Leadership Thoughts


Expanding Your Tools Beyond the Hammer – A Lesson in Patience

“If a hammer is the only tool you have, then every problem looks like a nail.” ~ A. Maslow

After careful reflection and an honest review of my life journey thus far, it became apparent that all my failures can be attributed to one source; my ego. Having a certain level of self-confidence can serve a person well but not at the expense of growth and maturity. I realized it was engrained in me that unless I won the game, finished in first place, led the team or had the last word, it was pointless to even try.

The sacrifices I’ve made to put myself in a position to win have produced personal and professional gains but the costs have been devastating. My reflection unveiled for me the truth behind all the experiences I should have had along my life journey but completely missed them. I missed my daughter’s first word, I failed to visit my mom as often as I should have while she was alive, and I completely missed the boat on the importance of patience and balance. I had become accustomed to attacking every challenge, every issue, and every goal with my trusty hammer in hand. The problem I now realize is that it’s hard to stop a hammer in the middle of a full swing. Even if I wanted to slow down it felt too late. Perhaps the problem wasn’t with the hammer but my lack of options to use another tool.

My challenge to you this week is to retool. Put the hammer down and pick up a tape measure, a pencil, and a flashlight. Use the tape measure to examine whether or not the things that you put the most effort into are producing real measurable results. Sharpen your pencil and commit to documenting a blue print for the next phase of your life. Don’t be afraid to use the flashlight to explore the dark corners of fear that prevent you from doing what you really want to do. Hammers have their purpose but it’s unnecessarily difficult to build a home or live an enjoyable life if it’s the only tool you’ve got.

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