"Sharpen The Saw" is about renewal, the pre-requisite for continuous improvement. It is Habit 7 of Stephen Covey's habits of highly effective people.
It is the capstone of three (3) habits outlined in Private Victory and the three (3) described in Public Victory.
Sharpen the saw focuses on ways to renew and develop in four (4) areas:
This video highlights what happens if we do not "sharpen our saw."
My husband is a life and business coach for athletes. Since an athlete's physical condition is so critical to their success, he tells his clients that their health is their wealth.
Although we may not think of ourselves as professional athletes, we are professionals. Our performance is intricately tied to our ability to stay well and withstand pressure. Therefore, it is critical that you take care of yourself and maintain good health.
To sharpen your saw in this area, it is important to engage in consistent exercise, eat a healthy diet and get adequate amounts of rest on a daily basis.
It is my natural personality to enjoy being around, and with, people. I am energized by that.
But to maintain my social and emotional health, I take measures to spend most of my time with positive people who focus on bettering themselves.
There are times when I interact with negative people or those who seem to thrive on conflict. It is at those times that I must use effective conflict management skills, which includes miminizing my time in their "space."
This helps me use my emotional energy wisely and preserve my emotional health.
Another area to "sharpen the saw" is mentally. This includes what you take in through what you read, listen to and even talk about.
I love learning, so this is a relatively easy area for me.
One way that I use to expand my knowledge is by reading. For example, I recently completed a 12-month study of the 8th Habit.
When presented with the "opportunity" to join the study group, I was reluctant. One, because a year seemed like a long time. Two, if I committed to the study that meant (for me) that there was no turning back. If I signed on, I would do my level best to finish.
Well, guess what? At the time of this writing, I have completed month seven. I can hardly wait for the next five. (Smile!)
Now, why do I share this? To encourage you to make it a priority develop your mental capacity. When you do, you will see some very positive results. You will see growth. And growth is good!
Daily quality quiet time is a must for me. It is the primary way I preserve and restore my spiritual health. Mornings work best for me, giving me the opportunity to jump start my day.
My "quiet time" usually lasts 30 minutes (or more when possible). During this time I read and journal. It is one of the most refreshing times of my day - a key way to "sharpen my saw."
Is your "saw" dull? Then its time to sharpen your saw - physically, mentally, socially/emotionally and spiritually. Do not hesitate. Start today.
If you have not done so already, write your goals for each of these areas. Here is an excerpt from my goals:
Hopefully, this will serve as a guide to help you develop your goals.
- Tom Peters