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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

“If the ax be blunt and one does not whet the edge, then must he put to it more strength; but wisdom is profitable to direct him.” Ecclesiastes 10:10

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

We all have goals that we want to achieve in life. And if you are impatient, like me, then you wish that you had accomplished your goals yesterday.  The problem is that really big life goals require a preparation period.  That is what the authors are getting at in the quotes above.  A preparation period is critical if you want to accomplish any goal successfully.

Think about how we bring a child into the world. We wait nine long months before the baby is born.  And during that time, we prepare.  We buy clothes for the baby.  We purchase a crib or a cradle.  We read baby care books and perhaps take child birth classes.  And then when the baby is born, (hopefully!) we are ready to take care of the baby.  Now think about what would happen if today you were told that you were going to have a baby, and that the baby would be arriving tomorrow.  You would be a nervous wreck.  You would be scrambling for the basics, like a crib, clothes and baby food.  You would be unprepared for the awesome responsibility of becoming a parent because you didn’t have a preparation period.

The same holds true when we want to accomplish big things. We need time to prepare.  Specifically, we need time to prepare for the new responsibilities that come along with accomplishing our goals.  So we may need time to mature emotionally.  Or perhaps we need time to get rid of some bad habits or attitudes.

Of course, no one likes the preparation period. It is a time when you don’t know what is going to happen.  So it is filled with “what ifs.”  What if I can’t accomplish my goal?  What if I fail?  What if I’ve wasted my time pursing my dream?  Those are valid questions.  But people who are ultimately successful ignore those questions.  Instead, they forge ahead, with blinders on.  They use their preparation period to hone their skills.  They use this time for introspection, and they work on personal growth.  They sharpen their axe.

During August, many of us watched the Olympics. The athletes who competed spent the prior four years “sharpening their axes.”  They spent that time working passionately toward their goal, not knowing what the final outcome would be.  But that did not stop them from giving every ounce of energy to preparing for the games.

If you have set goals for yourself that have not yet been achieved, remember that this is your preparation period. Don’t get discouraged because you aren’t achieving your dreams on your time table.  Don’t let impatience lead you to give up.  Instead, take advantage of this time.  Use it to prepare yourself for both the joys and the responsibilities of success.  Sharpen your axe.

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