S:1238 Principle: Jackhammer Lessons

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)


It’s easy to think of a jackhammer as a ‘dumb’ device, but it’s also a good teacher. Lessons can be learned.

About twenty years ago I rented a jackhammer and spent the better part of a day busting up and removing an old sidewalk at our home. That exhausting day concluded with my vow to “never do that again.” Recently at the timber farm, unable to find someone to hire for the job, I rented a jackhammer and removed a large concrete pad as preparation for the construction of a pole barn.

Jackhammer Lesson: “I’ll never do that again” may not be true.

I quickly re-learned how to use a jackhammer, to use my energy to pick it up and place it at the next penetration point, then relax my shoulder and arm muscles and let the device do the work. Leaning into it did not make the work go faster. It merely tired me quicker.

Jackhammer Lesson: Do the part you’re here to do and let the tool/system/organization/family/structure do what it’s here to do.

This was a big blob of excess concrete left from an earlier construction project. I underestimated just how big, and thick, it was. As the job grew I wanted to get it done before the day got hotter, but the need to pace myself became obvious.

Jackhammer Lesson: If a big outcome is too big, breaking it into little ones gets the job done. Pretty graphically demonstrated by the large pile of little chunks of concrete.

The experience of removing this big ol’ slab of inert concrete ended successfully. Not easily. Not quickly. But it got completed.

Jackhammer Lesson: Never try to force an outcome. The objective is completion not speed.


Coaching Point: What’s your version of a ‘jackhammer’ lesson?


Copyright 2019 Steve Straus. All rights reserved