For Men Only
I had a lot of interesting reactions to the blog For Men Only – Starbucks Coffee Cup #26 where I whispered that men that I work with “Get it” faster than some of the women I have coached. Many were surprised, some mad, others curious about “Why?” that might be the case. The “it” I am referring to is transformation – from feeling not good enough and insecure into embracing their Talents, Abilities and Gifts (TAGs) and being secure and confident in their future.
The reason I shared this revelation is I think men and their feelings have gotten get a bad rap. Men have been taught to deny how sensitive they are and thus women have no idea how profoundly men are effected by what goes on each day.
By honor and value the different styles that men and women have in processing information and both men and women acknowledging how sensitive men really are, you will see how easy it is to have a richer more satisfying relationship with yourself and your partner.
I have a story to tell that will illuminate the difference between how men and women process information. When I’ve told this story to audiences many of the men come up to me and plead, “Marty, can I bring you home? Will you talk to my wife?”
Unraveling the Male vs Female Psyche
1,470,000 hits came up on Google when I typed in “books about men and women.” No wonder we are confused! From Helen of Troy launching a 1000 ships to the Mars and Venus of relationship, mankind has sought answers to find out how to unravel the male vs female psyche and the interlacing of their relationship.
In the Sandbox
Pretend that you are watching two children play in a sandbox, little Johnnie and little Susie*. The little boy is playing with his trucks and his bulldozers having a grand old time. He’s building ponds, and roads and on an adventure with his bucket for water and his bulldozer and crane for digging. He’s making mighty truck noises as he shifts the gears, “Brrrrrrrr,” running them around. The little girl is over on the other side of the sandbox. She’s got her dolls and is chatting away, creating a life for her dolls.
I Have and Idea
It’s not too long before she says, “Hey Johnnie, I have an idea. I’ll be the mommy and you be the daddy. What we’re going to do is we’re going to leave here, get in the car and go to the grocery store and get all our groceries. Then we’re going to go home, we’re going to cook dinner and then we’re going to move.”
With this, little Johnnie looks at his construction site, looks over at her, takes one of his trucks and hits her over the head.
Logical vs Holistic
Women are more left brained. We are logical and linear focusing on cause and effect. As cave women we got that lesson fast – one night we have delightful intimate evening with our man; nine months later a baby is born. We have have to plan and organize and manage many different task to prepare the food, educate the children and keep the home fires burning.
Men are more holistic thinkers. They see the big picture. As hunters and gathers, they feel responsible for providing for the clan. Sensitive to the clan’s needs, they form tribal counsels and listen to shaman wisdom to decide on what is needed next to keep everyone safe, feed and clothed.
When women enumerate their laundry list of tasks or plans for the future, he shuts down. In addition, right after we present our grand plans, we often blithely ask, “Welllll, so how do you feel!”
The man is feeling:
I have to leave what I’m doing? I’m really having a good time. She wants me to go and get in the car, then I have to go to the grocery store, cook, and then we’re going to move?!
What about my friends, the guys at the bar where I go and I watch my football games? I’ll have to go find a new job and provide for the family’s wellbeing. How will I EVER do that?
What’s the Big Deal?
The woman is thinking:
What’s the big deal?I have it all figured out. On our way out of the grocery store, what we’re going to do, Honey, is get some boxes and put them in the back of the car. You know, Sweetie, every day we’ll just bring some more boxes home. We’ll start packing the books and then pack up the kitchen.
In an instant, Johnnie feels the impact of Susie’s edicts. The responsibility is his to get the clan safely to the next destination. He feels so much all at once that he can’t possibly say how he feels. It’s not that he doesn’t want to. It’s not that he’s stubborn; it’s that he’s so overwhelmed with emotion that he can’t. It is because he feels so much, not that he does not feel, that he can not articulate it.
Women Don’t Like it
The other reason men don’t tell us how they feel, because when we don’t like what they say, we are mad. We ask and then we don’t want to hear it. We train men not to tell us how they feel. Soon they are telling us what they think we want to hear. How many times have you heard someone say, “Smart man. You do what she tells you to do. No wonder you’re still married.”
Get it Done
A woman is fabulous at organizing, planning, getting things taken care of. When you need something done, tell a woman. If it wasn’t for women saying, “Honey, I got this big belly. I can’t run from the saber-toothed tiger any more. Build me a shelter.” we would still be nomadic. In the yacht industry, it is the women’s demands for amenities that changed sailboats from a glorified camping trip with bunks and pump water sinks and no showers into luxurious boats with beds, AC, and hot water showers.
Women pride ourselves as “multi-taskers” and often scoff at men because they need to do things “one thing at a time.” It is not about intelligence or lack there of. This is about honoring and valuing the way in which individuals function in the world and how they work. A man does best when he is presented one concept at a time with time to process it and execute it. Women do best with a multi-facted project to manage with many moving parts to get taken care of. As team, we are a perfect match!
I grant you that men’s soft underbelly of emotions and sensitivity is well guarded with bravado, angry personas, lots of noisy toys to ride and drive and time at the bar to play and zone out from feeling. But when those defenses are breached and feelings honored and respected, men’s sensitivity and compassion is unleashed. Relieved to finally be expressing who they are, they feel good about themselves at long last. Not surprisingly, they have business success. Their business takes off.
With women being in their head, transformation can take longer. The road from a woman’s mind to her heart has more twists and turns, bumps and cliffs, and frozen lakes than the trail that the man takes. When women honor their multiple Talents, Abilities and Gifts and that they are indeed enough, they have grand success making more money in less time. Moreover, they are able to balance her time by honoring herself and taking care of the family and her business.
*This story was told to me by Patricia Sun over 35 years ago. She is a philosopher, an ethicist, a leader, an innovator, a speaker, a teacher, a problem-solver, and a communication expert of a new way to live. She was the first person that I studied under that really made life make sense. She was 20 years ahead of her time as Luis Garcia who is my present coach and mentor is 20 years ahead of his time. I’ve been very fortunate in having the opportunity to work with these pioneers.