Imagine you have a life rowboat with room for about 6 other guys – You need 6 guys who you can count on. Who is in your rowboat?
After 10 years and more than 150 mens’ workshops, I’ve found that there’s one thing that most men have in common. At some point most of us have felt like we’ve gone through this world isolated.
It’s easy to do. It’s easy to think, “Maybe I can do all of this by myself?” The movies tell us we can. And you know maybe we can do it all by ourselves, but it sure as hell isn’t as much fun. There’s the old idiom of drinking alone is somehow automatically sad.
That analogy actually extends even further. How many six-dollar beers have you wasted hanging out with guys who don’t really matter in your life? There have been moments early in my self-awareness that I was surrounded by people and never felt more alone.
That all changed when I began looking for ALLIES instead of just drinking buddies. Now, my idea of friends are the kind of guys who can get into the trenches with me. Those guys understand the true value of the victories… and so they celebrate better.
Imagine you have a rowboat with room for about 6 other guys – because that’s about the limit of our intimate capacity as humans.
You need 6 other guys who you can count on. Who is in your rowboat?
Most of us have three problems when developing our rowboats…
One. We don’t know how to be real with the positive guys in our lives.
Two. We don’t know how to cut the dead weight from our lives.
Three. We don’t know how to be mentors or recruit mentors.
So if you want to build real allies into your life and get un-isolated, the three steps you need to take to build a solid rowboat are:
1. Get real and start connecting with the strong rowers in your boat. This can be as simple as calling up the guy who you respect most and saying the simple words, “Hello brother, I respect you and your friendship means a lot to me.”
2. Identify the weak links in your boat, invite them to step up with you or cut them loose and let new guys step into the empty spots. Who is holding you back? We all have this guy in our life. It’s someone who just doesn’t go beyond the surface. So you’re going to give them an opportunity to step up to the plate, or you’re going to move on. You might have to break up with a friend – that’s just part of this game. As you evolve and you grow, your friends are going to need to evolve and grow with you.
3. Recruit meaningful mentors and become a mentor yourself. Establish what you’re looking for in a mentorship, pay attention to the opportunity to ask for a mentor, and then ask!
About the Featured Image:
UW Olympics Gold Crew of 1936, Berlin
50th Reunion at team dock.
Space unoccupied by their late teammate Charles Day.
Photo by Alan Berner for The Seattle Times©.
Dated 1 August 1986.
Original from photo collection of the S. P. H. S.