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Sharpen the Axe

March 4, 2015

"The need to stay sharp has been on my mind recently as we prepare for another tournament season"


In the woods of Northern Minnesota lived a teenage boy, named Bill.   As Bill grew up he watched his dad, a lumberjack, go to work.  Bill wanted nothing more than to become a lumberjack like his father.  Unfortunately for Bill, his dad wouldn’t let him become a lumberjack.  You see Bill’s dad, like most fathers, wanted more for his son.  So he had to wait until he was 18.  On his 18th birthday he applied for, and got, a job as a lumberjack.  Bill attacked his job with the enthusiasm of someone who waited their whole life for an opportunity. The first week, Bill cut down more trees than anyone before him.  The next seven weeks, Bill kept breaking his own record at cutting trees.  After two months, though, his production started to slip.  Bill still loved the job, and tried hard to reach his former production.  Instead of breaking a new record, he kept cutting less.  After another two weeks, he went in to talk to the boss.  “I am just not cut out to be a lumberjack.”  Bill said.  His supervisor disagreed.  He reminded Bill how happy he was when he became a lumberjack.  “I do love this job”, exclaimed Bill.  “I work hard, yet I can’t cut enough trees.  I am just not cut out to be a lumberjack”, he said dejectedly.  The boss asked to see his ax.  He noticed that it was extremely dull and asked when he sharpened it last.  Bill confessed that he hadn’t ever sharpened it.  When the boss asked why he never sharpened that ax, Bill replied “I guess I have been too busy cutting trees.”  

I use this story at the end of some presentations to illustrate the importance of remaining fresh.  We need to be rethinking and reworking our approach to business at all times.  Recently, a friend and I were talking about ice fishing.  He was telling me that, this year, he had not had the best of luck.  As he was telling me his story, Bill the lumberjack popped in my head.  I fought off the urge to tell him about Bill.  I have noticed that unsolicited advice, especially to my circle of friends, is rarely appreciated.  I am thinking that telling my friend to sharpen his ax would lead him to use said ax on me.

The need to stay sharp has been on my mind recently as we prepare for another tournament season.  In one article I wrote that fishing tournaments against very good fisherman makes me a better fisherman.  I think a truer statement is that preparing to fish against very good fisherman makes me better.  My way of sharpening my ax.

No matter what we are involved in, whether work or personal life, to reach our potential we need to remember to sharpen the ax.  With the spring fishing season just around the corner, now may be the perfect time.  The Walleye Guys are holding a Walleye Wisdom Workshop on March 21st at Scheels in Sioux Falls.  The workshop hours are 10-5.  Brian Bashore, Mike Dorris, Brian Fowlds and I will be having a discussion on topics that range from using your electronics to how to fish new water.  For information, go to www.thewalleyeguys.com.  This workshop was just completed in Nebraska to a sold out crowd.  The same thing is expected in Sioux Falls.  

Whether it’s through this workshop, or through another method, in order to catch more fish you need to take some time to sharpen your ax.   I hope to see you on the 21st.


Author: Neil Jensen (Pro Angler)


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