“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” ~ G. Randolf
Ginsu Knives are sharp. They can cut through a log, a tin can and even a nail and still stay sharp enough to cut a ripe tomato into thin slices. I’ve never purchased a ginsu knife but have always been intrigued by the TV commercials. Do you remember the “Clever Cleaver”? It does it all!
Sharp is good, but staying sharp is even better. When it comes to leadership, I want to be as sharp as a Ginsu knife. Unlike Ginsu knives however, I don’t always stay as sharp as I need to. There are times that I feel dull and worn down.
I need re-sharpening in order to get my edge back. If I want to be effective, I have to stay sharp. No one sharpens a knife before putting it into a drawer. You sharpen a knife when you intend to use it. You want it at its sharpest for the task at hand. The same is true for leadership. You need to stay sharp if you are going to perform at your best. Here’s what King Solomon says about staying sharp:
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NLT)
Wood doesn’t sharpen steel, only steel or something stronger can sharpen steel. The same is true of your friends. If the people you associate with aren’t as strong as you or stronger, they will cause you to become dull. Just like cutting wood will do over time to a good knife. You must have iron to sharpen iron. The lesson here is to choose sharp friends who are as strong as or stronger than you are so they can give you an edge and keep you sharp. You will be like the people you hang around.
John Maxwell teaches the “Law of the Inner Circle” that simply states: “A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him.” You must be very intentional about who you have as your closest friends. Do the people in your inner circle sharpen you and make you better? You also need to ask yourself if you in turn sharpen them and make them better. When you add value to each other and grow together, you are “iron sharpening iron” friends.
Take time today to evaluate your closest friendships. Simply ask yourself: “Do we sharpen each other and make each other stronger and better?” If the answer is “yes”, great! If the answer is “no”, ask yourself what needs to change about that relationship. I’m not suggesting you dump your friends but rather that you have more friends that keep you sharp and limit those who wear you down. Just like a dull knife, if you’re not sharp, you aren’t good for anything.
Be intentional today about surrounding yourself with friends who sharpen you, and you them. Sharp leaders are the most effective leaders.