What does it mean to “sharpen your saw?” According to Dr. Steven Covey, “sharpening your saw” means “increasing your personal production capacity by daily self care and self-maintenance.” Why is this important? In my 13+ years of coaching success minded entrepreneurs to help them maximize their success, it is clear that those who neglect themselves will never reach their goals.
For example, one of my clients, Sandra, struggled with a sugar addiction for years. Her business was always in chaos, as she had roller coaster moods that would never allow her to focus on her business. By helping her recognize the addiction and how destructive it was being to her body and mental clarity, she was able to wean off the sugar and take more control of her life. Another client, Jane, never wanted to look at how her addiction to alcohol affected her business. Once she made the decision to limit her alcohol intake, she regained energy and strength and her business took off.
The four levels of “sharpening your saw”:
The physical level – How good are you at getting enough rest, sleep and exercise? Is your diet healthy or do find yourself relying on fast food? What about your water intake? Are you drinking 2-3 quarts a day? Very important: are you allowing yourself to breathe deeply? So many of my clients were in the habit of shallow breathing and depriving themselves of the needed oxygen for energy. How well do you take care of your physical body? The answer to this will determine not only the health of your body but also the health your business and your ability to wisely market yourself.
The mental level – What kind of thoughts do you entertain? Are you focused on what you don’t want or what you do want ? Your thoughts create your reality, so what thoughts are you thinking right now? Whenever you catch yourself in negative self talk, use the STOP Technique. Just say STOP, take a deep breath and change that thought to a more positive one.
The emotional level – Are you doing things that make you happy? Are you around people and activities that bring you joy? So many times in our focus to achieve success, we deprive ourselves of a balanced life. Guess what? You attract the energy that you radiate. So if you want to attract happy, appreciative clients, become happy and appreciative. Before you know it the business you had been struggling to have is now drawn to you like a magnet. Everyone wants to do business with people who are positive and uplifting.
The spiritual level – What are you doing each day and each week to nourish yourself spiritually? Whether you are religious or not, I have never met anyone who didn’t sense that there is a Divine Intelligence that created this universe. And this Divine Intelligence is abundant – just look at the trees and the flowers. The more you are aligned with this essence, the more your have a solid spiritual foundation. Maybe your spiritual nourishment is church, maybe it’s the trees or the ocean. Find that place where you are in a state of awe and wonder and visit there often.
Focus your efforts on continually improving yourself, being kind to yourself and remembering to ask yourself: “What do I want?” Stop complaining and be proactive! Do something that increases your skills, helps your fitness, or brings you joy. Remember that you cannot effectively help your clients and build your business if you can’t take care of yourself first. If you can do that, then there is very little that your sharp saw won’t be able to cut through.