Meet the Quorum: Tacos, Motorcycles, and Mexico

Meet the Quorum: Tacos, Motorcycles, and Mexico

Meet the Quorum: Tacos, Motorcycles, and Mexico

Derik Johnson: Alright, welcome to Alpha quorum.

Derik Johnson: I am your host, Derik Johnson. You’ve heard me before. You’ve heard my cohost and Co-founder of Alpha Quorum, Brad Singletary. Go ahead and say hi Brad.

Brad Singletary: What’s up? What’s up?

Derik Johnson: Hey, we got a couple of new guys. Actually they’re not new to me. They’re going to be new to you. A couple of guys joining us on the podcast for a, for the very first time. First of all, the one and only. What was your handle again on Instagram? Hobomoped. This is Hobomoped from Instagram. Mike Spurgin, go ahead and introduce yourself. Mike.

Mike Spurgin: Yeah, Mike Spurgin, Taco Mike. Otherwise known as Taco Mike.

Derik Johnson: Where does the Taco Mike come from?

Mike Spurgin: We do Baja trips and so on. We’re down there. We just, they just call me Taco Mike.

Brad Singletary: I think taco mike’s way. Cool.

Mike Spurgin: That’s what I call my motorcycle. It’s the moped. I’m a Hobo, Hobo. Mopeds traveling. We’ll have to cut that out.

Derik Johnson: We don’t want to offend any carnies. Might be listening.

Mike Spurgin: Chop Chop,

Derik Johnson: on their Metro pcs, phone. So I like the beard. The beard is actually… What does Mrs Spurgin think about the beard.

Mike Spurgin: She’s not a fan. She doesn’t like it that much. She’s not really.

Derik Johnson: Mrs Johnson hates the beard.

Mike Spurgin: Yeah.

Derik Johnson: She says, yeah, you’re cute without your beard. Cute with the beard. Right.

Mike Spurgin: So i’m taking Santa in a whole different direction. A dark direction.

Derik Johnson: To be honest with you. There’s a, there’s a dude, like a homeless guy that sleeps outside my office. And if I get to the office early, he’s still like laying there in front of my office and you and him have the exact same beard.

Mike Spurgin: So those people at Church, asked me about this because it’s a little long for Mormon standards. And so, I tell people that I’m taking the amish lessons, the amish discussions, and as soon as I’m Amish I’m going straight to Rumspringa up like just right there. Do not pass, go, do not collect $200 bucks straight away.

Derik Johnson: What did, what did the amish lessons are they, is it whittling is a lot of woodworking and things like that. All right Mike. Well welcome to the to the, to the podcast. I will say that Mike was a tuning up, somebody on the phone right before we went live and I’m excited. I’m, I’m Kinda thinking I might hire Mike as a personal coach because he was slapping this guy slowly over the phone, Kinda. It was exciting because. And it takes also joining us for the first time. Mr Jeremy Levitt.

Jeremy Leavitt: Hello. Hello everybody.

Derik Johnson: Jeremy Levitt is what is your what’s your field? What are you, you’re a therapist,

Jeremy Leavitt: a marriage and family therapist.

Brad Singletary: Extraordinaire.

Derik Johnson: How long have you been doing that?

Jeremy Leavitt: About six years. Okay. Yeah, six years. That’s right. That’s accurate. I had to do some mental math there.

Derik Johnson: All right, what made you want to be a therapist? And, and we always are there like a.

Jeremy Leavitt: do you want the long story, the short story?

Derik Johnson: I want the best story. I don’t care how long, I don’t care how long it takes to get there

Jeremy Leavitt: or you know, whatever, you know. I never really thought I wanted to be a therapist. I’m actually thought I wanted to be an attorney. For what reasons? I don’t know why I’m really felt like I could influence people and was ready to look into a master’s program and decided that law school was not the right decision and went and signed up for master’s degree program intending to do an Mba, saw the list and the Honda was marriage and family therapist and I signed, didn’t even consult my wife, which was probably not a good idea. And the person that was there signing the upset of congratulations, you just signed up for the longest master’s degree program we have. And the rest is history.

Derik Johnson: And how long ago was that?

Jeremy Leavitt: I graduated in 2012.

Derik Johnson: And went right into it.

Jeremy Leavitt: Well, right into it. I graduated with a full private practice, which is not that easy to do, but I, I started working in

Derik Johnson: what does that mean for us laymen here? What does that mean? Full private practice.

Jeremy Leavitt: So most people when they graduate in the last year of school, you have an internship where a year you can accrue, you know, up to 500 hours towards your 3000 hours required for licensure. So the rest of the 2,500 you have to work at after you graduated as a state intern. But in that time, in that last year I had built such a, such a reputation, was really pushing myself hard to do presentations to different groups and it was really talking to a lot of people, you know, so most people graduate with the 10 hours a week that they had because they were working 10 hours a week the last year of school to get those hours. And I was, I graduated with a full schedule of 40 clients. So we can, wow, it’s been going on stuff.

