• terry lige men with hearts

    Vulnerability: Why?

    We are now on our third week of the Game Changers Men’s Program and we are looking at the importance of vulnerability to the heart driven man. So, the question for both men and women is why would I choose to be a vulnerable person? If I look at some of the definitions concerning vulnerability, it actually sounds like a scary behavior. The most common definition says that “vulnerability makes you capable or susceptible to being wounded or hurt.”Read more

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    Strength that Comes from Weakness

    We have just concluded session two of our Game Changers Men’s Program and one of the things that has really struck me so far is how difficult and challenging it is for men to admit what they are afraid of. This should not come as a real surprise to me as we men received the message very early on in our lives that our value as men is found in our strengths, our self sufficiency and our rugged individualism. It is important that we are seen as competent and responsible individuals who can be trusted to face up to all life’s challenges in courageous solitude. The problem with that expectation is that it can lead us to a very lonely place.Read more

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    Motivation is about how it Makes you Feel

    I have just launched my new Men’s Program called “The Game Changers Men’s Program.” The reason that I believe it will be a game changer for the men who are participating is that it provides us with an opportunity to develop the emotional intelligence that is often missing in a man’s ability to engage with others and to communicate in a way that is healthy and effective.Read more

  • terry lige men heart

    The Heart Driven Man

    The Heart Driven Man

    Ok, so here’s the challenge as I consider running a Men’s Program. How do I approach this very comprehensive topic of men and their hearts?

    In my last blog article I discussed some of the stereotypes that men have to overcome to become more heart driven and I also identified some of the qualities that distinguish a heart driven man. For me, those are very relevant discussions to consider but in my opinion lack the personal element.

    What I would like to do in this article and possibly in a few subsequent articles is talk about the challenges I have with being a heart driven man. What I want to do is create a discussion out of my own personal journey to becoming a more heart driven man. What I want to identify is some of the behaviors that I have to be aware of that draw me back into that more objective head space where I disengage with those around me and isolate. This is a particularly harmful behavior to my relationship with the important women in my life who desire my presence and deserve my engagement. It is important to acknowledge that these behaviors are not particularly unhealthy as they stand alone, but can really impact my ability to keep my heart present and actively engaged with others.

    Here is behavior number one;

    I like to Problem Solve on my Own

    When I am faced with a difficult challenge or a problem to solve, I often retreat into solitude and exercise what I think are effective problem solving skills. I draw back into a very independent, self sufficient stance that says, ‘I will do whatever it takes to overcome this problem on my own. I will figure it out and those who are near and dear to me will applaud me for my resourcefulness. Men really do like to be acknowledged for their achievements.

    It Creates a Disconnect

    Unfortunately, when I am attempting to figure it out, I am drawing much more on my logical, rational head skills than on my heart skills. Also, unfortunately, those that are near and dear to me are not applauding me because usually they want to be included in the problem solving process with me and they feel left out and distanced.  They want to create a team win rather than just an individual win.

    A good example of this disconnect took place recently for Christine and I. In June and July we prepared to move into our new townhouse in the midst of all the other challenges of work and life. As the pressure increased to complete all the necessary steps to move and we faced some of the financial demands of moving, we began to slip into a familiar pattern for both of us. When the pressure is on we both retreat into independence and self sufficiency. In doing so we disconnected mentally, emotionally and even physically. After a few days of feeling the disconnect I said to Christine that we needed to talk. She was so focused on taking care of business that she did not think we needed to talk about it. Her head was down doing what she needed to do to get us to the finish line…alone. As we began to talk about this disconnect and how it felt for both of us, it did not take long to see now this was a pattern for us individually and how dangerous it was to our relationship. There is definitely a place for independence in a relationship; however, when faced with a challenge that impacts the relationship it is crucial that a couple work on it together.

    How it Shows Up in my Work

    It is actually quite remarkable that I have developed experiential, heart focused programs with almost no collaboration from others. Running these programs requires the collaboration and powerful emotional connection to others; however, the actual writing of them has been done on my own in the quite solitude of an office. At times, I have felt profoundly isolated and alone in writing and delivering these programs.

    There is something really important about including others in creative problem solving. In doing so you learn about how to interact with others and work toward a group win.

    Recently, while I was running a Leadership Facilitation Boot Camp I took the opportunity to run a focus group on some of the possible themes for a Men’s program. The women responded openly and clearly about some of the issues that they thought would be valuable for men to discuss. The men looked a little like deer in the headlights and one of the men concluded the discussion by saying; “Why didn’t I know anything about this twenty years ago.”

