When You’re in a River of Flaming Shit

When I was the IT Director of Faultless Caster Corporation in Evansville, Indiana, I led a cultural transformation by implementing a new enterprise (ERP) system. About ¾ through the implementation, it felt like we were being nibbled to death by a school of rubber-toothed piranhas, and frustration was climbing to dangerous levels. In the weekly Steering Committee meeting, the VP of Sales and Marketing asked the inevitable question: “Hey, I’m not sure this is a good idea. Why don’t we just go back to the old system?” The CEO replied, “When you’re in the middle of a river of flaming shit, you gotta keep paddling toward the other side.”

We kept paddling, the new system came live (only a couple weeks late), and paid itself back in a year with increased sales, reduced costs, etc., etc., etc.

I draw on this and comparable experiences when I find myself in a similar situation. That’s when I get really “persistent” and continue paddling toward the other side. (Other people are mule-headed and stubborn, I’m goal-oriented and persistent.)

Have you ever been in the middle of a river of flaming shit? I’d enjoy hearing your story. I’ll buy the coffee.

Gary Langenwalter, 971-221-8155



Stop following someone else’s plans and start training dreams.

Stop listening to what other people tell you and just follow your dreams.

Stop going through the motions and work through your dream.

Stop trying to be perfect and stumble your way deliberately through your dreams.

Stop starting and stopping and starting and just keep moving towards your dream.

Stop comparing yourself to everyone else around you and just follow your dream.

Stop believing that someone else’s formula can replace hard work and relentlessly follow your dream.

Stop avoiding what needs to be done and live your dream. Not someone else’s.

Stop learning what you need to do and start doing what you need to do. Follow your dreams.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of going through someone else’s motions — doing what everyone else tells you you should be doing in order to be successful.

You’re told that you need to have a strong social presence. That you need to build a following. That you need to write a book so that “people take you will take you seriously”.

You’re told so many things by so many people that it’s easy to get whiplash — flailing from tactic to tactic, hoping that this time for one bit of effort you might actually end up achieve success.

But that’s not how success works. Never has been. Never will be.

And unless you’re one of the lucky few who happen to get lucky doing one thing, one time, someone else’s get-rich-quick tactics (or doing whatever one else tells you you should be doing) aren’t the answer to achieving breakthrough. Dreaming is. Dreaming big dreams.

Not sleeping. Not thinking. Not procrastinating. Dreaming is different than that. Dreaming is all consuming. All empowering. It consumes every fiber of your being. Your dream is what gets you up in the morning. It’s your reason for existence. It’s your light when the day is dark. Your sunshine when the days is cloudy.

You can’t copy someone else’s dream. You have to have your own. And, while it’s easy to follow the tactics of someone else who happened to be successful using those tactics, don’t be fooled for a moment that any tactic is a replacement for audacious dreams.

Dream big. Live big. Fight big. Believe big.

From Edgy Conversations 3/18/14 by Dan Waldschmidt