This letter was initially sent out to a group of men that I have worked with in the past and who I thought would really benefit from attending my Heart Driven Men’s Program. However, I believe this is such an important program that I am sending it out on my blog so that both men and women will know what my intention is for running it.
I wanted to take some time to send out some personalized messages to men I thought would really benefit from participating in my new Men’s Program, The Heart Driven Man. My first thought is, that includes every man I have met; however, there are some of you I have worked with a little more extensively than others and I believe you can model what it means to be a heart driven man. I suppose that is the ultimate end game of this program, to provide an example to our sons and other young men who need mentoring about living and leading from their hearts and not just their heads.
I want to be completely honest with you in my plea to call men to stand for heart driven leadership. I have worked closely with men around these issues of the heart now for forty years. At times I am thrilled to see men experience their hearts in an exciting and new way as they attend Connections and other IOL programs; however, I have also sat with couples where men are so oblivious to the emotional needs of their partners that there is very little chance of saving the relationship. Now, hear me clearly, I know that women have their own issues that sabotage relationships, however, for the very first time, I want to focus exclusively on what we do as men to sabotage these all important relationships and in fact every relationship that requires emotional intelligence both personally and professionally.
My greatest concern about us men is that we default to our objectivity, logic and reason to solve our relationship issues. We really believe that we have a plan that will fix our problems and all we need is our partners understanding, consent and support. When challenged about our strategies then we have long explanations and justifications for why we see things the way we see them and do things the way we do them. At times we are flabbergasted that our partners cannot see it our way. It is so clear in our mind. When our partners do not see things our way, often, we will retreat into silence and wait until our partners will admit that they are wrong and seek forgiveness from us and congratulate us on our brilliance. If they do not seek us out and ask for forgiveness, then we will blame them for their lack of understanding and insight and are absolutely convinced that they are the problem. Over time, the inability to resolve these relationship issues leads to a disconnect that is often irreparable. At the very least we find ourselves in a relationship that is distant and unfulfilling. I have often said that the end of most relationships is indifference and disinterest not anger or frustration.
One of the most disappointing, painful scenarios I have witnessed over the years is a husband and wife sitting in front of me and the woman has emotionally separated herself from the relationship and the man is completely broken trying to understand what happened and finally willing to do whatever it takes to fight for the marriage differently…but, it is too late.
One of my driving passions is to teach men Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence begins with an awareness of your feelings. All motivation is attached to how something makes me feel. If I experience fear and insecurity concerning what I bring to a relationship as a man, I will default into doing what I can to be the provider and protector. That is why being financially successful and stable is so important to a man. It is why it is so important that we are the problem solvers and fixers in the relationship. It is how we combat our emotional discomfort. I would rather do something than feel something.
Emotional Intelligence is my ability to connect to my fears and insecurities and not allow logic to hijack me into my doing. It is my willingness to be emotionally vulnerable and be seen as a whole person. This is what the more subjective female gender is often looking for. They want to admit to the emotional challenges of a relationship, connect at the point of weakness and work through the problems together as a team.
EI is that ability to transcend logic and reason and to connect with others in an emotional and intuitive way. It is that ability to interpret all the subtle intangible messages that a person is sending when you are communicating with them. This is where we as men often get lost. We are so stuck in our position that we are not aware of the intangible messages we are receiving and then we end up not listening to the words we are hearing. And I get it; some of you have the ability to do that and are a great examples of emotional intelligence, and yet, there are many guys who believe they have it and do it but their relationship outcomes in both personal and professional lives indicates they have no idea. That just leads to the proverbial, “I don’t get it, I am a nice guy, why am I getting this kind of response?”
If you find yourself having this kind of internal dialogue, it is time to be a part of this all important discussion. I know that it takes some real courage, humility and vulnerability to admit that we have lots to learn about being leaders of the heart; however, there is so much at stake when we think of what we are modeling to all the important people in our lives. I have a life partner, four kids, three grandchildren and an entire community of connectors that look to me to model healthy leadership. I want to be known as a man who leads from the heart. How about you?