How do you win in the world today? What does it take to achieve victory?
We men are warriors, trained by the adults in our lives, by our exposure to television programming, the world of sports, and by our dealings with the world to be tough, rugged, and manly. We are to be competitors, not giving in to pain or disappointment, to lose. We must be winners, we must be conquerors. We must win at all costs.
The military recruitment posters, the beer ads, the atmosphere of the locker room and the ball park all champion our role as being the best, being the champion. Those who win make the money, enjoy the fame, and win the prettiest gal. They are the ones being interviewed on TV, and their faces are the ones appearing on the sports page and ESPN.
Yet, real life isn’t that way at all. Being the fierce competitive athlete, or the warrior in the work place, striving for victory hardly resembles the classroom, or the work place, and especially doesn’t resemble our family life. Instead, in those mundane, everyday situations, we find happiness and real fulfillment by working together, supporting other people’s work, and achieving the final product by using our talents of cooperation, give and take, and mediation. By finding the common ground, by encouraging others’ talents, the work gets done, family life flourishes, and our friendships deepen. This is the work of real men.
We don’t keep score at work, and we don’t keep check the time clock and the record books at home. We don’t keep track of the number of our friends, or how often we give real support to those in need. Real success isn’t a numbers game.
Our real power isn’t honored in the record books or by the cheers in the locker room or the bar after the game. The real winners aren’t the ones being interviewed by the TV personality or the ones who have their pictures on the front page of the sports section.
The real achievements, the real power comes from the quiet, behind the scenes work. The quiet words of encouragement, the few words of advice to the co-worker or the upset child, or the spouse having a tough day. The real achievements come from a warm hand on the other guy’s shoulder, as you let them know you care, and that they can solve the problem and learn the difficult task.
It is in letting the other guy know that you care, that they can change, that they are the ones who have the power in their own lives to make a difference, and to go ahead in life. It is in letting them know they have the skills and the talents, and that they can find the solutions. That is the real power, the power of encouragement, and your solid, steadfast belief in the ability of the other guy to pick up the right tool and to take charge of their lives.
The real power lies in building confidence, and in letting others know you believe in them. It is in being the cheerleader, the advocate, the mentor. It is the quiet conversation of encouragement over a cup of coffee, or in a corner of an office hallway, letting them know you believe in them. It is in the making of a commitment to listen, to encourage, to nurture. And, no one is keeping score.
It is in those moments that we flex our muscles and strut our stuff. It is then that we are real men. And, it is that several minutes of true listening, the quiet nod, the firm handshake, the pat on the back that your power is flexed, where your real manhood comes out. You aren’t there for the glory; you are there because you are a friend, a believer, a supporter.
And, in all of that, you are truly powerful. You are truly a man, a human and humane. And, you change lives and you make a difference – a real difference.