I was talking to a client earlier on and as I was helping her to navigate the overwhelm of running two successful businesses, I remembered the wise story of two woodcutters. 
The story goes like this:

“Once upon a time, there were two woodcutters named Peter and John. They were often at loggerheads over who chopped more wood. So one day, they decided to hold a competition to determine the winner. The rules were simple—whoever produce the most wood in a day wins.

So the next day morning, both of them took up their positions in the forest and started chopping away in their fastest possible speed. This lasted for an hour before Peter suddenly stopped. When John realized that there was no chopping sound from his opponent’s side, he thought: “Ah Ha! He must be tired already!” And he continued to cut down his trees with double the pace.

A quarter of an hour passed, and John heard his opponent chopping again. So both of them carried on synchronously. John was starting to feel weary when the chopping from Peter stopped once again. Feeling motivated and smelling victory close by, John continued on, with a smile on his face.

This went on the whole day. Every hour, Peter would stop chopping for fifteen minutes while John kept going relentlessly. So when the competition ended, John was absolutely confident that he would take the triumph.

But to John’s astonishment, Peter had actually cut down more wood. How did this even happen? “How could you have chopped down more trees than me? I heard you stop working every hour for fifteen minutes!”, exclaimed John.

Peter replied, “Well, it’s really simple. Every time I stopped work, while you were still chopping down trees, I was sharpening my axe.”


So you see, sometimes we overwork ourselves, between wanting to serve our customers well and aiming to grow as thriving entrepreneurs.

We then become exhausted, drained, angry, demotivated, off our center. We become un-grounded, spiraling faster and faster into overwhelm.
Do you remember to stop, breathe and relax, as you work and create?
And most importantly, do you sharpen your axe?
It is only when you stop to relax and to sharpen your blade too, that you bring more ease and joy into your days. 
You sharpen your axe by renewing yourself in all four aspects of your life:
Your body: make sure you drink enough water, you eat well, you sleep well, you move and exercise.
Your heart: build meaningful connections with the people around you, create time for yourself to savour these, special connecting moments are priceless.
Your mind: read, learn a new skill, write, solve puzzles, keep your mind beautifully active.
Your soul: feed your soul with walks, with nature, with beauty.
Everyday is a new opportunity to renew yourself.
Keep on sharpening your axe so that you work less, you work in new ways that are more connected with the whole of you, more enjoyable.
Photo by Tony Ross on Unsplash

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