Looking for an inspirational read to jumpstart the best 2017 ever? 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is one of my all time faves. It’s all about figuring out what your values are and working towards those values every day. The points he makes in the book are essential not only for business but for living a great life. I have done this book alone or with a group probably 6 times over the last 15 years and every single time, I find something new. There’s a reason it’s a classic. One of my favorite habits is #7 - Sharpening the Saw. Let’s discuss.
So what’s that actually mean? Covey uses the analogy of a woodcutter who chops wood day after day without sharpening his saw until eventually, it takes him more time and effort to chop the wood. If the woodcutter stops every now and again to hone his axe, he comes back to his work with renewed efficiency.
Takeaway: Sharpening the proverbial saw is all about self-renewal, and as women, we often tend to forget this vital step to living our best day ever, every single day. It should be happening in every aspect, or dimension, of our lives -- physically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And there’s no doubt that every “saw” will look different. To you, it might look “brainy” like reading a book or taking a class. It may look reflective, such as taking the time to journal your daily gratitude. It may be ultra-relaxing like a day at the spa or meditation. Regardless of what it looks like, make sure that you’re taking the time to renew yourself so you can be the best version of you.
Practice: Try focusing on each individual dimension. If you’ve been eager to learn a new skill, it’s time to focus on the mental dimension. How long have you been wanting to start a healthy eating and exercise routine? Allow yourself the time to improve your physical dimension. If one dimension isn’t truly calling to you as a place to start, grab a pen and paper and try this simple exercise:
Your Sharpen the Saw Inventory
Flip your paper to “landscape” and create four columns for each of the dimensions:
Now make a list for each category including all the things you’ve been meaning to do for yourself, or those things that you do but perhaps not often enough. Feeling stuck? Grab some inspiration from this Daring to Live Fully blog post and come up a great list that you can stick to your vanity mirror (or somewhere where you will see it daily). You’ll also quickly notice one column filling up faster than the others. Now is the time to start sharpening the saw in areas where you need it the most. Take some time for yourself today.
- Physical (healthy eating, exercising, adequate sleeping)
- Social/Emotional (meaningful connection with others)
- Mental (learning, reading, writing, teaching)
- Spiritual (time in nature, meditation, music, art, prayer, service)