Fred Boyles Guest Writer
So imagine a situation where 12 men are dropped of at your next team meeting … what will you do with them?
Here are a few answers.
Most men who haven’t been truly initiated into manhood want to learn wisdom without personal pain. They drank the cool-aid called, “I should feel safe” so they are unwilling to get uncomfortable with some hard truths. Men are dangerous, and when they inspect and criticize us, it can be painful. Sometimes men will criticize with a context of “how stupid can you be!” We are a gathering of men in “a diner.” Just your regular untrained men doing therapy on wounded men. So in my trail-and-error, I’ve found the following works for me:
- Really listen to a man’s story and repeat back what you heard.
- Don’t be proud of your “wisdom” you want to share.
- Don’t fix the man.
- Then ask this question, “What do you think of what you just said?” This is said with a context of being genuinely interested in his opinion. Many time men will review what they just said and say these words, “What I said is bullshit, here’s the truth.” Beware of over utilizing this since it can be turned into a guilt trip. Personally I’ve been blown away by their insights and calls to action once these men get a space to speak authentically.
- Resist the need to spend the next 20 minutes, after a man shares, making it about ourselves and how awesome our circle is. Here is the hard part: shut up and move on.
- Get a new man’s e-mail and cell phone number and put them into your phone immediately.
- Later when it feels right, call him and hang out.
- Ask open-ended questions like, “how’s it going?” not closed questions like “do you like what you are doing?”
- Only invite him to a team meeting or service event if your gut says to do so.
We keep a tally of every man who is a visitor or a guest, and with each it contributes to our growth as a tribe in training.
Remember when you do not beg a man to join your team, you honor all the men who have gone before. By just listening you may have done enough. You are done. Less is more. In a brief conversation with a friend, you have experienced a 5-minunte “team meeting” in a “team of two.” Once it’s over, it’s over … until the next time you converse.
As you know very few men want to live a life and be with men who inspect and criticize as a way of life. Having a team of men willing to dig so deep can mean sifting through hundreds of men. We have stopped asking a man back to a team; it feels like begging. By having his contact information and calling regularly, I build the trust to invite him to a future team meeting. Ultimately when my gut says so I can broach the subject and possibly ask him to do the Legacy Discovery for example.
My team has a list of 15 men who have visited us, and while I’m driving on the freeway, I will stay in relationship by calling them.
When I reach him I ask, “Good time bad time?” I keep it to five minutes. Men value scarcity. If we have a team of 30 men, I call all of them during the week. I only reach maybe six, and six more might call me back.
I remind myself my calling can distract him from a task and piss him off. I ask how long he has and stick to that time, unless he changes it. When he’s at work I don’t fuck his company by calling. I mostly listen and give feedback about what he has said. He will ask me what he can do once he’s done talking.
The more time I take the less value I give him, because at some point he will suddenly go from thank you for my listening to him to: “Hey I gotta go, this call has fucked me and my job.”
By talking too long I’ve charged him a fee by forcing him to listen to my wisdom and stroke my ego. Keep it simple and short. If I can thank him for his story and hang up I am on track to building a trusting relationship. I can do that today in less than two minutes.