Derik Johnson: You work primarily with men now, right? Dealing with men’s issues,

Jeremy Leavitt: men’s issues, but the family issues, too, in the issues men sometimes cause

Derik Johnson: I would say they probably always caused that.

Jeremy Leavitt: I’ll say 90 percent.

Derik Johnson: Was that something you always wanted to do or did you, you know, as you were early in your practice, did you find a niche that you were good at this when you started? How did it end up that?

Jeremy Leavitt: I just started really learning started all with pornography and pornography and sex addiction. So I really focused and studied that and my, My specialty became that but that, that merge. So obviously I was working with lots of guys is there, but say just guys struggle with it is not true. I work with probably 20 to 30 percent of my clients are women that struggle with that as well. But that led into the, the family dynamics that are affected by a pornography or the infidelity in the marriage dynamics and then even further, but the betrayal trauma part of it where I’ve got a woman now who is in a marriage and literally can be diagnosed with PTSD. I’m just like a Vietnam vet and the only difference between her and a Vietnam vet is the Vietnam vet didn’t expect, Charlie Viet Cong to love him. And so we got a mess. Do that whole messy process of cleaning that up and helping her heal before the marriage can even start to be repaired.

New Speaker: Gotcha. Fun.

Derik Johnson: All right. He, he lost me about halfway through that explanation the way smarter way I wouldn’t do smart from what would you say the number one for working with men right now? What would you say the number one problem they’re facing? I mean, I think that all four of us, one of the things I think that attracted the four of us getting together and doing this podcast is we all agree that 2018 is a very unfriendly time for a traditional as we would define it, masculinity and in fact we just, and I, I don’t want to get too deep into this, but as far as the Kavanagh thing, cook, it quickly became a man versus woman issue and you know, there was, you were either with the women and against him or with the men and with him. And I felt that that was kind of foolish and silly, but I don’t really want to get into that. But I think we all agree that it’s not a good time or it’s not. I don’t want to say it’s not a good time because the time is the time. It’s not good or bad. This is just kind of the waters. So that’s what got us all together. What do you think the number one challenge it is you see in all your clients? Men specifically give me like a,

Jeremy Leavitt: unequivocally, it’s just redefining their manhood. Absolutely. If they can start feeling like men again and understand understanding what a man is and what a man does and what his roles and responsibilities are, things start to get better. They, these men have created vacuums in their families and so if they’re not the leader and obviously leading with their life, but they’ve, they’ve, they’ve left that position, there’s this huge vacuum now that somebody’s got to fill, right, and it just creates this huge mess. It creates a huge mess and that’s generally what I helped them do is learning how to start filling that role again.

Derik Johnson: So let me ask you this, so somebody comes in, let’s say it’s Mike comes in with his Hobo beard and he sits down in front of you and you’re looking at them for the first time. You’ve never spoken to him. His wife probably made the appointment, right? I mean that’s probably.

Jeremy Leavitt: Yeah, four out of five appointments are usually made by the women. Yup. No, no. There’s nobody better at finding where I need work or their mom or their.

Derik Johnson: So he sits down in front of your meeting with the first time he hasn’t said anything to you about anything, what you’ve got to be making them. You’ve been doing this for six years. What kind of assumptions are you making about like you, you probably at this point know what to expect. You’re probably past the point of being surprised too much in your profession. Correct?

Jeremy Leavitt: Yeah. Not, not surprised very often. And so that’s, that’s not a huge deal, but I can’t really. I try really hard not to make assumptions. I’d like to be surprised. Um, you know, it might make my day a little bit more exciting, but if Mike sitting across from me, I just want to know about Mike.

Derik Johnson: Sure.

Jeremy Leavitt: And so based on his language and his demeanor and his, and his body language and, and how he, what he, what he chooses to tell me in what I know purposefully he’s leaving out even though I don’t know his full story like I can sense and I can tell, oh, there’s more there that he’s not telling me. Sure. And so that, that gives me a lot of information. Even that first session, well, we’re not getting a lot of work done, we’re just getting to know each other.

Derik Johnson: What’s the homework assignment after the first? Is it generally the same? I mean,

Jeremy Leavitt: Not all the time. It really depends on what they’re doing. I find a lot of guys are struggling with their self worth and their self image. So very often homework assignments start with something like that. Something that will help them learn who they are, define who they are, remember who they are, I think is a more appropriate way to talk about that and really start to, to understand and move into that person. Not the person that they’ve been defined by the world, the relationships, all kinds of other things they’ve just really gotten for. They’ve got to kill the old, the old them.

