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I Faced a Fear Yesterday, and Kicked Its @$$


I am in the middle of a very high-profile project in a very high-profile town.  

I was walking down the third-floor corridor after a meeting and stopped cold.  I smelled smoke.  Faint, but unmistakable.  You don’t want to smell smoke in a half-built wood building that takes up a full city block.

I narrowed the strongest smell down to one or two units.  It didn’t make sense that the smell wasn’t more intense… except if it was on a lower floor (smoke doesn’t go down).  I went down to two… stronger, but no visible smoke.  It hit me that I should be afraid – what if the floor below was burning?  No, I reasoned there would be smoke if there was fire.

I went down another floor and that’s when I knew it wasn’t just my imagination.  A thin layer of smoke could be seen in the corridor.  I turned into the archway of unit 105 and there was smoke to the ceiling.  The lead electrician, who had been searching with me, found the source and I bolted out the doorway and down the corridor.  I called the superintendent and told him “first-floor”, dropped my phone and grabbed a fire extinguisher and hauled ass back to 105.  

I put out the fire.

It wasn’t big, of course but you never know.  Given a little more time, that fire could have been disastrous.

Better, when I was a kid, I did as my mother taught me; when it came to danger I always ran the other way, without first assessing whether or not I could make a positive impact on the situation.

Yesterday, while everyone else took off outside, I assessed the situation and did the next right thing.  I didn’t run.  I put out the fire.  Yesterday, I did what men do, not what we’re taught.

It was a good day for me.



  1. @vapor_sage says:

    Funny how that works, when we face a fear, it’s @$$ gets kicked
    all kinds of weird stuff happens when we deny our fears exist

  2. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks about the moral choices that we make and how some choices go against our usual choices, such as self preservation. We all know what is right or wrong because we are made with that knowledge inside of us.

  3. abetterman21 says:

    Face fear in its face. It’s a choice of fight or flight.

  4. abetterman21 says:

    Hey Jim, I am doing a giveaway for a free bike light. Just posting it so if there are any friends of your interested to participate! Sharing the love.

  5. Gail says:

    Do you remember that comment you made on one of my posts? Here is it: “Now, as the male of the species, I can tell you, nothing… NOTHING beats a pretty older woman in pretty, form-fitting clothing.” Well, let me throw that back at you: NOTHING beats a man that acts like a man. I loved this post! You averted, what could have been, an awful tragedy.

  6. Great story and great analogy for confronting life’s obstacles. You should be proud that you kept such a cool head!

  7. Eliza says:

    Feel the fear and do it anyway….
    Good for you! Thanks for sharing:)

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