By seeking those who understand us deeply, who will fan our flames, lift us up, push us forward – we can attain such heights that seemed almost inconceivable when we were dreaming alone.
Rumi was not talking about surrounding ourselves with people who are good at blowing smoke (or telling us what we want to hear).
Instead, the meaning is about creating a circle of trust with only those who are trustworthy, truthful, want the best for us, candid, and actively support us through action (not just words).
We all need people like this but often we allow people, who are 100% “takers,” into our lives leading to feelings of betrayal, deceit, loss, anger and more.
To avoid being a “taker”:
• Give respect to everyone who crosses our paths, report to, live with (regardless of how we feel).
• Have compassion for those around us – we’re all hurting on some level.
• Remember adversaries or “difficult people” are often individuals carrying lessons WE need to learn about ourselves.
• Intentionally seek people who are steps ahead of us from whom we can learn about life (including work) and love.
• Forgive along the way so we don’t become imprisoned.
• Actively look for ways we can help make someone’s day easier/better.
Rumi’s quote is also about:
1. Believing in ourselves.
The key words – “Set your life on fire” – means taking responsibility for our own lives, believing in ourselves (even in the unknown), and stepping out of comfort zones to live with passion.
To do this, we must be willing to see life as an adventure where success is about finding our greatest gift, passion and purpose, and using that to make this world a better in some way. (Otherwise, who is investing in us and why?)
2. Reinvesting in others.
A third of the quote is about stepping out into the world with passion. The second third is about finding the right supporters that lift us up.
The final third is implied and completes the quote…
It is the act of becoming both a beacon in this world… AND a flame “fanner” for someone else. Giving back to others just as you are receiving is a huge part of leadership.