"I’m not sure why I’m doing it or how I’m going to use it", I told him, "I just think that it will enhance everything that I already do. And may inspire me to do other things too." "Ah", he said, "you’re sharpening your saw!". "Yes, I am", I replied.
I would suggest that the majority of people overhearing that conversation would have thought, ‘What are they talking about?!’ at this exchange. But we knew…
In his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People‘, Stephen Covey talks about the importance of self renewal. He refers to it as ‘sharpening the saw‘. He tells a story about a man who is so busy attempting to saw down a tree that he doesn’t have time to stop and sharpen the saw that he’s using. A false economy that may be obvious to the outside observor, but do we notice when we’re too busy being busy to stop and sharpen our saw?
So what does sharpening the saw really mean?
It’s about re-balancing yourself, renewing your energy, your zest for life, keeping healthy, keeping happy, keeping your mind sharp.
It’s about ensuring that you have balance in the 4 areas of your life:
- physical (keeping your body healthy),
- mental (learning new things, reading, writing, teaching others)
- emotional (or socially, making new and meaningful connections with people)
- spiritual (expanding your spiritual side, spending time in nature or meditating, or providing service or charitable work to others)
In short, you will create a more effective lifestyle.
Tomorrow is the first day of my intensive NLP course and I’m really looking forward to it. i'm off to do some sharpening. What about you?
(Written partly on a train to Glasgow & finished in a hotel room in the city.)