Keep your pilot light lit.

Growing up we had an old fuel-oil furnace and we had to make sure its pilot light stayed lit.  Whenever we woke up and it was cold the first thing we blamed and inevitably needed to check and fix was the pilot light.  This was Minnesota cold, so we cared deeply about that pilot light.

The pilot light is a tiny flame, one that in a perfect world would always be on, and it helps the rest of the furnace provide fire when it’s needed.  This little flicker of a flame doesn’t put out any noticeable heat on its own, but without it the whole furnace can’t function.  Such a big machine, so vital to keeping us warm, all hinging on the tiniest of fires.  

Søren Wedel Nielsen / CC BY-SA 2.0

Søren Wedel Nielsen / CC BY-SA 2.0

Sometimes when I wake up I just can’t get my day started, there’s no excitement for my projects.  Somedays I don’t want to do anything, my furnace is cold.  But the pilot light, the little things I do to get my day started, are vital to getting up and going.  In the past my starter flames were a cup of coffee, getting dressed, or maybe a nice rich breakfast.  Nowadays I’m seeking to reconnect with these little rituals, and maybe find new ones.  When I find myself unable to get started, and beating myself up for my lack of engagement, I take a moment and forgive myself, to recognize that my drive doesn’t go from cold to hot in the blink of an eye, it needs to warm up.  And I can’t get started if I don’t start small.  

Keep your pilot light lit, and forgive yourself if you’re running cold.  You have the capability of burning bright, but you need to start small and warm up to it.