Sharpening your axe is critical. If you recall from the last post, Abe Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first hour sharpening my axe.”
I recall a time in my life when I felt like I was backed into a corner and there was no way out. I had success, by everyone else’s standards, but what I didn’t have was enough time to use the bathroom (literally… a story for another day)… much less go on a three-day getaway with my wife or even a vacation with the family. Time was tight.
Business was booming and the commodity of time just wasn’t available. I had the proverbial dull axe and it wasn’t cutting anything. I was whacking away, trying to carve out more time, but it wasn’t working. The one thing I wanted most was the very thing I had the least of. I had to learn how to sharpen my axe… and I had to do it quickly.
A client of mine came in one day and taught me a few things. This successful businesswoman taught me about getting up early and getting more accomplished in that time than most people get done in a day. She had my attention, but I didn’t believe that I could be a morning person, and I didn’t see how getting less sleep would benefit me.
I had told myself for years that I was a night owl. It was a lie that I had believed for a very long time. She helped me change that lie into the truth that I was a morning person. The short of it is, in just over two months of starting my morning routine, things started to turn around… and it even included getting in my daily exercise… something that I previously struggled to do 2 or 3 days per week.
I still do this morning routine 6 days per week. I take Sundays off but still do an abbreviated version even then. This keeps my axe sharp… very sharp. In fact, some days, I think there’s close to nothing that I can’t get done.
Here are those 5 essential skills:
- Visualization and goal mapping
- Close your eyes and visualize who you want to be, where you want to go, and what you want to do.
- Review and recite your daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals
- Write down, on a piece of paper, what you’re going to do today to make those goals a reality
- Income producing activity
- There are many activities you can participate in… one of my favorites is reaching out to clients… sending a thank you card, dropping them an email, or simply giving them a phone call or text
- Personal and professional development
- Read something in the non-fiction genre to make you a better version of yourself
- Mastermind with other leaders
- Research shows that your environment is responsible for approximately 50% of your results… expose yourself daily to those who will encourage and empower you. If you don’t have a mastermind group, start one yourself.
- Inspire and lead
- I make it a point to “see one… do one… and teach one” everyday. In other words, when I read something in my personal development time, I apply it immediately (even if it’s only meditating on it and repeating it out loud to myself), then I make a point to teach that principle to one of my employees or a client. It’s that simple, and it has profound results.
Start doing these five things everyday and, before you know it, you will be free. First, a major shift will take place in that 4 inch space between your ears. Then, your physical surroundings… your reality… will begin to catch up. I dare you to put it to the test.
As my axe got sharper, I began looking for ways to free up more time and check out of the corporate rat race, so I could travel more and focus on my photography. I had known for a long time that owning and operating an online business was the answer to my time problem, I just didn’t know how, and the amount of confusing information out there was killing me. Finally, I was introduced to a group of online-business experts. The quality and amount of insider-information that they provided me was astounding.
I have to admit, my first thought, although fleeting, was that “I’m too old for this.” As it turned out, three of my coaches were older than me and had built very successful online businesses (and they also traveled the world like crazy). The link to the free course that I took is right below. I think it will help you a lot on your journey to regaining the freedom and time to do what you want to do.
To regaining your freedom,