Iron Sharpening Iron

I was talking with a co-worker about some of the intangibles we enjoy in our day job, and we discussed that probably one of our favorites is the iron-sharpening-iron factor.  I am smarter because I've worked with some of the brightest people I know for the past 15 years.

It occurs to me that this "iron sharpens iron" factor touches a lot of areas of our life. The people we spend time with can either inspire us or discourage us.

For example, one of the firms we work with in another state is full of incredibly fit people.  They eat well, play hard, and take their health very seriously and it shows. Iron is sharpening iron at a physical level.  When I think about the celebration of artistic inspiration that happens in the people I know through ArtLoveMagic, it occurs to me that each of the artists in the collective improves their talent because of the talent and encouragement of those around them. The factor works on a creative level.

Every once in awhile it is probably a good idea to look at the people we surround ourselves with and see if they are inspiring us. I once heard Anne Lamott say at a conference that if as a writer you found you didn't have good  material, then you needed to get more interesting friends. I have to say, there is something to that.

I am also fairly confident that the process of improving our influencers doesn't begin with subtraction but rather with addition.  The surgical process of quitting a bad job, divorcing a spouse, abandoning your best friend, unfriending on Facebook is almost never the place to start. Instead, we need to seek bringing people into our lives who inspire and encourage us. (Which is almost always about beginning to look for them rather than grousing that they aren't there.)

After all, if we start spending more of our life with those who make us better, then we become iron for others around us too.  To mix metaphors, "a rising tide lifts all boats."  And that changes everything--especially our existing relationships.

Side note: I just did a word search to find out where that phrase "iron sharpening iron" comes from, and as it turns out it is from King Solomon's proverbs: "As Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another." An ancient observation, that seems to still be true some 3,000 years later.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall