Lessons from the Past Year

Last week Andy Grant and I closed out the 2016 season of Real Men Feel by talking about year-end rituals and New Year traditions. I admit that I don’t have many traditions I follow, but the ones I do I tend to follow for a time until they no longer serve me. That’s because I have a complicated relationship with the word “tradition.”

I think traditions can be both good and bad, keeping mind that I use those labels loosely. For example, I’ve experienced some wonderful family traditions that are fun and that never grow old; such as giving (and getting) new pajamas on Christmas. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed and experienced cultural traditions that hold back an entire society; traditions like discounting the contributions of individuals because of their gender or other differentiators.

By contrast, I’m rather fond of rituals. Rituals are deeply personal, and unlike traditions, which tend to become inflexible over time, rituals evolve and grow with the person. I have a year-end ritual I started a number of years ago that I continue to this day. I borrowed it from someone else, but it is now very much an echo of me and where I am in my life. The ritual I speak of is one of reflection.

If I don’t engage in the ritual by the end of the year, I make sure I do it within the first few days of the new year. This is the one time every 12 months when I take a serious look at where I’ve been so I can celebrate where I am now. As I celebrate, I think about the running themes of the year and then I write down the lessons I learned. Sometimes I share those lessons (like I’m about to do), but sometimes I keep those lessons to myself.

One of the biggest surprises from my reflections was I felt overwhelmed and disconnected for much of 2016. The reasons were unimportant, but I did learn some valuable lessons, which I went on to document. Those lessons allowed me to reconnect to the totality of who I am, and now I’m using them to live the most joyful life I can right now. Here’s what I learned and what I did:

I slowed down. The biggest lesson I learned was that I was doing (or trying to do) too much. This was especially true around late summer and early fall when I went through several major life changes, including starting a new job and moving into a new apartment. I speak often of the need to allow ourselves time to be playful and have fun, but I got so caught up in what I was doing I neglected to follow my own advice. The result was a slide into a depression the likes of which I hadn’t experienced in years. When I realized what I was doing to myself, I temporarily said NO to everything so I could slow down. I then took a step back, looked at what I was doing, and proceeded to say YES to the three things that were most important to me right now. The funny thing is that I continue to say YES to every opportunity that interests me, but I’ve learned to say, “Yes, but not yet.” I’m now committed to moving onto the next project only after another project is done.

I gave myself permission to be responsibly playful. Saying “no” now so I could say “yes” later gave me the space I needed to be responsibly playful. I define “responsibly playful” as making sure I set aside a little bit of time every day to do something that has nothing to do with my other “responsibilities.” My something can be anything from watching a show I recorded on my DVR to reading a chapter from a favorite book or building a new Lego® toy.

I stopped trying to multitask. This ties directly into me slowing down. By taking on only three active projects, and by only focusing on one project at a time, I’ve discovered that I get more done. There is an increasing body of evidence that shows our brains simply aren’t wired to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, so why fight nature? Instead, I’ve accepted that it’s easier to work WITH my brain than against it… and if you want to read a great article on the pitfalls of multitasking, go here.

I’m honoring my needs and doing what’s important to me. I’ve spent a lifetime ignoring my own needs and sacrificing things that were important to me just to make other people happy… and you know what? They still wanted more. Even though I instinctively knew that I was violating the First Principle of Joy, I felt like I couldn’t help myself. The happiness of those around me was more important than my own joy. It was only after I understood that I was approaching the subject of joy backwards that I started to take responsibility for my own happiness. In the process, I discovered the freedom to do my greatest good and the people around me wound up being happier too.

I remind myself that negative reactions are about the other person and not about me. This is an extension of #4. Have you ever dealt with a customer who, no matter what you do to make them happy, refuses be satisfied? Or perhaps you’ve dealt with a family member or a friend who has done the same thing. If you have, it helps to understand that they have their own issues they’re going through. I found that it’s easier to deal with unhappy people when I accept that I can’t think for them, nor can I live their lives for them. That’s something they have to do on their own. Once I accept that simple fact, it’s easier to remind myself that their reactions are a reflection of their thoughts and whatever it is they’re going through.

This list is by no means a complete one, but it does reflect the most important lessons from the past year. I share it with the intent of making 2017 an even better year than the last one. I also want to hold myself accountable for my continued growth and evolution. If the things I learned happen to help others, then great. But if they don’t, then that’s fine too. I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing no matter what.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) with The ManKind Project

This past weekend I took part in the signature program of the ManKind Project, the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) weekend. I learned of it thanks to Real Men Feel when we spoke with Boysen Hodgson in episode #26.

I’ve been to dozens of multi-day personal growth events, but never one exclusively with men. I hoped I would gain some clarity around my working with men, and I was also looking forward to learning more about the ManKind Project and how they run an event as I do see live events for Real Men Feel some day soon.

I gained all of that and more… a LOT more. All my expectations were insanely exceeded.

As I like to do when I’m venturing off into the unknown, I made a “before” and “after” video. So here they are.

 Before NWTA – October 21, 2016

After NWTA – October 24, 2016

Check out NWTA, they are held all over the world, and sign up! I cannot recommend this enough!

I’ll share more in the October 25 episode of Real Men Feel which is being recorded live Tuesday at 8pm Eastern. If you join us live you’ll be able to share comments, ask questions and even be fully seen and heard as part of the show if you choose. We use a platform called Zoom and you’ll need to download some software the first time you use it. RealMenFeel.org/show

UPDATE: The show is live and you can check it out here.

The journey continues.

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

A Few Brave Men

Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is open your mouth. The willingness to be open, honest and vulnerable is a very scary thing, especially for the Western male. Here are some authentic shares around anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction and more.

I was recently honored with being interviewed for MassMen.org as part of a collection of real men sharing their personal experiences with mental health. MassMen is a comprehensive resource for Massachusetts men and their loved ones, offering statewide mental health information, resources, and online self-assessments.

Check these out. They are all very powerful.

MassMen.org

MassMen.org

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

Real Men Feel: Ep. 11, Suicide, Hope, and Grief with Franklin Cook

Real Men Feel Podcast

Suicide, Hope, and Grief with Franklin Cook, Episode 11, May 10, 2016
On this episode of Real Men Feel, hosts Andy Grant and Appio Hunter, are joined by grief coach, Franklin Cook to talk about suicide, hope and grief.
Hear some personal stories from men at MassMen.org

Subscribe to the Real Men Feel podcast in iTunes.

Join our private Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/realmenfeel/

Like to watch? View this episode on YouTube.

Enjoy Real Men Feel on Stitcher.

Listen to the podcast on Google Play.

Let us know what you thought here in the comments or shoot an email to realmenfeel@gmail.com

Real Men Feel: Episode 6, The Power of Joy with Nick Breau

RealMenFeelShowNick

The Power of Joy with Nick Breau, Episode 6, April 5, 2016
Real Men Feel hosts, Andy Grant and Appio Hunter, are joined by author and coach, Nick Breau, to talk about men and joy. Check out Nick’s book, The Power of Joy.

Subscribe to the Real Men Feel podcast in iTunes.

Join our private Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/realmenfeel/

Like to watch? View this episode on YouTube.

Enjoy Real Men Feel on Stitcher.

Listen to the podcast on Google Play.

Let us know what you thought here in the comments or shoot an email to realmenfeel@gmail.com