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Four steps to your next 90 day plan

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the saw.” — Abraham Lincoln


We are on the brink of a new quarter. A new success cycle I call it. Is your next 90-day plan complete and ready for execution?

Stephen Covey in his powerful book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” tells the story of a man who was walking through a forest when he came across a frustrated lumberjack. The lumberjack was trying to cut down a tree with a saw and was swearing and cursing as he labored in vain.

“What’s the problem?” The man asked.

“My saw is blunt and won’t cut the tree properly,” the lumberjack responded.

“Why don’t you just sharpen it?”

“Because then I would have to stop sawing,” said the lumberjack.

“But if you sharpened your saw, you could cut more efficiently and effectively than before.”

“But I don’t have time to stop,” the lumberjack retorted, getting more frustrated.

The man shook his head and kept on walking, leaving the lumberjack to his pointless frustration.

This story is relevant to so many of us isn’t it?

We get frustrated by life and our inability to succeed with our goals, but instead of developing ourselves and taking the time to become more effective, we keep struggling with a blunt saw.

Make a decision now to stop, sharpen your saw and become wildly successful in the second half of this year with these four steps.


Step 1: Get clear on exactly what you want to accomplish over the next 90 days

Document your end-of-year vision. Set aside one hour to really sit, think and answer the following questions: “In the next 30 months, what is my big, inspiring goal? Where am I now, and what is the path I will take to get there? Many people allow their visions to die mainly because they are not clear on how to achieve them. Do this activity, if possible, with someone who can assist you in getting the clarity and motivation you need.


Step 2: List the skills you want or need to develop or sharpen

With your written vision in hand, write a list of every single skill or topic you’ve always wanted or needed to learn, improve or master. Is it time management skills, leadership, public speaking, successful selling, marketing, better communication, business writing, conflict resolution or computer knowledge? Try to come up with six to nine skills if possible. If that is too much, choose at least three. The Chamber Institute has a list of 600+ skills you can view to help jog your memory.


Step 3: Dedicate 90 days to focused skill development and personal growth

With your newly acquired skill development list, decide that this next 90 days will be used to “sharpen your saw”. Dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes a day focused on learning that one skill. Give yourself the gift of becoming a sharper, more skillful and successful version of yourself. You will have the remainder of the year to execute and take action based on your new skills.


Step 4: Establish a regular accountability system to ensure follow-through

Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-ins with a results-focused mentor, coach or facilitator will keep you motivated and on target throughout this process. Having a set time and place to write out action steps from what you are learning daily is also very important. These notes will form the action plan you will need during the ‘tree-cutting’/execution phase the remainder of the year.


Step 5 – Celebrate your progress in a meaningful way

At the end of the 90 days, expect to have a significant shift and growth in your mindset and skillset. This is a huge accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated. Decide in advance how you will reward yourself or your team for taking the time out to work on you.

If you would like to make this next quarter both a successful and results-driven one with a team of support behind you, you would benefit greatly from the Chamber Institute’s new 90 Day Results program.

The 90 Day Results program was created to support individuals and teams who are committed to a highly focused first quarter of personal growth and professional development. Designed specifically to create a community of high performance and productivity within the first 90 days that would carry throughout the year, the 90 Day Results experience will produce massive results in the short term – while also preparing for results all year.

The next 90 day Results cycle begins on July 5 and is very limited to ensure every participant gets the results they desire. To get full details on the program, review the 600+ skill building programs that are available to you and/or reserve your spot, email me at

Not sure where to start? Schedule free vision strategy session visit

I look forward to your success this year and wish you the best in your “saw sharpening” 90 days!


Keshelle Davis is a master trainer in the areas of business skills, financial literacy and personal development. She is a speaker, author and entrepreneur. Her roles include executive director of the Chamber Institute, the education arm of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; president of Creative Wealth Bahamas; and founder of The Training Authority. Keshelle was listed as The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40 for the 40th anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas. Contact Keshelle at

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