CEO Dad’s ‘Woodcutter’ Post Nails Why Self-Care Is Essential to Work-Life Balance

The next time you’re tempted to immerse yourself in a task for career or family—when you clearly need a breather—heed the wise words of CEO Daniel Abrahams.

On LinkedIn, the exec at Hustlr Agency, a digital advertising company in Sydney, argued that to stay sharp, one must also focus on self-care.

Daniel began his post by sharing the parable of the woodcutter who received a wonderful job opportunity—along with an axe—from a timber merchant.

“The first day, the woodcutter brought down 18 trees.

“‘Congratulations,’ the boss said. ‘Keep it up!’

“Motivated by the boss’ words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but could only bring down 15 trees.

“The third day he tried even harder, but could only fell 10 trees.

“Day after day he was bringing down less & less trees.

“‘I must be losing my strength,’ the woodcutter thought.

“He went to the boss and apologized, saying he couldn’t understand what was going on.

“The boss asked, ‘When was the last time you sharpened your axe?’

‘Sharpen? I haven’t had time to sharpen my axe. I’ve been so busy cutting down trees…’”

Although the story is not new, its meaning is still relevant today, particularly to utterly exhausted parents with jobs.

Daniel made the case that just like the woodcutter, many let their work—at the office or at home—become their priority, thus neglecting other important areas conducive to productivity. “We need to take time to recharge our bodies and brains. Create time to exercise, medicate, spend time with friends, read and learn,” he wrote.

Ending his post, he reminded all, “You are the axe. Don’t just chop away. Keep yourself sharp.”

In the comments, several thanked the CEO for the post. “True that. Often times we get caught up with life and forget about ourselves in the process; bad diet, no exercise, no social life, etc. This can haunt us back later on. Good reminder, Daniel Abrahams,” wrote one LinkedIn member.

But some told him that making time for self-care is easier said than done. One user wrote, “The problem is that if the woodcutter takes time to sharpen his tools, that time needs to come out of either the timber-cutting budget or the life bucket. The worker is likely to get replaced by another naive young jack with a sharp axe in hand if he picks the sustainable option. It’s a rigged game for too many of us.”

Nevertheless, we still believe his post is helpful. Yes, companies should support employees’ work-life balance, and whenever possible, people should also try to carve out time for themselves to stay “sharp.”

This isn’t the first time Daniel has gained attention on LinkedIn for career advice. In January 2020, he went viral for telling his team that he had to leave work early for his daughter’s assembly, because he’s “human.”

“Let’s be real about our lives,” the wise dad wrote. “Let’s be authentic with each other on the journey.”

Thanks to Daniel for keeping it real, as always.