As a man, are you still trying to discover who you are, why you are here, and what it is you are supposed to do? Do the typical definitions of male success leave you unfulfilled? Do these questions, and ones like these that you often ask yourself in the middle of the night, leave an ache deep inside? As discomforting as this may be, it is not uncommon. Especially for men who are approaching middle age … men in their late 20’s, 30’s, early 40’s. There is nothing wrong with you, for this is more a function of a culture lacking in conscious mentorship, a culture that does not always value relationships, and the willingness to share hard earned wisdom.
The benefits of a mentoring program for a man is that it supports him to consciously clarify and define his direction and spiritual path. Especially for a man who has come of age in a competitive workplace, a good mentor aids a man to develop emotional literacy & relationship skills, strengthens his leadership & conscious decision making abilities, and encourages him to live from his love, truth, & inner alignment.
A mentoring program for men is the passing down and sharing of knowledge and wisdom. It is typically an oral transmission, and seems to work best along the same gender lines: women mentoring women, and men mentoring men. Mentoring a man is done primarily through coaching and spiritual teaching. A male mentor is a trusted counselor, or influential supporter, who guides, educates, and reflects to a younger man.
Why do men feel so alone and disconnected in the workplace? Women seem to be thriving while men are floundering. Competition, within the market and especially inside of an individual organization, is what historically has driven success. Yet underneath the surface, competition breeds fear and isolation. Men typically do not reveal this soft underbelly, but the unexpressed belief and feeling of not being good enough eats away at our well being, and creates all manner of dysfunction. A conscious mentoring program supports a man to work through those challenging emotional places, to be the man he is meant to be, and hopefully to find his path and clarify his spiritual direction.
In many of the cutting edge corporate cultures, there is the growing awareness that cooperation is a higher order function than competition. Here the focus shifts from product to process, from bottom line valuation to values-based practices, like emotional literacy & communication, integrity, and accountability. Where quality is more important than quantity, and human relationships are seen as the organization’s strongest and most important resource. A mentoring program is the pathway for this transmission. It places value on supporting a man to find his path, to live his life with a spiritual direction & purpose, and to become the conscious leader that is so desperately needed in this transformational time.
Placing value on relationships is an evolutionary step in an organization’s development. Information is shared, collaboration is encouraged, creative experimentation … which includes successes & failures … is welcomed. These days, women creatively advance in this new environment, whereas men still operate from the old genetic patriarchal conditioning. As competition gives way to cooperation, the value of mentoring increases the lines of communication throughout the organizational culture, in all directions. And everyone benefits.
In the profound absence of male initiatory rites of passage, a younger man does so without the deeply personal witnessing and reflection of who he is. This “seeing” is a transmission of the sacred emotional, soulful, and spiritual material consciously passed along the male lineage. Without this, the masculine soul atrophies. Mentoring a man feeds his soul, connects him to something deep and precious inside him, allowing his sense of his own worth develop and grow. For a man to find his path and spiritual direction, he first has to find himself … to know who he is, what he is, and how he serves.
Many of us have grown up either without fathers or with emotionally absent fathers who could not give us the attention that we deeply and secretly yearned for. Every young boy or young man needs the clear and loving reflection of an older man, one who sees him, not only for who he is, but for who he might become. There is a kind of non-verbal ‘energy food’ that gets transmitted from father to son, a passing on of the essence of masculinity. Men who have not been adequately fathered seek mentorship from an older man. And often times, they do not even know it.
Robert Moore, the noted Jungian theologian and author of the renowned “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover”, a men’s work classic, says: “It is the task of an older man to admire a younger man.”
A young man emotionally ventures out into the world along the path that his father has prepared for him. If he has been mentored … blessed, admired, and fed by his father … he will step out into the world with a strong sense of who he is. If he has been abandoned by his father, or told that he is not enough, his steps will be tentative and cautious. He will remain hungry and empty, feeling abandoned and betrayed, and he will continuously be looking for validation from some ‘father’, seeking the message that he is okay. It is said that we are attracted to the workplace that most closely resembles our family of origin. While a mentoring program cannot fill a man with the the soul food that his father did not provide, this offers a significant opportunity for men in the workplace to contribute to healthy emotional development and healing.
The mentoring program that I offer is a man’s opportunity to be honored and blessed, not only for what he has done, but for who he is and who he might become. When a man finally accepts and believes and feels that he is enough, only then can he step fully into the world, knowing that what he does is enough as well. Achievement becomes a function of the creative energy of his being, rather than a measure of how good he is in his doing.
In this men’s work, there is a high tolerance for imperfection, a low tolerance for bullshit. If you are a man in need of being seen and blessed and mentored by an older man for exactly who you are, my program is for you. I already see you, so come and let yourself be really seen.
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