I seem to be getting a lot more texts and direct messages and emails from members who listen to this podcast who are part of this organization with questions that frankly they… Let me say it this way, I’m glad that they’re asking me these questions, but I shouldn’t be the one that they have to turn to.
As I get these emails and these texts, these direct messages, it seems to me like a lot of these guys have no other place to turn. They’re asking me questions about their relationship, or their career status, or how they’re doing in their finances. Maybe they’re facing a difficult circumstance, like a medical condition or illness, or potential bankruptcy, or a divorce or separation in their marriage or their relationship. Although I’m honored these guys would reach out to me and humbled that they would ask me questions and think highly enough of me that they feel like they can turn to me. I mean, that’s what I want to do is be a resource. I can’t help but think it’s a little disheartening and a little sad frankly, that these guys don’t have anywhere else to turn and that’s what they tell me.
In fact, I got a message, I believe it was earlier this week, and the guy said, “I can’t turn anywhere else. I can’t turn to my friends or I don’t have friends.” It was something along those lines. I thought, man, that’s actually pretty rough. I think it’s a detriment to how we show up as men. As men, we’ve been operating for tens of thousands of years in tribes and packs and gangs and teams and groups. It seems to me that as we gain more technological advancements and we isolate ourselves even more that it’s become a problem of banding together with other men. Now you couple this with the idea and the notion that’s been perpetuated, I think probably started around industrial revolution where we now leave our communities and we leave our farms and our families and we go out into the workforce. We focus on specialization or one little thing that we’re good at in the assembly line and we continue to see why this is a problem, this idea of isolation.
Then you get into pop culture and you get into James Bond and Jason Bourne, and these guys are the lone wolf, right? They’re doing everything on their own and they don’t want any help. They don’t want any outside interference. What we do as young boys who have been conditioned and indoctrinated in a way to look at this is we think that that’s how we’re supposed to do it, that we’re supposed to go at it alone. Then if we need any sort of assistance or help along the way, then we’re perceived as being less masculine or weak. Now, I don’t think it’s weakness to reach out to a band of brothers, to reach out to somebody who is going to have your back, who has proven time in and time out that they are going to support you, they’re going to uplift you and edify you and help you overcome these challenges and obstacles.
Yet so many of us don’t have a band of brothers. We don’t have men, other men that we can rely on that will help us get through these difficult life circumstances and that we help get them through difficult life circumstances and challenges as well. That’s what I’m going to talk with you about today is I want you to ask yourself, seriously consider and ask yourself who has your six? Who is it that you can call in the middle of the night that if you’ve got a problem, whatever that problem looks like, and we’ll get specific about that, that you know without a doubt that that individual is going to get his ass out of bed or he’s going to put down whatever it is he’s doing and he’s going to come and he’s going to serve you and he’s going to help you overcome the challenging situation that you may have found yourself in.
If the answer is or there is no answer or I don’t know who that would be, you’ve got a problem. You’ve got a serious, serious problem. The reason that you may not have addressed it is because you haven’t had to call on that individual yet but mark my words, you will. Something bad will happen. You’ll have a medical diagnosis, you’ll lose a loved one, potentially your spouse or a child, you’ll go through bankruptcy or you’ll lose your job. Any number of things could happen. You’ll become disabled and you can’t work. If that day comes and when it comes, we don’t know specifically what it’s going to be, but when that day comes, if you haven’t prepared yourself by rallying around you a band of brothers who are motivated and inspired and positive and encouraging and uplifting and loyal to you, you’re going to find yourself in a bad situation.
I know I did. I’ve talked about it at length when I went through the separation. Now there are other stories as well and I’ll maybe get to some of these either on this podcast or a future one. When I went through my separation with my wife, what I had done for the previous four or five years leading up to our separation is I had ostracized all my friends. I spent all my time and my attention and my energy on her, which makes sense. I wanted to be around her. I love her and also gave that attention to my one-year-old son at the time. My band of brothers was nonexistent. They were out doing their thing and hanging out and having fun and lifting each other up and competing and rising together. I wasn’t part of that club not because they wouldn’t invite me, but because I bowed out of the organization because I was busy with life and marriage and raising a kid and business and everything else.
