In 1990, I was hired by Microsoft as a Director of their Core Consulting Team for Microsoft Consulting Services. I sold my house in San Jose and moved my family to Redmond, WA in September and dove in. It didn’t take me long to realize that the powerful currents at Microsoft were pulling me under and I was into a political situation that was way over my head. My boss also realized that his team wasn’t working well, so the whole bunch of us went off for a weekend to do some “team building”.
During the weekend, something profound happened to me. I had been an engineer / programmer for 23 years by this time but my interpersonal skills were rather underdeveloped. What I discovered was that the world I had been experiencing was all in black and white, but that the ideas that were being presented that weekend made the world come alive with color.
When the weekend was over, the colors started to fade and I got pissed. I asked the instructor how to continue to see the colors and he told me to start with some co-dependence work. I quickly located a codependency workshop and my wife and I attended it together. On our way home, I knew that something had shifted inside me and that I had lots of work to do. I told Donna that, “I am going to do my work and it will have an impact on our relationship.”
She asked me if that meant that I wanted out of our marriage and I responded, “No, but you will be impacted and you will have to make your own choices about how you respond. All I can tell you is that I am going to do MY work.”
Fast forward to 2015, 25 years later. I spent most of the 1990’s doing one form of personal growth work or another. I studied Gestalt and attended a three year training in Gestalt therapy. In 2001, I was told about the Mankind Project‘s “New Warrior Training Adventure”. I attended the training and was “initiated into adult manhood” in November, 2001. In the years since then, I have become very active within the Mankind Project (MKP) at both the local and the national level.
I sat in an “Integration Group” for 15 years and came back to staff MKP NWTA trainings over 35 times. I took just about every advanced training I could and slowly I realized that something was missing. MKP teaches men to wake up, grow up and show up in our lives. It teaches us how to go deep with each other, but it doesn’t teach us how to connect more deeply with other people in our lives like my wife Donna and my children and grandchildren.
The more I thought about this, the more I became aware of the need to teach men how to connect more deeply. Our culture has trained us to believe that if I am vulnerable with you, you will think I am weak, but as Brene Brown points out so brilliantly, vulnerability is the key to authentic relationship.
In July of 2016, I turned 70 and something inside me shifted again, I realized that I did not need to ask MKP to fix this problem. I can fix it myself, so I started creating the ConneXions Workshop. Just two days ago, I let my team of over 20 advisers know that my first draft is ready for them to read and comment on. As I write this, I am waiting for their feedback. More to follow very soon.