With everyone plugged in to the global village of business, we need to keep ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.
The ability to view business as a series of short sprints rather than one long marathon is paramount.
Taking short pauses or breaks between these sprints is the key to reinvigorating yourself.
In The Fourth Moon, I use the story of the two lumberjacks to illustrate this principle.
“There were two lumberjacks that made a bet on which one of them could cut down the most trees in a day. One of them was a huge brute of a man nearly 130 kilograms, while the other was a smaller lean man weighing just 80 kilograms. At dawn they started their competition having agreed to finish cutting trees at sunset. The larger man went out hard and chopped down trees for five hours straight without stopping for even a brief moment. In contrast, the smaller man went slowly and purposefully about his work. Every hour he stopped to sharpen his saw and take water. As the midday sun shone high in the sky and the mercury hit its peak, the larger man fell down to the ground exhausted, his saw blades worn down to nothing. He looked over at the small man with pity in his eyes. 'I've cut down over 20 trees, you've done half that’ he said laughing. The smaller man looked up calmly and said 'But it’s still six hours until sunset. I have energy and a sharp saw’.”
You can guess who won the bet.
One of the critical tactics to achieving sustainable business success is the discipline of taking short breaks to reinvigorate and reinvent yourself. The legendary author and educator Stephen Covey referred to this as sharpening the saw.
Sharpening the saw keeps you fresh and sharp. It clears your head to allow new things in. New people, skills and opportunities.
Overexerting yourself and working to the same run-sheet every week and month will provide you with spurts of sporadic or fleeting success. But it is unlikely to provide sustainable success. I consider sustainable success to be delivering winning performance with predictable outcomes for 3 years or more.
Not sharpening the saw can lead to relationship, physical or mental breakdowns. Customers and staff leave. Opportunities pass you by.
Everything starts to dissolve around you, with you too exhausted to remedy it.
So schedule those pauses and breaks into your daily, weekly, monthly and annual routine.
Stay fresh and sharp to take on the world.
And remember the little lumberjack, who was still going strong at sunset. Long after his bigger stronger counterpart was flat on his back and beaten.
To learn more of the steps to sustainable business success, secure your copy of The Fourth Moon here.
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Cheers, Darren K Bourke