Doug Ernst Staff Writer
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.
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?