Even The Lone Ranger Had Tonto: What is a Men’s Group and Why Should You Care?

By Tripp Lanier, Host of The New Man Podcast

In my coaching practice, I see a lot of guys who have woken up to the fact that — even though they have some pretty good pals, perhaps a wife and even a kid or two — they are ultimately alone.

Let’s take an example.

Joe Blow (what? you thought I would use his real name?) is coasting. He finished school, got a job, got the girl, etc. He ran the “scripts” of what a guy is supposed to do. And he’s recently started wondering “Now what?”.

Joe knows there is more for him, but it’s been so long since he felt that fire in his belly. Beyond that, he’s not even sure what truly matters anymore. What is meaningful to him?

Can you relate?

Joe Blow is what I would call a “Lone Ranger.” At some point his needs and desires and dreams and purpose blended into the background. At some point a very important part of himself was abandoned. Whoever was supposed to stand guard, fell asleep at his post, and now Joe Blow is going it alone.

So what?

Pick any “successful” guy — a sports hero, a business icon, your wife’s ex-boyfriend, whoever. Now for each one of them, who is standing behind them? I would bet serious cash that they have someone, if not an entire team of people, helping them be successful in this particular area of their lives.

Successful guys have coaches, mentors, mastermind groups — the list goes on. The Lone Ranger? Well, it’s all on him.

So why in the hell does “Joe Blow the Lone Ranger” believe that he can do it alone when the best of the best are getting help?

It’s called a “cranial-rectal inversion”. It’s because Joe believes that he, and he alone is the only guy facing his challenges. Only he can be the one to solve his challenges. And because he’s so goddamn special, he can’t ask for help.

And therein lies the rub. Most guys — the Lone Rangers — are too chickenshit to ask for help. Why? Because they’re afraid of looking weak. They’re afraid to reveal that — ohmygod! — they bump into problems from time to time. This is where fear keeps Joe in the smaller game of life.

Now think about our successful athlete or icon. Do you think he’s hiding his challenges from his coach? Hell no. His people are two steps ahead. They’re helping him see new perspectives. To get clarity. To support him when things are shaky. To challenge him to step it up. They are there to help him be the best he can be.

Even the real Lone Ranger (the one on television) had his man, Tonto to watch his back. Ironic, no?

So, let’s say Joe Blow can’t afford a coach or mentor. Understood. What can he do?

Joe can find or start a Men’s Group.

But what’s a Men’s Group?

Quite simply it’s a group of guys who meet regularly and privately to help each other be the best they can be in every area of their lives.

A Men’s Group challenges the myth that you and you alone are the only guy that has ever dealt with challenge x, y or z. In fact, it’s probably similar to your buddy’s toolshed. He spent a Saturday working on that hot water heater and he’s already got the tools and experience to fix it. Why reinvent the wheel?

A Men’s Group basically provides Joe Blow with the following:

  1. Clarity — Joe Blow avoids the cranial-rectal inversion by getting multiple perspectives on his challenge — no matter if it’s a business problem or something with his wife and kids. Each member brings a unique view and his own experience to the table.
  2. Challenge — Joe Blow is challenged to “step up” and be the best version of himself he can be. Sure, he can bullshit his drinking buddies, but the Men’s Group knows better. They know Joe has more to offer and they’re not going to settle for less. This will ultimately help Joe tap into what is truly meaningful to him.
  3. Accountability — This is about walking the talk. Not only will Joe Blow be challenged to be the best he can be, but he’s going to follow through. This is where “good ideas” turn into “good actions”. The group will hold Joe’s feet to the fire so that he’s gaining traction and momentum on the things he truly cares about.
  4. Support — The group will have Joe’s back. Knowing that there’s a solid group of guys backing him up, Joe’s confidence goes through the roof. The camaraderie he envied on such shows as “Entourage” and “Band of Brothers” is now a reality. Backup is only a phone call away and being a support to others is invigorating for Joe.

It’s interesting that, as a culture we don’t think twice about a pro athlete working with his coach to be a better player. We don’t think twice when we seem him rely on his teammates. It makes sense that a business icon will work with a team of people to develop a great product or service.

And yet, so many of us continue to be The Lone Ranger. We actually expect our success to come from working alone. It’s a sad, sad joke.

Years ago I discovered the power of working with a Men’s Group. In a short amount of time my life changed dramatically for the better. The group served as a bullshit filter for me and I was able to see how I was wasting valuable time and energy — my life! — pursuing stuff that wasn’t in alignment with who I truly was.

Each week I showed up and got to practice being the best guy I can be and this has profoundly impacted my relationships, business success and most importantly my sense of fulfillment in life.

So, what if you were to start or find a Men’s Group? What would it be like for you to eliminate whatever rut you were in? What would it be like for you to be held accountable? To be the best version of yourself?

And how satisfying would it be to help someone else do the same?

For more information on Starting and Joining a Men’s Group check out Men’s Group 101 available online.

Tripp Lanier is the host of “The New Man: Beyond the Macho Jerk and the New Age Wimp” available on iTunes and is the co-creator of Men’s Group 101.

  • http://victoryempowerment.blogspot.com/2012/02/men-secrets-success.html John

    A dear friend really helped me to understand the necessity of men being in relationship with each other, to see our goals/dreams fulfilled, to experience Christ through the personality of another brother in the faith and to grow in grace. For some reason(s), it is such a challenge to get men to come together and meet in a way that is equitable, enriching, meaningful and consistent.

    Today, we hear a lot about “accountability” both in and outside of Christendom. In fact, accountability is spoken of so much that generally speaking, many individuals understand it as an abstract idea or occurrence. However, accountability emerges from a strong rapport and depth of relationship. I marvel when I hear individuals say, “hey, we are going to get together Saturday, because the brothers need accountability.” Far too often, “men’s meetings,” “the brothas’ hooking up” is characterized by a lack of safety, transparency, sizing each other up or projecting images at each other. Other times men’s meetings are so planned out that the opportunity for organic connections is impossible.

    Accountability apart from a strong rapport and depth of relationship is really not accountability, but rather policing!

    When we drive over the speed limit and are pulled over by law enforcement we don’t necessarily have a “relationship” with the officer, but the officer is surely holding us accountable for the law. What I think is even more profound is that the law for which the individual is being held accountable, he or she most likely did not have a hand in establishing or really ever committed to it. Programs, events, commitments and pacts established and imposed on us is a sure way to ensure mediocrity or worse failure. The notion of accountability outside of relationship ensures that men will be less transparent with each other, feel unsafe and be forced to project an image that is ideal rather than reality. These false environments are not conducive to growth, maturity and true success. Commitments, pacts, events, which emerge out of the relational process have the strength to stand because it has been built with characteristics like consensus, agreement, inclusive contribution, mutuality, to name a few.