One of the reoccurring topics or conversations that gets brought up in our Facebook group and the Iron Council, which is our brotherhood on Instagram, I’m very active over there, are guys who feel guilty for taking care of themselves. I understand why they’d feel guilty because ultimately when you’re taking care of yourself, you may be … I don’t want to say neglecting, but you may have to sacrifice your time with your family or your business or other ventures that you may have going on in order to carve out the time and the energy to take care of yourself.
I definitely feel and understand why you would feel guilty about that, especially when we as men have so many obligations and so many people and activities and interests and things pulling on us on a daily basis that a lot of the times we feel like, “Man, I can’t take time to go take care of myself because I have these other obligations.” But I’m just telling you right now, and I’ve talked about this at length over the past four years, that if you as a man don’t figure out a way to take care of yourself, you’re going to burn everything to the ground. I say that from experience. You’re going to burn your relationship to the ground. Your health is going to go to complete shit. The relationships with your kids are going to be non-existent. Your career is not going to excel. Nothing is going to happen if you can’t learn to take care of yourself.
Now, I will say you might have some short term gains because you’re investing a lot of time and energy and attention and focus into something that you want to be successful, like your career, but it’s going to come crashing to the ground in a very short period of time if you can’t sustain the effort because you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s easy to be good for a week. It’s easy to be good for a month, and it’s potentially even easy to be good for a year, but the truly successful, the perpetually successful find a way to be successful every single day, day in and day out for the rest of their lives.
If you want to be successful for the rest of your life, then you’re going to need to carve out time from pursuing these things that are important to you: family, relationships, business, et cetera, et cetera, health, family, business, et cetera, et cetera, to focus solely on you, to be selfish in a way, so that you can come back to these other ventures and these other relationships and obligations, more rejuvenated, recharged, focused, clear and energized to be that much more effective.
It’s kind of that ax analogy. If I have four hours to chop down a tree, I’m going to spend the first three sharpening the blade. That’s exactly what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about sharpening your blade through reading, through visualization, through meditation, through exercise, through hobbies that can be looked at and viewed as selfish, and in a way they are, and that’s completely okay. Society has told us it’s not okay to be selfish. It is okay to be selfish within reason so that you can come back a more capable man to accomplish the other things that you have obligations for like I had mentioned a minute ago.
Now that you know that, and most of you do. Whether you’re doing it or not as a completely different story, but most of you know that you should be taking care of yourself. Most of you know that or at least feel when you’re not fully taking care of yourself because you’re on edge, you’re uneasy, you lose your patience quickly. You might let your temper get the better of you. These are all indicators that you’re not taking care of your own mind, and your own body, and your own soul, and you’re focusing all that attention elsewhere. Everybody knows that. Whether you’re doing it or not as a completely different story.
I’ve thought a lot about this, like why is that the case? If we know we should be doing it and yet we don’t. There’s a lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s just that we’re busy. Okay. If that’s the case you’ve got to figure out a way to carve out time. I don’t know how else to say it. You’ve got to figure out a way to carve out time to take care of yourself. Maybe some things need to be sacrificed so you can. Busy-ness is one reason people come up with.
Another reason is this, that they feel so bad or they feel so guilty that they aren’t going to engage in that. I get it. I’ve felt that way before. I’ve been guilty of … or felt guilty for going to a hobby or going to spend time with friends or going into the gym when I can be doing a thousand other things. I’ve thought a lot about how does one overcome that guilt because we know it’s important, right? We know we need to do it. Yet that feeling of guilt is so difficult at times that we just won’t go do it because we’re guilty and then as I said earlier, we ended up burning everything to the ground.
What I want to share with you today is some key points, some key indicators that you can implement in your life starting right now. That’s what I want you to do. If you’re one of those guys who know, who knows, “I need to take care of myself,” and yet you don’t because of the feeling that you have when you do, these are the four things that you need to implement in your life starting right now and if you do, you might still experience some of that guilt, but this is going to help you overcome that. This is going to help you feel better. This is going to help you have the conversations you need to have with other individuals about taking care of yourself so you’re not leaving them hanging, right? We still have obligations so we need to shore up those obligations so that we can take care of ourselves effectively.
All right, so let’s break this down. This one is going to be fairly short because I don’t need a drone on and on and on about this, but you’ll get the point, and what I want you to do is you implement these four strategies is I want you to return and report back to me how they’re working, what you’re doing. The best places for that are on Instagram at Ryan Michler. M-I-C-H-L-E-R is how and you spell my last name or in our Facebook group. It’s facebook.com/groups/orderofman. Let me know how you’re using these four keys, how they’re working because other men need to know. They need to hear how it’s working for you so they can go implement this stuff in their life.
