27 Oct Creating space for men to thrive
Wednesday night was incredible. I had the honour of bringing together 5 of the most incredible men that I know to have a conversation about men’s health. From what’s the current situation, what’s the impact on them, and what can we do to help them thrive. This was one of the most amazing conversations I ever had the chance to be part of. One that must keep going.
I can feel the emotions vibration in my body; love, gratitude, passion, respect, awe, pride.
Before we get into it, take a moment to think about the men in your life. Starting with the one that gave you life, whether you are in relationship with him or not, you are here thanks to him. And thanks to your father’s father, and his father’s father, and so-on and so-forth. Men have supported you, made you laugh, made you cry, taught you valuable lessons, and have added an endless amount of value to your life. Get present to that. I cannot thank men enough for who they are and what they do in the world.
Now let’s talk about why I wanted to have this conversation.
It started years ago. My heart was aching with love for a man who wasn’t ready to embark on the same kind of adventure I was hoping for. I knew he was hurting inside and I didn’t know how to support him. I started thinking; how many men out there are hurting inside yet don’t have the support necessary to breakthrough it?
I knew it was more than what I could imagine.
Powerful men who seem to have it all figured out. Who look strong, composed, and can own a room like nobody else. Someone you might never guess is dealing with struggles beyond what they can comprehend.
I wanted to change that and looked at the coaching industry to see what was going on. My dear friend, and fellow coach, Trav Barton and I brainstormed for a couple hours over Skype. And a seed was planted. That was over two years ago.
Add the hundreds of women I have coached over the years who have shared their deepest desires and dreams with me, yet who seem to hold back when it comes time to share with the men in their life. Who also express the challenges that come with the female empowerment movement. Who feel both grateful for the opportunities and also overwhelmed by what they are now expected to create in the world.
Throw in a few too many images of young girls wearing “The Future Is Female” tees that had me wonder what young boys and people who do not identify with either gender, were feeling. My emotional triggers made me realize I had to do something.
I was curious and wanted certain questions answered:
Who’s supporting men these days?
What’s the current situation around men’s health, be it on the physical, psychological, or spiritual dimension.
How can I play a part in empowering men to not only thrive, but feel alive and allowed to be themselves, in every way.
With the REVITALIZE cleanse around the corner, I knew I wanted to support the Movember campaign by donating $50 of each registration to the cause. But more than that I wanted to spark the desire of supporting men’s health in those around me.
Bring in Vincent White, leader of the Movember Campaign in Montreal. I called him up to invite him to c0-lead an online webinar to have a conversation about Men’s Health. His HELL YES made me want to bring more people in.
And so before I knew it, 4 other of the best men I know said yes to my invitation to have this conversation.
Travis Barton, friend and fellow life coach extraordinaire with whom this conversation began years ago. Not only is he a powerful man, he is actively elevating men through his work. We also keep talking about leading a special retreat for men, and we will eventually make it happen. This was a starting point.
Rob Tubajon, a leader in the movement around Men’s initiatives for lululemon athletica and someone who has had a profound impact on my development without even knowing it, I’ve been wanting to work with Rob for years.
Pat Leblanc, I literally smile just thinking of Pat. Maybe because his level of energy, stoke, and radiant smile are contagious. He’s been an incredible supporter of my work and our conversations never cease to inspire.
Andrew Bathory, yogi, musician, and co-owner of ELMNT studio, this man radiates love in a way that can be felt from wherever you are. He has led retreats for men and I knew that his input would be priceless.
How lucky I am to be surrounded by these men, I don’t think it had hit me as hard as it did Wednesday night. You have each influenced me and my heart is beating a little more vibrantly present to the love I have for you all.
The conversation was nothing less than epic. Here are just a few takeaways that stood out that are not only applicable to men as it turns out, but for humankind.
- The power of creating safe space: For you, and for the men and women in your life. You don’t have to do anything, just simply hold space with the intention of support and love. Be it an actual physical space or emotional. Create space, it’s that simple and that profound.
- Active listening: As Trav would say, be a brick wall. Just listen. We tend to want to jump in and give our advice, solve a problem, or just say something. Most of the time there is nothing you need to say or do. Listen.
- Ask For Permission: Rob beautifully shared how he asks for permission when he just needs to get things out. When was the last time you asked someone for their ear, as simply as “Hey, I have some things I need to get off my chest, you don’t have to say anything, can you just listen to me for a few minutes?” Powerful.
- Meditation: Trav has a dedicated practice and he attributes his joy for life and success in part to meditation. A way for him to connect to himself and to be present for others.
- Journalling: Pen to paper, letting whatever is on your mind out. It’s like having your internal coach, therapist, mentor, and greatest source of inspiration work together on a page.
- Give yourself some grace: Grace. Just writing it down makes my shoulders drop. We can be so hard on ourselves. Bombarded by media and society that keeps telling us who we should be and what to do, when in fact we are all sensitive beings navigating our way on a journey where the unknown is something to be embraced.
- PLAY! The importance keeping this essential component of joy and health in our lives. As Pat mentioned, play is often the first thing that gets pushed to the side when expectations and to-do lists get too long with things that in reality, don’t matter all that much. Make sure the men in your life have room to let their inner child come out. Whether that means turning their house into the best place to play tag to tossing a football to sitting around a campfire with the boys. And when we say play, we are talking quality play. Not the let’s get wasted at the bar diversion kind of play. Drinks with the boys is fine, we love scotch, but moderation in all things above 5% yeah?
- Reduce distractions. Vince brought up the best selling book by Cal Newport to increase focus in a distracted world. Set boundaries around technology, be it screen time, emails, and hell watching porn is all good, just not all day, otherwise you’ll never have time to actually play in the bedroom!
- Ask the real questions: Look the weather is ok for 2 seconds, but men want to talk about the real stuff. Don’t let yourself be satisfied with “I’m fine” after asking the classic “How are you?”. Ask again. Hold space. Get curious. Give a fuck. “How are you really doing?” And other questions like:
- “What’s stopping you from being amazing today?”
- “What’s your dream?”
- “What are your fears?
- And Pat and Trav’s favourite coaching question, “And what else?”
There is plenty more where that came from so watch the video or listen to the audio recording. Leave a comment with your insights. Share with at least 2 men. And let’s support the men in our lives!
Want to live a life that you love and support others in doing the same? Consider becoming a Y.O.U. Collective coach in 2018. We are looking for 12 amazing men and women to elevate the world. Find out more.