I lead a men’s group in London called the Men’s Action Project (MAP). It’s all about helping the men who are part of the group to achieve their goals.
From releasing a first album, getting a job promotion and launching a business to mastering cookery, passing a driving tests and learning new martial arts skills; the men who come to MAP are walking the walk. But it wasn’t always like this.
--This is article #64 in our series of #100Voices4Men and boys
My early years of adulthood weren’t great, but by applying various personal development techniques I’d learnt from books, I lifted myself out of my mid-twenties crisis. Back then I was a personal development version of James Bond, doing what men are supposed to do - going it alone! With my new powers and focus I could manifest anything I wanted. In search of goal achievement glory I ran a marathon, nailed promotion and travelled around the world for a year.
Then something shifted...
When I returned however something was very different. The post-travel blues set in as I felt myself being sucked into a very different type of crisis. Setting goals and taking action still brought results but something was missing. I tried explaining to my parents and friends that I was facing some challenges. But who wanted to hear from a man who was struggling because, he wasn’t (after a whole year) travelling around the world anymore!
Then something shifted. I was listening to a podcast called ‘The New Man' and the host Tripp Lanier was talking about men’s groups. I was inspired. The moment I took my ear plugs out I knew I’d found my next step. The next chapter in my growth was not something I could do on my own. It was time for even Bond to admit, he needed help from others. I immediately began my search and through the internet found Kenny D’Cruz’s men’s group - Menspeak. I liked the sound of what he was offering and without hesitation signed up to a meeting later that month.
After just one meeting I knew I had found the place where I was finally going to get some answers. To share my feelings and be properly listened to felt fantastic and the experience of getting authentic feedback invaluable. Feedback devoid of conditional, pre-defined projections of who I was, was worth it’s worth in gold. It was refreshing to hear I wasn’t the only one who struggled. It turns out even Jaws and Goldfinger feel insecure and get angry with themselves sometimes too. Sharing experiences with other men gave me a deeper understanding of where in my psychology current challenges were coming from. By sharing them in this way, I felt clear and able to move on.
'Missions and Goals'
It was when Kenny mentioned Missions and Goals at a meeting I realised the next stage of my quest. With my personal development knowledge there was a place in the men’s group arena for a new type of group. Kenny’s groups were about self-awareness and being, whereby my group was to provide a complimentary focus on the doing side with support, group accountability and a plan. After undertaking research at Glen Poole’s excellent National Conference for Men & Boys (and with Kenny’s valued support) I established the Men’s Action Project (The MAP) in Feb 2012.
Every month of facilitation was a learning curve as we moved through the process and I was amazed at the successes and life changes gained. On completion of my first six-monthly MAP process, participants celebrated their results including; a job promotion, smoking kicked to the curb and a weight loss/fitness goal knocked out of the park.
Over the past three years I ran another two processes with similar successes. To increase accessibility to the service this year I’m delivering an open meeting every fortnight . These meetings are called ‘Stepping Up’ and as the name suggests the supported MAPmen continue to do just that.
Now I’m not just going it alone. In my men’s groups I have a team of like-minded individuals to regularly discusses both internal and external challenges with. I’ve had my ups and downs, but day by day I am succeeding and learning with the support of others. I have become a far more confident, successful and ultimately happier operative than ever before.
It turns out even James Bond needs Men's Groups after all.
Photo: Flickr/Michael Pollack
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men's Day 2014 by clicking on this link---#100Voices4Men---and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
The views expressed in these articles are not the views of insideMAN editorial team. Whether you agree with the views expressed in this article or not we invite you to take take part in this important discussion, our only request is that you express yourself in a way that ensures everyone’s voice can be heard.