When this difficult time in my life happened, my wife and I going through our separation, I had nobody. I had nobody to turn to because I hadn’t built up the relationship capital that I needed in order to call upon men who would help me come through these difficult situations. Granted I was able to develop that over a course of months and ended up building out a band of brothers that helped me but I can’t think that that would have gone a whole lot quicker and a whole lot smoother for me. I would have been mentally in a completely different place, a much better place had I had men who rallied behind me in my time of need. Guys, we can’t operate in life alone. We have these little terms like the lone wolf, and the one I heard not too long ago was, it’s no longer about alpha or a beta. It’s something like an omega now, which is that he doesn’t need anybody else. I don’t know. It’s weird.
Anytime I hear alpha or beta or omega apparently, I kind of tune out a little bit because I don’t think we can be boxed down or pigeonholed into these simple frameworks or categories. The point that I’m making if you don’t get it by now is that you need to build a band of brothers. You need to find men in your life who care about you, who want to see you thrive, who want to see you succeed. These are not bobbleheads that are going to bob up and down and say, yes, yes, yes, everything you’re doing is wonderful, but they might actually call you on some of your bullshit when you need to be called on those things. That’s what you need in your life.
You need competition, you need brotherhood, you need camaraderie, you need support, and it’s on you to build that. A lot of times it seems to me that guys are waiting around for something wonderful to happen to them that, “Oh, if I find the right guy to include in my circle that everything will just work out.” No, it takes time and it takes an investment. It takes energy and resources into those individuals so that you can build the type of brotherhood I’m talking about. I’ll tell you what, it’s powerful. It’s powerful when men band together towards a common enemy or towards a common purpose, I think that creates a very unstoppable force for good and for overcoming hardship and tragedy that you may inevitably face and experience in your life. What I wanted to do with you today as I was thinking about over this past three or four days on what I wanted to talk with you on the Friday field notes is I thought I’d share with you a couple of strategies.
A couple of tips that you can use in order to build this band of brothers, in order to build a brotherhood of guys who have your six, who have your back when things go south and things go wrong and you aren’t relying upon reaching out to me, somebody, frankly you don’t know because you have nobody else to turn to. Now, I’ll do the best that I can. I can’t say that I’ll get to everybody or I can answer every question or dilemma or problem that every man has ever experienced. I’ll do what I can. I try to do a lot on this podcast and that’s why I want you to have somebody locally, somebody near you, at least somebody digitally that you can connect with and bond with who will have your back in these difficult situations.
1. Invest Today
I talked about this not being a passive strategy. It’s going to be very active. You’ve got to be assertive in this. You’ve got to put yourself in the situation to build a band of brothers, to have men who have your back. It takes an investment of resources, time, energy, money.
These are the types of things that are required on your part to build this out, but you’ve got to invest in that now because if you wait until there’s a problem or a divorce or a bankruptcy or a medical condition or a job layoff or a death in the family, if you wait, you’ve waited too long. You’ve got to be proactive about this and you’ve got to invest now. I say investing in other men because it truly is an investment. If you look at what an investment is, it’s a voluntary giving of resources in order to yield more resources down the road. Now, those resources can be financial resources if we’re talking about financial planning. It could be time. It could be energy and focus. It could be attention. When you give those resources to other men who you want to include in your circle, that will be returned to you. Now, you’re not going to do it because it’s going to be returned to you but this has to be a mutually beneficial relationship.
You have to be able to serve other men in your circle, your brothers, just as much as they serve you. If you’re in relationships, whether it’s a romantic relationship or some sort of fraternity, a brotherhood, and all you’re trying to do is get and take and take and take, you might get some things initially but this is not a longterm strategy. This is going to be a very short-lived relationship and it’s not going to value those other men and certainly, they’re not going to value you. We’re playing a long game, the long investment strategy here. How can I pour into other men who I admire, who I respect, who I want to see win, who I value, how can I serve them knowing that ultimately there may come a point in time where they can serve me and help me in a way that I need to be helped? Number one, invest right now. It’s like that old adage or proverb that says when is the best time to plant a tree? Well, before you need the shade.
