Hone, by Paul Kiewiet, MAS+

12/22/2015 4:21 PM | Jolie Porter

What are you doing to hone your skills? Hone. What a funny word! Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

Are you so busy running around and trying to do everything? You may be working extremely hard chopping away with a very dull ax. Make a conscious commitment to continuous improvement, and professional and personal development. You’ll find that with a sharper ax, your work will flow easier. Lincoln knew that it would still take six hours to chop down that tree, but by focusing on the right priorities, he could make easier work of it.

In his seminal classic, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey wrote that habit No. 7 is to “Sharpen the Saw.” This habit informs us to balance and renew our resources, energy and health in addition to our professional skills and knowledge.

For physical renewal, take time to exercise and make healthy lifestyle and diet choices. You’ll have more energy and be better equipped to work hard and long. Your clients will notice how you take care of yourself and feel more confident that you’ll be able to take care of their projects too.

Develop regular routines of meditation, prayer or yoga, and good reading for your mental and spiritual renewal. Start each day by reminding yourself of three to five things that you are grateful for and start your day with gratitude. Make a note to send a thank you card to someone you thought of as you went through that exercise. Find ways to serve your community or society.

In his book, Covey describes how your conscience efforts at meaningful and consistent progress you will create an “Upward Spiral” of growth, change and constant improvement. Learn. Commit. Do. Education with a commitment to feeding your physical and spiritual/mental renewal will propel you on the path of personal freedom, wisdom and power.

I think the word “hone” has a time element implied. Over time you will transform your effectiveness and professionalism. The synonyms for hone are improve, refine, enhance and fine-tune.

Hone your skills and make your job easier.

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