Fix Yourself First
It seems that everywhere you look, you’ll find someone out there willing to tell you how to live your life. In fact, if you look hard enough, you’ll recognize that is what we’re actually doing here right now inside of the Order of Man.
In many ways, I don’t feel completely qualified to tell you how to live your life although I’ve managed to figure a few things out about being a man along the way. But, I can tell you, it hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t been a smooth course.
9 years ago, I almost lost my marriage, I used to weight 50lbs more than I do today, I’ve had failed businesses, and I have struggled just as much, if not more, than the next man.
But, what I find fascinating is that not only is everyone out there attempting to dictate your life (probably because they’re working to sell you their wares, and gadgets, and gizmos, and whatever…), but I have to question how often we, as men and leaders in our families, our businesses, and our communities attempt to fix other people.
It’s almost as if we have a natural tendency to assume that if we are running across financial problems, marital problems, health problems, challenges with our children, or our bosses that it could in no way have anything to do with the way we’re showing up in this world.
Now, I need to put this disclaimer out there because I know, I know someone is going to say, “It isn’t my fault. It’s my boss, or my co-workers, or my kids, or my teacher, or my parents, or my spouse, or the president, or society, or Putin, or whoever else we may assign the blame for the day.
Look, I hear you. It might be someone else fault. At least, they may have a part to play in the fiasco you’re dealing with right now but, here’s the bottom line: there is nothing you can do about another person and their thoughts and/or behaviors so why not raise your hand, look the man in the mirror and tell yourself the truth which is that you aren’t as good as you think you are.
I’ve seen studies that show that we, as humans, are 25% less effective as we think we are. So, knowing that, we’re not making as much money as we should, we’re not communicating with other people in an effective way, we’re not doing the project as efficient as possible, and we’re bring a lot of our own baggage to the table.
But, I tell you what, as difficult as that reality is to face – the one that says you’re not as good as you think you are – I can tell you from experience that taking this approach and this attitude puts you in such a better position that the guy who points the finger at others.
You truly want to change your life? You truly want to connect with your wife? You truly want your kids to listen to you? You truly want your boss to stop being such a jerk?
Here’s how you do it: STOP FOCUSING ON THEM.
That’s right, stop focusing on them – even if they are screwing things up.
Instead, focus on you. Focus on who you are. Focus on who you’re not. Focus on what needs to be done in order to see the results you’re after.
Because – and this escapes most people – the best way to change other people is to change yourself and then WATCH them respond to who you’ve become.
It’s called influence and it’s critical that every man work to develop more of it.
If you want you wife to love you more, be more lovable.
If you want your kids to listen better, share something worth listening to.
If you want your boss to stop passing you up for promotions, make yourself the clear and obvious choice.
If you want your co-workers to hear and implement your ideas, share better ideas.
If you want to connect with more influencers in your space, be worth connecting with.
This isn’t rocket science guys. It’s taking ownership of who you are, where you are in your life right now, and making yourself completely indispensable.
I want to get real with you here for a minute. Your boss doesn’t care who he promotes so long as the one he does will make him look good and/or more money. Your wife may not be as attracted to you as she once was but, I’m willing to be, you’ve changed (not for the better) more than she has. Your children do want to be lead but even a child can recognize an idiot.
That’s harsh but that’s real talk.
So, how do we do this? How do we change?
Obviously, there’s a lot to the answer to those questions but let’s focus on five of the lowest hanging fruit.
DIET, EXERCISE, AND SLEEP
Diet, exercise, and sleep are critical, paramount to improving yourself. There is no way you can change anything about who you are or how you think or how you show up in this world if you are fat and out of shape. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.
I’m speaking to you from a position of experience. I already told you at one point I weighed 50lbs more than I do today. And then, get this, I was surprised when my wife told me she wasn’t attracted to me anymore. I was offended when she didn’t want to have sex with me.
Of course she didn’t. I looked horrible. I felt horrible. And, my behavior and attitude towards her was a manifestation of that.
Now, I know I’m going to have people tell me, “Ryan, it’s not about how you look on the outside, it’s about the kind of person you are on the inside.”
And to anyone who says that, you’re a straight-up liar. BOTH are important and the physical is the lowest hanging fruit.
Financial matters have been said to be among the leading cause of stress, anxiety, depression, and divorce.
If you’re broke, can you really show up for your family, your business, or your community the way you want? Of course you can’t.
I remember neglecting my wife and kids because I was too busy pacing around (literally pacing) the back yard wondering how I was going to make my mortgage payment.
Start paying off your debt. Learn new skills so you can make more money. Stop buying things you can’t afford. Don’t worry about the new truck John just bought. Get yourself in check.
And don’t tell me you don’t know how. You know how. Everyone knows how. You just have to do it.
BAND OF BROTHERS
You have got to surround yourself with a band of brothers. These are the guys who are going to push you, press you and kick you in the balls if that’s what you need to get a jumpstart on your life.
I can appreciate there are guys you’ve known forever. I can appreciate you not wanting to leave people behind but that way of thinking has got you to where you are right now and, guess what?
IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT. IT’S YOURS.
You know what kind of people you’re spending time with and, yet, here are still hanging out with losers.
Inventory who you spend your time with and reach out to men you know you should be spending more time with.
Short of osmosis, every time I spend time with men who are outpacing me in certain areas of their life, I improve without fail.
Stop worrying about other people. Stop pointing out their faults. Stop trying to fix them and, instead FIX YOURSELF FIRST.