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Better Together: What Is Ironsharpening

Updated: Nov 15, 2019


On a hot summer morning, two athletes are sitting on the sidelines of an empty basketball court, Both are sweaty and exhausted because they have just spent the last 90 minutes pushing each other to the limits of physical exhaustion doing drills and battling in some intense 1v1 games (probably games to 100 by 2's and 3's). When they could be outside enjoying the summer day, why would they be in the gym putting in this level of work together? It because they want to be better at the game they both love.

I write a blog known as The Sport Mentor that is based on a simple principle found in the Bible in Proverbs 27:17 which says "As iron sharpens iron, so does one man to another". I simply call it ironsharpening.



Ironsharpening takes place in every area of life. Whether it's in sports or in the pursuit of growing in knowledge or becoming a better person, It takes two people that are willing to share the best of what they have to push each other to be all they are intended to be. Ironsharpening is based on relationship. I have often defined them as a relationship where two people are seeking to become better versions of themselves by pushing, challenging and encouraging one another towards something better.



The goal of an ironsharpening relationship is to go vertical and push towards living at a higher level. What does it take to develop an Ironsharpening relationship? Here are a few key ingredients needed to go VERTICAL:

  • Vulnerable - Both people need to be open and willing to share their lives.

  • Excited - There has to be a general excitement to spend time together.

  • Realistic - Don't go into the relationship expecting something the other can't provide.

  • Teachable - Must be willing to learn!


  • Intentional - A reason for the relationship ie growing in faith, sports skills or leadership abilities.
Common Ground - Sharing similar passions that will bring you together.


  • Available - Must be willing to make yourself available to meet together.


  • Loyalty - Last but not least, you both have to care enough to have each other's back.

These qualities are essential in establishing a quality relationship that will push each other towards the awesome destiny that you were intended to have. Nobody ever becomes a success on their own.


As the old songwriter said "I get by with a little help from my friends". Who do you look towards to be your Ironsharpener? There three types of ironsharpening relationships that everyone needs.

  • Paul - Some more mature that's been there, done that

  • Barnabas - That mate that's at the same level you are

  • Timothy - A young cat that is new to this life journey

Whether it is someone ahead of you, someone at the same station in life or someone who is just starting their journey all of these relationships are rooted in the principle of Ironsharpening. Who are the ironsharpeners in your life? Who challenges you to go farther than you think you can go? Who is in your corner no matter what? Who has your best interest at heart? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself. If these people don't exist in your life, you need to seek out someone who is that type of person and develop a relationship with them and watch how you will grow as a leader, becoming all that you were intended to be!


Stay Forever Strong!