Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron Sharpens Iron

As you may have already read, I’ve been in sales since I was about 11 years old. I’ve had opportunities to work with some amazing people through the years. Some of my managers have been encouraging and inspiring, others have not. Some of my co-workers have been hard workers with a can-do attitude, others have not. I learned as much from the negative folks as I did from the positive ones.

We all go through a maze of trials and errors as we work our way from rookie to retiree. If we’re ambitious, we look for ways to self-improve. We take classes and attend trainings. We update our wardrobe and expand our vocabulary. We find mentors, those people who have the qualities we’d like to have, and we begin to take on those best characteristics. Having mentors helps us learn from other people’s mistakes. Gotta love the time-saving involved in not having to personally make every mistake!

I’ve got several mentors relating to the various facets of my life: woman, wife, mother, worker, student. In every instance, these mentors have encouraged me to do my best by doing what was right and if I messed up (which I certainly did!), there was encouragement to do better next time. It was an environment in which thriving growth was more than possible, I was highly likely!

First of all, I have great parents that taught me that I could be anything just because I was Carrie. Their love and encouragement set a stable foundation that emboldened me to try new experiences. Their examples of working hard and playing hard gave me some great childhood memories. I’m surrounded by a large extended family, full of generous, loving, crazy folks, plus I have some amazingly extraordinary cousins. (You know you’re my favorite!)

I had teachers who made the extra effort to share life lessons, not just the subject at hand. I mentioned Mrs. Grant previously. Mrs. Lehman Jones was my 6th grade Bible class teacher and also my 6th grade school teacher. She was a very special lady at a particularly challenging time of my life.

As a young wife and mom, there were several women that set a good example for me to follow. I’ll share those stories another day.

Once I entered the workforce and chose a telecom career, I was working with David Noles and Wayne Newman, two men of excellent character, who also happened to be a couple of characters. Working with good people doesn’t seem so much like work, does it?

David was my manager, so he got the unenviable task of trying to tame and harness the energy of an immature whirlwind. When I think back to the person I was then and how I acted, it makes me cringe. I’ve asked him many times: “Why did you put up with me?” and “Why didn’t you just kill me and tell God that I died?” He says that he saw potential in me. I’m glad he could see through all that muddy water! More than that, I appreciate that David took the time to invest in me, not because it would get him where he wanted to be in his career, but to help me get to where I wanted to be in mine.

Wayne was the installer of the telecom stuff I sold, so we spent many, many traveling hours discussing profound ideas like the definition of truth and how to achieve world peace. Wayne sees things in 2 colors: right and wrong. He isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. As a wife and mom with a full-time job, I was always in a crisis. Wayne was always calm and said wise things like “I’ll pray for you. Sometimes people say that like it’s the last option, but if I had 13 hands, I couldn’t do better for you than to pray for you.” Now, isn’t that the truth?!

I hope you’ll surround yourself with people that will point you in the right direction, that won’t give or take excuses and that will set a good example in their work ethic; people who won’t tell you what you want to hear, but will tell you the truth and point you toward fine-tuning your skills.

And remember to make sure that you are that person for someone else.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. –Proverbs 27:17