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Encouraging you to ‘Sharpen the Saw’ in 2014
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Dec 31, 2013 | 177 views | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Without fail, at the beginning of the year, most of us plan to save money, lose weight, quit bad habits, and on and on, just to be sorely disappointed in ourselves around February 1.

Yes, I am one of those people. When it comes to personal goals, I make the plan, but I fail terribly when it comes to execution. I fail mainly because my attention is so often focused on my professional goals.

The problem is that the personal and the professional are linked in so many ways. Without the personal goals, over time, we burn out, our health fails, and our souls are often needing a lift.

Years ago, when I first started my career in journalism, I took the week-long Franklin Covey Seven Habits of Highly Effective People seminar to help prioritize my time and set short and long term goals. I have followed the basic ideology of the Seven Habits on a professional level since that time, and I highly recommend it.

The seventh habit of highly effective people is "Sharpen the Saw," the preserving and enhancing of your greatest asset -- you. A way of self-renewal, it focuses on four areas in your life - physical (health, wellbeing), social/emotional (connecting with others), mental (continuing education, reading), and spiritual (prayer, meditation).

Due to my so-much-to-do-so-little-time lifestyle, the "Sharpen the Saw" habit is at the bottom of my prioritized to-do list. Sadly, because I don't regularly practice this habit, I often find run-ragged, suffering from low creativity levels certain times of the year, and sometimes feeling disconnected from my family and friends.

Since having my son in July, my hectic lifestyle was upended. At work, I have to work smarter to fit everything into regular business hours, as I have to pick up my sweet boy at a certain hour on weeknights, and life is all about him on weekends.

I love my work -- seriously, I could work seven days a week. However, late nights and weekends at the office are no longer the norm, although I do sneak in a late night once a week and an occasional Saturday if we are working on a special project, thanks to a very supportive husband.

Since the birth of my son, I have realized that I don't want to miss any of those precious milestones. I was so lucky to have doting parents. With my two sisters and me, my parents were all about those basketball games, piano lessons, dance lessons, and tennis lessons. They hauled my friends and me to cheerleading practice, field trips, school musicals, spaghetti suppers, and so on. Without fail, at least one of my parents was in the audience cheering us on.

However, their entire lives didn't revolve around the three of us. They never missed a thing, and I can't tell you how much that means to me. They also had lives of their own, with their own hobbies, friends, and professional lives.

Daddy and Momma are great role models in sharpening the saw. They provided for us a comfortable life, and they supported us in every endeavor. They keep a beautiful home, and entertain friends and family often. They are in church every Sunday without fail, and they support their community through volunteer roles. They took us on many, often ill-fated but oh so memorable, vacations, and they continue to travel in their retirement.

Sharpening the saw is all about living a well-rounded life - enjoying a strong relationship with the Lord, nurturing relationships with family and friends, giving back to the community you love, finding joy every day, excelling in a much-loved career, and taking care of yourself so you don't miss a thing.

This year, my resolution is to "Sharpen the Saw."

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