    It was an excellent illustration of the value of discussing issues in a group and the inspiration that surfaced for me in preparing for a Men’s Group.

    What I have discovered in collaborating with others in personal development programs; is that the process of building relationship and community generates a remarkable momentum which produces life changing personal breakthroughs and big group wins.

    The biggest win for me personally is that I have to utilize my emotional intelligence to communicate effectively and build cooperation. My reward is how satisfying and empowering it feels to connect with others. At the end of the day, I don’t think there is anything that I want more than that.

    How about you men?

    Terry

  • terry lige men

    Real Men: Overcoming Male Stereotyping

    On a number of different occasions over the years I have been asked whether I would consider running an exclusively men’s program or a “Men’s Group.” I have considered it seriously, however, the question is, ‘why would I do that?’

    Well, the statement that I have often used in Connections sums it up for me. It goes something like this; “contrary to common belief, men have hearts too.”

    One of the great challenges to your personal freedom and your freedom of expression is the kind of stereotyping that exists in society…especially with regard to men. Here are some stereotypes identified in a report from Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity.

    The Joker is a very popular character with boys, perhaps because laughter is part of their own “mask of masculinity.” A potential negative consequence of this stereotype is the assumption that boys and men should not be serious or emotional.

    The Jock is always willing to “compromise his own long-term health; he must fight other men when necessary; he must avoid being soft; and he must be aggressive.” By demonstrating his power and strength, the jock wins the approval of other men and the adoration of women.

    The Strong Silent Type focuses on “being in charge, acting decisively, containing emotion, and succeeding with women.” This stereotype reinforces the assumption that men and boys should always be in control, and that talking about one’s feelings is a sign of weakness.

    The Big Shot is defined by his professional status. He is the “epitome of success, embodying the characteristics and acquiring the possessions that society deems valuable.” This stereotype suggests that a real man must be economically powerful and socially successful.

    The Action Hero is “strong, but not necessarily silent. He is often angry. Above all, he is aggressive in the extreme and, increasingly over the past several decades, he engages in violent behavior.”

    The common denominators in these stereotypes include;

    • Don’t be soft, serious, emotional, or talk about feelings.
    • Be decisive, aggressive, angry, and violent.
    • Always be in control and in charge.
    • Demonstrate economic power and social success.
    • Show prowess with women.

    So; the question is, are these stereotypes what define what a real man is?

    I believe there is so much more to what constitutes a real man. The stereotypes identified here are what often robs a man of his vast potential as an individual and often are the reasons that he struggles socially or in relationship.

    I believe that a real man has some of these following qualities;

    • They do not shy away from expressing real emotions.
    • They are willing to talk about their feelings because they know that it does not diminish their sense of power or self control. It enhances it.
    • They are also willing to acknowledge that expressing real emotion is what connects them to others, especially the important women in their lives.
    • They are willing to be seen (vulnerable) in both their strengths and weaknesses.
    • They are committed to being a student of life and relationship.
    • They are not afraid of being soft and sensitive because it is a true expression of the love and compassion they possess.
    • They are less about the paycheck and more about the passion for what they do. I want to be reminded of this over and over again as my male ego wants to desperately attach itself to financial success.
    • They are willing to let go of their attachment to things to give them a sense of fulfillment, power and success. Their sense of fulfillment is more about how they make a difference in the lives of others.
    • They choose not to hide behind humor or appearances of any kind that projects phoniness and posturing
    • They are willing to explore what intimacy is in relationship, not just sexual satisfaction.
    • This requires communication skills like listening instead of explaining and justifying which is common for men.
    • They are willing to surrender control, which often builds resentment and disempowerment in others, for the sake of empowering others and building the power and strength that comes from collaboration and community.
    • They do not have a need to express their masculinity through aggression, anger or violence.

    Ok; so the list could on for a while, but this gives you some insight into what I think constitutes authenticity in a man. Ultimately, the risk here for men is to allow their hearts to be every bit as present as their heads as they engage in life and relationship. It is often the missing link in creating all the satisfaction, fulfillment and meaning that we are looking for. It is time to take the risk men.

    I really believe there is a place for this kind of conversation with a group of men, so, I will be offering a program in the next couple of weeks concerning these very issues. Stay tuned.

