In Dr. Stephen Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the seventh habit is: “Sharpen the saw.”  To illustrate the truth of this habit, Covey tells the story of the newly hired lumberjack on a logging crew.

For the lumberjack’s first many days on the crew, his output was great.  Shortly thereafter however, his output slowly reduced day by day.  When the boss discussed the situation with the lumberjack, the lumberjack was as baffled as the boss.  That is when the boss asked the lumberjack if he remembered to stop periodically to sharpen his saw.  His answer was no.

The lumberjack had become so focused on production he never remembered he had to maintain his equipment.  He became so concerned with output, he forgot about input.

The seventh habit reminds us we can fall into the same trap.  We each require renewal in all the dimensions of our being.  That means we need to do things to renew ourselves physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.  We cannot expect to produce continually without times of rest and renewal.

I cannot tell you what you need to do, but I know what I need to do.  I live with me 24/7.  Consequently, I have learned what I need for physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual renewal.  To the degree I allocate time and energy to those endeavors, I become more successful.  To the degree I ignore those endeavors, I become less successful.

Be the best person you can be.  Sharpen your saw.  Take times of rest and renewal.  Aim for balance in all these areas.

If God rested on the seventh day, then maybe we can too.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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