Four steps to solid results in business career or life
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the saw” – Abraham Lincoln
For as long as I could remember, I have followed the principle of “success cycles”. That is, looking at your progress and milestones in 3-month timeframes. As July is now in full swing, while most are thinking about slowing down for the summer, achievers in career and business must continue to maximize this upcoming period to ensure continued success throughout the remainder of the year. Consider two key questions would help you to get started:
What are you going to do differently in the next 60-90 days so that you achieve the desired results you want?
What skills will you improve or behavior will you change in order to reach that end result?
Stephen Covey in his powerful book, “Seven 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 with these four steps:
Step 1: Get clear on exactly what you want to accomplish this quarter. Document or Re-look at your end of year vision. Set aside one hour to really sit, think and answer the following question, “Within the next 30- 60-90 days, what is my big, inspiring goal, or milestones, where am I now, and what is the path I will take to get there?” Many people allow their vision to die mainly because they are not clear on how to achieve it. 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 6-9 skills if possible. If that is too much, choose at least 3.
Step 3: Dedicate 30, 60 or 90 days to focused skill development and personal growth. With your newly acquired skill development list, decide that the next cycle of success for you will start by you “sharpening your saw”. Dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes a day focused on learning that one skill. Give yourself the gift of becoming a sharper, skill-full and successful version of yourself.
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 period, preferably 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 the rest of this year focused on solid results, you would benefit greatly from my “90 Day Results” program.
“90 Day Results” was created to support individuals and teams who are committed to a highly focused quarter of personal growth and professional development. Designed specifically to create a community of high performance and productivity within 90 days that would carry through to success, the 90 Day Results experience will produce massive results in the short term – while also preparing for specific results.
The next 90-day results cycle begins on August 1 and is very limited to ensure every participant gets the results they desire. To get full details on the program, review the skill building programs that are available to you and/or reserve your spot, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure where to start? Schedule free vision strategy session visit www.meetwithkeshelle.com.
I look forward to your success this year and wish you the best in your “saw sharpening” 90 days!
• Listed in The Nassau Guardian’s “Top 40 under 40”, Keshelle Davis is a skills development expert and authority on corporate, business and personal success training in the Bahamas. She is the CEO of The Training Authority, an entrepreneur and internationally recognized speaker and author. Formerly she served as Executive Director of the Chamber Institute – the education arm of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) and has impacted thousands through her mission to educate, empower and inspire. Contact Keshelle at email@example.com.