Point / Counterpoint – Sterling or No?

Among other purposes, this newsletter is a place where the MDI President and Board of Directors can connect with the men of MDI and communicate visions and direction. Though also a platform for men to share their viewpoints, wins and wisdom, the views of the “Point / Counterpoint” are those of the particular men credited and not those of MDI as a whole, the MDI Board, MDI President or International Core Team. 

“It is time for our organization to let go of the Sterling Weekend and technology and focus mainly on MDI-sponsored events.”

By Jack Rutledge

I believe it is time (in fact past time) for MDI to focus on MDI-sponsored events as well as the technology we use in those events. It is time to make those things part of our culture. Our events and technology have evolved to be in alignment with the mission of MDI “to create greatness by mentoring men to live with excellence and, as mature masculine leaders, create successful families, careers and communities.” If we wish for our organization to grow our influence in our communities and be more successful in our positive impact, the language we use, the activities we participate in and the events we put on must be closely connected to our mission. The mission/purpose of MDI is different than the purpose of the Sterling Men’s Weekend. If we truly live our mission, we have the chance for the organization to flourish. If we don’t, which I believe is where we have been, we will flounder (which we have in my opinion). 

For MDI to succeed long term, we must be in alignment with our mission in everything we do and to look at the organization more as a business. Successful businesses tend to have some common traits starting with the fact they are clear as to what they do and how they do it. The Sterling organization understands this. That is why Justin doesn’t use another organization’s “stuff” (at least credit wise). I say we adopt some of the strategies that have helped make Justin’s organization successful. The biggest way would be to really own our MDI trainings, technology, language, etc. We do this by being singular in focus and actions while always being in alignment with our mission. There isn’t room for two cultures in any successful organization. Only one. One brings strength, two brings weakness, and three (or more) brings chaos. If up to me, I choose strength.

There is still a place for other trainings in MDI and for our men. I hope we never feel that everything we ever need to learn can be found inside the organization. My vision is that all of our members take every opportunity to learn as much as they can from as many sources as they find for as long as they live. I believe this is how we get the opportunities to make changes in our lives that have positive effects on us. I know this has been and continues to be true for me. So if a man could benefit from learning some different things, new techniques, ways of seeing things, ways of being, etc. I hope his team would encourage and inspire him to explore, learn and practice what he has been given. Doing this would open up the world of possibilities to all of our men and would mean our men would participate in many different events, perhaps including the Sterling Men’s Weekend, the Landmark Forum, Tony Robbins’ events, the Mankind Project, religious retreats, couples retreats, etc. Still the basis of his belonging to MDI would be his participation in MDI trainings and our “technology.” Our “stuff” is the cake (i.e. foundation) for our men and the other trainings are the icing. 

It is time for MDI and our men to live our mission. It is time for us to grow up, leave home and make our own way in this world. The MDI mission is big and powerful. It is all encompassing.  It can be something that passes the test of time. If those things matter to us, the answer is clear. 

If not us, who? If not now, when?


By Eric Louie, Southwest Region

The Pro for Sterling Men’s Weekend technology, or why should we keep this technology alive in MDI

My name is Louie, and I did my Sterling Men’s Weekend in March 1995. The basis of the Men’s Division comes from the Sterling Men’s Weekend. Everything that this organization once stood for came from Men’s Weekend technology. During the years when the Men’s Division was Men’s Weekend-centric, there was a harder edge, a more accountable structure, and much more direct communication between men.

Why should we keep this technology alive in MDI?  For one, the saying “When you drink the water, remember the man who dug the well.”  Acknowledgement of our roots, the humility of knowing that we did not create this organization, but men like Rick Russell, Peter Rosomov, Justin Sterling, Matt Lyons, Norm Armstrong, to name a few on the West Coast, advocated and lived and breathed and bled and led the men during those Sterling years, when the organization was part of the Sterling Institute of Relationship. In this case, it’s the men who dug the well.

Another reason to keep the Men’s Weekend technology alive – it works. For men, simplicity is good, and the simplicity of the Sterling technology really resonates with many men, especially when the context is correct.  Men can relate to men on the basis of the things learned and the exercises practiced in the Men’s Weekend.  It opens up a very deep channel, where an explicit and implicit trust is developed because we’re talking the same language and speaking from a common experience.

Although the MDI sponsored events are high quality and “from the men”, they sometimes lack the punch and “oomph” that a SMW provides.  We definitely profit from the MDI sponsored and led events, which helps the organization in its purpose and function.  However, in the spirit of being truly open minded and non-exclusive (something that MDI has strived for since its inception), excluding the Sterling Men’s Weekend would be a great mistake. We’ve already downgraded it enough, and I believe we need to get back to some of those principles to restore honor and integrity in MDI.

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