Derik Johnson: Right. Okay. So Mike, you’re on the phone right before we went on air. You were talking to somebody on the phone and you were doing some some coaching and I know that talking to Brad and talking to you, that’s something that you do on these trips to Mexico with your motorcycle and things like that, what’s your experience as far as working with men and helping them kind of, again, leave the old and the new. It’s having spoken with you before you experienced the same sort of thing in your, you know, your motorcycle thing, a trips down to Mexico and that you’ve got these men that don’t really know their place in all of and you’re helping them find it. W what, what led you to do, because I know these motorcycle, how long have you been doing them?

Mike Spurgin: I think I’ve been doing these motorcycle trips pretty regularly on an annual basis now for about two years. And to just really quickly jump off of something where Brad are, where, you’ll have to.

Brad Singletary: Jeremy, I think Mike’s, pain medicine is kicking in.

Derik Johnson: Oh No, no, no, no. Don’t leave that out.

Mike Spurgin: Hell, yeah. Okay.

Jeremy Leavitt: Mike’s hobo beard

Mike Spurgin: I’ll probably mix and forget all of your names tonight. Um, and we know each other, so that was a good club. So the thing that Jeremy was talking about, what I was doing in my mind, I was thinking about what I was going to say, kind of bounce off of that. I’m in. So I do and have participated in 12 step recovery program now for about seven years and I have changed the word recovery into redemption and this is the point that, that Jeremy was just kind of making goes to this word of redemption. So what I believe is necessary is for a person to find a way to redeem himself from something that he has slipped into previously, unknowingly through laziness, through rebellion, through a thousand different vehicles he got. He’s, he’s found himself broken, lost, wandering, whatever word you want to use there. And in 12 step and the twelve set model, we use the word recovery and I believe it’s about redeeming redeeming the soul. This individual into something that looks like what they did before, but adding to it whole new levels of themselves. In many ways it’s just growing up into a fully expressed in mature human being

Derik Johnson: with these trips in Mexico though now I wasn’t. I know we’ve spoken about them in the past though. I wasn’t under the impression that most of these men you’re taking on these trips that were in the program. They were there. They’re

Mike Spurgin: Typically they’re not so maybe in my life I have multiple lanes that I sort of traveled or one of the lanes is just the guys that are in 12 step. Another lane is the guys there in 12 step, but maybe they’re getting some mentoring and some coaching and just we call it sponsorships sponsoring and then maybe another lane of my life is a group of guys that go on these motorcycle trips or that I sort of fellowship outside of those other two lanes. So well your questions about the motorcycle trips? Basically what I feel like I’m doing there is taking guys who are a little bit out of tune. I don’t think that any of these guys typically generally qualify as sort of like my 12 step. You know, buddies, they may be very in control, very in command of their world and their university. A lot of these guys have their names on the sides of buildings. You see them on billboards. They’re dudes who are like clicking on all cylinders.

Derik Johnson: Sure.

Mike Spurgin: However, there’s parts of their life are unraveling or unraveled to a point where they are getting into trouble. So these are guys who are like starting to red line right. They’ve got parts starting to come off the airplane and they’re doing. They’re doing their level best to keep it all together and by all outward appearances they probably are. However, inside they’re racing at full tilt theyre at red line and they are letting things slide internally. Externally. They’re also involved in really risky behaviors to try to push some of those adrenaline buttons to get some dopamine to get some of those feel good juices that, that Juju going inside of them that they are. They’re detuned a lot of times because you know, they, they used to get their jollies, praise of man, right? That you should get the pat on the back when they would get a new level in career or maybe some new financial achievements, like these are dudes who are like top of the mountain and there’s very little left that they’re reaching for and so life feels boring. It feels old and stale and so these are guys who now maybe are really high level, you know, a cocaine and hookers and and affairs and all of these behaviors that are very high level self destructive things.

Derik Johnson: When you, when, when these guys go on the trips with you though, are you aware of these sometimes or this something that you’re stripping, I mean because part of your program is, is breaking these men down to the bare bones and working with the raw materials and getting rid of, for lack of a better word, the bullshit and then building them back up and so this stuff comes out not necessarily before you go. Right? This is something that happens in the process. You’re finding these things out, correct?