I would also ask that you share this podcast. If you know somebody that needs to take care of themselves, you have a brother, for example, who’s burning out with his family, but he won’t go do things with his boys because he can’t take care of himself or doesn’t feel like he has the time or can’t get over the feeling of overwhelming guilt when he does, share this episode with him. Just share it with him. Let him listen. Hopefully, it’ll help and serve him as well.
All right, so let’s get into this.
I think this answer is one of the best answers for just about every problem that you have out there, especially when it comes to relationships with other individuals. It’s communication. All right. It’s communication. Guys, you have to communicate with the people who will be affected and impacted by the decisions that you’re going to be making. If you’re going to join a bowling club or you’re going to go take up archery or you’re going to start working out every day or you’re going to get into Jujitsu and you’re going to be gone two to three nights a week, then you need to communicate this stuff and it’s not something where you go to your wife, for example, and you say, “Well, I’m doing this regardless and just deal with it.” No, communicate effectively what you want to do, why you want to do it, how it will serve her and the people that you’re trying to serve in your life, and open your mouth and use your words and share.
This is what happens with so many guys is they bottle themselves up. They never learned how to communicate effectively because even if they had a dad around, dad didn’t really say much to them, and they don’t know how to communicate. It’s a skill that you have to learn and you have to develop. I found in my life that the more that I open up with my wife, the more that I opened up with my kids and the people here that I’m trying to serve, the better off I am, the better off they are and everybody’s on the same page.
If you think about a team, for example, a football team, let’s say, and you get into a play and it’s first in 10. You get into a huddle and the quarterback says, “All right guys, we’re just going to try to score right here, ready, break.” Everybody goes up to their line and then does whatever the hell they think they’re going to do or want to do. How effective is that going to be? Well, obviously it’s laughable.
It’s not going to be effective at all, and yet we do the same thing when we’re leading our families. We don’t open our mouths. We don’t share what’s on our mind. We don’t share our thoughts and concerns and ideas and how things are going and how they’re not going. We don’t share any of that and then we get upset that our kids aren’t doing their chores or our wife doesn’t appreciate us or she can’t get on board with us going to take care of ourselves. Well, that’s your fault, man. That’s your fault. You haven’t opened your mouth. You haven’t used your words and you haven’t communicated effectively what you’re trying to do and why you’re trying to do it.
What I would encourage you to do is to practice communication and to set up … One thing that we do is a family meeting every single morning. Every single morning, day in and day out we have a family meeting, and these meetings last anywhere from five to 10 minutes. They’re not long. They’re not drawn out. They’re not boring. We’ve got kids. We’ve got a three-year-old kid. He’s not going to sit there for 40 minutes while we have a family meeting about who knows what. It’s a very short, effective meeting. Here’s what we got going on. Here’s what I’m going to be doing today. Hun, what are you going to be doing today? Here’s what the kids have going on. They have this sport and this activity and this interest.
Today my wife said they’re going to some zoo experience or something like that. Well, that’s good for me to know and I told her, “Okay, well I’m going to be doing X, Y, and Z.” We fill in those dots for each other. We communicate the standard, we communicate what we’re doing, and then there’s no guesswork. That way when I’m at the gym or I’m shooting my bow or I met Jujitsu, I don’t feel guilty or I don’t feel like I’ve left anybody on the line. Guys, open your mouths, please carve it out. Schedule it if you have to, and communicate what’s going on in your life, why you need the time, what you want to be doing, and then solicit her communication and feedback as well. That’s going to eliminate a lot of the guilt from taking care of yourself. That’s number one.
2. Establish Boundaries
You have to establish boundaries and you need to communicate them. Like I said in number one, but you have got to have some sort of boundaries in your life. Like for example, a boundary, a physical boundary right now is my office door. It’s a little different because we’re getting set up here in Maine, but at home before we moved out here, at our home in Utah, when I was in the office and the door was closed, my kids knew that that time was for me, that I’m in my office, I’m working, I’m doing what I need to be doing now’s … unless there’s an emergency, unless there’s an emergency, now is not the time to interrupt or to tell me about your day or any of that stuff unless it’s an emergency.
That’s a boundary. That’s a physical boundary. They have that door. I communicated that boundary. But there also needs to be some boundaries that you set up for yourself like this day at this time is carved out and is reserved for me. Please do not step over these boundaries. Establish them, communicate them, and then uphold them.
All right. Wednesday night at 6:00 I’m going to be out with the guys. I’m in a bowling league. You see, I don’t even know if guys do bowling leagues anymore, but I’m just using that as an example. Now you communicate that you uphold it, and you keep that boundary in place. I would also say along the same lines of boundaries is that you have scheduled times.
