View from the Summit

How Do You Improve Yourself In 2021 and Beyond?

Posted by Aaron Walker and the VFTT Team on Feb 12, 2021 9:00:00 AM

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


I’m going to be honest with you. How much you grow as a person from here on out ... is entirely up to you.

Growth won’t happen unless you prioritize it. There are plenty of people out there who think things will magically “happen” for them if they have the right intentions.

Do you want the truth? It takes way more dedication than intentions!

Stephen Covey talks about dedication in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I love what he uses as a symbol, too. He calls it “sharpening the saw.”

Think about sharpening a saw. It requires focus and discipline. It’s daunting, if you don’t know where to begin. If you don’t pay attention, you could end up in a world of hurt.

It’s important to put aside time to sharpen your saw. There’s a chance it’ll happen naturally, as you surround yourself with higher achievers. But it’s not guaranteed.

The more planning and tracking you give to this, the more effective you’ll become.

If you’re serious about reaching your potential and want help sharpening your saw, I invite you to apply to join one of our mastermind groups. In these groups, you’ll find peers who are passionate about seeing each other win!

Why You Can’t Let The Blade Go Dull

Why bother sharpening the saw? Can’t I get by with the blades I have now?

If you’re asking those questions, it’s time to “cut” it out! You can’t expect your current tools (your skills or knowledge) to work forever.

Even if what you have now cuts like a hot knife through butter, it’ll dull over time. I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to cut down a big oak tree with a dull ax!

President Abraham Lincoln knew this. He once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

Would you like to know the first thing professional athletes do when they show up for pre-season practice? They practice fundamentals. They break every play or move down to the smallest action, and do it over and over again.

Now, why would world-class talent do such basic things? You’d think they’d get a head start and jump straight into running plays, right? The reason is that when small things are done right every time … they add up.

Bad results await an athlete who doesn’t take the time to retrain his mind and body before stepping out onto the field of competition. Mistakes and bad plays are much more likely without a solid foundation.

It’s said, in moments of hardship, that "we don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.

Just reading that should make it obvious why you need sharpening. You also need a quality environment, which is why you should apply to join one of our online mastermind groups.

How to Gain Control and Sharpen the Saw

How do you start, when looking to sharpen the saw? One is to categorize your life into “dimensions.”

Covey describes four main areas anyone can improve. You’ll notice, each one contains activities and habits that are “important, not urgent.” Activities like this are crucial to a successful life, because their results compound over time.

As activities and opportunities appear on your schedule, take a moment to think about which dimension they belong to:

  1. The Physical Dimension – This dimension includes proper nutrition, rest and relaxation, and exercising on a regular basis. You work to increase your endurance, flexibility, or strength.
  2. The Spiritual Dimension – Core values play a large role in the effectiveness of your spiritual dimension. Finding and living them out looks different for everybody, so do what works best for you. You might like to meditate or spend time in nature. As a Christian life coach, I find renewal by reading Scripture.
    Whatever it is, find something that allows you to feel connected to the present moment. Make time for these activities in your calendar.
  3. The Mental Dimension – Many people would rather do anything than learn. You need to take a proactive approach to learning. It’s easy to flip on the TV and binge watch hours of fluff. People in growth mode take a different approach.
  4. The Social-Emotional Dimension – Life’s a team sport, and rewards go to people who are good teammates and play with a level head. Dependable people are invaluable. Find something to be part of that’s bigger than you, and allows you to build with others.

Sharpening the saw is a lifelong pursuit, and a worthy one. The satisfaction you feel as you see yourself grow is second to none!

Mastermind groups enhance this process. Apply to join one of ours online.

Topics: Accountability, Masterminds, Community, Success, Significance, Priorities, Commitment, Move Forward, Discipline, Clarity, Development, Self Development, Decisions, Crossroads, Wisdom, Encouragement, Leadership, Guide, Determination, Trusted Advisor, Influence


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