After taking the last week off to attend an annual Men’s Retreat, I’m back and blogging!! (I hear the collective Cheer through the Internet Lines!! HA!)
Last week I attended a unique gathering of the most interesting Men I know. Twenty Five of us descended on Vail Colorado and launched our 5th annual meeting of the minds. Guys come from all over the world, and hold some of the most intriguing positions. Some are famous musicians, others authors, some pastors, and some are just successful business people who are looking for a place where they can be honest and real with the phase of life we’re all in.
Sometimes before going, I find myself wondering, “Why in the world am I going to this deal? After all, it’s four days, and most of the time we just sit around and hang out.” Boy, could I have been more wrong.
Sure we spend time hanging out, shooting skeet, riding the local zip line, playing football, and just hiking; BUT oh so much more takes place.
1. Being with people is essential to knowing and being
I often wonder if there’s anyone else out there in the world thinking the same things I’m thinking. Blogging and Writing Books can be a lonely space to live. Every now and then I think it’s essential for me to go and “hang out” with people who are in a similar life phase as I’m in. And when you sit around a living room with people who are successful at all levels of quantification, there’s something that happens when we can learn from one another.
“I don’t know if I believe in what I believed in last year at this time.” one of the guys commented on our first night meeting together.
For some, that may be a scary proposition to hear from a friend, but for this community we’ve started to build there’s nothing to fear. We ask good questions, spend time exploring what new insights life is bringing, and most importantly how we can encourage each other.
I think it’s important to be with people who can encourage you through life. If you’re struggling with belief, vocation, friendships, or maybe even marriage; it’s always good to have people in your life who can listen well and give you and honest assessment from the outside.
2. Being honest is essential to building meaningful relationship
I remember growing up in the church where they used words like “Accountability.” And all accountability meant was I would meet with someone and they would ask the HARD QUESTIONS.
Did you look at porn this week?
Were you honest in your school work?
Have you spent time with God this week?
How are you doing with your girlfriend?
I don’t know about you, but I always felt like accountability felt more like a police shake down.
Who wants to sit with someone you respect and show your dirty laundry out in the open? That’s not cool!! And what if they take what you told them, and started using it against you. How embarrassing would that be?
So the culmination of accountability in my early years was just lying to the people I met with so I didn’t really have to address the crucial issues I was trying to deal with.
This group is honest. There’s nothing that can be said to discount anyone at the table. In fact, the more pain bubbling to the surface of conversation actually helps to build a foundation of compassion. Being honest actually draws these men together instead of creating a tabloid type of environment. Everyone respects the other, and NO-ONE shares outside the group. (as evidenced by how many keep the identities of the men secret)
3. Being together is essential in developing a framework for success
Some of the guys who attend the meeting are SUPER WEALTHY, and others don’t have any money to speak of.
Some have built HUGE churches, and others are chaplains in small communities.
Some are business leaders in America, and others are Spiritual Leaders in their own intentional communities.
What I notice when these men get together is, Success is a variable conversation. Our world likes to say success is measured by the amount of money in your bank account, but actually; the successful guys are dealing with the same life issues as those who aren’t thought to be as successful financially.
I walked away encouraged that we’re all working on what it means to be successful in our own right. For me, success is mentoring young adults. If I’m engaged with young adults, I feel no matter what my bank account looks like, I’m successful. And that’s a by-product that you can’t put a price tag on.
In any event, I’m back.
Thanks for hanging with me, and I’ll resume my series on building community this week.
Thank you for reading and sharing. I appreciate you more than you know.
May God bless you in whatever ways encourage your spirit this week, and may we all take some time to value the synergy of our own community.