Keep Chopping Wood

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  He’d chuck all the wood that a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

“Chopping wood” is a term used by coaches to motivate their teams to put in the work. It is the swing of an axe striking wood splitting it into pieces. It is the daily grind that is necessary to achieve success, the hard and seemingly unrewarding work that we think goes unnoticed.  Chopping wood is the necessary activity, needed daily, to prepare us for the unforeseen hardships that will come our way.  It’s the mindset required to power through the difficulties and RISE.

My father used to say “You don’t chop wood today because you’re cold.  You chop wood today because you could be cold tomorrow”……and….. “Wood has the ability to warm you up three times: when you chop it, when you pile it and when your sitting in your lazy-boy on a cold winter day.”

The “Keep Chopping Wood” mindset is fading from our culture.  The ‘get your hands dirty’ jobs are the hardest to fill.  In America, we coin it “skilled labor”.  Yet, few people want to learn a trade, pick up a hammer, lay a brick, drive a truck or put on a hard hat.  It’s not about skill, it’s about culture.  Curbside pickup, drive thru “everything”, food delivered to our door, the Google machine, the Amazon phenomenon, a world of knowledge literally in our hands with our cell phone.  All these things and more have added a convenience to our society that we embrace but it has ripped the “go getter”, the grit, the grind, the determination, the drive, the “old school” right out of our population.  We’re losing the mentality that you need to do the work today so that when you face adversity you can overcome it.

At some point in our lives, we all want a raise, a bonus, a promotion, a new vehicle, a bigger house…..the “’pursuit of happiness”.  We want the same car our boss is driving, the “things” we see the celebrities have on reality TV or the vacations our friends talk about.  We want the home and lifetime furnishings that our parents have, while avoiding the toil, and our list of wants go on and on.  But what’s missing from our thought process?  Our hands around the handle of the axe, the work, the time put in, the planning and the pile of wood (achievements or results).  Keep chopping wood!

What does that mean for the High 5 Hospitality organization in the middle of a pandemic?  Priorities.  ~ A 5-year vision based on People, Process, Performance, Product and Profitability.  We will be diving into these in the upcoming weeks.

So….how can we get started chopping wood right now?

Focus ~ Power comes from concentration.  Excellence in any pursuit requires single-minded focus.  Focus, in turn, requires commitment and persistence.

If you’re going to do something, then give it all your attention.  There are plenty of wishes, plans and intentions.  There are far fewer actual desired results.  The gulf between intention and accomplishment can be traversed only by focused and effective action.  It’s not enough just to want it.  Planning is a necessary step.  Sharpen the axe. ~ Start chopping wood!

Commitment ~ Commitment is trust. We must trust and be trusted.  Commitment is action.  It goes beyond words or good intentions.  Commitment is more than a promise, it is a promise fulfilled.  Commitment is the attention to details that matter most to our guests. 

Commitment is faith, and commitment is faithful.  Commitment is truth.  Commitment is caring.  Commitment is endurance.  Commitment is responsible.  Commitment is intentional.  Commitment is capable.  Keep chopping wood!

Persistance ~ Most of the work of achievement is done when we think no one is paying attention.  Those who achieve, do the work even though it is difficult, demanding, tedious and far from glamorous. More often than not, even the most impressive results come from plenty of plain old, ordinary hard work.  It’s not extraordinary talent that distinguishes achievers, but rather an extraordinary level of commitment to getting the work done. ~ Keep chopping wood.

And most importantly…..

Don’t give up! ~ By: John Greenleaf Whittier

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but do not quit

Success is failure turned inside out —

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,

And you can never tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit —

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

It’s time to RISE.  Winter is coming.  Keep chopping wood!