When was the last time a self-help book bought you a drink and let you vent about your job … and ex-spouse? Yup, that’s what I thought.
Hello, my name is Kimberlie. I am a proud New Yorker, a straight-shooter, and have been lovingly referred to as the following: buzzsaw, taskmaster, espresso shot, hired wife and “the real deal.” So, if you’ve ever read one of my blogs, articles, or publications you’ll connect the dots very quickly: I am not writing to win fans or followers, and I refuse to regurgitate the latest scary stats or feel-good, dumbed-down, mind-numbing fluff by someone much more famous that I will ever be, just to get eyes on my posts, page or profiles. Period. Writing is way too personal to me for that agenda.
I write because I love to write. I am in love with the written word and believe it will always be omnipotent in bonding us together as human beings who live to connect and share. My passion for leveraging the power of our English language is why I have a degree in Literature and Rhetoric and why I ever strived to become a published author.
More profoundly, I write because I have unwavering hope that some magical mix of words I scribble will in some way teach, inspire and encourage just one person to shift his perspective, embrace optimism for all that lies ahead, and act with purpose to become a more courageous human being.
Which brings me to a man.
This past year brought the all-too-soon passing of the “father of motivation,” Wayne Dyer. This adored and world-renowned author, speaker and thought-leader in the self-development space authored 42 books throughout his career. 42 BOOKS! Millions sold! Millions of Wayne Dyer books stacked on coffee tables, tossed in briefcases, gathering dust on office desk corners, tossed into conference swag bags, and buried under Men’s Health issues and Jim Cramer books on nightstands. Millions of books with countless chapters about living with more intention to take purposeful action to become more spiritual, more communicative, more authentic, more loving … more of a human being.
I love the man for his unflinching focus on helping humanity choose change … and there are many other writers whose hearts were and continue to be in the right place. Americans spend over $1billion on self-help publications alone… indeed there is a supply and demand for help. But, all that said, one more blog or book, swaddled in self-help and personal development packaging and doling out words of wisdom and motivation is just another Band-Aid, instant gratification box-o-chocolates. All of which are easily devoured and crapped out; scanned and shared without true skin in the game; or dog-eared for application that will never see the light of day. Too many consumers live for the intention, not for the ignition.
Essentially, just as Dyer’s approach- and that of countless other motivational writers, including myself- places folks yearning for change in the proverbial driver’s seat, they still gotta put fuel in the damn tank and stomp on the gas pedal.
The best self-help is a real conversation.
And I say this especially for men, because too many of you “hide” behind the sage pages of “the greats,” like Dyer. Unfortunately, you also get sucked into buying the latest, best-selling boost-your-power, become-an-unforgettable-leader, be-one-with-the-Universe, triple-your-net-worth-with-your-mind, bust-your-stress-forever, become-a-God-in-30-days books. Perhaps you actually read them in the bathroom or stuff the pages with Post-It notes on long flights. But you and I both know, a damn book will only get you so far. Just as aiming towards something and moving towards it are light-years apart. One is all about potential, and the other is all about fulfillment.
Which brings me to the scotch. (FYI, I do not endorse drinking. I toss about “scotch” because of its old school allusion to sitting two gents having a down-to-earth, solid man-to-man conversation over a stiff drink.)
So I ask: When was the last time a self-help book bought you a scotch and let you vent about your dreadful 4-hour Board meeting, migraine-provoking ex-spouse, receding hairline, new product launch and shift of becoming an empty-nester? Or offered real-time answers or heartfelt praise, or uplifting cheerleading … or a helping hand? Exactly.
This is what a self-help book simply cannot deliver … which you clearly seek:
- Individual assessment of your circumstances- the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Honest, real, you-focused answers to your specific questions.
- Feeling of inclusion and acceptance.
- Empathetic listening.
- Unyielding accountability and support.
- Powerfully irreplaceable face-to-face encouragement.
Gentlemen, if you had had an unabashedly open and honest conversation with another human being in place umpteen hours of cramming over another best-seller or ad-laden blog … I’d bet Buffet’s Coca-Cola stock that you’d be a different person. And it wouldn’t really matter the person—be it a coach, mentor, BFF, random stranger, sibling, neighbor, old high school buddy, former boss or homeless man at the shelter-because the person is merely the human match igniting your intention into action.
So, put down the damn book.
If you want to cut through your own BS, face fears & obstacles, bridge the gaps in your own performance, and give you the space to take steps for change… then pour a scotch and start talking.
If you are dying to finally crack open your armor, trust an objective yet committed listener, and be vulnerable to the work it takes to truly GROW and become a BETTER MAN … then pour a scotch and start talking.
And if you are yearning to let someone carry some of your burdens, help you in a pinch, and reignite that side of you that used to be carefree, not so serious, and even funny … then pour a scotch and start talking.
Originally published on KimberlieDykeman.com
Photo—Thomas G. Fiffer