Overworked, overtired, depleted, stressed out, frustrated, angry, pissed off, unhappy, stuck, trapped, it's not possible for me, I'm too busy, it's not a priority, I don't have time for me, or the classic everything is fine, it's ok, it's not that bad...
I hear all these things in talking to men daily about their lives. Be it about their businesses, marriages, wins, or struggles. And I notice I see three types of men.
Type One, they are hungry, go after what they want, don't take shit from the world, and create the world they live in. They are living the dream, and everything is fantastic, incredible, better than they could have imagined, or something to that tune.
And that's wonderful. I love that. Sometimes we keep talking because they want next-level accountability, exciting and enlightening conversations, and to take it to an even higher level. Sometimes, they are already doing that themselves, and we become friends or colleagues.
The second type is the men at some version of rock bottom. They are depressed, unhappy, and overwhelmed with their responsibilities. They often share how they struggle to get things done, keep their word, and focus on what they know to be necessary. If they are married, it's not going well, and they know it. If they are single, they are lonely. They use drugs, porn, sports, alcohol, sex, or overworking because of the pain they feel and the emptiness inside. They feel lonely because they lack relationships with other men, or those relationships are shallow, disconnected, or just surface-level.
If these men are in enough pain, sometimes that motivates them enough to seek change, help, and support. Sometimes we can work together. Other times therapy or additional support is a better option at the time.
And the third type of man, this guy, is a doozy. He's the man who's living in a sort of denial.
He's the "it's fine," "everything is ok," or the "it's really not that bad" kinda guy.
He doesn't relate to his distractions, including overworking or being lazy, not getting enough sleep, porn, sports, tv, the news, or video games, as a problem even if it's negatively impacting his loved ones, kids, or partner.
While this guy knows he's not reaching his potential, he's found a way to be apathetic about it. While he's distracted, not focused, and not happy, he's not depressed, so it's not that bad. He might be a little annoyed, frustrated, or resigned about how things are going at work or home, but he hasn't gotten fired, his partner hasn't left, and there is food on the table, so it's okay.
He's living just waiting. He's in this holding pattern of comfort. Anything that could improve his life, he has a reason it can't be a priority, he's not interested in it, or just isn't that important. Part of him is clinging to keeping things the same because it's comfortable. A little piece of him is curious about what might be possible if something were to shift, but he's only willing to entertain the idea of it. Choosing it, stepping into it, it will have to wait.
These men are the men who are surprised when their wives suddenly leave. They are the men who don't get why their kids have no relationship with them. These men are the ones who are surprised when they receive a scary health diagnosis and don't know what to do. These men are confused when they get passed over for another promotion or laid off. These men don't want things to change and don't believe they can have what they want. Or they think that if they were to go after what they wanted, the price would be too much and might destroy what they already have.
These men are the most damaging to themselves and their families and the most significant liabilities at work.
And they break my heart.
These men have so much potential. But as we tell women, don't date a man's potential...
As men's coaches, we should also heed this advice.
Many of these men dreamed of being healthy or in better shape. They used to fantasize about having hot intense, passionate sex with their wives. They wondered what it would be like to be crushing it at work, to be able to travel and take incredible vacations, drive cool cars, and not stress about money. But now they block all that out. They pretend those dreams never existed or aren't or weren't possible for them.
The saddest part is these men just aren't that into themselves. They put everything above themselves: their health, happiness, success, and joy, so they make no effort to change. Whether you are the woman or partner with them, the family that loves them, the boss that sees untapped potential in them, the friends that don't understand their apathy or the coach that sees all the greatness and possibility they could live into... We will all be left feeling disappointed, sad, and broken-hearted because if they aren't that into themselves, they can't be that into anything else.
Sadly, there are more of these men than I can count...