Sharpen Your Axe

Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. How about you?

Have you sharpened your axe lately?

“Well, my axe is sharp”, you might say. Yet Abraham Lincoln never said that he’d start out with a dull axe.

Maybe he could have chopped down the tree in the given amount of time without sharpening the axe first. I am pretty sure though that he would have been very exhausted.

What that means to me is that he seemed to understand how important it is to ensure using the proper tools and supplies to get the job done efficiently and effectively. In short, he wanted to be well prepared to perform the job.

Today’s equivalent of Sharpening the Axe is Sharpening Your Skills.

Too many times we focus on having the proper tools and supplies to get a job done and we neglect to focus on the skills that may help us to become better at doing our job. Improving a skill that actually makes us enjoy the work, enables us to work more efficiently without complaining all the way through.

Think about a major goal you are currently working on. How long will it take you to accomplish that goal? And what skill(s) could you sharpen to work more effectively and efficiently?

In Lincoln’s case, he chose to spend two-thirds of the total time to sharpen his axe.

How much time are you spending on sharpening your skills?

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