That eliminates a lot of the confusion because if you’re just random about when you’re taking care of yourself, like some days you’re at the gym at 6:00 AM and the next day you’re at 2:30 in the afternoon, then it’s going to be really hard for people to understand what your boundaries are, and then to abide by them. Have scheduled things in place. I’m at the gym at 5:30 to 7:00 every single morning, Monday through Friday. That’s my time. Good communicate that. She knows it. The kids know it. Everybody knows it. You’ve talked about why that’s important to you. It’s scheduled. It’s maintained. You don’t miss days because if you miss days there that are going to step over boundaries because you can’t even uphold your own boundaries and keep those things in place.
When those lines try to get breached, and they will, not maliciously, but people will try to breach your boundary lines, you need to uphold those things ruthlessly, not like an asshole, but ruthlessly and tactfully uphold those boundaries so people know that you’re serious. If this is the first time you’re setting up a time to take care of yourself, people are going to test them. They’re going to test. They’re going to test for little flaws and weaknesses in the boundaries that you’ve established. Don’t let those things be tested.
You don’t need to be a jerk about it, but you do need to be ruthlessly committed to keeping those boundaries. I’ll tell you what, if you do that, if you uphold those boundaries every time it gets easier because the expectation is, “Well dad upholds his boundary like I can’t even test it because every time I try to do it like he holds the line.” But if you waffle on this stuff and you’re wishy washy about your boundaries, people are going to continue to do it and take advantage of your schedule and your time and it’s going to become increasingly difficult to take care of yourself.
Be convicted in what your boundaries are. Be in integrity with what they are. Be disciplined about fulfilling those own boundaries and maintaining those and placing a high priority for yourself, and other people will begin to see that it’s something that’s important to you and they will abide by those boundaries more effectively. That’s number two. Number one, communication. Number two, boundaries.
3. Encourage Others
if you don’t want to feel guilty about taking care of yourself, then you probably ought to encourage the other people in your life to take care of themselves. I used to be this way. I used to want to take care of myself. I’d want to go out the boys and I’d want to hang out and I want to do my thing and engage in my activities and hobbies. Then what I would do is when my wife wanted to do the same thing, whether it was with her mom or sister or her girlfriends or she just wanted to go to the spa or whatever it was, I would make her feel guilty about doing that. I would make her feel bad about wanting to take care of herself and then I felt like I had the right to go take care of myself when I was making her feel guilty about taking care of herself? No.
This is a two way street, especially obviously if you’re in any sort of relationship is you’ve got to give and take and that’s where the sacrifice comes in. We’ve got four kids, they’re a handful. But you know what, when my wife wants to go to the spa or she wants to go out with a friend … the other night, she took my daughter to a baby shower. The three boys hung out with me and that wasn’t a time to take care of myself. That was a time to be engaged with my boys and hang out and spend time with them and that requires sacrifice. I know that’s good for me, so obviously I know when my wife takes care of herself, it’s good for her as well.
What I would encourage you to do is to help her take care of herself, carve out time, encouraged her to find interest and hobbies and activities and people that she can engage with, and you know what that actually serves you well too, because when she goes out and she takes care of herself, she comes back into the relationship, rejuvenated, recharged, ready to engage as the wife that you, frankly that you want her to be and as she wants to be. But you’ve got to encourage that. You’ve got to foster that you’re the leader of the home, which means that you’ve got to lead and encourage her to do that.
I talk to too many guys who want their wives to go out and do something, but their wives won’t do it, and then they just kind of give it up. It’s like, no, let her go take care of herself. Sacrifice. Take care of the kids. Watch the kids. Be a little bit more efficient in work. Maybe you’ve got to give up some of your time in order for her to have some time for herself. That’s important too. But again, it works in the context of everything that we’re talking about. It’s the sacrifice. It’s the boundaries for yourself, which you’re going to have to establish those together. It’s communicating that information effectively. Hey, this will work for me. This won’t work for me. Opening your mouth, sharing your thoughts and heaven forbid, share your feelings about things as well. These are all critical components of not feeling guilty.
Look, I know if my wife goes out on Tuesday night, then when I’m out on Wednesday night, I don’t feel guilty. I’m like, “She went out. She had her time. This is my time.” I feel less guilty about doing it. I can engage fully in whatever that activity is and then I come back into the relationship and we’re that much better off. I know it’s a little counterintuitive to think that when you go do your own thing, your relationship actually begins to thrive, but that’s exactly how it works. It’s exactly how it works. It’s like the absence makes the heart grow fonder type thing. You go out and do your thing, rejuvenate, recharge, come back. I promise you your relationship is going to be better.
The last point that I wanted to make, and this actually falls in line with the first point, communication, but this is very, very important that I share this. You have to connect the dots. You have to connect the dots. What I mean is that if you make this all about you, then she’s probably going to try to make you feel guilty about it and you’re going to accept that and you’re going to start feeling guilty about it and then you’re not going to do it. I know on the other hand that when I go out, yes it is for me, but ultimately it helps me be a more effective, capable man, so I have to connect those dots.