Mike Spurgin: Yes and no. So it’s both. It’s sometimes I know these guys personally and I say I have a sense of who they are and what’s going on in their lives. And so there’s, there’s an expectation I guess, of on my part, like I already understand where you are. Right? And so I’m not scratching a lot to try to dive into that because maybe I know some of these guys though, they are st- Here’s, here’s the thing, maybe I want to say this. Most men in their lives, are star for male companionship there Starved for deep level companionship, really, really deep connection with other dudes on a level that is not super superficial with sports or work or just the day to day grind of life. And so when I am out with these guys, what I’m trying to do firstly is I’m trying to say, look, I’m willing to put myself. I’m willing to project myself to you or present myself to you fully exposed. Like I’ll be, I’ll tell you anything and everything that may help the relationship to be born and to grow. And I’ll knock myself down. Like I’m willing to be completely open. And, and you know, exposed in my story with the hope that maybe you see that and you’re like, okay, so if this dude’s willing to go there, I can go there too, because our typical interactions as dudes were just keeping it super light, right where we’re keeping it super saltine cracker. That’s all we’re going to do. But when we go on, these trips were crammed into a car. We’re going out of country, we’re on motorcycles. D, the danger level, the adrenaline level, the masculinity, the testosterone’s up like everything is up. And then I introduce and it happens organically. We introduced some, I hate the word vulnerability, but I’ll use it there. We introduce or, I hope to facilitate the introduction of some exposure. So willingness to expose yourself to vulnerability.

Derik Johnson: If you’re willing to be vulnerable with people, they’re more likely to be vulnerable with you.

Mike Spurgin: And it has to start there for me in my experience.

Derik Johnson: Otherwise they’re not going to trust you and allowing yourself to be vulnerable in the right conditions. It empowers you to help somebody else.

Mike Spurgin: Yeah. So what I. What I think I’m doing is I’m, I’ll show you my scars because I’m going to ask you about yours and if you don’t know that I have them and what they look like and how deep they are, then you’re probably not going to want to tell me about yours because yours are probably years or maybe deeper than mine and so you need to know the depth of my experience and I don’t want to dump it on you. I mean, I, it’s not a confessional and I don’t need those experiences to be the moments of like, I need to bounce this off you because I need some validation. I just want you to understand this is maybe where I’m – I’m coming from so that when I asked you a question that’s a little deeper, a little harder, a little more serious I guess, than what you’re normally used to having conversations about your okay with going there because I just went there. I just did that. I got in that, you know, shitty water that muddy water and it and I survived. So jump into.

Derik Johnson: Okay. How long have you been doing that? I mean, I mean, this is obviously a story here and we’re introducing ourselves to the audience. I’d like to know at least with, I guess my question is, A, why motorcycles and B, why Mexico? Because I am 44 years old and I’ve been to Mexico once. If you count Tijuana and I’ve driven a motorcycle exactly zero times in my entire life. If you put me on a, on you, if you could put me on a motorcycle right now, you might as well put me in a cockpit of an airplane that’s-

Derik Johnson: Either one of them. I’m just starting at exactly zero with how to do it. So why Mexico? Why motorcycles? And you’ve been doing it for awhile and it just seemed to be having some success getting people to kind of be honest with themselves.

Mike Spurgin: Yeah. So that’s a good question. And there’s a couple of couple of things going on there. One of the things, I’ll start with this, one of the things that I have found effective when dealing with with guys, especially in twelfth step is when their lives are so degraded, a Napoleon dynamite decroded down to this level where they’re just completely there, so knackered they’re, so just out of sorts. They don’t even know what’s up and what’s down there. Last, I have found this simple technique of like putting them in a time machine, taking them back to their youth teenage time. I want you to tell me where you felt the most alive, where you felt the most grounded, that where you just loved your life. Where were your high watermarks and almost always is not. It’s not a guaranteed, but almost always it’s a dude who tells me when I was in high school sports on a baseball team, when I was in the band, when I was skiing, I spent a winter just skiing. I was a ski bum or as a surf bum. I was something, but it involves. There’s. There’s components that I discovered are universal: physical activity and adrenaline, camaraderie with other guys. You weren’t doing it in a vacuum, you’re doing the other people. You were taking risks, personal challenges you had, you were putting yourself out there and you were doing it at a level that maybe could get you into trouble with your, with your ingroup right, with the people that you’re with, like your family didn’t like that you were doing this that much. They thought you were kind of wasting your time or being foolish and those are almost to a man when I dig into that. They all have that common universality. They’re all doing something different and so what I do with these guys as I time machine in the back and I say, let’s go back to when you, -You were that guy. What were you doing? For me? It was riding my dirt bike. It was out in the desert riding dirt bikes. And so that’s my thing. That’s what I went to and I brought that forward in a time machine to try to use as a resource for me in getting my wires straightened out.

Derik Johnson: So my next question is, so now I got the motorcycle part. Why Mexico? Its the next question like, so I, I understand that part now.

Mike Spurgin: Does that make sense?

Derik Johnson: No, absolutely. It makes sense. Okay. You’re trying to put them back in a state where they.

Mike Spurgin: I want you to go back in time when you felt really good about yourself. Right? And felt like you were dialed in. Let’s have you do that now. The one quick other thing about that is most of these guys haven’t done those things in years and years and years. It’s been years. I’ve had guys who like will pick up a guitar for the first time in twenty years.

