The Fire Within You

Recently, I traveled to 5 National Parks in the United States for our 2021 summer vacation. We absolutely love visiting National Parks.  

This picture was taken at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.  This week of travel helped me to detach  from school life and the business of running Principal Principles.  The hubs and I had great conversations.  One of which is the inspiration behind this blog post. 

As we traveled through a forest area we noticed that a fire had taken place many years earlier.  The land was beginning to show life of new pine trees.  This is when the hubs reminded me of the story of pine cones.  The leader that I am immediately connected the pine cone story to us as school leaders.

Fires are important to vegetation. Some pine trees produce what scientists call a serotinous pine cone. Resins hold the scales of the cones tightly closed with the seeds inside, and they can remain in the crowns of the trees for 30 to 50 years. Without fire, the seeds would likely never be released.

Once fire burns through the resin the cone opens up and the seeds are released.  The seeds then produce new trees.  


As leaders, we are faced with many hard times that put "heat" on us to perform. We have to be willing to go through fires. Just like pine cones, without the fire, the seeds will never be released. The fire adds value to us. 

It seems all too easy to fall victim to the circumstances and fail to lead during these times. It is at these very instances that we show what we are made of. Anyone can lead when the sky is clear and when there is no smoke on the horizon. Great leadership is not required when things go well, and conditions are perfect. Great leadership is required when challenges appear, difficult situations arise, and the team needs support and direction.

As leaders, we, too, need heat to grow. Sometimes this happens while absorbing the feel-good warmth of the sun, but more often than not, we expand and grow through difficult and painful times. The challenge is that our nature is to run from a fire because we fear the pain. We often see the pain as a problem and not a necessity or even a gift. 

On Facebook and Instagram, I recently shared this favorite quote,

  "Your greatest struggle often produces the sweetest fruit."- Principal Principles

Sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves that the things we feel are holding us back are the things that challenge us and help us to grow.

Great leaders not only survive a difficult and heated situation, but they too are able to bring growth when a situation seems hopeless. The best leaders I know expand and grow during difficult times. 

So leaders, the next time a painful situation comes your way, and you feel the urge to turn and run, think about this- Every encounter has an outcome. It's your choice if you make that a positive experience.

When you are put to the test, stay strong and keep going. That’s how you will succeed. Tough times will never last. Tough people do.

Let the fire within you burn brighter than the the fire around you.


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