In 2018 I finally decided to bite the bullet and my wallet, and joined an online men’s coaching group. It was the best thing I ever did for myself.
“The only way to get beyond fear is with massive action.” – Tony Robbins.
If you are aware that there is more to life than what you are currently experiencing, want to live life with more purpose, focus and groundedness, I would strongly recommend finding either a men’s group or a reputable coach to help with your mission to become a better man.
The only caveat, don’t do it because you think you should, someone else wants you to, or you are looking for a magic bullet to fix your problems. Do it because you want genuine, long-lasting change in your life. Do it because you just know in your gut that you should.
Here are 4 things I learned from joining a men’s group:
1. You realise you’re not alone.
Spending 4 months talking with other men from all around the globe each week was heartening. When you’re in a negative headspace or when you feel lost, stuck or afraid, you can easily feel alone and powerless.
You check out Facebook or Instagram or watch others around you, and they all seem so happy, confident and content. Wrong! Some may be, but a lot aren’t. What you’re seeing is a snapshot of a moment. You’re not getting the full picture.
Closer to the truth, everyone is dealing with their own stuff. Yes, some clearly have a better handle on life than others, some have found the way that works for them, some have definitely overcome their demons, and some are powering on. But all of us are human, all of us face fears, and all of us have insecurities.
You might tell yourself things like “maybe I’m not trying hard enough, maybe I need to read more self-help books, maybe I just need to get my shit together, maybe I’m just not cut out for this, maybe I’m a failure”. Whatever message it is that you’re telling yourself, I guarantee that there are many many other men [and women], telling themselves the exact same things.
Even those men who consider themselves ‘awake’, and who have begun to create better choices, better relationships and better lives, can slip back if they get complacent or let their egos start running the show. This is a lifelong project.
In a group of 10 men I’d never met before, the things I heard others saying and the stories I was listening to, could have easily been mine. Here were a bunch of men from all walks of life, from all over the planet, all describing their own personal challenges that were almost identical to mine.
I was not alone. I never was.
2. You learn from other men just like yourself.
One of the great things about talking with other men in a safe and confidential space, is that you hear and learn from them. You hear what is working and what is not. You see yourself reflected in others as you talk and share your own story.
Sure it’s not always easy to speak to strangers about personal stuff. After all, what if they judge you? What if they disagree? That in itself is a vulnerability you’ll quickly get over.
In my experience, these guys don’t judge, they don’t put you down, they don’t think you’re weak. Why? Because they are dealing with the same shit you are. They need to hear from you, just as much as you need to hear from them.
When you realise that what you are dealing with can be overcome, can be improved, can be changed, can be transformed, you start seeing glimpses of hope, or maybe even an avalanche of hope. You start to see that there are other ways of getting through difficult stuff, and you start to make the changes that you need to make, to improve yourself and your relationships.
One thing I will say is, if you’re thinking that joining a men’s group is for sissies or men with problems, think again. If you’re successful in all parts of life but are failing in one area, then drop your guard and reach out. This type of work is for men with balls. Stop apologising and start taking inspired action to change your own life.
3. You realise it’s not all about you.
When you’re stuck in a rut, or when things are just not quite running the way you know they should be, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s all about you.
This is especially true for relationships. If you’re wife or partner is unhappy, if your relationship is not in a great place, it’s very easy to blame yourself and slip into the mindset of “it must be me”.
Ever heard the saying, “it’s not you, it’s me”. Sometimes this is the truth. In the group coaching I did, we quickly learned what was ours and what was not, to separate what we can control from what we can’t. You can control your own reactions, choices, and responses to any given situation.
There are certain actions you can do to start shifting your life from where it is to where you want it to be. Mindsets, daily practices, and habits are all up to you to implement. However, if you’re telling yourself that your marriage or relationship is not working out because you’re not good enough, you’re on a slippery slope to further misery.
During our weekly conversations, I started hearing stories and started noticing patterns that were familiar. They were familiar because they were my patterns. They were familiar because when relationships or life starts to break down, there are a few culprits that trip us all up.
Things like communication styles, triggers, fears, doubts, insecurities, the stories we tell ourselves, the way we argue when we are already feeling afraid, the way our partners react, the dynamics we create without even realising it, and the damage we perpetuate as a result, are universal. But those same patterns can be changed. A good coach will help you learn how to create new patterns.
4. You become part of something bigger than you.
In joining an online men’s group, I found a community of like-minded men, who are willing to share their stories and challenges, and who continue to encourage and support each other even after the group has finished.
Whenever I am having a hard time, a bad day, or a challenging situation, I know I have a band of brothers I can go to to ask questions, get stuff off my chest, and find answers. It is a constant source of encouragement. I also get the opportunity to encourage others and give back.
My challenge to you in 2019, is to start talking with other men. Whether you join a group as I did is up to you, but start. Get a coach if you think that will help.
Start getting things out of your head, so that you can start dealing with it, clear your mind, and get more connected with who you are as a man. Have the balls to be vulnerable and say what’s going on for you.
Find other men to connect with, and stop avoiding the elephant in the room. It’s only a matter of time before that bad boy sits on you and crushes the life out of you and your relationships. It’s not weak. It shows honesty, courage, and smarts to take inspired action and start making your life the way you want it to be. Ball’s in your court (pun intended).
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