Derik Johnson: I’m sitting here listening to you talk and I’m trying to think when was the last time I did do something that kind of blew my skirt up as far as like making you feel alive and masculine and you know, all those things and I don’t know if I could do it, you know, I mean, thinking back, I be going back a long ways to kind of figure out,

Mike Spurgin: Okay, we can work on you, but that you get the idea, right. No, absolutely understand it. I’m just, I myself the same question and I’m thinking, yeah, I don’t know if I can answer that question, you know? Yeah. So why Mexico? So I go to Mexico for 15 years or so, and just the first time I was there I felt like it had a, an energy, a vibe there. It was laid back. It’s the Food, Tacos, the people, everything about it and just combining, you know, Brotherhood fellowship with dirt bikes and risk. It’s a risky thing to go to Mexico. It’s not what you hear in the news where we go rural, Baja Mexico, but there’s, there’s risks, there’s all of these things. So I have discovered through trial and error and just practicing this, that taking a guy who feels stalled and stale in his life, putting them on a motorcycle and taking them down to Baja, Mexico. There is some magic in that formula that I don’t know that I can express what it is. I haven’t done the math on it. I don’t understand it, but I can. I can prove to you through lots of experiences with lots of dudes that there is something there that does work.

Jeremy Leavitt: I really think it’s the Tacos.

Mike Spurgin: It, it’s 82 percent the Taco.

Derik Johnson: Let me ask you this. Tacos in Mexico or Del Taco, which do you prefer?

Mike Spurgin: I don’t even want to. I’m not even going to go there because it’s, that’s. Yeah, you know which one it is.

Derik Johnson: So here’s, here’s my last question on that and I think I know the answer because I’m thinking I want to take motorcycle lessons right now and renew my passport. Just listening to you talk. But guys don’t just go on these trips one time. Do they?

Mike Spurgin: Yeah. These are guys who once they taste, you know, you get a bite of this apple and you’re like, I need that in my life. I want that.

Derik Johnson: I mean, quite frankly, if somebody’s out here is listening to this podcast right now, they know there’s a primal itch that they can’t identify, but they know it needs scratching. I mean, that’s absolutely like we live in a time where, you know, we get in our car and we drive to a box and we spend 10 hours a day by ourselves and we do. We miss that comradery. I, I, I, my family is my wife and my daughter, so I’m not around men ever at home, you know?

Mike Spurgin: Yeah. And so, to, to your point, when you get guys together and we’ve now, we’ve now invested in this trip. We’ve spent money. There’s, there’s things that are in the male DNA. This works to the, to the level of the caveman. So we have shiny things. We’re competitive about the shiny things that we buy and we do our motorcycles and it’s physical where you were fixing things. We’re working on things. It’s toys. Then we plan, we strategize, we look at the map, what is it, what’s it going to be like? Imagination is involved. There’s the camaraderie of the pre trip where we’re texting and we’re busting each other’s balls and there’s that fellowship. Then we execute. We do it. We’re on that experience. And during the trip, generally our phones aren’t working, so we’re sort of destabilized. We’re sort of out of our element

Derik Johnson: that in and of itself as a reason to go to Mexico, service there, I want to go there.

Mike Spurgin: Typically no, and we’re eating food that were not really used to and we’re life is coming at us at like full tilt, like we’re being just assaulted. All of our senses are being assaulted with the delight of this experience and we’re doing it together. We all make it because we struggle up the mountain and you get hurt and I help you and then I’m hurting. You helped me. And it’s a military engagement and it’s, it’s, it’s just, it’s gut level, base level, DNA. Testosterone in men are on a high level.

Derik Johnson: How many men? I mean, when you’re the. So for instance, you just got back from one, right?

Mike Spurgin: No, it’s been a while. and I’m, I’ve got one.

Derik Johnson: You’ve got one coming up.

Mike Spurgin: I’ve got one coming up. So early spring we’ve got the next one coming up. How many guys? So it’s typically seven, eight, nine, 10. We’re talking this next one. Maybe 15. So the number needs to be capped and kept and kept pretty small, intimate so you can maintain this camaraderie like part of the trip experience and in what I get the feedback from is you have this grinder day that exposed you to all of these stimulus. Then we decompress, we get to the, we get to the restaurant, we’re sitting around having Tacos, we’re drinking our beverages and we’re all decompressing the day and it is like. So for some of these guys it’s the first time they felt this alive in years and years and years and years. And they’re, it’s just like they’re sparking, they’re crackling. They’re like a little electrical, you know, ions are like popping off them. These guys are like whooping it up. They are just on fire and they’re not stoned. They’re not high. No one’s doing a lap dance for them, it’s a level of adrenaline. It’s pushing their buttons in a way that, that reacts with their genetics and their DNA, not this false high that comes from these others. Bogus stimulus. Gotcha. I don’t know if I answer your question, but I just want to throw that in there.

