Intensity on Purpose

personal development Sep 15, 2021
stovetop flame

The old farmhouse where we raised our boys (and more than a few eyebrows) had an ancient gas range in the kitchen. I loved turning the stovetop burner on. The spark, the mini-explosion of blue flame, and the spreading circle around the burner provided a thrill of excitement that I feel viscerally as I remember and describe it now.

Once the burner sprung to life, a decision had to be made. How high a flame did the task at hand call for? For instance, bringing a kettle to boil for afternoon tea required a high flame. Preparing scrambled eggs, provided by my wife's beloved chickens, required a low flame. Other situations called for flames somewhere in between.

Judging the height and intensity of the flame from situation to situation is a skill I continue to hone as a teacher and coach. Every relationship and interaction brings new challenges. Each is an opportunity to play with dialing the flame up or down. It's a nuanced and fascinating practice.

Difference-making requires dancing with different levels of intensity. The slow burn of a daily discipline of doing work that matters is interspersed with seasons of increased intensity that require a higher flame.

What season are you in with the change you seek to make in the world? Would those you help be better served with an invitation to turn up the heat, or is it time to dial it back?

Developing your instinct and intuition for turning the heat up or down in endeavors that make a difference matters. It matters a lot. What level of intensity does the situation you're leaning into today need?


Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.

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