This story changed everything for me

This last ten days has been pretty mental for me. With the excitement of upgrading my much loved Mac, came the drama of losing 4 months worth of emails in the transfer (don’t even ask). Add to that a maxed out calendar of clients, plus two rad freelance projects and another two awesome collaborations.

To say I’ve been flat out is an understatement.

Last Thursday, in the middle of my crazy working day, I was told a story. A story that impacted me so much that immediately afterwards, I made a promise to myself to make some changes.

So I figured I’d share it with you today. It’s a story of two woodcutters.

Both men lived & worked in the same village. They’d been woodcutters from the day they left school. They were of similar build and had similar strength & skills.

After many years of working alongside each other, a friendly rivalry developed between the two men. One day, they decided to have a competition. They’d go to the forest, and see who could chop down the most trees.

On the morning of the competition, they made their way out of the village to the forest. Each man walked to his designated spot and began chopping.

To a passerby, it seemed like there was only one man working. Their axes were chopping simultaneously.

But after an hour or so, one of the woodcutters realised he could no longer hear the other man chopping. He smiled and thought to himself ‘Huh, he’s stopped, if I can keep up my pace, I’m guaranteed to beat him’.

Soon after, the other woodcutter started up again. But it carried on like this all day. Every hour or so, he would stop & rest whilst his rival continued.

At the end of the day, the two men met in a clearing. The woodcutter who had been chopping all day said ‘I know you’re strong but I heard you stop throughout the day. So I know I’ve won. I cut down 60 trees.’

The other man smiled and said ‘I cut down 70′.

His rival laughed out loud ‘That’s impossible! How ?!’.

The other man looked at him and said ‘Every time I rested, I sharpened my axe.’

Gulp. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear this story. And, since hearing it, I’ve shared it with a number of friends, who’ve said ‘Yikes. I needed to hear this.’

So my question to you is this.

What does ‘sharpening your axe’ look like to you ? And are you creating the time & space to do it?