Derik Johnson: You sold the trip pretty well. I’m thinking that I’m going to have to get my motorcycle license and my passport so that I can go on one of these trips. So next one’s coming up in the spring.

Mike Spurgin: Yeah. Early spring is when we’re going to be.

New Speaker: Im gonna go ahead, plug this right now. If somebody wants to go on one of these trips, how do they get ahold of you? Mike?

Mike Spurgin: I think instagram or facebook , But probably the number one. Yeah.

Derik Johnson: Okay. Alright, well, I think we had a wrap this episode up. I really interesting stories were told. Jeremy, I know that you’re you’re dealing with some voice issues, so we’re going to save your voice for the next episode, but really interesting stuff. I think that you’ve got, you’ve learned some stuff about Mike and Jeremy and that they’ve got some, some experience and some expertise in helping people kind of reclaim what it is to be a man. Again, my name is Derik Johnson. Brad is he’s, he’s facebook live this right now. Are you instagraming? Or facebook live. He’s been handling the board tonight. Mike spurgin, Taco Mike, and/or Hobo moped. If you want to go on the next trip to Mexico, contact him. It sounds like it’s pretty cool. And Jeremy Levitt, if they want to get ahold of you. I know you’re like on a social media fast or something like that.

Jeremy Leavitt: I just don’t like social media. they could just find me on, on on Google or psychology today. Awesome. All right, awesome. Until next time,

Derik Johnson: this is Derik and I am done!

The 3 Options You Have When You’re Angry

The 3 Options You Have When You’re Angry

The 3 Options You Have When You’re Angry

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men's Coach

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men's Coach

THE 3 OPTIONS YOU HAVE WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY

As I have worked with people over the last 20 years in a coaching capacity, I have found that one very common issue underlies people’s pain, stagnation, worry and failures: anger.

I’m not talking about the kind of anger where you are throwing things around you too make people feel scared or relieve some intensifying arousal based on momentary hatred or rage. I’m talking about anger that you don’t even realize is anger.

The Freudians would say that depression is anger turned inward. I find that to be so true; low energy, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of motivation are often really just anger in disguise. Conversely, much of anger is merely a masking of sadness.

What gets us angry in the first place is often the unrealistic expectation that people must meet our demands. We don’t consciously march around with this kind of demand, it’s just an internal system of beliefs where we maintain that we must get our way. So we expect others meet our selfish demands and we demand that we are to be successful, respected, and given breaks.

So we become entitled and feel that things in life should fall into place just as we planned, and then when reality clashes with the fantasy of smooth simplicity, we get angry. The experience of anger is, again, not always the raging type that we think of when we talk about anger management classes and violence, but it can be passive in nature as well. How we feel anger is often in other forms, not just the classic fist banging, hollering and swearing we do when we lose control.

So what can we do when we’re angry about how something has happened, how we’ve been treated, something we have done ourselves, or the encounter of some other triggering event or adversity?

I love to use the acronym A. C. E. which which symbolizes the only three realistic options we have when we are angry.

  • A. is for adjust
  • C. is for complain
  • E. is for escape

ADJUST. Is something you are doing accidentally making the situation worse? Are your expectations unrealistic? Are you misinterpreting aspects of the situation? In general, adjusting or adapting is the only viable option with anger.

COMPLAIN. This is to confront the person or the issue with an explanation of why what is happening is not okay with you. So if someone is being rude, we can complain and tell them that they’re being rude and that we expect more appropriate interaction. What I have found, though, is that complaining or confronting people never really works. Those who would respect your complaint are usually so agreeable that they’re not causing you a problem in the first place.

That’s not always true, however. Sometimes people are unaware that their words or actions are offending you, and they just needed to be brought to the awareness of it in order to change it. But typically, complaining just doesn’t work. People either don’t care, or don’t want to make the changes necessary just to keep you happy.

ESCAPE. Sometimes the only option is to escape the situation or the relationship. For example, if you are in a public setting and become overly irritated or frustrated you have the ability to leave. Sometimes that’s all you can do. If you’re in a failing relationship and the other options haven’t worked after a long and diligent effort, escaping or leaving the relationship maybe your best response to what has been going on. If you are in the presence of fools who just don’t understand your vibe and you are becoming angry with theirs, you can always get away from them.

But many times, you cant escape. You need to stay at the job you hate because there are no other options. You have children and don’t want to be divorced. You are on a vacation and cant exactly leave the company you’re in for 10 days. Here’s where you go back to the other options.

Can you Complain? Will that work? No? Already tried that?

