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Sharpen the Saw

Did any of you ever work, or, even better, have a friend who is very positive, has their own very high value system, and lives or works by it? A few years ago I had the good fortune of working with just that type of person. He was a Member of Parliament, and a Cabinet Minister, so his time was tight and limited, and he was pulled in many different directions. In spite of this he was a very patient person who cultivated, and got, the very best out of those who worked with him.

In the early days, just after I started working with him, he told me about a book that was very inspiring to him. It was Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". In it the author speaks about establishing habits through a personal value system, organizing and planning your time, and being able to listen to others; understanding their point of view. Living with these habits enables you to learn and understand some pretty powerful lessons in personal change.

Not only was I curious to read this book, I also thought it would provide me with a window through which I could better understand my boss. I was pleasantly surprised on both counts.

The last of the seven habits is the one that surrounds all the other habits. It's called Sharpening the Saw. It contains the principles of balanced self-renewal through preserving and enhancing our own personal assets. It's the constant renewal of the four dimensions of our nature; physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional. Put simply, its the common sense notion of caring for our physical body through proper nourishment and regular exercise. It's our committment to our value system, keeping informed through reading and writing, and developing our emotional life through the cultivation of relationships that are positive, loving and respectful.

Adopting these habits can be beneficial to running as well. Although I am human and fall victim to a really good junk food meal from time to time, I am much more conscious of properly fueling of my body. I need to in order to maintain a consistent running schedule. To be honest, probably the bigger reason is to make sure my weight stays at a healthy level. The combination of the medication I am presently on, and the lovely metabolism I inherited means that I have to always be careful.

I also read lots of books about running, as well as blogs by runners. These books are informative, not only about running injury free, but the insight you get through a personal blog is entertaining, and provides advice to the everyday, humble and devoted shuffler!

If you run in a group, the relationship element is tied in. You need to understand the various personalities and the many runners' blocks that exist within the group. You need to collectively work through them together.

Adopting, and making these habits your own is beneficial, not only for yourself, but in your personal and business relationships, as well as with your running/sports partner. Adhering to them is a lifelong project. Sharpening the saw means you are constantly working on self improvement in whatever area you choose.

I am no longer working with that person, although we do stay in touch. One thing's for sure; he, or anyone else who was working with me at the time,  will recognize themselves in this blog, and, I'm sure, will have a huge smile on their face! I'm also convinced that all of our lives were touched in a positive way, and have improved as a result. I would bet that we have also continued to keep our saws very sharp!

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