The Wind of Change for Men
I was in Seattle for a meeting and she was back in my home in England. We had reached a critical point. Our relationship, that was not yet a relationship, was faltering and about to be over.
We had spent all our spare time talking it through online. I knew we would be amazing together, I just could not get her to believe it. She was unsure, she had lots of reasons why we could not go ahead, and yet every time I answered them, there were more. We loved being together yet something stopped it going any further.
Then she said, “Are you man enough to…” the line dropped and I heard no more. I had to leave to go to the airport to fly home. Then it clicked! Then I understood!
Good men are the stars, the planets of the ages wherein they live, and illustrate the times.
I have lived my life as a boy, then a man. What was shocking to me was the realisation that I moved from one to the other much later than I thought. I assumed I shifted around the age of eighteen, in particular around the time I left home to go and work in the theatre.
I stepped out into the world, found sex, got married and had children. I thought you needed to be a man to do all these things. I grew my hair and my beard—a sure sign of being a man.
It was not until I was well into my fifties that I realised I had not yet made it. I had divorced by this time, and had grown up children.
What was it that made me realise that I had not made the shift? Why was it that, in many ways, I was still a boy?
It was the realisation that I still relied on others, that I still needed to persuade others to my point of view. I came to understand that although I had been looking after myself for many years I had not come to see myself or rely on myself. I also came to understand that I was not alone in this.
What has happened to the concept of masculinity? What has happened to authentic manhood? Do men have a passion for life any more? Is there a wind of change for men?
It is up to each man, as an individual, to find his own answers. There are, though, some simple steps you can take to find your answers. The truth is that you want to live a full and thrilling life because you know what your passion for life is. You and achieve this and be successful and powerful by owning your authentic manhood.
In 1960, in Cape Town, the then British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, gave his famous ‘Wind of Change’ speech. Macmillan acknowledged that black people in Africa were claiming the right to rule themselves. He said it was a responsibility of the British Government to promote societies where the rights of all were upheld. He said,
The wind of change is blowing through this continent, and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it.
I would suggest that in this decade the ‘Wind of Change’ is blowing through the men’s movement and through men, as a whole. Men are finding their strength and their voice. This is not as a dominant force but as a compassionate and supportive, yet powerful force. Men can now stand up in their power in the knowledge that they can be open, honest and authentic in their actions.
My writing on men has developed in this time; it is now time for it to develop as a wider force. My online presence has drawn together men from around the world, it is now time for those men to draw further together into a movement. Men work best by joining forces.
It is appropriate for me to lay out what can bring men together and what could hold us together. I would like to propose a shout out to the world. This is the wind of change blowing through men.
I do not know all the answers but I have come to understand where I went wrong, where I missed my way. I have found peace and relaxation through knowledge and courage.
As I flew home I thought about what had happened—in me. I finally understood that I had to come to peace within me, I realised that I had to be me, be a man, be myself. It was time to live my life, to be myself.
She said later that I was a changed man when I got home. My voice had dropped in tone and she saw the confidence I had found in myself. Her only question was how long it would last. She had seen it before in men, but it had never lasted.
It stayed with me and became an integral part of me. I enjoyed my confidence and certainty about who I was. I did not need to have others justify me or what I did, I could just rely on myself. There was no arrogance or dominance, that was in the past. I did not need to dominate any more, I had found myself.
The 20 Steps
Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.
—Carl von Clausewitz
One of the problems that men face today is that there are no initiation ceremonies any more. There is nothing that marks the transition form boy to man other than something outside ourselves. In an attempt to remedy this I have detailed 20 steps that you can take to mark your shift, your development, your growth. They are all about how you see yourself and about how you act. Each step is within your grasp to change and develop.
Go through them and come to live each one with depth and authenticity. Find yourself within them and finally become the man you have always wanted to be.
1. Live In Your Core
Discover your core masculinity. Feel your male energy, that drive that is deep down inside you. When you live there with honesty and courage you will truly be the man that others will look up to.
2. Understand Your Influences
Be conscious of your conditioning. You are not what you were when you were born, you need to understand how you have changed and been changed. Once you know what brought you to where you are you are able to move forward.