Now you’re back to adjusting YOURSELF. What this means is to take a look and see if anything you are doing is accidentally making it worse. Are your expectations unrealistic or selfish? Are you interpreting things to mean something they don’t? Chances are, maybe both of those are true.  Alpha up👊💪

When You Should Never Say “I Don’t Know”

When You Should Never Say “I Don’t Know”

When You Should Never Say “I Don’t Know”

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men’s Coach

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men’s Coach

It happened again today–twice–by two different people.

There is no more counterfeit humility known to man than the use of the easy-out reply “I don’t know” when asked for an opinion.  Two men did this today in my office and it put the nail in the coffin for me for my theory that this is one of the most likely of indicators that a man has become weak and lazy.

In the first incident, it was a man of maturity.  A former engineering professional who is struggling in his marriage after impulsively quitting a career of 35 years due to a new female manager’s bossy ways. This reactive move put he and his lady in a bad spot, first financially and now emotionally

This man is a former soldier who had spent time abroad serving in the United States military. He had been an avid runner, even completing marathons, I believe.  Today, the flashing red warning-light buzzing about my office was his frequent use of the escape-artists most elementary tool:  “I don’t know.”

When we are asked about matters of fact or of information that we simply do not have, the best and most honest answer may indeed be an admission of innocent ignorance.  I’m not talking about never being able to admit your lack of knowledge on a subject.  I’m talking about your opinions.

In this case, his wife asked, “what can I do to be more supportive?”

Maybe that’s a tough question.  Maybe that requires some contemplation and brainstorming. I triangulated the dialogue by suggesting he instead say, “let me think about that one, Babe.  I need a minute to just work on that question.”  That’s a pause button on the football game while you go take a piss, instead of abandoning the whole televised 4K event.

Give yourself a minute, dude.  It’s normal to need to think for a moment. Or a day. Or a week.  But to follow a request for an opinion with I don’t know is just pure and simple indolence.

The other fellow that did this today was a teenager.  He was nervous about being in a therapists office and wasn’t sure what it was all about since his mother brought him in without much explanation about this encounter with me.  But he had been playing a particular musical instrument for 5 years and when I asked what his favorite musician was, he did it, too.  SMH.

Really, bro?  You’re in an advanced performing group with this specialized instrument you play and eat, sleep, and breathe this thing and you can’t tell a fat, bald stranger your favorite artist?  He really froze up!  Surely for him, there is some anxiety or some other deeper issue going on that we will address as part of our work together.  But this is an everyday deal for me as I coach and counsel men and young men in all kinds of situations, seeking help for a wide variety of difficulties.

The principle I am trying to teach here is that of discernment.  We must decide.  Perhaps ALL of our thinking is judgement in which we must figure out between options.

  • Am I too close to this car in front of me?
  • What time do I need to start getting ready to be on time?
  • What is the most appropriate thing to wear to this important interview?
  • What do I want for lunch?
  • What can my wife do to help me?
  • What is my favorite _______________________?

 

Discernment is one of the Red-9:  the nine attributes of an Alpha.  That characteristic means many things and part of that is to “have my own opinions and assertively express them, even if they are unpopular.”

Sometimes you won’t know.  Sometimes you need more information.  Sometimes it isn’t convenient to discuss.  Sometimes you don’t want to cast your pearls before swine.  Sometimes, you’re being a chicken shit and you need to decisively figure out your opinion and express it.  To me, that is one mark of a strong man: he can easily express his opinion on a variety of topics, especially of ordinary, every day matters that he won’t first need to do a book report on.

Carry on, brothers. Try to never say you don’t know.  Go get your Alpha game on.

How Not to Be a Typical Man

How Not to Be a Typical Man

How Not to Be a Typical Man

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men’s Coach

BRAD SINGLETARY, LCSW

Founder, Producer, Host, Men’s Coach

You’ve heard it before. The sarcastic-toned critique from someone who is sick of your $#!+. After some discovery of you failings, the trash you didn’t take out, the birthday you forgot, the overspending on some self-absorbed purchase–you get what many men get, the dreaded T-Word a comment about you being a “typical man.”

It’s like a gender slur. Some unfair assault on you regarding your gender. But it isn’t so much your gender this person is attacking. It is your perceived failure to fulfill some kind of contract that you may or may not have even agreed to.

Let me just say this, men. You don’t want to ever be considered typical. To be called a “typical man” should be an indicator that you have work to do. Unless of course the person slinging that mud is perhaps a “typical woman.” But that’s a whole ‘nother blog article.

What is a typical man?

I guess, like so many things, this disparaging label gets it’s meaning from the beholder of such typical behavior. But in my 20 years of counseling men and their families, I have found a few common characteristics of this sub-par sub-species:

  • They are selfish.
  • They are irresponsible.
  • They are undisciplined.
  • They are hedonistic.
  • They are aggressively immature.

Some of what others see in you to call you typical in the first place is filtered through unrealistic expectations and the false hope that you’ve read their mind about what you’re supposed* to be doing.

