Having spent over 20 years in the world of personal growth and development, I’ve tried a lot of modalities and practices. Of everything I’ve done, being part of a Men’s Group has been hands down the most impactful thing on my life. So much so, that I truly believe every man should be part of a group in some capacity. I’ll share a bit about why in a moment, but first you might be asking, what is a men’s group?
Quite simply, it’s a group of men that gather together with the explicit intention of supporting and challenging each other to be the most vital, expressed, and powerful versions of themselves they can be. There are many different styles of men’s groups, but all in essence boil down to that idea. Life is short and men’s groups help us make the most of it.
The benefits to being part of a group are countless, but let me share 5 of the most important reasons I think you should join a group now.
1) Loneliness is dangerous
More and more research data is pouring out that shows how social isolation and a lack of social connection can be devastating to our health. In fact, this epidemic may increase your chance of dying by as much as 30%! It rewires our brains, keeping us in a state of chronic-stress. It’s also theorized that social isolation (lack of connection) is one of the root causes of most major addictions.
So much of modern society is conspiring against us in this regard, with more and more people working remotely, living alone, and communicating over email and text message. Many of the cultural institutions that provided our social glue and fabric are fading away, made even more extreme here in the United States with our strong bent towards private spaces over public ones.
Joining a men’s group is a POWERFUL tonic to social isolation. Sitting in circle with other men gives us community, connection, and can go a long way to lowering our stress levels. In person face-to-face contact is more important now than ever.
2) The masculine grows through challenge and feedback
Whether you call it feminine and masculine, Yin and Yang, being and doing, communion and agency, we all have two of the most primal energies active inside of us. For many (though not all) of us men, we have more masculine energy in our systems.
The masculine grows most quickly and powerfully through challenge and feedback. This is a truth that is crystal clear in sporting culture, where coaches, our teammates, and rival teams constantly provide the information and push to make us better. Improving at anything in life is easier when we have trusted people along side us offering us what they see in service of our transformation. We can often be totally blind to pieces of our behavior and ways of being in the world, which is were fellowship becomes so important. Other men can point out to us what we aren’t seeing ourselves and call us on our bullshit from a place of deep service and love.
3) It’ll improve your intimate relationships
This one is huge, and might seem like a bit of a surprise at first, but I’ve seen it change relationships for men of any sexual orientation. For us men that are attracted to women, I am a FIRM believer that the quality and depth of our connection with women is almost always determined by the quality and depth of our connection with other men. The stronger and healthier the latter, the stronger and healthier the former.
Being part of a men’s group works helps strengthen our relationships with women in so many ways. First and foremost, it can take a HUGE amount of burden and pressure off our intimate relationship to be our everything when it comes to emotional connection. I’ve seen and worked with countless men who’s intimate relationship with their woman is the ONLY outlet they have for deep and meaningful connection. When our woman is our everything, it means we have a LOT riding on the wellbeing of our relationship.
Being part of a men’s group counteracts that in many ways. It gives us a support system outside of our partner we can vent to, and like mentioned before can often point out our bullshit or what we’re missing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in a men’s group where a guy came in all fired up about something happening in his relationship, 100% convinced his partner was entirely to blame. Yet, after sharing and getting feedback from the group, had the deep and often painful realization that he actually held a lot of the blame for what was happening. Instead of going home to have a fight with his partner, suddenly he’s going home with a deeper appreciation of her and desire to connect.
Not only that, but when we can have our connection and belonging needs largely met by men in our group, it frees us up to be less “needy” when it comes to women and relationships. I’ve seen men stay in pathological relationships WAY too long because they had no where else to go for connection and were deathly afraid of “being alone”. Being part of a fellowship gives us a secure foundation to live more boldly in intimate relationship. We’re less afraid of rejection on all levels.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, being part of a men’s group can do wonders for sexual polarity in relationship. Polarity is the practice of difference, and leaving our partner to go spend time with other men actually creates space and difference in our relationship. I’ve had much first hand experience of going away to group and coming home, only for my partner to reflect how good I feel and how attracted to me she’s feeling. It’s an experience countless other men who are in groups have as well.
Men’s group also supports keeping polarity alive even as we sort through our emotions. In group, we can allow ourselves to be held by other men, and sort through our sometimes undefined and wide range of emotions to find deeper clarity and centering regarding what we’re really feeling. Then, we can bring back and share that clarity with our partner in a way that is often extremely sexy! In essence, instead of moping around the house whining and complaining to the woman we love, we can come back and bottom line what we’re feeling with total depth and presence.
4) You’ll accomplish more in life
Men’s group also creates a POWERFUL container for support and accountability around the things we most want to accomplish in life. It’s very easy for us men to try and lone wolf it through life, keeping our greatest dreams and visions to ourselves. The second we share them with the men in our group, it starts to bring that goal or dream into reality. The more others know about something we want to do, the more likely it will happen. Other man can check in with us, asking what progress we’ve made on what’s most important to us. In the case that nothing has happened, they can help us get clear on WHY, and then support us through whatever those challenges are.
Personally, I’ve have MANY moments in my life where to be totally transparent, even though I had declared this goal or project to be amongst the most important things in my life, the only reason I often made meaningful next action steps was because I had committed to them in group and knew I’d have to check in about my progress at our next meeting. In short, join a men’s group and YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH more in your life.
5) Masculinity is a transmission
For most of human existence across the globe, men gathering together and heading off away from their families and tribes was part of the human experience. The entire hero’s journey is in many ways just an evolution of “the hunt”. Men must go into the world to find themselves being guided by other men along the way. These hunts and other rites of passage have nearly completely disappeared from our culture, fracturing a chain of being for men in a way that’s never happened before. Robert Bly has written powerfully on this crisis of being largely impacted by our transition into an industrial and now information economy.
In generations past, we’d spend our days with our fathers, grandfathers, and uncles, witnessing firsthand how “men” moved through the world. In our modern world of fathers spending most of their days working outside of the home, so many boys are raised without the daily contact of adult male authority figures. It is not an overstatement to say that we learn HOW TO BE GOOD MEN by spending time around other good men. Masculinity is a transmission that goes man to man. You can read all you want about healthy masculine in books and philosophy, but it only ENTERS your system when you’re in it’s presence in the world.
Joining a men’s group is a powerful way to reconnect us to our tradition of “going away” with other men. Whereas these journey’s were previously mostly in the external world, modern men’s groups allow us to use structure and ritual to go on interior journeys together, even if we’re meeting in someone’s garage.
The more time we spend with other good men, the more we become good men. Joining a solid men’s group is simply one of the most powerful investments in yourself you can make. Do not wait…join a group now and kickstart your life on a whole new level.
Ready to drop into deep connection with other men and join a group? Here’s a few offerings that will change your life:
- My quarterly Men’s Group Facilitator Training. Experience the power of being in a men’s group, and then learn the tools to lead your own.
- For men wanting to have deeper relationships with women, the signature group program I co-lead along with men’s dating coach Melanie Curtin called Pillars of Presence.
- A Shadow Breakthrough Weekend for Men, a quarterly deep dive 2 day workshop in Los Angeles.