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.