But sometimes, dude, you suck. Sometimes I suck. And I’m here to shoot you straight about how not to be a typical man.

  1. Have an opinion. I can always tell how mentally lazy a man is by the amount of “i don’t know’s” he uses in conversation with me. To me that is simply a shutting down of effort and a refusal to engage. Yes, decisions take brain power, and that is difficult, metabolically. It takes calories to think and we men have perhaps evolved too far when it comes to preserving caloric resources and avoid having an opinion or ,making a decision. Know what you want for dinner. Know what your dreams and goals are. Know what you want to do this weekend. If you don’t know, simply say, “give me a minute, I need to think about that one” and sort out your thoughts.
  2. Use your voice, assertively. In working with men for a month-shy of two decades, I have discovered that most angry episodes are sparked by previously unspoken passivity. Go into an anger management class and you will find a room full of “nice” guys who lost their cool after too much passive avoidance of communication. Speak your mind. Tell the truth.
  3. Do it yourself. Don’t let someone serve you. I don’t mean when there’s been a death in your family and people bring scalloped potatoes. I mean when you’re in the recliner and you ask for someone to bring you a beverage. Some people’s “love language” is acts of service and they feel very loved when people DO things for them. But far too many men have become so dependent on people waiting on them that they have come to expect service with a smile and never return the favor. A few years ago my friends step-mother died and one of his father’s first remarks was “who is going to fix my dinner?” I was shocked. Do it yourself, bro. Get out of the habit of asking, especially if you do it all the time.
  4. Be consistently reliable. We can’t just say here to “be consistent” because for too many men, consistent means you consistently suck. You are consistently UN reliable. Do what you said you were going to do, or stop saying you’re going to do it. The worst example of this and the ugliest form of unreliability in the world is the divorced father who promises he will be there to pick up the kids and never comes. Don’t be a flake, man. Do what you said you were going to do. Sometimes things get in the way. Sometimes your job, your vehicle, your new wife, your stomach flu, your headache WILL get in the way. Even if you claim a 20% error rate…be 80% consistent. Eighty percent of the time, follow through and be there. Show up.
  5. Find ways to selflessly serve. We are naturally lovers of ourselves. Maybe all human beings, but particularly men. Here’s how you fix that. Feed the homeless. Visit with your widow neighbor who NEVER knows when to stop talking. Volunteer for two hours once a month. You have exercise the selfless muscle or you will be ripped with ego, and alone.
  6. Overcommunicate. There is a professional here in Vegas that I have had to work with a few times and I just can’t stand the guy. He has personally insulted me, caused major upheaval in some of my plans, and is generally a total douche bag. But about 2 years ago I had reason to coordinate some client care with him. I was stunned by the positive way he communicated with me. It was like he had just attended a customer service seminar recenlty and was being observed by headset by the owner of the company. Here is what he did: He answered the phone and I shared the need for this client. He told me he was going to transfer me to so-and-so and that explained what their role was, and right before transferring said “ok, i will transfer you now.” It was SO helpful to know what he was doing to handle this call. HE told me what he was ABOUT to do and it really changed some of my opinions of this guy. He overcommunicated. I knew exactly what to expect. I would say that men need to channel their inner flight attendant when it comes to communication. Tell them what you’re about to do. Ask what they need from you. Before delivering it, be sure you have it right.
  7. Be disciplined. SO much our bullying comes from feelings of inadequacy in ourselves. We pick on fat people most when we ourselves are so undisciplined. We complain about others’ lacking when we are hiding from our own guilt and shame about what we aren’t doing so well. I remember at one of my heaviest times I was having a meal with a group of people, and one of them was a police officer. I asked if he was finished eating and if he wanted or needed more food and he said “I’ve had enough food.” I was so impressed because I probably had already “had enough food,” myself, but I’m sure I continued eating. This man has maintained a health body and didn’t fall into the kinds of destructive indulgences I did, and I think that is all about his discipline and my lack of such. Perhaps our toxic tendency to control others in unhealthy ways stems from our inability to control our own appetites and habits.
  8. Act your age. Many times, I have told the overly serious man that he needs to get in touch with his “inner Jack Black.” Sometimes we need to be silly and let loose. I write about this in my upcoming book, but here, I want to address the need to understand appropriate behavior. Sometimes we need to be goofy and have some fun. But I think the “typical” man overdoes this and can’t really be on the same page with the vibe of the experience. Grow up, bro. Your “that’s what she said” jokes stopped being funny 40 minutes ago.

I could go on. And I have so much more to say, which I will in the form of podcasts and my other articles and upcoming book.

In the meantime, do whatever it takes to not be “typical” because there is no honor and dignity in the that. For me, that’s the worst insult that can be spoken to me, the T-word.