Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SHARPEN THE SAW

"Our first energies should go to our own character development,
which is often invisible to others, like the roots that sustain great trees. As we cultivate the roots, we will begin to see the fruits."
~Stephen R. Covey

Silent Water Drops by Nico van der Merwe

Last week, I completed a training for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The often overlooked habit is Habit 7: “Sharpen the Saw.” This is the habit of personal renewal.

Covey uses Aesop’s fable of The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg to discuss taking care of ourselves. Below is one version of the tale:

THE GOOSE THAT LAID THE GOLDEN EGGS
A Man and his Wife had the good fortune to possess a Goose which laid a Golden Egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. Thus, they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth.

Much wants more and loses all.

This really is a powerful story about nurturing that which produces. Using habit 7, we not only focus on producing golden eggs (which occurs as we follow the habits), but we also focus on nurturing the goose that lays those eggs (ourselves).

Covey defines four dimensions to focus on as we seek personal renewal:
  1. Physical 
  2. Social/Emotional 
  3. Mental 
  4. Spiritual
We simply cannot continue producing golden eggs if we are not taking care of these core areas of our lives. And, yet, aren’t these four of the areas that tend to be forgotten when we are busy, stressed, and out of time?

I encourage you to keep a 3x5 index card in your pocket keeping track of your success in each of these areas. Simply write each of the four words on the left side of the card and give yourself a rating from 1-10. I suggest doing this each Sunday and keeping the card with you throughout the week.

A saying that we use in education circles repeatedly is: “That which gets monitored gets done.” By choosing to focus on these four areas, we will stay mindful of their importance.

Over the next few days, I will share my thoughts on nurturing these four areas of our lives.

What are you focusing on today? Are you nurturing the goose or looking for shortcuts to produce more golden eggs?

Live intentionally today!

2 comments:

Brent said...

Recently I have been focusing primarily on Mental and Spiritual. I have recently returned to the reading the word, after staying for an extended period (over 10 years). Mentally, I have been working through different exercises to get into the habit of writing on a daily basis in advance of launching my blog.

B_Schebs

Jason said...

Brent,
No doubt that having that spiritual connection is important. Can't wait to read your blog!