Willie the Woodman was thrilled when he landed a job with a timber merchant. Happy with the pay and working conditions, Willie really wanted to do his best.
When he showed up for work, Fred the Boss handed Willie an axe. During his first day, Willie quickly and easily chopped down 18 trees. Fred was thrilled with Willie’s work “Congratulations Willie, that’s the kind of initiative and work we need.”
Motivated by the encouraging words, Willie tried harder the next day. Despite his best efforts, he chopped down 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder but could only manage 10 trees. Day after day he finished with fewer trees.
“I must be losing my strength” Willie thought. With his head held low he went to Fred the Boss and apologized “I don’t understand what is going on."
Fred merely said “Willie, when was the last time you sharpened your axe?”. Willie replied “Sharpen my axe? I haven’t had time. I have been busy trying to cut trees.”.
There are many versions of this story and attributions are varied. The moral of the story is the same: we need to take time to care for ourselves and our tools so that we can be our best.
During self-isolation and social distancing gift yourself with the time needed to take stock of what is important. How will you sharpen your axe?