Especially when you’re getting started with taking care of yourself. I would have to go to my wife and say, “Hey hun, I’m going to Jujitsu tonight. It’s Tuesday night. It’s 6:00. I’m going to go. This is for me. It helps me. It helps me relax. It helps me blow off some energy and steam. It helps me to be more patient, and all of this is good because it helps me have the control that I need as a father to our kids. It helps me to have patience when you know things aren’t going exactly right in the house. It helps me engage and be energized in order to serve you and to help you and assist you in leading this family with you. These are all good things for me,” and then when you come back after going to the gym or doing whatever it is you’re doing, then you, you be that kind of man.
You show up more fully as a father, as a husband, as a business owner, as a community leader, you show up more fully and then you show them, “Hey, you know what? I’m really feeling better. I think it has to do with me working out every day for the last two weeks. Have you noticed a difference?” Again, communication and she of course is going to say, “Yes, I have noticed a difference. Yeah, I really think it’s because I’ve been exercising and taking care of myself one hour a day.” Now you enlist her in the fight because she sees that this is not something that’s at odds with the relationship. This is actually enhancing the relationship, and before long what’s going to end up happening is she’s going to encourage you to go take care of yourself. How would that be? Instead of feeling bad about taking care of yourself, you actually have a partner who encourages you to go out and to hang out with the boys.
A partner who says, “Hey, why don’t you go to the gym? Or why don’t you go on that weekend hunting trip that you wanted to go on?” Guys, I’m there. I’m to that point now where if I don’t do these things, my wife says, “Go do that stuff,” because she recognizes how powerful it is, and because I’ve adopted these four keys in my life and I no longer feel guilty about taking care of myself.
Now there’s a line. There’s a line where you take taking care of yourself too far, and I can’t tell you what that is, but ultimately I think it comes back down to whether or not you’re being effective. Is taking care of yourself helping you be a more capable man? Or is it an escape mechanism? Has it gone too far? I’ll let you decide that for yourself because ultimately it’s your life. But I think more often than not more men face the challenge of not taking care of themselves enough then taking care of themselves too much.
I hope this helps. All right. The four keys again. Communication, number one. Open your mouth. Share your words. Number two, establish boundaries for yourself and also for your partner. Number three, sacrifice. Let her know that you encourage her to go out and take care of herself as well. Handle the business while she’s out doing her thing so that she can feel good about it and then you can feel good while you’re doing yours.
4. Connect The Dots
Show the people in your life who are impacted by the decisions you’re making why the decision to go on the hunt or the decision to take an hour and go exercise or whatever, show them why that’s in their best interest. Tell them and show them that’s connecting the dots.
As you do these things, and you can … by the way, you can implement these things right now. Right now. If you’re one of those guys who feels guilty about taking care of yourself, then go implement these things right now. Call your wife. Communicate with her. When you get home tonight establish some boundaries. Let her know what you’re going to be doing. Encourage her to go do things. Connect the dots. Do all the things that we talked about today.
All right. In parting, I’ll remind you again, August 9th through 11th, pencil that into your calendar. I’m going to have some details over the next several days, early next week at the latest, so get that taken care of. That’s it. That’s really all I have by way of announcements. I want to have guys there at that event. We’re going to have some guest speakers, some incredible men who’ve already committed to coming out and we’re going to have some great information shared. We’re going to have some comradery. This isn’t going to be one of those like lectures at you all day event type things. I can’t stand those. I don’t want to sit in a hotel conference room and and be yapped at for three to four hours or two days. I don’t want that. I can’t stand that. I’m imagining you can’t stand that.
This is going to be very active. It’s going to be very involved. We’re going to have some physicality, some challenges, and competition. We might be doing a little bit of labor if you will. There’s a lot of cool stuff that we’re going to do in this thing. August 9th through 11th, pencil it in. All right guys. That’s all I’ve got. We’ll hit you back next week for our interview show. Make sure you subscribe. Make sure you connect with me on Instagram @RyanMichler. Also, check out our brotherhood, the Iron Council. This is one way you can take care of yourself. It’s at orderofman.com/ironcouncil.
By the way, I told you I’m sitting in my podcast office studio. I’m using air quotes here because it’s not quite that right now. If you want to see what it looks like, connect with me over on Instagram again @RyanMichler. I just put a picture up of what this looks like and I suggested that it’s the love child of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Stewart’s office. That’s the best description I can give it. Anyways, you can check it out over there. All right guys, I’ll let you get going. Thanks for being in the battle to reclaim and restore masculinity with me. As always, I tell you I’m inspired by what you’re doing. I’m uplifted and edified by what you’re doing, and I’m a better man because you’re a part of this movement. All right guys, let’s get going. Until next week. Go out there. Take action. Become the man you are meant to be.