The Reason I Keep Coming Back After 38 years

Michael Burns
MDI Contributor

I have attended weekly, monthly, and yearly men’s team meetings, trainings, and events since 1986. I was 38 when I began this “passionate habit,” and I am still at it at age 76. 

Have they all been great? No, but worth being there. The events, trainings, and workshops have almost all been great, in that there are more and different men to interact with than the weekly team meetings, so that is a bonus.

The consistency of smaller weekly team meetings allows for the harder, deeper, more intimate and sustaining work to happen. Each team meeting ranges from OK to good to great. Factors that effect where it lands on that scale are: 

  • The authenticity of my participation. 
  • Do I feel heard?
  • Is what I present impactful on others?
  • How all interactions impact me.
  • Did I have fun?
  • Did I get the authenticity others put into the meeting?
  • Did we collaborate and cooperate with maturity and respect, even in confrontations?

Over the years in men’s circles, I often felt like not going to the team meeting. Almost every time, I was really glad that I did show up. That means that men’s team meetings have been valuable, worthwhile, and the reason I keep coming back after 38 years.

Since the pandemic, an ongoing question is whether Zoom meetings can come close to matching the value of in-person meetings. I say yes, and have chosen to stick with Zoom meetings instead of returning to face-to-face gatherings as most men prefer and choose to return.

Zoom meetings are physically healthier, my main reason for staying with them. My wife’s immune system became compromised after her bout with cancer and chemo, so the less exposure I have, the less chance there is for me to transmit illness to her.     

Zoom and face-to-face meetings are indeed different but the benefits can be the same. If I show up, am present, participate fully, with “mask off,” and express care, I leave a meeting in a better place than when I arrived.

Do the work, and may the wind be always at your back. 

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