Harvey Weinstein And Healthy Masculine Power [New Post]

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has prompted many important conversations about power, privilege, complicity, and shame. I’d like to weigh in with several observations that complement what I’ve been hearing and stretch it an extra inch.
  • The scope. The #metoo campaign on Facebook revealed what all women and some men already knew: sexual harassment and abuse are ever-present in our culture. Every woman I know has experienced it. The stories I’ve heard this week leave me feeling sick in the stomach.
  • The impact. Harassment and abuse are intrinsically damaging. They hurt human beings. But this is not just about individual pain and individual careers. Here I differ from the tone of media stories that are rooted in our individualistic culture. When bright and talented people get ensnared in webs of abuse, we all suffer. Consider women leaders. Great leadership is about serving others. A career cut short or constrained by harassment harms both these leaders and the people they would otherwise be serving. We forget this sometimes.
  • Beyond implicit bias. When men ignore women’s contributions, interrupt them in meetings, or overlook them for promotions, implicit bias is often at work. The actions are unconscious and outside of the person’s control. Sexual harassment and abuse by Weinstein and other men don’t fit into this category. We’re talking about conscious behaviors  arising from darker pathologies. The answer isn’t more self-awareness, but removal, treatment, and perhaps imprisonment.
  • Political and psychological complexity. Women who experience harassment and abuse—as well as interruptions in meetings—face extraordinarily complex situations. Speaking up can lead to social ostracism and professional punishment. Lost friendships and social networks. On a psychological level, many women report feeling shame and self-blame that causes them either to stay and remain loyal or to leave silently.
  • Innocent guys. Just because all women have experienced sexual harassment or abuse doesn’t mean all men have committed it. There are innocent guys. Many of them. Some would like to wish all of this away. Others realize it’s time to step up their game as men on behalf of women and all of us.
  • Good guys. Innocence and goodness are different. As Janet Crawford and Lisa Marshall have taught me, being a good guy requires more than clean hands. In our interview last October, Janet described numerous positive steps men can take that go beyond avoiding harm. Some actions won’t pose risks to our public identities or careers. Others require breaking with the Bro Code.
  • Healthy masculine power. If you stop going along with the Bro Code, what’s left to do? I have an idea. Let’s stop being bros and start being men. Channel that vital male energy into courage, blend it with empathy and savvy, and use the resulting mixture to rise to the challenge. This is really important. Virility and virtue need not be in opposition. As Robert Augustus Masters discussed on the podcast, when we bring these qualities together, we discover a deeper and healthier version of masculine power. What would it be like to speak up not only for the sake of women, but because that’s who we are as men?
I’ll soon be doing another interview with Janet Crawford about this topic, so send me your questions and comments.
And please share with others.

More love came, more podcasts coming

Wow! I was surprised and touched by all of the emails I received about last week’s post. Anxiety itself is neither good nor bad. But, apparently, talking about it: very very good!

Seriously, it’s good to reveal a bit of what’s inside and get some love.

As my older son often says to me, I love you more. He also says that he loves his mommy and brother more than me, but you can’t have it all, can you?

Which brings me to my podcast.

Yes, I still have a podcast. Yes, it’s been a slow year. Yes, more episodes are coming soon.

Thanks for hanging out with me.

Episode 68: Timeless Wisdom For Men With Sean LeClaire [The Amiel Show]

Men, this episode is for you.

Executive coach and author Sean Casey LeClaire joins me to describe his remarkable journey from a rough-and-tumble working poor hometown through flirtation with a professional sports career toward early success as an advertising executive and then discovery of what he calls “timeless wisdom.” This interview is filled with heartfelt stories about aspiration, loss, anger, challenge, and the still, graceful space within each of us.

Sean’s autobiographical tale provides the emotional core of my emerging series on Men in Leadership. It joins past conversations with Robert Augustus Masters about true masculine power, Janet Crawford on being a good guy and breaking with the bro code, and Keith Witt on men’s sexual shadow at work, as well as a Jedi Leadership Trick I call The Manly Apology.

Listen in, and send me an email to tell me which story resonated with you the most.

Highlights

  • 9:00 Growing up with sports, violence, and poetry
  • 14:00 Putting on a mask to stay alive
  • 16:00 Rick, Jim, and the power of a gentle challenge
  • 24:00 Anger and archetypal gestures
  • 27:30 The story of hugging an angry man
  • 34:30 A friend’s suicide and discovering yoga
  • 37:00 Sean reads his poem “If I stopped”
  • 45:30 When people think Sean is crazy or arrogant
  • 49:00 When coaches get co-opted by sickness in corporations
  • 53:30 Sean reads his poem “Parts”
  • 58:00 Sean’s son champions him through the frustrating construction of a Darth Vader scooter

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Episode 67: Lies, Authority, And Assessments With Chris Chittenden [The Amiel Show]

How is a lie different from an ungrounded assessment, and why does this matter in leadership? Where does a leader’s authority come from? What happens when you provide a well-grounded assessment that doesn’t matter to anyone listening?

