There’s an old story about a lumberjack who starts his career. He buys an axe, he chops down trees. After a few years, he notices he’s chopping less trees per day, making less money. So he gets up earlier, works harder, and yet his production still continues to drop. He cuts down on his lunch hour and breaks, stays later, works on Saturdays, and over time, his productivity continues to decline anyways.
One day, he gripes about this to a friend.“No matter how hard I work, my results don’t improve. In fact, I’m cutting less trees every year,” he complains.“Why don’t you try having your axe sharpened?” asks his friend.“I don’t have the time or money to sharpen my axe. I’m too busy cutting down trees!”

You can’t sharpen your skills unless you are aware of where they stand. It is not about comparing yourself to anyone else. Your only competition should be yesterday’s version of you, but you do need to know what’s going on.

Assessing yourself and making adjustment may not feel urgent, but it is critically important to your success. Being “too busy” chopping wood with a dull axe is a sorry excuse.

– When was the last time you recorded yourself presenting to a client?

– When was the last time you listened to recordings of your prospecting calls?

– When was the last time you role played overcoming objection with your manager or a co-worker?

– When was the last time you focused on identifying the weakest part of your sales process?

– When was the last time you practiced your sales pitch in the mirror? (I checked with a psychiatrist, doing this does NOT count as talking to yourself).

The world is filled with people who lack self awareness, but you won’t find many of them being successful in sales. Waiting on your company to provide feedback is like relying on the dog catcher to take care of your dog. By the time he’s involved you are already behind the ball.
Go take a look at your schedule. Lock in at least one hour a week to self assessing and monitoring your own activities. Sharpen your axe!