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Issue #38: Seek Clarity

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Here’s a lesson and an opportunity for you.

The past week has been another one packed with 1:1 coaching calls for the guys in my Zeus Inner Circle.

If you haven’t worked with a coach before, then you might not know what these kinds of calls can entail.

There is, of course, huge variation in coaches, styles, coaching calls, and the kind of work undertaken.

In Zeus with me – they generally mean we show up and we dive into whatever is in front of us that day.

I always carry the bigger picture, what we have been exploring generally and specifically, where we’re going and the bigger vision. Yet, on any given call, we’ll certainly dive into what’s present for that guy. Open to journey where we need to go.

Sometimes we follow persistent themes and patterns. Sometimes it’s new, leftfield and tangential.

This week, across 7 calls so far, I have covered a vast range of themes and issues. From leading a business to dealing with death to marriage challenges to a frustrating and inconsistent boss to parenting.

And more.

My job is not to be an expert in each of those specific things. But to be an expert in the men, their responses, experiences, and to guide them, challenge them, and hold space for them to figure out a way through. Or to see something differently, perhaps.

It is to support them as the man at the centre of whatever the challenge or opportunity is.

If you haven’t experienced coaching, you might be surprised to know the kinds of things that can be explored, understood, worked through, overcome, and achieved.

Today I will bring you one of the key lessons that showed up in these calls.

As a reminder, what I tend to do after one of these calls is hit record on my camera and download a key lesson or takeaway from each call, how it was showing up for that guy and how I think it is relatable to many of the men – Nice Guy or not – that follow me or find my content.

You can find them here in this playlist series on YouTube.

The voice of your insecurity

Today’s Lesson

“I’d rather be annoying now than be annoyed later”

Tell me if this is you …

You’re interacting with someone and have a question on your mind. Maybe something you feel unsure about – you want to know the answer, you feel the need for clarity, you want to know that someone understands your ask of them – yet you don’t ask.

You don’t seek the clarity.

You don’t want to bug them.

You don’t want to seem annoying.

And so, you or they miss a crucial detail. That detail leads to unfortunate consequences.

Consequences where you are now annoyed. You’re put out. Now faced with taking care of something that now involves more work.


#1. Your partner shares something with you about the weekend.

You don’t quite catch all the details.

You don’t ask for clarification because in the past that can lead to a “you weren’t listening to me” kind of situation.

So, in the name of not annoying her now you miss a detail.

Turns out, that detail mattered.

The thing eventuates – and a bigger mess is now made.

You forgot the crucial item / didn’t turn up on time / messed up the one thing she needed from you – and now there is tension, conflict, or some general annoyance.

#2. Or – you ask someone to do something.

They say they have it.

You don’t want to be annoying by asking again if they understand you.

Turns out they didn’t have it clear. A mistake was made.

Now you have to make up for their mistake.

Annoying. Now you’re annoyed.

#3. Or, specifically in Steve’s situation from our call this week…

He was at work and briefing an external contractor on a task he needed him to do.

He shared the details. He then asked the guy if he understood.

He said he did.

However, Steve had a hunch that he hadn’t looked clearly at what he was pointing out and maybe there was a risk he might not have it.

But he’d kind of asked a couple of times “Do you understand?”

This is the point in this situation where Steve meets himself – and his insecurity.

“Do I push the clarification or let it be?”

Steve didn’t want to labour the point and be annoying by asking again.

His insecurity won.

He didn’t want to be a burden – recognise this one, Nice Guys?

The thing is, this detail mattered.

The next day – that detail was missed.

The result for Steve – he had to do a bunch of work to correct it.

Time away from other tasks.

Additional resources wasted.


All avoided if he chose to risk being (a touch) annoying by clarifying further in the beginning.

Yet we often don’t.

The nice guy doesn’t want to be seen as annoying in the moment so he tends to absorb being annoyed himself in the future.

Personally, I make no apologies for clarifying. I have a requirement: ‘Ask the question on your mind’. If I’m unclear and it feels necessary to get clear, I will clarify.

At times, much to the annoyance of my wife Nardia (and others).

Too bad.

I’d rather be a little annoying now than either of us be more annoyed in the future.

But I didn’t used to. I would silence myself to avoid annoying someone else. Often ending up being annoyed myself.

The same goes for Steve.

While this issue was at work, this has been a historical thing for him in his relationship also. Holding his tongue on something with his wife to avoid annoying her in the moment. Setting him and her up to be annoyed later.

These lessons usually transfer across different areas of our lives.

If we do something in one area of life we tend to do it in others.

What could Steve have done differently?

It might be redundant to simply ask the same question again:

“Do you understand what the task is?”

A better approach would be to first ask himself:

“Am I satisfied that he knows what to do?”

Or: “Am I being clear enough in what I need and have asked?” 

If the answer is ‘no’, it’s important to follow that thread.

Next, I suggest asking:

“It’s important to me that we have the details super clear. Can you repeat to me what you’ve heard me say?”

If your insecurity about being annoying or burdening someone with an extra repetitive question is too much, then voice it like this:

“I fear being annoying by asking this but it’s too important not to have this correct. I need you to have the details super clear. Can you repeat to me what you’ve heard me say?”

Own the fear. Out it. Honour your needs in that moment.

Risk being a little annoying to negate a bigger annoyance down the road.

Take a moment to reflect:

  • Where do you do this?
  • Where can you risk annoying others a little to avoid a greater annoyance later?

In-person opportunity for you

I mentioned this a few weeks back – we have started some satellite ELA Men’s Groups.


If you are located in Melbourne or Brisbane and want to explore coming along to meet the guys, sit in a solid space with good men, and see what these groups are all about – LET ME KNOW ASAP.

You can grab one of the spots.

The groups are epic – chilled, welcoming, and equal parts light, serious, and impactful.

These spots are the final time I will offer them here in this newsletter for founding members – this is your chance to be involved in my coaching world for free (without the challenging coaching part).

The guys leading these spaces are great men – guided by me and my processes to simply hold space, provide structure and support the flow of good chat.