Since I left the SEAL Teams, few things have disgusted me more than people's weak-ass ability to be authentic with one another. I had become accustomed to being surrounded by men who wouldn’t hesitate to call me out when I was bullshitting myself or those around me:
“Laundry in the middle of the night?”
“Yeah, I just spilled something on my pants.”
“Bullshit! You passed out and pissed yourself, you drunk bastard.”
Now, I am no longer surrounded by men who have the balls to talk about the depravity they enter over the weekend or what it is -- their marriage, kids, you name it -- that’s killing them. I find myself in a shell created by the lies we tell each other:
“How are you doing?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m good too. How’s the wife?
“Great. How are the kids?”
Fucking liar, liar, pants on fire.
Just one time, I want it to be:
“How are you doing?”
“I’m feeling good right now, but my wife doesn’t want to have sex with me because I keep drinking too much and acting like an asshole. I’ve been diving into porn, and now I’m thinking about leaving her for a 20-year-old stripper.”
“Damn, dude, you’re all fucked up. Where do you wanna surf?”
Somehow, somewhere, men stopped being real with each other, probably because they stopped being real with themselves. I call this the “disease of domestication”: Our perception of reality starts to mimic the comfortable society in which we exist. We conform. We become ordinary, familiar, and acceptable.
Damn, who wants to be surrounded by people like that?
It’s only through our ability to experience the real people around us as our real selves that allows us to transcend ordinary levels of performance and enter into the superhuman realm. As it has been said, iron sharpens iron.
In the last Strategic Training Group call, one of the members got real personal about something going on in his life, and my response was, “High performers are quick to go deep.” Another member was quick to chime in:
“It seems like it’s always the high performers of any group that are the most authentic with others.”
“Of course” I replied. “You don’t get to high levels of performance by hiding out or dwelling among those who do.”
You can’t expect transformation to occur without getting past the false surface conventional men tend to hide behind. It would be like a sculptor trying to create a masterpiece without getting past the plastic covering of his clay.
Fellas, there can be no transformation without authenticity, and no authenticity without a brotherhood.
Is the Strategic Training Group we created a “safe place” to share your feelings? No. Not even close. It’s a dangerous place, a place where your feelings will likely get hurt and your beliefs challenged..
If you’re looking for a “safe place,” go and listen to a podcast or read a book. Nobody can call out your bullshit there.
But if you’re looking for something real, a place where you can be molded into the man you need to be, then you must exist within a brotherhood. A group of intention that has been formed intentionally.
A skilled group that knows how to listen, debrief and design with you. A group of men that has put it all on the line to be there. A group of men who must make the group work if they are to survive, live a good life and lead others to do the same.