There is a story about a lumberjack who purchased a forest. His goal was to cut down all of the trees as quickly as he could and sell the lumber so that he could invest in more forests. And so, he grabbed his trusty axe and started swinging. The first few trees fell swiftly, for the lumberjack was incredibly skilled. Observers noted the huge smile on the lumberjack’s face. It was obvious to everyone that he was doing what he loved to do.
However, by early afternoon the trees weren’t falling as quickly. It took more effort and more swings on the part of the lumberjack. People noticed the smile was fading from his face. His breathing was heavy and his clothes soaked with sweat.
A young woman walked by and offered the lumberjack a glass of water. He considered it for a moment then politely replied, “Thank you, but I simply don’t have time to stop and enjoy your water.”
The woman stood there watching the lumberjack for a moment and then she spoke. “Excuse me, sir. But I think your axe might be getting dull. If you were to stop a minute, enjoy this glass of water, and take time to sharpen your axe, you would likely get more done with less effort.”
This time the lumberjack was not quite as polite. He shrugged her off. “I have a feeling you’ve never cut down a single tree, let alone a forest. You really have no clue about what I do, so don’t try and tell me how to do it.”
The woman apologized and walked away, leaving the lumberjack as he continued to struggle with the task at hand.
Sharpen Your Axe
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We can be so busy working in our business that we have a hard time when someone from outside suggests to us that we might be wise to take time to work on our business. And yet, it should be obvious that if we took time to sharpen our tools, we will get our work done quicker and with more focused effort.
Here’s the kicker: no one will sharpen your axe for you. In other words, if you don’t choose to take the time to work on your business, no one else will. Instead, the long hours, hard work, frustrating lack of personal time, stress over incomplete tasks, and overall burnout will continue day in and day out until you finally give up and walk away. There’s a reason why more business startups fail than succeed.
You Can Do It
I realize that last paragraph sounds bleak, but hopefully it serves as a reality check. There is hope. Your business can be everything that you dreamed it would be when you first launched. However, it will not happen unless you put the time and effort into sharpening your business tools.
Here are just a few questions you can ask yourself as you consider working on your business:
- How much leadership depth have I built?
- What systems do I have in place to maximize effectiveness?
- How much time do I spend handling tasks that someone else could handle for me at a fraction of my pay?
- Do I have a formal training program for my new employees?
- Do I have mission & vision statements? Do my employees know what they are?
- What would happen to my company if I stopped working here today?
Those are just a few of the important questions you need to ask yourself as you begin to work on your business. Yes, I know that answering them takes time. Again, if you don’t take the time to address those questions, no one will do it for you.
The good news is that business coaching has proven to be one of the most effective ways to transform your business. At Rhapsody, we have the tools and strategies to guide you, as you sharpen your axe and take your business to the next level.
Why not start by taking our FREE 10-Minute Opportunity Assessment? In 10 minutes, you’ll have taken your first critical step to understanding exactly what needs to happen in your business next.