, the slow, steady, predictable turtle wins the race. There is a reason we love roller-coasters, suspense novels and scary movies. We NEED adventure in our lives. When we are too careful and reduce life to a formula, we deny ourselves the wonder of pushing the limits and pursuing our dreams "flat out", full-speed-ahead. If life is boring, go faster, aim higher, stretch yourself! But if life has become too dangerous or too stressed, don't be afraid to slow down, to "drive safer" or even stop and ask directions. A life based on too much fire, passion, and drama may create short-term success, but I'm told it also leads to heart attacks, strokes and tragedy. The trick is to balance the twin pillars of fire and focus. Honor the fire in your belly! Trust that your passion, your dreams and your imagination know where they are going, they know better than your logical brain what you are capable of achieving. Trust that and go for it! But, be smart. Get a map, know your obectives, have a plan, and day by day, work the plan. Inch by inch, step by step, anything's a cinch!