Charleston School of Business Faculty & Staff Updates

Time to Sharpen Your Axe

Last week’s graduation on the Cistern was a memorable experience. What a great tradition.

Tradition and transformation are two attributes that describe us well. There are significant signs of progress all across campus. All the positive signs are good, but we must remember to balance things. As the semester wound down, Covey’s Seventh Habit – Sharpen the Saw – often came to mind. We’ve been chopping away and putting forth an extraordinary effort. You stepped up repeatedly and chopped away to get to the end.  But, sometimes, it can be too easy to keep on just keeping on.

This simple video, for me, is a great reminder:

The video nicely demonstrates that pushing through to the end eventually leads to a dull axe and tired muscles. This approach soon becomes counterproductive. We work harder but achieve less.

Early in my career, I was a lot like that young woodsman. I was able to power through, but the last few years showed me the wisdom of the old woodsman. We are better when we take time to step back and sharpen the axe.

Now is a natural time to take a step back to disconnect and take a rest. In addition, we can look for ways to sharpen our axes. I like this analogy, but we are much more complicated than an axe. So often, it’s not just one thing we need to do but many. Please make the time to refresh yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. For each of us, this will be different. You finished a great semester. This summer, take some time and plan how you will take care of yourself.

The fall will be an exciting time as we get back together and get back to our shared mission. While this story focuses on sharpening the axe, the more significant theme is working smarter, not harder. I hope we can work smarter in the fall and not harder and find a pace, like the older woodsman, that allows balance and leads to more productivity.

YOU make a difference.

Keep in mind:

Paul • May 18, 2023

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