3. Have Your Own Standards
Everyone has different definitions of success and masculinity. Do not compare yourself to others. You’ll either feel over confident or very disappointed. You are your own set of standards.
4. Know Yourself As A Man
The better you know yourself the more likely you are to do what matters. Study your strengths, know your weaknesses, identify your values, define your success, learn the things that excite and those that terrify you.
5. Know How You See The World
Freedom doesn’t come from financial achievement or lifestyle rewards. Freedom is the ability to choose the way you interpret what happens to you. If you see yourself as a man to start with, you will act like a man and the world will be a better place as a result.
6. Be Present
Give your full attention to what you are doing and what is happening around you. You are connected to others by the extent to which you are present with them. Let go of what you want in this moment and focus on the other person.
7. Believe In Yourself
If you don’t have a deep emotional reason for feeling how you do about yourself, you will probably never truly believe in yourself. If you do not truly believe you will not put your heart and should into your life. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you, then you can go out and change the world.
8. Be Grounded
Ground yourself in who you are and what you stand for. If you are grounded you are not swayed by fashion or chaos. When you are able to stand firm you give certainty to those around you and enable them to dive deeper knowing you will still be there afterwards.
9. Seek New Goals
Nothing adds more clarity to most of life’s confusions than seeing new things. Get out and explore foreign worlds. Spending too much time in one environment makes you feel like that’s the only way. I assure you it’s not. Notice how different cultures do things differently.
10. Be Authentic
The world exists on personal connections. Know who you are, and are not, and be open with those around you. Make genuine connections. This comes from the ability to be vulnerable and the power that gives. When you open yourself to others in truth and honesty you will create change in the world.
11. Pick Your Friends Wisely
The people around you create who you are. If they inspire you, you’ll be inspired. If they depress you, you’ll be depressed. Those around you absolutely must dream as big or bigger and have as much passion or more than you do.
12. Get A Mentor
However grounded and authentic you are you do not know all the answers. Sometimes you cannot see what you are doing and how you are showing. If you have a mentor you can use their eyes to see you as you truly are. Then you can show up in the world in a much more powerful way.
13. The Process Not The Outcome
Stop worrying about getting there. You never will anyway. All the fun is along the trail next to you. It’s impossible to enjoy it if you’re dazed by the blurry horizon that never actually gets any closer.
14. Be Passionate
Throw yourself fully into anything you do or are involved in. It is your passion for life that determines what you get out of it. The Universe recognises when you are absorbed in what you do and when you mean what you say. It responds to you with ideas and opportunities that will take you far beyond your original goal. This is the reward for your passion.
15. Accept Change
Constantly experiment with new people and new experiences. Constantly learn new ideas and new ways of living. Consider your life a series of experiments. Live outside your comfort zone and be vulnerable.
16. Accept Uncertainty
When you step into uncertainty with confidence that you can face whatever occurs, when you become comfortable with uncertainty, that shows internal strength. The knowledge that you can face whatever life brings you is a powerful state of certainty to be in.
17. Be A Servant Leader.
None of the above matters if you don’t get out and actually do something with it. It’s not about achieving success or even completing a project. The magic doesn’t happen in the learning. It happens in the action you take as a result.
18. Be Intimate
This goes further than merely being present with someone. You step into a special relationship with someone when you practice intimacy. This can be the case in a sexual or a platonic relationship. Intimacy is when you truly connect with another person by giving all of your emotional and spiritual energy to them, and receiving all the emotional and spiritual energy they give to you.
19. Know Your Own Power
You are powerful in many ways. It is easy, though, to shy away from your power in fear of what it can do to others. When you fully understand your power, and its effect on others, you can live there in the knowledge that it can only help others. It becomes power laced with compassion, with the understanding of what others need.
20. Live Your Full Potential
The lesson from all of these steps is that you need to live your full potential to get everything that you can out of life. You get back what you give. Receive and it shall be given to you. You have life so that you can live it, go ahead and make full use of it, live your full potential.
Work through these 20 steps and develop your passion for life. Find your authentic manhood and you be amazed at what you can achieve in life, in business and in your relationship. Catch hold of the wind of change and transform yourself as a man.