Driving in the car today, I heard one of my favorite songs from decades ago.

Life is not tried, it is merely survived,
If you’re standing outside the fire.

– Garth Brooks, 1993

It perfectly summed up a conversation I’d had this morning with one of my core teams. We’ve just wrapped up a major milestone on a project and thought we’d be able to cycle down for at least a few weeks. In recent days, it’s become apparent that’s not a reality.

In order to continue progressing, we’ve got to maintain our level of effort each and every day. Or at least be sure that one of us is pressing each day.

We did have a choice. We could probably skate for a few months on the coattails of what’s already been achieved. The momentum would carry us for a while. Most other people probably wouldn’t even know.

But none of us was okay with that approach. Even though we’re tired and weary, we’re not willing to compromise on our standards.

Our goal isn’t to survive. It’s to thrive.

If we’d chosen to stand outside the fire, we’d still be involved. But we wouldn’t be committed.

Certainly, there’s a chance we could get burned. All the extra effort might not even make a difference.

More likely, the constant heat will mold us into something better.


What about you?

Are you standing outside the fire? Will you jump in?