We’ve found that men directly influence each other by the gift or denial of respect.
We’ve all seen the movies where the hero is some kind of lone wolf, wayfaring stranger of a man who rides in on a horse and saves the day with nothing but gratitude and the girl for his reward. Most of us have attempted to recreate this Johnny Cash themed biopic with the man in the mirror as the protagonist. And any of us who have actually leaned hard into the idea of being isolated on an island of self-prescribed namelessness will tell stories of desolation, personal fortitude and skin-of-our-teeth survival.
But let’s be real, while the best men among us are fired in the crucible of self-assessment and challenge; there is also the undeniable truth that we are made better when in packs of peers. We are pack animals.
Logic would suggest that if we surround ourselves with other men who hold us accountable to being better men, then we ourselves become better men. Why? Because something changes in our espoused values, aspirations and in our actions when we allow our peers to bear witness. It’s the difference between writing a deadline quietly on your own calendar, and telling your most respected colleague when to expect those spreadsheets. You’ll kick your own ass to get those spreadsheets done before you’ll think twice about your personal calendar.
This fact – that men directly influence each other by the gift or denial of respect – could change your life if you’re ready. At the end of each EmpowerMentorship Group we wrap up with one question: “What will you be accountable for doing this week?”
This simple question, answered publicly among men, inspires action. I have rarely seen a man break this covenant with his pack… it would mean feeling a sense of ostracism that is difficult to swallow. Conversely, I’ve seen men build a foundation of accountability simply by answering this question each week. On top of that foundation, those men build bold action that supports a true sense of self-mastery and eventually a powerful ability to manifest their desired life. A solid men’s group (whatever that looks like to you: a team, a network, a band, a squad, etc.) can enhance a man’s life well beyond the life of the fictional Hollywood drifter.
The flip side of the coin is the call of the lowest common denominator. If a good men’s group empowers men by valuing qualities such as purpose, balance, virtue, diligence, respect, and love; then it is also true that an ignorant men’s group can detract from a man’s life by valuing fear, bullying, violence, sexism, and hatred. And if a man decides to be a drifter, he will stay adrift. The point is… surround yourself with great men and you will all make each other better.
For more, read: 20 Things I’ve Learned By Surrounding Myself with Good Men
Photos by Eric Beteille of www.pedestrianphotographer.com, a Next Gent veteran.