    Terry

  • terry lige fire

    Game Changers

    I had an experience last Thursday that reminded me that life can dramatically change at any given moment. I like to refer to these in the moment, dramatic changes as game changers. These game changers can alter to course of your life for better or for worse but what you can be assured of is that your life will not be the same.Read more

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    The Trustworthy Leader

    I am continuing this month to focus on the qualities that make a great leader. I began last week with looking at the issue of integrity; this week I am going to look at trust. Every great leader has the ability to build their credibility by being trustworthy.

    The word trust actually means confidence. When you trust people you have confidence in them, in their integrity, their agenda and their abilities. The opposite of trust (distrust) is suspicion. When you distrust people you are suspicious of them, of their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities or their track record.Read more

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    Qualities of a Great Leader

    Integrity

    The program that I am running this month is a Leadership Facilitation Boot Camp. With that in mind I want to write about leadership. I want to especially focus on the qualities that make a great leader. In a survey of over 54,000 employees, the quality desired more than any other is integrity.

    So; what is integrity and how do I build this quality as a leadership strength?Read more

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    The Character of Leadership

    We are all Leaders

    First of all I believe that we are all leaders. Whether I like it or not I am modeling behavior that is on display for everyone I interact with in my life. I feel the responsibility of modeling behavior most acutely with those who are closest to me, especially my children as they were growing up and now my grandchildren who are watching me closely.

    My Choice

    The choice I have as an individual is to determine whether I want to be a leader by default of a leader by design. In other words, am I going to be conscious and intentional about my attitudes and behaviors or am I going to just respond to life as it flows at me without much consideration for what I do or how I do it. Either way, the fact remains, someone is watching me and in some cases choosing to emulate my attitudes and behaviors.

    I like what my son Nathan said on the golf course this past week when he said, his daughter Sabine is more like his dad but his son Jake was probably more like his grandfather. My first thought was, that’s nice, but my next thought was, heaven help Jake.

    I want to clearly acknowledge that I am only human and have made many mistakes as a person and leader in my personal and professional journey, however, I do care about the example I set for those I care about. As a leader by design, I also have to care about the example I set for people I do not care about. The point of leadership is that I am leading someone somewhere. I have to ask myself where am I leading them and am I willing to fully embrace that responsibility.

    My Character

    Maybe the most important question is; what kind of person do I want to be? And, this question points me to issue of my character. So much of leadership concerns the issue of character development.

    So, what is character and why is its development so important to me? Here is a definition.

    “Character is the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determines his/her response regardless of circumstances.” My character is vitally important because it is foundational to every decision I make. What this definition tells me is that my responses are not dependent on what is happening to me externally. Regardless of the challenges life has in store for me, I will respond to those challenges from a motivation built on moral values and principles.

    This tells me that I am in control of my life. The one thing that I have any real control of is the choices I make. When I make appropriate choices, I will create my desired outcomes; when I make poor choices I will reap the negative consequences of those choices. Regardless of which choices I make, I acknowledge that they are my choices and nobody else’s.

    What this also tells me is that I am fully responsible for those choices and accountable for my outcomes. I am not a victim to my life and the choices of others. It is my life.

    The more I am in touch or connected to my character, the more I respond intuitively to those external challenges. I don’t have to think about doing the right thing. I just do it because it is an expression of who I am and what is important to me.

    I was in a meeting a few weeks ago where my intention was questioned for doing the work I do. The inference is that I am more concerned about making money than about helping people. That is very difficult to hear and my first instinct was to defend myself and explain fully why I do what I do and provide all kinds of examples of how my behavior lined up with my intention. However, I knew immediately that what was being said was not the truth about me and I chose not to get irritated and defensive. I walked away from that meeting feeling at peace with myself because I chose to respond in a way that I felt was in keeping with who I am as a person and as a leader. A few of those powerful internal qualities that supported my behavior in that moment were patience, humility, self control, discernment, composure and self respect.

    Poor Choices

    People who consistently make poor, inappropriate decisions do not build on those stable and distinctive internal qualities. They are blown to and fro by what is happening in their external lives and do not have enough confidence in their character to make the hard choice and do the right thing. By the way, confidence is one of those character qualities I am talking about.

    Unfortunately, when we lack strength in our character we become more susceptible to the dark side of our nature. And our shadow is drawn to what is destructive to us. The struggle we have with addictions is an excellent example of this. We can make up all kinds of stories about why we struggle with addictions but the only way to overcome them is to build the necessary character to make the hard choice and do the hard thing.

    Theodore Roosevelt once said; Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”

     I am committed to working on this decisive factor the rest of my life. How about you?

    In next week’s blog we’ll talk about what some of those character qualities are, beginning with integrity.

    Terry