When I coach men, I have to be aware that two men are actually in the room (or on the phone) with me. There’s the well-intended guy – the one who found his way to coaching or a men’s group. Then, there’s the rebel – or the gremlin or critic or the saboteur or the tough guy. He goes by a lot of names, but his bullshit is always the same. He’s the one who will do whatever it takes to keep a man’s world small and safe.
He’ll present smart-ass counterarguments for every thought you have: The well-intended man, trying to lose his growing gut says, simply and sensibly: Jelly donut bad. The rebel replies: Well, it certain contexts and at certain times, the jelly donut could be understood as good.
He’ll question you're the basic commitments you’ve made to yourself and others: The well-intended man committed to sitting in the men’s group. The rebel says, with all the too-cool-for-school he can muster: Who needs that sit-around-and-talk nonsense when half-a-dozen Game of Thrones episodes and a night on the couch beckon? You work soooooo hard, man. Give yourself a break. God knows no one else will give you one.
He’ll bawl you out like a Little League coach with anger issues: The well-intended man will be dutifully hauling his toolbox to a fix-it project that he has no idea how to approach and the rebel will start barking about your ground-level status as a man. Should the thought of actually asking for help (beyond finding videos on Mr. Fixit) enter your mind, the rebel will be there berate your for it.
You get the idea.
What are the different incarnations this inner-rebel takes on in your life, guys?
What has he prevented your from doing this week? This morning? This minute?
What resistance do you have to acknowledging to yourself that such an inner-rebel exists?