The final habit in Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Simon and Schuster), is Sharpen the Saw which refers to capacity. Best-selling author and President of Human Performance Institute, Jim Loehr, describes this so well in the summary of the Corporate Athlete Full-Engagement training system.
“The #1 objective is to perform in the storm. Build the necessary capacity to sustain high performance in the face of increasing demand. Life has many attributes of a storm. Life is not easy. Being good isn’t easy. Life has many storms, and the more capacity we have to deal with these storms of life, the better we will be.”
Covey puts it this way:
“Sharpening the saw is about constantly renewing ourselves in the four basic areas of life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. It’s the Habit that increases our capacity to live all the other habits of effectiveness. For an organization, Habit 7 promotes vision, renewal, continuous improvement, safeguards against burnout and entropy, and puts the organization on a new upward growth path. For a family, it increases effectiveness through regular personal and family activities such as establishing traditions that nurture the spirit of family renewal.”
In my teaching and coaching, I have always said that we are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. Bob Dylan says, “We are either busy living or busy dying.” Wouldn’t you rather be green and growing and busy living, than ripe and rotting and busy dying. I would!
If you put all your energy into one area of your life (e.g. work), then you won’t be successful in the other areas. And, eventually you won’t be good at that one area either because without taking the time to rejuvenate, you will begin to lose your motivation and drive.
Sharpening the saw builds our capacity to be GREEN and LIVING and productive in ALL facets of life.
It’s YOUR choice.