Ever felt caught up in your marriage, career, being a dad, or just simply made it a habit to let life pass you by and now it almost feels like you don't even know how to make friends? Trust me. You aren't the only one feeling that way. It's easy to get in our heads and let ourselves be our own worst enemy. Let's face it.. Sometimes we make things 10x harder for ourselves. We fall out of routine and then the next thing you know you are wondering how things even got this way. Sometimes you have everything you truly want, but are just missing have a true group of guys to be yourself with...
Early on when we were still living a tribal life, there would be regular group meetings and even men’s circles to discuss community decisions. Ceremonies would be held around the fire where elders would answer questions and pass down wisdom by way of stories. Rites of passage were held for adolescent men as they approached adulthood, where they would venture off into nature in a pack of men. The young man would learn from the elders how to be a man.
Flash forward to the western world, agricultural, and industrial revolutions and you began to see powerful businessmen form secret men’s groups. They called them “think tanks”, “masterminds”, “brain trusts”, “syndicates”, “learning circles” and “men’s clubs” (not strip clubs haha).
The older we get we sit and wonder.. Where do I even begin to look to find new brothers? Are they even going to like the same things? I have no time. What's the point? I need to focus on blah, blah, and more blah. Everything to make yourself comfortable and not fix the issue. The more we mature it seems that going to the local bar, trying something new, or having no clue what you need in your mid life crisis.. You literally have no clue where to start. I get it. If you're not growing, you are dying. We get so comfortable and content that we eventually lose our passion and sometimes it may even affect other areas in our lives. Even if we find something.. We seem to never pull the trigger and really invest in our growth. Someone once asked me "Are you done suffering" and as much and as quickly I wanted to say "Yes, Duh!!". I couldn't. I knew it wasn't true.
I've heard it too many times of the social anxiety and being in your own head. The marriage that is on the rocks because it is like ground hogs day in and day out. You become that once favorite story to read to now just collecting dust to the predictible ending you have read a trillion times. BORING. You have no social circle, hobbies, confidence, or even a healthy way to truly put your needs first. Unfortunately, Human can see the things we don't say and it begins to take a toll. We hide the things and don't deal with them until we are flying off the waterfall we didn't even know was ahead.
Accountability is something we fail to do for others and most importantly ourselves. People want to sugar coat feelings and not say the things that ultimately could help someone thrive. Why is that? Why do we tell our partners that the usual amazing pie was a little off this time? Knowing that that is the way life goes and not ever recipe is going to be 100% success every single time. When did we get so comfortable lying? Not only to the ones we love, but ourselves. If you had a choice would you rather be surrounded by people who are motivated, successful, authentic, and are completely obsessed with seeing people win?
You can continue to do yourself a disservice and keep living what doesn't work, but the only way to grow it to try something new. So, Let me ask you this time... Are you done suffering? Ultimately, how good to have a close friend listen and say something like I feel you, man. I went through something similar. Here's what I did, how it turned out, and what I learned through my process. How much better would that feel than going it alone? Actively working on yourself and helping others grow in the community and live for something bigger than yourself. How much easier it would be to success at the person you want to become because you are surrounded by people who have been through similar situations, whom came out successful.
Whole network of men who are on the same exact page as you to fall back on. Not having to worry about bringing the stress of outside things in your life to your home life, people who only sugar coat things, or having to be a "man" by just bottling it up. Are you living life how you would want your kids to be living? Are you exactly where you are because of every decision you have made? Imagine all the decisions you haven't made and how amazing things could be had you pulled the trigger and not let fear run your life? The 'What Ifs?' Well, What IF you had someone telling you to take the leap and it changed your life for the better?
When you enlist the help of other like-minded men who have been where you are today, they can spot your B.S. before you even open your mouth. They will hold you to a higher standard, demand that you play at a higher level, and challenge you in a way that others wouldn’t dare.
Open to feedback, even when it hurts: Often the greatest personal growth for a man can come from some feedback that may sting to hear. Successful men’s groups are able to directly share with one another without fear that someone will take the feedback and get defensive or upset.
Committed to growth: Men in a men’s group must be fully committed to taking action to progress in their life. Otherwise, it just becomes a complaining group full of victims.
Full transparency: A men’s group does no good if a man isn’t fully honest with his group mates. In men’s groups, you’ll find a lot of sensitive conversations around everything from sexual performance to challenges with debt. Without full discloser, guys can’t support one another and help them get to the root of their challenges. Look for a group with members that aren’t afraid to concisely speak their truth.
100% Confidentiality: Most guys have a lot of hesitation when it comes to opening up, primarily from fear of being judged. Some of the topics discussed are personal matters that are very sensitive in nature. Accordingly, it is of the utmost importance that a men’s group is 100% confidential. Nothing leaves the circle.
Lifelong Friendships: The best part of it all is you meet some of the most inspiring people. I have met and depended on so many of the men in this organization that have given back. We are all here for the same thing and hope to give back to enhance not only our lives, but the people who cross our paths.
Some groups are more structured and discuss men’s group topics on specific days, but the large majority of men’s groups are more free-flowing where guys can bring up whatever topics they want.
Typically no topic is off-limits.
Often the unique situations that the men find themselves in – the context, the variables – will be different, but in reality, their challenges all seem to fall under the same categories of:
Relationships and sex
Emotional Intelligence & Communication
Career & purpose
Health: Body & Mind
So you will find that each guy will enter into a men’s meeting with a different intention or goal.
That being said, there are some commonalities that bind all men’s group members together. All men in a men’s meeting typically have:
A desire to become a better man: personal growth
A curiosity and openness to learning
A deep need for friendship and community
A benevolent interest in supporting others: a contributor
And while these characteristics may not appear that important, they are everything when it comes to your growth as a man. These traits are what make someone an ideal teammate; a supportive pillar you can rely upon to help you grow.
Men’s groups have been widely studied and the studies suggest* that men’s groups lead to individuals becoming happier and more successful. Self-pressure, overwhelm and emotional suffering result from going it alone. However, talking things through with people has been shown to help a man feel better emotionally, make better decisions and ultimately be more successful in life.
More specifically, here are some of the benefits we’ve observed that come from being a part of a men’s group:
Feel happier: the reality is that facing our challenges alone doesn’t feel that great. So being in community and sharing your life feels better.
Become more successful: people make better decisions with a group of supportive peers they can bounce things off of.
Be a better father, husband & friend: men take their shit, process it with a group and then bring the fruits of those discussions back to their relationships. Your loved ones will benefit hugely from having you be a part of a men’s group.
Get stuff off your chest: even just talking about what you’re facing makes things easier and lighter. Venting is healthy when done in the right place.
Get motivated & inspired: every man goes through periods of apathy and even subtle depression. Being around the guys and seeing their progress motivates and inspires.
Save time & energy: a man can try to figure things out on his own, or he can just ask a guy in his men’s group who has already been-there-done-that, saving him time and energy.
Real friendships: research shows that men have fewer close friends than ever. Through a men’s group, guys will make new life-long, supportive friendships.
Community and contribution: it just feels good to be in community with others sharing a similar goal and to help others achieve their goals.
And there are many more secondary benefits and positives you will see in your life by being part of a men’s group. See you on the inside, Brother!