I attended a conference a number of years ago where one of the speakers talked about Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In his book Steven talks about sharpening your saw by working 12mths in 11mths and taking 4 weeks holiday. This was something that I couldn’t even comprehend back then –particularly because I justified my existence by being “busy”. Thankfully I have changed this and take regular holidays throughout the year and I encourage everyone to do the same.

It wasn’t until I started studying the Lead the Field program recently that I heard a story about swimming that I wanted to apply this “sharpen the saw” approach to each week instead of each year.

Brian Biro was one of America’s top swimming coaches. He explained, when a swimmer is bringing their arm down through the water; that is referred to as a resistance stroke. When they take their hand out of the water, bring their arm back over getting ready to go back in the water, he called that a recovery stroke.

It didn’t mater how strong a swimmer’s resistance stroke was, if they didn’t have a good recovery stroke, they would never make it in competitive swimming. An effective recovery is something we all require – frequently.

Last week I did this and took an entire Saturday off and completely focused on family activities, walking on the beach relaxing and having a sleep – the recovery phase.

Next week I am even going to bring in to my “recovery’ a social media free day as well. I recognized that I needed to make recovery a regular part of my week and day and am now creating time for this within my weekly plan.

Sharpening the saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest assets you have – YOU. It means having a balanced program for renewal in the four areas of your life. 1) Physical, 2) Social/Emotional, 3) Mental, 4) Spiritual

Some ideas could include Physical – Exercising, beneficial eating and resting. Social/Emotional – Making social and meaningful connections with others. Mental – Learning, reading, writing and teaching. Spiritual – Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer or service

What can you do this week that can be your “recovery stroke”?