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Issue #39: Purpose Unveiled

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“I help Nice Guys get their shit together and get more from life.”

This is one way I have commonly summed up what I do for a while now.

How I sum it up depends on the context, the situation, the person and the relationship. However, this theme of ‘getting your shit together’ has been in the conversation, at least.

Yes, there is more depth to it.

I have a sort of X-ray vision to spot men’s shit and the calm yet driven ability to support them in seeing it, reshaping their relationship to it, moving through it, and becoming deeply secure within themselves so they can be more purposeful, capable, and useful men.

I myself am not perfect.

Don’t claim to be. Don’t want to be.

However, I do pride myself on being a living breathing example of any message I share.

This is a standard I set for myself.

Not to ‘always have my shit together’.

Instead, it is to ‘continually be in the practise of honesty, integrity, growth, and evolving with life as it evolves’.

To me there is space, grace, intent, and invitation in there.

But it has not always been this way.

I am not a natural…

Navigating communication in my relationship – not natural. 

My ability to communicate and use effective language – not natural. 

Willingness and ability to receive feedback maturely – not natural. 

Living with purpose, having a grounded drive and determination to grow in alignment with my values – not natural. 

Consistently being in the game of exploring my shit and gathering it together as much as any one man can at any one moment – not natural. 

 

I used to be terrified of rejection, especially from women.

Deeply insecure about being wrong or something being wrong with me.

I used to be incredibly reserved and lacking in confidence socially.

My focus was on good times, acceptance from my peers and women, and the next dopamine hit in front of my eyes.

Sure, I was curious. Intelligent enough. Athletically gifted… but I was floating through my life.

No vision. No real direction or purpose.

 

I was too focused on feeling good and safe in the world to be brave enough to even think about what I truly wanted from my life.

I kind of cherished this, elevated it almost.

Glorifying being ‘easy-ozy’ and just present in the moment.

What I missed here was that I was too scared to commit to a big or meaningful goal because if I didn’t achieve it, well then, I couldn’t quite handle what that might mean about me.

“If I fail, shit, I’d be a failure.”

The kind of thing I’ve now seen and heard out of the mouths of thousands of men just like me.

That might be you, as well.

The result was a kind of malaise in my life.

I knew I wanted more than what I was experiencing, but I wasn’t clear on what that was.

I lacked direction. Lacked conviction in what I wanted. What was important to me.

I wasn’t clear on where I was going. I was living in the moment so much that all I had was the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a great trait. 

But without an eye on the future, without a north star, and without choosing my direction and path, I ended up being less in control of my life and more reactive to life.

I was like a leaf in the wind. Moved by external forces. Not my own.

The journey to clarity, to driven direction, and to living with purpose—and doing purposeful work—was the most important one I have undertaken.

One I am still on.

It needed me to get clear on my values, on what matters to me, on what I wanted in life, on what I was good at and gave a shit about.

It asked me to look beyond the moment and into a future I desired.

It asked me to look at all of my shit that was in the way – and courageously work on that and continue working on it.

*I wrote about this ‘best decision’ a couple of newsletters ago.

Until that point in my life, things had been pretty short-sighted.

I followed the path of the quick fix. Fun and adventure. My hormones. Especially testosterone.

Short term good times and experiences were the purpose – so my energy was directed there.

It was not bad or good; it was simply what it was.

I had a great time.

And I also had some challenging times. Undesirable consequences of a lack of foresight and longer-term vision.

This is something I had to reconcile and be at peace with.

If I didn’t do that, I’d be unhappy now. I’d pine for a different opportunity in a past that can’t come. Missing that I have an opportunity in each moment in the present.

However, I can now look at it and say, ‘It would have been nice to have some of my focus more future-oriented.’

Not all but some.

This could create regret. Or, I take it as an invitation to do something with it.

Regret is teaching me a lesson about the past and providing an opportunity in the present.

The opportunity becomes ‘What do I do now? How do I direct my life, my energy, my fucks?’

This question invites me to find things that bring me purpose and to ensure I live with purpose.

I have seen this duality absent in many guys, especially nice guys who tend to adapt to the world in order to feel safe, as opposed to showing up in the world, claiming what they want, choosing self-expression, and letting the world adapt to them.

One is reactive, safe, and lacking in intention and purpose, while the other is full of courage, intention, and purpose.

This one says “This is what is important to me so I am going to apply myself to it despite the risks, despite the fear and potential for others to think ill of me or judge me”.

How to have direction and purpose

It’s a nice idea to ‘find your purpose’, and we tend to shower people with this idea in the personal development world.

But it’s vague.

It’s reductive.

It’s so unhelpful, I think it’s counter-productive.

I have talked to and worked with countless men who have adopted this idea – a pressure, even – to ‘find their purpose’ as if it needs to be some grand thing that encapsulates every bit of meaning in their lives, every bit of financial security, and make some huge impact on the world.

Think about the ludicrously large expectations this sets in your mind.

No thanks.

Setting a direction for your life is work.

It’s about getting clear and choosing the direction you want based on what is meaningful, responsible, and aligned with your values.

‘Purpose’ isn’t so much about finding one grand purpose in your life but living with purpose in things that bring you purpose.

But find and live with it, you must.

Without purpose and direction in our lives, we flounder. We meander from moment to moment and wonder why we struggle to apply ourselves to meaningful things.

We don’t do the thing we want to do or know we need to do.

We procrastinate.

We feel stuck.

We spin in circles.

We wait. We hope some kind of magic clarity will hit us one day.

Maybe if I just look in the right corner when the moon is at a certain angle while balancing an apple on my head, maybe then I’ll find my purpose.”

Make no mistake

Men need purpose.

We need to direct our energy and life force to meaningful things.

We need to be useful. We need to be of service to those around us.

The more you can align your values and skills with the things that you give a shit about, that you derive meaning from and things that make a difference to others around you, the more purposeful and fulfilled you will feel.

This is the essence of life.

The is maturing into becoming a useful – purposeful – man.

This is living with purpose.

P.S. If it is time to fundamentally change the trajectory of your life for the better – to truly step into becoming the man you are capable of being – spots in the next intake of ELA are open for application – check it out here now