Internal Combustion Engine

Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
(The sequence that moves everything)

Dead Lawnmower for Sale.

I was mentally preparing a Craigslist ad as I repeatedly yanked the starter rope and muttered things that best remain unwritten.

My usually reliable grass cutter just wouldn’t fire up. My precious Saturday morning was slipping away.

Finally, I right –sized my ego and called for help.

My friend Russ is a total gearhead.
He owns an equipment rental shop and knows all things mechanical.

“It’s easy Lorne” he laughed.
“Just think about suck, squeeze, bang, blow!
”Huh?” I replied.
“Yeah”
He pronounced the words again more slowly as if that would help me understand.

“It’s the sequence that generates power in all internal combustion engines. From chainsaws to choo-choos, they’re all basically the same.”

The fuel gets sucked into the carb and mixed with just the right amount of air.
From there it gets squeezed through small openings to the cylinder.
The spark plug lights it up and that’s your bang.
Exploded gasses push the piston and that’s the blow.
If any one part of that four-part action sequence isn’t working right, it just won’t go.

Armed with a fresh perspective and bit more knowledge, I went back at it.

The problem was a small speck of dirt in the in the “squeeze” part of things. A few drops of carb cleaner and a small blast of compressed air had the thing fired up and running tickety-boo.

I’m familiar with breaking problems down into sequences, but it hadn’t dawned on me to apply a lesson in mower repair to life’s little stall-outs.

Problem is, we all get stuck or stalled out from time to time and we know when we’re not functioning well.

That four-step action sequence for re-booting the engine stuck with me and I’ve applied it in many situations since then.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”- Albert Schweitzer

You may well have your own process for getting re-motivated.

Here’s my personal version of “Suck Squeeze, Bang, Blow”. It helps me generate energy and maintain personal momentum.

1. Dig Deep on Desire.

It’s impossible to stay motivated as a leader if you don’t understand your core desire.

What did you sign up for? and why? Find ways to feed that desire.

Motivation without desire is hollow.

You might think you’re motivated, but you’re faking it.

Once you discover your desire, you won’t have any trouble moving forward – even during rough patches.

“My food,” said Jesus,” is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” John 3:34

He understood the true nourishment and motivation of life is to do God’s will and to accomplish what we are here for.

Even in the natural realm, nothing stimulates, keeps alive, or builds courage or satisfaction more than seeing success in the mission one is dedicated to bringing about.


2. Blend Desire With Intended Outcomes.

Make sure your intended outcomes (goals) have some specificity and time frames attached.

In recent years I’ve begun to include one or two “game changer” goals – ones that if achieved, would see a bunch of other goals fall into place.

I’m happiest when I’m reaching a bit beyond what I know I can do on my own.

It helps to write things down. Then review them daily (along with your three words).
Include your goals in your meditation times.

3. Apply A Spark of Faith

Trust, confidence, boldness, maybe a touch of bravado.

Call it what you will, but this is what ignites, combusts, and unleashes palpable energy in the unseen realm.

“Faith is kind of like calories. You can’t really see them, but you can sure see the results!” – Unknown


Perseverance counts.

Just get started and take some steps toward your outcome. Even if they’re small steps, take ’em and keep going.

Over-analyzing or second-guessing a course of action at this point can really paralyze progress.

Overthinking kills momentum faster than anything.

4. Follow Through. Celebrate Wins. Let It Go.

Recognition and reward plays a huge part in staying motivated, so always make take time to celebrate.

Reward yourself or your team each and every time you achieve a win.

It could be anything from buying some new shoes to taking a personal weekend away or going out for Tacos.

Just don’t overlook it. Celebrating wins does build confidence.

Something to think about.

The next time you get stalled out or feeling stuck, make sure you have an “unstuck” or “re-firing” plan of action for yourself.

Sometimes it helps to talk things through with a trusted friend.
Maybe it’s time to refocus on what fills your bucket.
Maybe it’s meditation or prayer that centres and re-energizes you
You know yourself best,

It helps to have that ready-made sequence of action steps that works just for you.

Have a great month !
Until next time.
Lorne