HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Five or more team meetings
WHY DO THIS? To lead a more passionate and fulfilling life
WHAT SUPPORT IS NEEDED? Any hero or experienced team leader
WHO CAN HELP? NA, team discussion
WHAT IS THE TEAM’S ROLE? Fully engage the process until conclusion
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Many men live lives of quiet desperation, but in NOM we support you to live a passionate life. Each man has a unique set of skills, expectations and values and so it is very valuable to know what each man on a team thinks about living passionately.
One premise of living a fulfilling life is that balance leads to enrichment. Having a rich social life can aid in having a wonderful family life, being in optimum physical condition can open up new vistas for vacations and travel, enjoying your time off can make work more meaningful and so on.
Here are the categories of our lives that we will examine.
- Professional / career
- Personal Development
This process takes about 5 weeks, about 30 min. of team time for the first week, about an hour for the 2nd week and the whole team meeting for the final weeks. The final meeting takes about 45 min of team time. This process works far better to have every man be at every meeting during the process and commit to engage with it fully.
What we are going to do is make a list of 100 meaningful lifetime dreams… these are things that we deeply aspire to create in our lives before we die. You will notice that this is not a “bucket list” type of exercise, as most of these dreams are relational rather than sight seeing trips or travel adventures we want to complete.
The end of a team meeting is best used for the set up and the actual exercise for that week would be sort of like “team homework”. The set up is the context outlined above. The home work portion is to spend a half hour per day, for 6 days in a row, listing all the things you deeply yearn to have/create in your life… try and find at least 2-3 in each category. (It is helpful to have all the categories listed on the left side of a sheet of paper, with 4-5 lines between each category, so that as you list them you can identify what basic need is being fulfilled. )… Get a clear and unequivocal commitment from each man for 30 min. per day so you have a benchmark to work with.
During the 30 min. do not censor the initial list in any way, just allow your dreams to be recorded… some of them will be bucket list items, just allow them to be on the list and see if you can continue going forward with your list as you go deeper into your heart’s truest desires. Working on this list will bring up immense amounts of feelings …some sadness, some joy, some fear and so forth, so it is a good idea to have a separate sheet of paper to list feelings associated with each dream as they come up. Many teachers say that if you want to follow your bless, just look at your fears- it is a lot easier to find them.
After the first 4-5 days you will probably have a couple dozen items on your list… if you have many more on the list then perhaps you are just checking off boxes and need to sharpen or broaden your horizon. My first list, made when I was single, for example had a series of items as follows: 1) make love to a natural red head, 2) make love to an asian woman, 3) make love to two women at the same time, 4) make love to a natural blond, 5) go on an elegant dinner date with a woman who is not wearing any panties and who lets me know ahead of time… and so forth… obviously in retrospective I was itemizing one lifetime dream which was to have an amazingly creative and varied sex life.
If you have far fewer items on your list, then perhaps you need expand your list with more detail. On my same first pass on this exercise, I had something like “have good health”… something I certainly want, but also a huge generalization… so I broke this one down a little more to include being highly mobile for my whole life, sexually active till I die, being able to sleep soundly and so forth.
After the first week, at the next team meeting, each man checks in with his progress without sharing too many specifics on his list. This is a good time for support in helping a man get unstuck in some areas of his life where he has no lifetime dreams. Working this on a team can be very helpful. Notice how hard it is for men to sit there for 30 min. with nothing new coming up, (without realizing it, I have written the same dream four or five times in my drafts of this exercise)
The next week’s goal is to get to at least 100 items, again a half hour per day for the next six days. For most men this will be very difficult. A few men breeze through it, but most start parsing one dream into a dozen segments as I described above just to reach the number.
The issues that come up for men which hinder their making a viable list are really important to look at. All men have some limiting beliefs, and these will come up if this process is handled correctly and most men on a team will have limiting beliefs in common with other men, so where one man has a break through in this area, it can set other men free as well. Some men typically think that their dreams do not come true, that they do not feel they deserve a fulfilling life, that it is too late for them to enjoy life, that the purpose of life is duty bound and not passion driven, and so on. The meat of this exercise is to identify the limiting beliefs so that over the years the team can spot when a man acts like his limiting belief is true. ( and the paradox is that if you are convinced that a false limiting belief is true, you often make it true)… thus at the third team meeting, all the focus is on identifying the limiting beliefs and discussing them. i found it is important to allow the man to share his belief and then have other men raise their hands when they see they have some similar limiting belief.
Be prepared for a very intense meeting, I have seen some very heated exchanges when dealing with men’s attachment to their limiting beliefs. Make sure that each man invests the full 30 min. per day as this alone will force issues to the surface and if you allow the man to skip the time needed, the whole thing fizzles out.
Some men on the team may fade before the 100 items are recorded, and simply quit working on their list, and quit identifying their feelings. The whole exercise is overwhelming to them. You will have to decide if compassionate support will be more effective or hard support… but it is vital to keep each man engaged. With most teams there are lot of excuses about not having enough time to work on it, too much stress at home or at work or whatever, these excuses are all limiting beliefs and are typically the ones the man uses to avoid being fully engaged in his life on a month to month basis
The final week’s homework is to flesh out the rest of the 100 lifetime dreams on your list, making sure that there is a broad spectrum across each category and that the list is meaningful and not too shallow or too broad. So, continue with the half hour per day sitting with the list…culling some items, stretching to come up with any ting meaningful in some categories.
The final team meeting involves each man sharing his entire list and talking about all the feelings and resistance that came up along with the joy in seeing a path towards more juice in their life.
After this team meeting, there is one more week of home work, to find and then rank the top ten items on your list, so that you have a working list of lifetime dreams. This is shared with the team at the next team meeting (which is the true last meeting on the process), and the basic premise is that if every week you are working towards fulfillment of one of these top ten lifetime dreams then your life is mostly fulfilling and meaningful… if you are neglecting to work towards them then you are off track in your life.
Bonus: On the one year anniversary of this process, it is very interesting to have a team meeting where the men report in on how many of their lifetime dreams have been filled either competently or the man has serious success or progress on a lifetime dream. It is often stunning how positive the results are after one year… i would say that every man on the team had a dozen or so solid successes.
Teams that focus on hard support can extend and deepen this process in two ways.
Follow up every year on the anniversary as noted above and at the beginning of each year set some goals out for each man and check in throughout the year for progress. Say a lifetime dream is for a father to reconcile with his son, well the team can gently monitor steps being taken or avoided throughout the year to help support success.
We also got a 100 year calendar and had each man mark dates by which each dream would actually come true, which gave a sense of urgency for each man and each dream. if a man is in his mid 50’s and expects another 30 years of active life, then that means at least 3 major lifetime dreams need to manifest each year. you can see how intense this makes the whole process as you take it from being a mere abstraction and make it tangible. This is especially true for the bucket list items that make it on the list- if a man wants to hike to kathmandu, listen to the Dali Lama in person, or hang glide over the bay, then he needs to target some dates and get focused.