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Iron Sharpens Iron Series: John Booth, Mentor

If you are new to the Iron Sharpens Iron Series, I urge you to check out the inaugural post to learn more about what the series is all about.

Iron sharpens iron, and the people in my life sharpen me. They make me better. They make me more than I can be alone. And this series is about interactions I’ve had that make me better, that change my perspective, and that challenge me to grow. 

This is all about interactions that have left a lasting impression on me. No matter how small, or short the interaction, if it leaves an impression worth sharing, it will live in this series.

John Booth


John is the VP of Marketing for Cipher, and one of my all-time favorite humans.

The Sharpening of Iron

I try really hard to write these about interactions I have with people in at least close proximity to when those interactions happen, but in this case, I am compelled to talk about an interaction from long ago.

Because this interaction set the trajectory for who I am today.

I have known John for almost 5 years, and not too long after we met, he gave me the single most valuable piece of feedback I have ever received in my entire career.

To set the stage, let me tell you a little about John. With him, you are family the instant you meet him. And since I worked for him, the instant I was onboarded, I was welcomed into the proverbial family.

I started work remotely, but the first time I ever met John in person was when we all attended an improv night as a team building event. Talk about a good way to get to know someone real well, real fast.

And in this same trip (or it could have been a month or so later, it all runs together at this point), John sat me down and told me the most important thing about myself anyone ever has.

He simply sat me down and told me, “You don’t have a high need to be liked.” 


At first, I had no idea how to take that. My head was spinning with questions like: “Wait, are you trying to tell me you don’t like me?”

And then he continued by explaining how it was a superpower, and that I needed to learn to lean into it. He told me how lucky I was to have such a trait.

And to this day, I would credit it one of the absolute most useful things about myself. One of the things that most contributes to my success. 

A focus on doing what is right or what drives success over doing the thing that would make people like you is incredibly powerful. And for me, it is truly a huge component of why I am where I am today.

So, thank you John, for teaching me not to shy away from the things that might be perceived as “negative” by others, and instead to understand how those things help me drive greater success. Thank you for unleashing my own understanding of myself, and for giving me the confidence to lean into it.