When is the second-best time? Right now, because I’m telling you, the shade is coming and I hope you’re prepared on that day. I really do. It’s up to you to prepare right now. Invest now.
2. Lead With Value
I can’t tell you how many times people reach out to me and these are the guys I’m talking about who don’t have anybody who has their back and has their six and they’ll reach out to me. They’ll want me to solve their problems, which I get. When you’re desperate at times for solutions to life’s dilemmas, you’re in taking-mode. You’re in, I need to consume mode, I need somebody to help me or to give me a couple of ideas. Look, that’s not leading with value. That’s the antithesis of leading with value. You’re taking. If you want to invest now in a band of brothers, in a fraternity, men who are going to help you thrive and succeed in the best of times, in the worst of times, then you got to lead with value.
How are you going to serve these other individuals? How are you going to ensure that they win? What resources do they need? What connections can you make for these individuals? When you start leading with value because you care about people and you care about individuals and you want these men to win, you inevitably will win. A rising tide lifts all boats. There’s another proverb or quote, and I don’t know who said that, but a rising tide lifts all boats. It might not be your time right now to get, but you can certainly give. You may be in the position where you have the resources or the capacity to serve other individuals, other peers, brothers. Make sure you do that. Lead with value. Then when there comes a point in time where you’re going to need to extract from the group, that’s not going to be any question as to whether or not they will serve you.
Now, some might because they might be gaining it or they might be keeping score, but those are our guys. You’re going to weed out of your inner circle anyways. I’m talking about loyal, committed brothers who will do anything for you. Most of us don’t have it. Maybe we had it in school a little bit. Maybe we had it in some sort of organization, a church organization or scouts when we were younger. Maybe if you play any sports and you were at a club, that way you had some of this. The military certainly has that element of brotherhood, but outside of that, very few men have this. You’ve got to invest, number one. You’ve got to lead with value, number two.
3. Rally Around A Cause
In other words, something that’s meaningful and significant to you and the other men in your life or against a common enemy.
It’s been shown that physically, women do best when they’re face to face, right? They’re interacting, they’re having conversations, they’re face to face, and they’re discussing thoughts and ideas and beliefs and everything else they discuss. It’s been shown alternatively for men that they operate best when they’re standing shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, facing a common obstacle, facing a common objective, and then working collectively and in tandem to achieve the ultimate result. The best way to find men who are going to be in your circle, guys who are going to have your back in the best and worst of times is to rally around a cause, a meaningful cause or against a common enemy. A couple of examples. Hunting has been a big part of my life and a part of my life where I’ve built some solid friendships and connections because we have a common purpose and there are meaning and significance in us being on the hunt together.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu, another thing that’s relatively new in my life, but not only are we against a common enemy and sometimes it’s each other, but there’s also a lot of cooperation in that that improves ourselves. I’ll roll with a guy for 10 minutes and he’ll kick my butt for 10 minutes, I mean, hard, where I’m in physical pain and then at the end of it we shake hands and slap each other on the butt and say, “Hey, good job man.” That’s what I’m talking about here. Quite literally we’re going against each other, but it’s also cooperation. Brazilian jiu-jitsu has been a big part of that. The other component I can think of is exercise. That’s been a big part of my life for the past, I’d say five, six, seven years. I’m always amazed, specifically one that comes off mind is Sorinex.
Bert Sorin, he’s the president and CEO. He’s a close personal friend of mine. I’m amazed at what I’ve seen him create within his culture, within his organization. I was fortunate enough to go to their annual event called Summer Strong just a few months ago. To see the camaraderie and the friendships and the brotherhood and the care that they had built around getting strong and being physically cultured and becoming legendary as their tagline, it was pretty inspiring to see. These are men who rallied around a very common purpose, a very common objective. They’re helping each other out, they’re calling each other out. They’re competing in a way that pushes them and drives them to succeed and excel and do better. Find something that’s meaningful to you. Find a hobby, an interest, an activity, something that you’re excited about and I guarantee there are other men who are excited about that.