I have a hunch that your answers to these questions will help you understand the peculiar and disturbing state of politics in the United States today.

This week on the podcast, Chris Chittenden joins me to make sense of these questions. Chris and I previously spoke about real accountability. This time, he helps me use his powerful ontological lens to understand the age of Trump and simultaneously provide clarity about leadership in organizations.

Highlights

  • 12:00 It’s easy to mix up assertions and assessments. Don’t do it!
  • 17:00 Assessments help us see what’s good or bad for us
  • 20:00 Five steps to grounding an assessment
  • 30:00 Obamacare, shifting standards, and the meaning of words
  • 43:00 Certainty, autonomy and the fall of empires
  • 50:00 The President’s conditional promises
  • 1:00:00 Who actually gives the President authority?
  • 1:05:00 The role of “fake news” in shaping assertions and assessments
  • 1:25:00 When a country’s executive function has a damaged prefrontal cortex

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Episode 66: Men’s Sexual Shadow At Work With Keith Witt [The Amiel Show]

Dr Keith Witt

Men who are conscious of their sexual shadows at work are better leaders. They are less likely to do stupid things like sexually harass women or have illicit affairs. By spending less energy fighting their shadows, they can use their human superpowers to do good things like build great teams and guide them toward a better future.

People don’t talk a lot about this. Not in day to day work. And not even in classes about diversity and inclusion—or women in leadership.

That’s why I was so excited to talk with this week’s guest, Keith Witt, about his new book Shadow Light: Illuminations At the Edge Of Darkness.

His book and our conversation are about everyone (not just men) and all types of shadow (not just the sexual one). Still, the part I found most valuable was about straight guys who still haven’t gotten over their teenage crush on Suzie next door. Yes, we actually riff on this for 15 minutes!

Keith and I previously spoke about creating a marital love affair. You might say that this time we talk about loving your shadow.

For integral folks, we also talk about your personal moral system. How does this system change as we grow? What happens to our bodies when we violate it?

As if that weren’t enough, we also look at how healthy and unhealthy nationalism differ. Hint: it has to do with the collective shadow!

Highlights

  • The shame of violating your moral system
  • Constructive versus destructive shadow
  • Human superpowers
  • The roots of sexual harassment
  • Evaluating potential employees for their willingness to be influenced
  • Healthy and unhealthy nationalism

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Episode 62: Crisis, Healing, Civic Engagement With Terry Patten [The Amiel Show]

Terry nPatten

It’s been two weeks since Trump’s victory shocked the world. An avid reader, I’ve been exploring 101 different interpretations of why he won, what his presidency means for the future, and what actions responsible citizens can take. I know many people who are still in shock even after undertaking practices to heal the body and soul. Yet, at some point, the future calls us to make sense of this complexity.

What are the implications for my family and friends? How might the next 6-12 months play out in terms of public policy, health of our constitutional democracy, and the quality of community life? Some of us are drawn to what previously were known as worst case scenarios. Now they are plausible futures. Other prefer to hope for the best. After all, we’ve survived far worse situations, haven’t we?

Our times call for a quality of thinking and awareness that can embrace all of these perspectives. To explore this, I reached out to Terry Patten, a leading voice in integral evolutionary leadership and spirituality. Terry believes that this moment in history calls for lighthearted sobriety. According to Terry, “Denial (deciding to be optimistic without reckoning seriously with the challenges) is morally indefensible.” Yet because “despair is a self-fulfilling prophesy, optimism is an even more essential moral imperative.”

Terry and I discuss this and more in a wide ranging interview.

Terry describes three ways we can view this moment in history: the beginning of collapse, a healing crisis through which something greater will emerge, and a call to greater civic engagement.

Can we grow our minds, hearts, and bodies sufficiently to embrace all of this—and still smile in amazement at the miracle of our lives?

A bit more about Terry. He coauthored with Ken Wilber the groundbreaking book Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening. He hosts a free webcast called Beyond Awakening and will soon offer a free course called “Befriending Your Overstimulated Brain.” In fall 2017, North Atlantic Books will publish Terry’s new book about the practice of responsible, conscious citizenship of a civilization in crisis.

While talking with Terry I felt my mind physically stretch, my heart soften, and my feet extend deeply into the earth.

Enjoy and share widely to people you care about.

Highlights

  • 6:30 Facing up to our own subtle superiority
  • 14:30 Exchange with Ken Wilber about the excesses of postmodernism
  • 21:30 Scenarios of ecological and social collapse
  • 30:00 Why immunizing ourselves from crisis won’t work
  • 35:30 The restoration of amazement even amidst collapse
  • 44:00 The redemption in making a “no matter what” commitment
  • 50:00 Citizenship as an American and fellowship with the world

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To be delivered a higher purpose is an existential gift.

–Terry Patten  Tweet this quote

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