Sharpening the Ax

There’s an old story about two lumberjacks who competed to see who could chop the most wood in an hour.  Lumberjack A chopped continuously for the entire 60 minutes.  Lumberjack B took a 5 minute break  every 15 minute, but ended up winning the competition.  When asked what he was doing during those breaks he responded, “sharpening my ax”.

In a couple of weeks I’m attending my first SMPS National Conference.  Will it take time away from my day-to-day activities?  Sure.  From my family? That too.  From my marketing budget?  Of course.  That said, I believe these will be resources well-spent.

It’s challenging to succeed in a vacuum.  There’s too much unproductive trial and error, too much reinventing the wheel, too much operating on the trailing edge of innovation.  Have I been to a few “professional development” sessions that have wasted my time?  Sure, but that experience is rare.  Even on those occasions I’ve had an opportunity to meet a new networking resource, validate when I’m doing things right, and step off the path long enough to recognize whether I’m traveling on a road or a hamster wheel.   The key is to treat these opportunities not just as expenditures, but as investments.



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