Seeing and Being Seen
Check-ins are to men’s teams as gasoline is to trucks – common but essential. Even after we get used to them, they remain magical. Watching a good check-in unfold is akin to watching an 18-wheeler roar to life and roll forward. Knowing that internal combustion engines turn gasoline into momentum doesn’t take away the magic of seeing the behemoth move.
Visibility Check-ins are the most fundamental form of check-ins. They invoke the magic of seeing and being seen. For that magic to happen, it requires authentic effort from the person checking-in and the team listening to him.
The person checking-in has to wave the wand and allow himself to be seen. Wand waving requires courage and vulnerability. It is a sacred invitation to the group to enter the man’s world and see him as he is in the moment. It’s not about what happened last week. It’s not an analysis. It’s not a story. It’s the deepest emotional reality a man is able to get in touch with in the current moment. It’s being raw. It’s being naked.
Wand waving requires a safe space, held by the other men. A safe space is built on confidentiality and non-judgment. In this kind of check in, back and forth questions are rare and generally discouraged. The man is taking the listener into his world. It’s best to suspend judgment, step in, look around, breathe it in.
A good check-in is a singular statement of trust. When a man makes that leap of trust, he learns he does not have to be perfect to be cared for by other men. What the man invests in vulnerability and trust he earns back in acceptance, support, and connection.
Two important things happen as a result of a good check-in:
A man loses the need for self-promotion and guarding himself. That release brings tremendous relief. Many men have not felt this unguarded since they were children. It is essentially an altered state, both physical and chemical, releasing dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin. It is nourishing. The men who experience it want more.
When men see each other in this raw and vulnerable state, they begin to care deeply about each other. Vulnerability breeds connection.
Often it takes a good mentor for a new man to realize the power of check-ins. A mentor will model the required vulnerable visibility that primes the pump. When a man sees that and comes into contact with that kind of authenticity, he will naturally rise to match it. Seeing is believing.
Men’s work is about trusting enough to become visible to the tribe. In ancient tribes we had nowhere to hide. We are simply relearning what we have forgotten, that it’s safe to be seen.
Eager to find your tribe? The principles above are explored in depth during Momentum’s introductory offering for new men called Launchpad. Get in touch to find out about a Launchpad men’s group near you.