Taking It All In

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Taking it all in, Downtown Saint Paul, MN skyline

From time to time when I’m in between appointments, I go to a local park to gather my thoughts, relax for a bit, to take it all in.  This life is all about sprinting and recovering.  Give it all you got, and then give your body and your mind time to rejuvenate. 

In recent months with my on the road travels, these parks have ranged from Saint Cloud to Alexandria to Grand Forks, North Dakota all the way to Clear Lake, Iowa to New Ulm, Mn.  Today, I’m at Harriet Island Regional Park, right across the Mighty Mississippi in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Even when we have all the support in the world on the outside, it often feels like we’re fighting all alone on the inside.  No one can truly know what we’re thinking, how we feel, what we want.  Unless we talk.  Unless we let the world KNOW.  Thats the action part.  Most of us don’t ACT for fear of what the REACTION will be.  With personalities, Einstein’s theory doesn’t always hold true that for every action there must be an equal an opposite reaction.  Most of the time, when others know exactly WHY you’re doing something, they’ll be right there with you every step of the way.  You give it all you got.  Give every ounce of your being because you believe that the outcome will be good.  Shit, not just good, phenomenal.  And you don’t stop until its done.

There will be many obstacles.  There will be people telling you that you’re crazy.  There will be people telling you that it’ll never work.  There will be doubters, naysayers, negative Nancies.  You’ll lose friendships.  People will stop calling.  There will be times when you just want to take a break from it all and call up those old friends and dround your sorrows in a beer or two.  And there will be times where you’ll catch yourself taking a step back and wondering to yourself if it’s all worth it.  You’re exhausted.

I first read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People in the summer of 2010.  I was working as a sales manager for a software reseller in downtown Minneapolis.  Business was good, customers were happy, but the bossman knew that something was missing.  He had the whole managerial staff to read that book, and every Thursday in our meetings we would have what seemed like a five hour discussion.  This came about three months after my knee surgery, right after I was taken off the four months of painkillers, so I wasn’t in the best state of mind…if you know my story, that state of mind would only get worse in the coming months.  So, with the paranoia that comes with the withdrawal, I began questioning why my boss was having ME read this book.  Am i in danger of losing my job?  Wasn’t I doing enough for the company?  I’ve just spent the last four months crutching my crippled ass to the light rail to catch to work because i couldnt drive when the docs said i should have taken a long-term disability leave?  Haven’t I done enough??  Why am i sitting here having a freaking discussion about how to be more effective??

If you’ve read the book, you’re miles ahead of anyone who hasn’t read it.  If you were to ask me what my favorite “habit” is, it could vary from day to day, but right now, the one that is on my mind is “Sharpen The Saw”.

There is a story of a woodcutter.  He was the fastest woodcutter in the company.  He was tall, big, strong, and no one could cut as much wood as him.  Then one day, another woodcutter joins the company and cuts more wood than him.  The first is outraged.  How could this NEW guy cut more than ME?

It continues this way for weeks, until one morning, the new guy shows up thirty minutes late.  The old pro licks his chops because he knows that today will be the day he will regain his top spot.  He is beside himself when at the end of the day, the new woodcutter not only chopped more wood, but by a bigger margin than ever before!  He is livid!  He finally goes up to the new guy and asks him, “How, just HOW could you come in thirty minutes late and STILL chop more wood than me, and MUCH more than before?”

“I took time to sharpen my saw.”

And this is what today is about.  There are going to be times when you wonder and doubt if its all worth it.  There are times when you start to think that you’re not making any progress.  Take the time to Sharpen The Saw.  Brush up on techniques, processes, practice…or take some time for yourself.

Today I’m sitting in a lot on the banks of the Mississippi, watching the barges go by, looking at the Downtown Skyline of Saint Paul, listening to the birds, feeling the wind blow, watching the trees sway in that same wind.  There’s alot more going on in this world than the little battle thats in my head.  And that comforts me.  This world is SO much bigger than me.  Be a part of it rather than apart from it.  You don’t have to do it all yourself.  Just do a little, you’ll be amazed at the outcome.  Then keep doing it.  But remember to Sharpen The Saw.

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