Would you rather be mayor of the village or the lumberjack?

by David Folkerson on June 3, 2016 , No comments

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the value of specialization. The theory goes that, if you want to become successful, you should pick one thing and do it really really well. You only have so much time to invest in yourself, and you have to have a pretty specific pitch if you’re going to capture people’s attention. You want to be sharp and you want to be purpose-built. When it comes time to chop down that tree, you will have the finest edge that anyone has ever seen.


Life (and work) isn’t made up of isolated, perfectly defined cookie-cutter moments. Life is messy. Life is complex. That tree you want to chop down might fall on someone. People might not understand the benefit of it being chopped down in the first place. Have you considered whether now was the right time to chop it down? Is chopping down the tree the best use of your resources considering your other priorities? Who will be documenting the process, writing articles and snapping photos so that you can promote your tree chopping services? Should you live stream it? And why not get yourself a chainsaw since this is the 21st century?

If all you cared about was that axe edge, I’m sure you would do a bang up job cutting down that tree. But you would fail miserably as mayor of the village.

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David FolkersonWould you rather be mayor of the village or the lumberjack?

9 tips for the shortest and most productive meetings possible

by David Folkerson on February 28, 2015 , No comments

I have a friend who told me he regularly has to sit through two-hour long weekly team meetings. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry with him. Such a massive investment in time and money. Put your typical team of 10 into a boardroom for two hours, and that meeting has just cost the company about $1,000 in wages. Keep it up for a year, and the company is down about $50K. And that’s just one team. It is unlikely that this company generates sufficient return from these team pow-wows to merit such frivolousness with employee time. Conducting good meetings is an important skill. Here are some tips for keeping them as short and as productive as possible.

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David Folkerson9 tips for the shortest and most productive meetings possible

Desensitize yourself to public speaking anxiety

by David Folkerson on February 14, 2015 , 3 comments

Bill told me that the thought of presenting put razor blades in his stomach and rubber bands around his chest. It was getting harder and harder to breath. I said, “Bill, your anxiety is normal, but you can actually desensitize yourself to it by just doing more and more presentations.” “How can I desensitize myself to public speaking,” he said, “when I’m too nervous to even get started?”

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David FolkersonDesensitize yourself to public speaking anxiety