What is a Successful Man?

Doug Ernst
Staff Writer

A man on my men’s team who is new to men’s work asked me the other day why more men in Mentor Discover Inspire (MDI) aren’t “more successful.”

We talked for a bit about the meaning of success and came to a mutual understanding that success can be defined – and achieved – in many ways.

For example:

After only five years doing men’s work I’ve seen dozens of men become more successful in relating to women by establishing terms and standards with the women in their lives and living up to them. When a woman sees that her man’s terms and standards are honorable and that he is committed to them, the relationship tends to improve. I have seen this. Not only does the woman feel more secure, but the man is able to show his mature masculine nature, and he learns to depend on himself and his newfound strengths.

In the process of becoming a better, stronger, more reliable man, he begins to shine as a husband, father, brother, son, uncle, grandfather, boyfriend, worker, community leader, person and human.

But rather than boast about this, the successful man lets his actions speak. He is humble about his accomplishments, happy to be investing in a better life for himself and those he loves. It is a form of success for a man to strengthen his long-term commitments in this way – to become a better leader in his family, career, community and world.

If financial success is a measure of overall success, I have also seen men – some who are new to men’s work and some who are veterans – lose jobs and entire careers, yet turn their lives around by starting over. With the help of men’s teams and other sources of training provided by MDI, men learn a new code of behavior that leads to planning for new jobs and new careers. They learn that showing integrity in business – and in all phases of life – is an essential ingredient to starting over.

As men learn to trust each other to tell it like is, rather than sugar-coat their messages – primarily during confidential men’s team meetings – they tend to learn from the wisdom of others without having to make the same mistakes. A man who makes mistakes in front of his men is less likely to make similar mistakes at home, or at work, or in front of their communities.

This kind of man-to-man training, if you will, becomes a way of life. I might have missed a few weekly meetings in my years of men’s work, but damn few. I have learned not to miss meetings, not just because I miss the lessons, but also because men on my team miss the insights and experiences that each man brings to a meeting. When I miss a meeting I miss the opportunity to bring something valuable to other men.

So, I ask men: What is a successful man?



4 thoughts on “What is a Successful Man?”

  1. Thanks for this blog.

    Its a “default” response to think of success in financial terms — especially since we live in a capitalist society — but you’re right: it takes many forms. Creating “successful families, careers and communities” encompasses a lot more.

    This month marks the one year anniversary of joining MDI. The transformation (still underway — I tell my men that I’m a work in progress but that I am open for business during renovations) I’m experiencing is priceless as is the value of MDI. I’ve been fortunate to have two very successful careers, but I never thought of money as a way to measure that success. What I used was reaching the goals that I set for myself when it was accompanied by feelings of satisfaction of — to use the words of my maternal grandfather — “doing my best.”

    Since being in MDI, I’ve brought that standard to my personal relationships as well and the result has been more rewarding than I ever imagined. The interesting thing to note is that as my personal successes increased, I found that those in other areas followed as well. As we often say, “How you show up here is how you show up everywhere, ” or “Everything. Everything. Everything.”


  2. maduekwe henry

    a successful man is a person that work hard for many years and God help he/her to achieve his goal in life

  3. The successful man I know is a man that knows he has responsibilities, make plans to get things done, builds a safe home with or without anybody’s assistance, builds allies, makes mistake at most 2 for each type, never give up on what he wants and never fights blindly. He might not give you money but will surely give your inspiration, he might not be the richest but surely is within the confines of his goal, he is not adamant to learning he is always open to learning new things. I’ll stop here

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