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  • Writer's pictureTracey Wozny

Sharpen the Saw this Summer!

The Value of Growth as a Leader During Downtime: Summer Edition

As summer approaches, it's natural to want to unwind and enjoy a break from the usual hustle and bustle. However, for those aspiring to be effective leaders, this downtime presents an invaluable opportunity to "sharpen the saw." This concept, introduced by Stephen Covey in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," emphasizes the importance of continuous self-improvement and renewal. Here’s how leaders can make the most of their summer to enhance their skills and return with a renewed mind, body and spirit to grow those we lead.

Understanding the Value of "Sharpening the Saw"

1. Mental Renewal: Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind keeps it sharp and ready for new challenges.

2. Emotional Balance: Taking time for personal interests and self-reflection helps maintain emotional health and resilience.

3. Physical Well-being: Keeping physically active boosts health and energy levels.

4. Spiritual Growth: Reflecting on personal values and goals aligns actions with core principles, providing a sense of purpose and direction.

Ideas for Growing Your Leadership This Summer

  1. Read! Read! Read!

  • Diverse Genres: Read across various genres—fiction, biographies, self-help, and leadership books.

  • Daily Habit: Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour each day for reading.

  • Book Clubs: Join or form a book club to discuss insights with others. Surrounding yourself with others that are also trying to learn and grow gains traction for everyone.

2. Listen to Podcasts and Audiobooks

  • Create Playlists: Create playlists of leadership, business, and personal development podcasts. Listen during commutes, workouts, or relaxing. Turn your car into a learning library!

  • Note-taking: Keep a notebook or use notes in your phone to jot down key takeaways and actionable ideas.

  • Here are my 3 top recommended podcasts for summer leadership :

3. Engage in Webinars and Online Courses

  • Targeted Learning: Identify specific skills to improve and enroll in relevant courses on platforms like Linkedin Learning.

  • Interactive Sessions: Actively participate in webinars by asking questions and engaging in discussions.

  • Certification Programs: Complete certification programs to add value to your professional profile.

Free Leadership Webinars This Summer

4. Network and Build Relationships

  • Virtual Coffee Chats: Schedule virtual chats with mentors, peers, or industry leaders for valuable insights and networking.

  • Professional Organizations: Join professional organizations and attend summer networking events.

  • Volunteer Work: Volunteer for causes you’re passionate about to meet like-minded individuals and develop new skills.

5. Reflect and Set Goals

  • Journaling: Keep a leadership journal to reflect on experiences, challenges, and growth.

  • SMART Goals: Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for the upcoming months.

  • Vision Board: Create a vision board for your personal and professional aspirations.

6. Stay Physically Active

  • Outdoor Activities: Engage in activities like hiking, cycling, or swimming to boost physical health and mental clarity.

  • Fitness Challenges*: Join summer fitness challenges or set personal fitness goals.

  • Mind-Body Connection: Incorporate yoga or meditation into your routine to enhance mental clarity and reduce stress.

7. Explore Creative Outlets

  • Hobbies and Interests: Dedicate time to hobbies like painting, gardening, or playing an instrument.

  • Creative Projects: Start a creative project, such as writing a blog or creating a podcast. Maybe it doesn't even need to revolve around leadership. Just a creative way to get off the grid so you can be the best leader you can be!

Summer is not just a time for relaxation; it's a prime opportunity for leaders to invest in their growth. By reading, listening to podcasts, engaging in online learning, networking, reflecting, staying active, and exploring creative outlets, leaders can return from their downtime refreshed and equipped with new skills and perspectives. Embracing the value of "sharpening the saw" ensures continuous improvement and prepares leaders to tackle the next layer of growth in their leadership! Happy Summer!



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