Writing of Dwight Mason
Our recent Leader’s Edge Conference was a success. We focused on becoming the best version of you. We learned that by sharpening the saw in the four dimensions of who you are affects every area of your life. These areas are Spiritual, Physical, Relational, and Mental. It was a powerful time of learning and growing.
Sharpen the Saw is the principle of renewal. It is necessary to make everything else possible that we are called to do as a leader. It is Process Improvement, which Wikipedia defines "as “an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.” Process Improvement is" never one and done; it is an ongoing effort.
Sharpening the saw is about becoming the best version of you. You are the greatest asset you have. You need a balanced program for self-renewal in those four vital areas of your life. For many of us who are under pressure every day of the week, one or more of those four items can be completely missing from our lives.
Don’t think that sharpening the saw is about relaxing. We all need some down time, but sharpening the saw can be just as much work as the sawing itself. We need to be proactive.
We can’t delegate this task of sharpening the saw to others. "The philosophy behind this habit is to take some time out and invest it in ourselves. This is one of the most necessary investments we have to make ourselves because nobody else will do it for us." “Sharpening the saw” is synonymous with “self-care” or “self-renewal.”
Self-renewal is crucial in sustaining long-term productivity and effectiveness. Just as a woodcutter needs to take time to sharpen his saw to cut efficiently, we, too, need to renew ourselves regularly. Without it we risk burnout, decreased productivity, and dissatisfaction in various life areas.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me eight hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first six sharpening the ax.” The reality is you don’t have time NOT to take care of yourself. You are not an endless resource. You need maintenance and fuel in order to run. You've heard about self-care for decades from leaders, your family, and even your doctor. You know what you should do, but many of you don't do it often enough.
And you are paying the price. You are stressed and not where you want to be because you refuse to sharpen the saw. You bought into the lie that your productivity is based on what you do for others, instead of what you do for yourself.
It is past time to stop believing what society tells us. It is time to stop lying to ourselves and start implementing the habit of self-care. That’s not an occasional thing. That means to make it so habitual and recurring that it is so integral to our being, we don't even have to think about it.
The little things you do every day will have a much larger impact on your health, happiness, and success than the big things you do once in a while. An annual exercise retreat is great. Twenty minutes of workout three times a week is much better.
Stephen Covey says, "Sharpen the saw" basically means expressing all four dimensions of our nature, regularly and consistently, in wise and balanced ways. While investing time in “self-care” may seemingly curtail your productivity in the short term, it will greatly enhance it in the long term, as you won’t ultimately be sidelined by physical sickness, mental collapse, and just plain exhaustion. Besides allowing you to get more done, regularly making time to take care of yourself also increases your sense of ability and effectiveness.
So how do you become your best self? Let’s break it down. You improve all four areas, constantly. Sometimes it will happen slowly, sometimes quickly.
We all know that we need to exercise and be careful about nutrition. The stress of life gets to everyone. Exercising, eating right, and getting sufficient sleep are so important. If you need a doctor’s or trainer’s help to work on this, do it. It is a great investment in you.
This has to do with being mentally and emotionally healthy and strong. It has to do with your words, the way in which you think. It concerns your mental input. There are so many ways to stay sharp mentally. Be intentional about your input. Find and practice mental exercises that both challenge and relax your mind. You need to occasionally “debrief” yourself and be done with some mental files.
This is a very personal area. It can mean many different things to different individuals. To me, it means what fuels my soul. What fuels my soul and gives me passion for life is helping others. Your soul is the most important part of you. You can’t afford to neglect it. It will affect every other area of life eventually.
The story of human creation says that God, the Creator, said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” That is true. We were built for community and relationships. We are only healthy when we have healthy relationships. Building a relationship takes time and hard work. There are plenty of ways to do this. Spend time with other people, listen to them, see how you can help them.
I am going to give you ways in the next 4 blogs in which you can sharpen your saw in each area?
But it’s on you to take advantage of it and truly make this a way of life for your future.
Sharpen your saw | J2 Solutions. https://j2-solutions.com/ffft-sharpen-your-saw/
Habit 7 of Stephen Covey: Sharpen the Saw | Week Plan. https://weekplan.net/habit-7
Want To Get & Stay Healthy? 3 Top Strategies - Bare Health and Fitness. https://barehealthandfitness.com/want-to-get-stay-healthy-3-top-strategies/
Sharpen the Saw: Exploring Covey's Final Habit | Art of Manliness. https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/habits/the-7-habits-sharpen-the-saw/