by David B. Bohl
Sometimes it’s tough being a man. You’re expected to do your job or run your business, support your family, be a good husband and father … and all while keeping your mouth shut about any emotions you have, especially if they’re negative.
But here’s the thing—the key lies in that little word above, “expected.”
A whole lot of the misery that many men endure comes from trying to live up to external expectations. What are those? Here are a few examples that might have been programmed into you:
I am the man, and must always BE the man.
I am what I do.
I am my ability to bring home a paycheck.
I have to shut my mouth and keep things to myself.
I have to bury my emotions.
I can’t make mistakes.
If I do make a mistake, I can’t let anybody know
I have to quietly solve my own problems without anybody knowing that I had any in the first place.
If I show fear, that’s a sign of weakness, making me something less than a man.
Not only must I remain stoic, but I’m also expected to keep up a front that everything in my world and in my life is great, especially to those who are closest to me.
I’m expected to be the bead-winner and have a constant innate drive to always get ahead and be more than I am today.
I am judged by what I acquire – house, car, real estate – MONEY.
Successful people don’t have to play by the rules – they can leave work early to play.
I am expected to work long enough to accumulate massive wealth.
Then, to show that I’ve arrived, I can retire early, lead a life of leisure, and live off of my investments.
Now let’s think about where you got those expectations, because you didn’t choose them, did you?
Nope—you got them from your parents, your schooling, your teachers, your mentors, and your friends. And each of those reinforced what the others taught you.
If you slipped up and started making your own choices, your buddy or your dad or your teacher would say, “C’mon, that’s not what men do!”
As if being a man is all about what you do…think about that one for a minute.
Living a life out of balance means you’re constantly rushing around trying to live up to what everyone expects from you…and the problem is that the expectations are set sky-high.
Life balance starts by freeing yourself of the expectations set by others. David Bohl has these suggestions for breaking free:
Sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and make a list of all the things you have to do and have to be.
Next, beside each expectation, make your best guess of where it came from—parents, school, friends, or where?
Now take a new piece of paper, and write your own expectations in the form of goals for yourself—what you want to be.
Make a plan to take steps to free yourself of other’s expectations, except where it makes sense to take other’s wishes into consideration (such as those of your wife and kids.)
When you can life live on your own terms, setting your own goals and living up to your own expectations, you’ll be happier and more productive.