“Men teach men how to be men.” This is what I learned from the men’s group I attend. I’ve been a member for 17 years now, and in that time I’ve experienced the love and support of many different men. They’ve been there for me at various times in my professional career as I’ve hit roadblocks, or crisis points. I’ve had different men come to my aid and comfort as I went through a brutally painful breakup. These men were there for me when my mother died. When my business died. When I wanted to run away.
Older men have always shared with younger men their experiences.
For years that was how you got a good job, you apprenticed. In professional settings, there would be a mentoring program in place, and today that still holds true in the fields of law and medicine. To become a good lawyer, one usually clerks for a judge or is the ‘bag carrier’ for an older lawyer who helps to show a youngster the ropes. In medicine young doctors go through stages of mentorship so they can develop skills and confidence in their practice.
That same relationship model – the older experienced resource sharing with the younger enthusiastic neophyte is applicable in so many other areas. It comes so naturally to men, that it seems odd to think we should remind ourselves of its benefits.
When I was a young man I had a wrestling coach in high school. He taught me diet, and moves, and strategies. His name was Roger Durant and he was one of the best men I’ve ever known. He didn’t just teach wrestlers to wrestle, he taught us life skills in resilience, persistence, doing your homework, and how to show up. We were not allowed to go to wrestling meets unless we had coats and ties. He bought many a boy their first coat and tie. He taught us pride in ourselves and our team.
I am a mentor, coach and friend to others. My students come to me for help with writing their first book, building a marketing campaign, or crafting their podcast shows. I help them with seeing their ideas turned into reality.
Today I have coaches, mentors or friends that I rely on to give me direction, advice and share their experience. I have spiritual guides, relationship mentors and men who share their success stories with me so that I can follow in their footsteps.
One of my coaches is a man named Kimanzi Constable. We work on my web presence and ways to expand my writing career beyond where I have taken it. I have hired executive coaches, speaking coaches and marketing coaches. Currently, I have a singing coach.
Do I expect that I’ll be the next Tony Bennett – not a chance.
But the singing skills that my coach is teaching me will be used in my speaking career. She’s helping me with my breathing and vocal range. As I learn more about the world of music, I also learn more about showmanship, and that is crucial to being a successful platform speaker. I’m good on stage, but I can always be better, and with her help I’m sure I’ll improve.
I’m 50 years old, and still I need a coach to help me get my skills to the next level. We’re never too old to ask for help, or to benefit from it. Whatever you are pursuing, professionally or personally, whether it is weight training, learning a musical instrument or become a better accountant – there’s good reason to find someone who has experience and is willing to share it with you.
There are good coaches available for everything in this world and the key to success is knowing that you can access their knowledge and they can lift you up, to get you to the next level in whatever you want to do. From relationships to remodeling, from painting to podcasting, there’s someone out there to provide some needed support. As men, we need to be reminded that we already know how this relationship works, and that it is valuable.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know enough to know that someone does have the answers to the questions I have. We’re never too old for a good mentor.
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