First a quote: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my ax.” – Abraham Lincoln
Luckily, I haven’t had to chop down too many actual trees in my life; maybe a couple in Boy Scouts many years ago… just enough to know how much work it is, and more than enough to fully appreciate the importance of a sharp ax.
Metaphorically, we spend way too much time “chopping down trees” with dull axes, or at the very least, axes which could be a whole lot sharper than they are. Most of us are working far harder than we need to be. If you have ever tried chopping down a tree with a dull ax, you know what I’m talking about. Yet oddly enough, many of us go about our business almost every day with “dull axes”.
Abraham Lincoln was correct, we need to spend more time “sharpening our axes” and less time working ineffectively with skills and abilities which have become “dull” from neglect and/or overuse.
When was the last time you intentionally sharpened your ax and upgraded your skills and abilities? The options for putting a sharper edge on your skills and abilities are almost unlimited and include:
· Reading books on a variety of topics or, industry specific trade journals
· Taking a day off to think, refresh and re-energize
· Attending a class, seminar or conference
· Listening to a weekly blog, YouTube or Ted Talk
· Reading the Business Week or the Wall Street Journal occasionally
· Taking a much needed vacation to recharge, refocus and reboot
· Starting a “brown-bag-lunch” club at work and invite subject matter experts to speak
· Thinking more strategically about your business processes and procedures.
Don’t work harder than you have to; decide today how you will sharpen your edges.
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
PS – I took last week off for a vacation over the 4th. J
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”