Sharpen Your Ax

by Brandon Steiner September 30, 2013 0 Comments

You grow up learning that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line - but that's not ALWAYS the case.

In fact, when it comes to self-improvement, that's usually not the case.

Here's what I mean.

All my life, I wanted to be a successful businessman.

And from the moment I graduated college, I went full steam ahead working towards that goal. My career began in food service, and I worked my way up fairly quickly - first managing a hospital cafeteria, then a hotel coffee shop, then the rooftop restaurant of that hotel, then the Hard Rock Cafe and the Sporting Club in New York. For many years, I worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. I wanted success badly, and I was more than willing to sacrifice my social life - and even some of my physical health - in the process.

It seemed like a logical path. I was good at managing, I worked hard, and I got promoted to successively bigger positions. I was traveling my straight line, and I was traveling fast.

But in my late twenties, I kind of hit a wall. Towards the end of my time managing the Sporting Club, I began to feel burned out physically and emotionally. I had trouble sleeping.

I still wanted to climb the career ladder - wanted to stick to my straight line - but it was impossible. I was in no condition to reach the higher rungs in the state I was in.

A friend recommended a therapist, and I began seeing her twice a week. The year or so I spent with her was amazing. She helped me see that I was still a bit angry from my childhood. She helped me come to terms with some longstanding issues. She helped me adopt a more positive outlook on life. She helped me improve my relationships with family and friends.

I had gotten far in a short time, but I wasn't going to be able to get any further without some self-improvement.

I had to abandon my straight line for a while. I had to spend some time sharpening my ax. I had been blindly chopping away with it so much that it had grown dull. That's why I was burnt out. My therapist didn't just help me get my mojo back - she helped me reach a mojo I never even knew I had.

After that, my career grew in a more sustainable way. And the rest, as they say, was history.

But I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't had the courage to veer off that straight line for a bit. To stop chopping so I could sharpen my ax.

My question to you is - How sharp is your ax?

If you feel like you're not getting closer to a goal of yours, it might be time to take a little detour.

So that later, you'll come back stronger than ever.

Brandon Steiner
Brandon Steiner


Brandon Steiner is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM and as host of "The Hook-Up with Brandon Steiner" on YES Network. He has appeared frequently on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara and children Crosby and Nicole.

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