When you find this common purpose or the common enemy, you will be that much more bound together. If you’re just hanging out, that’s not significant. That’s not meaningful. It’s likely that you’re not going to find the type of men of which I’m referring, or they might be but you’re going to have to figure that out in a different capacity. Rally around a very, very specific cause.
4. Include Other Men
Don’t do things alone. It’s that simple. I know sometimes it’s weird if for example, you’ve identified somebody that you want to have in your inner circle and it’s almost like you’re asking this individual on a date and obviously that’s awkward and weird and that’s why I think a lot of guys don’t do this is because they feel stupid. You probably ought to, if you’re asking a guy, like go to a movie or something, it’s weird, right?
How do you overcome this? You throw gatherings, activities, again, jiu-jitsu, lifting, going into the gym, hunting. That’s a great way to do it. Even fight night. One of the things that I do quite often is I do a fight night, we’ll watch UFC. I’ll invite a bunch of guys over, not one so it’s not like a date. I’m like, “Hey, we’re having a bunch of people over to the house. Why don’t you come on over? Bring another friend with you and let’s just hang out. We’ll have some good food. We’ll watch the fights, we’ll have a good time,” and that’ll be the end of it. That’s not as weird. Other things that I’ve done is if I’m going golfing, which I haven’t golfed in years now, it seems a silly thing now that I haven’t done it for a while, but it is fun.
Anyways, if I’m going golfing, what I’ll do is let’s say I’ve got two of us that are going golfing is that I’ll deliberately and intentionally invest and reach out to two other guys who maybe I don’t know all that well, but I’d like to get to know because I see some value in who they are and how they’re showing up. I’ll reach out to those guys and I’ll say, “Hey, you know I’m going golfing. I’ve got a foursome lined up. Love to have you out. Come hang out with us on Thursday at seven. That’s our tee time.” Then it’s not awkward. It’s not weird. It pulls down the barriers. It’s not like a date like I talked about. It’s just four guys going golfing, having a good time hitting the ball around. Think about group settings, group environments, invite other individuals, other men. Encourage those guys to bring their brothers or their buddies or their fathers and get the men together.
5. Keep Your Word
When I’m looking for somebody to include in my inner circle or to let even further into my inner circle, I need to know that this is an individual who will honor their word, who will follow through on their commitments. I need to be that kind of individual because every time I say something and I don’t follow through on it, I diminish my credibility. I undermine my authority and my ultimate purpose of building out a band of brothers who has my back. You cannot say things that you don’t intend on doing. You cannot continually come up with excuses for not upholding your word. Now, do things happen? Of course, but just like a physical bank account, if you are withdrawing from the relationship, the relationship capital by taking or not honoring your word, it’s only a matter of time before you’re overdrawn. It’s going to happen sooner rather than later, you have to deposit relationship capital into the account in order to withdraw. You do that by investing. You do that by leading with value.
You do that by inviting other people to activities, all the things that we’ve talked about. You also do that by keeping your word. When you tell your buddy, “Hey, you know what, I’ll come on Saturday and I’ll help you move because I’ve got a truck and I can help you do that.” Then Friday night you call him up and you say, “Hey man, I had something come up. I can’t really make it.” Well, you just withdrew. You just withdrew from the relationship capital and now he trusts you less. Next time he needs you to help move or need some help in some other manner, he’s not going to call you. He’s not going to reach out to you. Why would he? Then when you reach out to him because you need something, guess what? He’s not going to answer the phone because he knows every time you call or every time you reach out or every time you say something, you’re full of shit and he doesn’t believe you. Why should he believe you? You don’t follow through on your word. You don’t keep your promises and you’re probably not somebody worth having in his inner circle.
