Men are dying and the cost is great. What is the cost of having a society where men are not expressing themselves and are repeatedly experiencing damaging stress? It comes out in the subtlest ways. I will share a personal experience.
I met with someone who introduced me to a product for my business. I had a one-hour meeting with him about 6 months ago. Toward the end of the meeting, he was becoming increasingly frustrated because I was not saying yes to his product. His “frustration” was more of the underlying push that… “You need to buy this now to save and get in.”
If I’m not totally on-board with something, I personally need time to explore the reasons why. The reaction of a typical sales person might have taken it personally and became frustrated. I realized later this would have been a perfect scenario to talk about in a coaching session. The energy in his frustration was not drawing me into signing a contract with him. This is often the cost of frustration; it leads to dis-trust.
In the months I have not signed with him, his actions have escalated. He has made attempts to invade my life, through Facebook, LinkedIn and e-mail. Recently he’s been sending prank e-mails to me from my website. I received four of them this morning (nope, let’s make that 5), after I have asked him to stop.
Personally this is not a story about me being a victim. I choose to get curious. It’s a story about men who are so frustrated about people not doing what they want, that they cross their own lines of what is right and wrong. It’s a story of not feeling in control and not having effective ways to handle it.
What do I mean by “story?” Anytime something happens, our brain creates a story—a semi-narrative about what occurred, who was involved, potential motivations, whether or not the “conflict” was resolved, and how this story fits into the bigger story of who we are. We are even physically rewarded with the influx of chemicals to our brains and bodies when we “make sense” of things. We categorize, process, organize and label events, people and stimuli even if we have very little information from which to draw a possible conclusion. Often the story gets cultivated by past experiences, as well. If we had something happen in the past, we often draw the same conclusion for future events. This is absolultly normal.
If you dance in the space of frustration without help for too long… well, we can only bend so far before we break. This is true for everyone.
When we break, things get a little trickier. Often this is when coaching is no longer the solution. This is where therapy is more effective. It’s when patterns escalate from just reactionary, stress-induced instances into both physical and emotional abuse.
As people, I’m not sure we each understand how close we can get to that edge. Or as we fall into these patterns over and over, do we realize that we can’t see that we are in fact slipping into a darker and darker space.
So how does coaching fit into this? I see coaching as a way to help break these patterns before they start to create severe impacts in people’s lives. I’m working with men who are stressed, may feel trapped in their feelings, relationships, careers, retirement, and are unsure how to find solutions. They are also in a place where they are willing to make the investment to move forward.
Coaching with me becomes a safe place for men to talk—something men have been dying for. However, the key to coaching is you have to be willing to invest yourself into the process. You don’t need to have the answers. I will help clear the fog and regain clarity. You would be amazed at what one hour a week, of skilled conversation can do to shift your perception of your life. People begin to feel differently and it’s done through the subtlest shifts.
Read the first post in this series, Men are Dying Part 1.