FranklinCovey Blog

On the Balance Beam: Finding Time to Sharpen the Saw

Monday, August 27th, 2012 | 7 Habits, FranklinCovey News, The 7 Habits | 0 Comments

 FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from Winfield Jackson, a team member at OpenSesame.

This summer I have felt a lot like a beginning gymnast on the balance beam. One moment struggling, one moment soaring like Gabby Douglas in London. I’m at a difficult age, between childhood and adulthood, and working hard to create a grown-up, adult life. As I struggle with my budding professional career, I’ve discovered why one cliche is true: We get caught up in the day-to-day motions of our busy, hectic lives and don’t take the time to recharge our batteries.

 Reading Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has opened my eyes to one principle I have not respected enough in my life: Sharpen the Saw. For me, sharpening the saw means keeping myself refreshed, so that I have the energy and capacity to thoughtfully exercise the other six habits.

As I’ve read The 7 habits and challenged myself to examine my own behavior, I find that I use routine answers and routine behaviors to absolve myself of the responsibility to examine myself and my approach to life and work. Sharpening the Saw doesn’t mean just being thoughtful about the work you do – it means taking the time to take care of yourself – and your own productive capacity – so that you can have sustainable, productive success.

From skills development and training to family time and vacation, Sharpening the Saw can have a different focus for everyone, but the core meaning is the same: You must respect yourself in order to make the most of your abilities.

Dr. Covey discusses the four components of everyone’s productive capacity: body, mind, spirit and heart. Three of these four components made immediate sense to me: body, mind, and spirit. However, heart stood out as a component that I needed to understand a little better. I’m great at taking the time I need to rest, recover and recreate – but I’m not so good at developing meaningful and high quality relationships. Relationships should be symbiotic. You should receive enjoyment, stimulus, and interaction in return for your time and vice versa. Looking at it through that viewpoint, the heart aspect really spoke to me as something lacking in my relationships with family and friends.

For me, as I enter my junior year in college, I have an important resolution: Take the time to develop and nurture my relationships with friends and loved ones. I realize that I must give as much as I hope to receive in order to continue to grow as a productive adult.

Life is, after all, about balance. Habit 7 really stresses this. Whether it is physical activity or hanging out with a good friend, finding ways to balance yourself with strong foundations in mind, body, heart and spirit will help you find your way on the balance beam.

Winfield Jackson is a Junior at Oklahoma State University where he studies Entrepreneurship. He works as a content developer for OpenSesame, elearning marketplace.

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