You want to have men in your inner circle be worthy of being in their inner circle. When you say things, commit to them. Commit is not a word by the way. It’s not a promise. A commitment is not a promise. A commitment is an action because I can promise you, and I can say everything I can to make you think that I’m going to do the thing but commitment is actually acting and following through on the thing that you promised to do. When you say something, commit, be there. Don’t come up with excuses. Don’t mess up your schedule. Keep a schedule, right? Because if you have to call the guy up and say, “Hey man, I’m sorry. I forgot I had little Timmy’s baseball game at nine o’clock on Saturday morning, I can’t come to help you move.” Your excuse doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean anything. All right. You may feel like it justifies your decision and you know what? It probably does because I think you should put little Timmy’s baseball game ahead of priority in some of these things but you should have thought of that. You should have thought of that.
You should have had it scheduled. You shouldn’t have committed to going to help move, in this example, when you had a game. Manage your schedule, manage your time, be a good steward over the things you have, including your schedule and your resources and your time, attention and energy so when you say something, it’s worth its weight in gold because you’ve done it time and time and time and time again. When you need to withdraw from that relationship bank account, you have the capital to do it. There’s no question. I’ve got two dozen friends who I could call right now if I needed something and I needed help and every single one of them would rush to help. Why? Because I’ve invested in them, because I care about them. I make connections for them. I lead with value. I help them where I can, not because I’m going to get something out of it but because I believe in goodwill. I like these individuals, they like me, I support them, I edify them, I uplift them.
If and when the day comes that I need them to do the same thing for me, I know that these men will be there for me. That’s number five. The last one, and I know this one’s going to be a little controversial, but it is what it is.
6. Don’t Be “That Guy”
What I mean by that is don’t be a punk. Keep things between you and your confidants confidential. That’s where that word comes from. Keep it confidential. Keep it between you and him. Don’t be a whiner. Don’t be a complainer. Don’t withdraw more than you invest and put in. Don’t be an a-hole or a dick. Don’t make this a difficult thing. Don’t make it hard to be your friend. I’m not sure how much more specific I can get than that. It’s sad that I may even need to get more specific than that, but don’t make it hard to be your friend. We all have friends like that.
There are all people running in our circles who are like that, and you know exactly who I’m talking about. It’s the guy who you like, but he’s really, really difficult to be a friend for. Don’t be that guy. When you make a commitment, make a commitment. Don’t withdraw more than you put in. Don’t whine and complain and be a dick and be an a-hole and under-deliver on your promises. Don’t be weak. Don’t be weak. I have this theory that the reason that men push each other physically, mentally, emotionally, the reason we’ve even bust each other’s balls with jokes, the reason we do this is that I need to know who’s going to punk out when things get hard. If you’re so emotionally weak that you can’t stand me giving you a little bit of a hard time or busting your balls when you do something stupid or getting after you a little bit when you don’t uphold your commitments.
If you punk out during that time, then I know you’re weak and I can’t have you in my battle because if I’m going up against something that is as difficult and challenging and potentially life-threatening, I don’t want you by my side. I want the guy that can stand a beating. I want the guy who’s emotionally and physically and mentally resilient and tough and gritty. How do I find that out? By pushing, it’s what men do. We push on each other, not because we don’t like each other, but because I need to know who’s going to have my back. I need to know who’s going to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and face down that dragon together. I don’t want to look left and look right and see a bunch of dudes run and tuck tail because they can’t handle the difficult situation that we all may have found ourselves in.
I’m not talking about guys who are fearless. I’m talking about guys who are bold and courageous and assertive and are willing to do this thing called life with me. That I can support them, that I can help them, motivate them, push them, and that I can take a little pushing. We let our egos get in the way. It’s like we don’t want people around us who are going to push hard because it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable when somebody calls you out on your bullshit but that’s the path to growth. Comfort is great. It’s great until you want to succeed or strive for success. At that point, you’re going to need to get uncomfortable and you’re going to need to do the hard things and you’re going to need other men around you who push you to do those hard things and are willing to do the hard things themselves.