Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

Have you ever felt like your mind was on fire?  Thoughts coming at you so fast and connections forming that you can hardly keep track of them?

I woke up early with a work problem on my mind… A very complex problem.  A problem I have been considering for a long time.  I really could not go back to sleep so I decided to head into work early.  As I drove into work, I felt like my mind was “on fire”.  So many thoughts were coming into my head and the pieces of the problem were just falling into place.  For so long in trying to solve this problem, I thought I was in need of resources that were out of my control and not available.  I had been asking for these resources for a while, and just when I thought I was making progress, there were some changes in the organization that put me right back to the proposal stage.  But on this day, as new ideas were coming into my head, I realized a great solution that would not require any additional resources outside of my department.  I got into work and immediately started writing down these ideas and mapping them out.  It was amazing how it all came together for me all at once — as I developed a solution to this problem that has been in the back of my mind for months.

Sometimes I make quick decisions and come up with quick solutions.  But more often, my best ideas come with time.  The answers come by keeping the thoughts in the back of my mind and letting them roll around in my head for a while.  I also do best when I have all of the information I can possibly can gather.  A great strength of mine is gathering information and putting it together into innovative solutions.  Sometimes when I’m trying to solve a problem, I need to remind myself to be patient, that good things — and good ideas — will come.

While I don’t always have the luxury of taking time to solve a problem, nor can I always count on having a brilliant solution come to me on demand,  experiencing the rush as my mind whirls to connect all the pieces is really quite remarkable. I know having to wait for an answer can drive people crazy when they are hoping for a quick solution, so I may need to ask my colleagues and those I supervise for a little time to think. But over the years, I’ve proven my strength to myself and others over and over again.

I spent a good share of my life trying to be like others and not using my gifts to the fullest. I wanted to be like the guy that could just make something up and fake his way through. But that was never something I could master, because that was never “me”.  My true strength lies in connecting all the information to see the big picture and then making sense of how all the pieces fit together.  My wife calls this my superpower.  Rather than trying to be something I’m not, I need to remember to use my own strength because it is mine, and it’s where I can excel.

Have you ever felt like your mind was on fire? Either through solving a problem like I described above, or using another strength that is unique to you to it’s full potential?  Be true to yourself.  Discover and learn to use those strengths that are unique to you, and you will find your fire!

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