Remember who you are. Everybody else is taken.
It has been a distinct privilege to serve as the first chairman of MKP-USA. I find it a bit hard to believe the universe has conspired to allow me this experience in my lifetime. I am blessed indeed.
There is no give away in what I have done. I have invested, invested heavily into something I have great passion for, great love for. In about three weeks we will have a new chair, a new mix of men on the executive team, and a new mix on our council. We will face many decisions on the road to our future.
As I write my chairman’s report I have two big issues that I believe impact our ability to bring this work to the world.
The first is about the impact of gratitude and generativity. As the old MKP Council grew too large and unwieldy and seemed to continually be focused inward, I believe it suffered greatly from the lack of conscious acknowledgement of those who invested so much into this work. I believe it created a type of sickness in the soul of our culture. I will try to explain.
I often hear a man say “thank you for your give-away” when referring to a man investing his time, money, energy, and his passion into this work. I hold that a man invests his resources; he does NOT give them away. I know the foundation of the energetics of “give-away” from our native brothers; I do not believe it applies in our particular circumstance around what we are doing organizationally. I invest in what I love; something I hold a desire to see grow stronger, to continue in the world, something that will impact the world and make it a better place for my family, for those I love. And for the millions I will never meet – yet who deserve every bit as much as I do, to have a life filled with a conscious mission and awareness of their impact on those around them.
Language is important. If we actually see a man’s investment as give-away then what value are we placing on it? Are we in fact dishonoring, not “seeing” the generativity, the generosity, and the kingliness of that man’s investment. Language is important.
I hold that we must truly honor those who invest so much of their wisdom, time, energy, love, passion, resources into this organization; ONLY in doing that do we complete the circle. We complete the connection between WHY a man will give so strongly to this work we value deeply and what it truly means “out there” in the world.
In that past we have not done that well. I believe we are starting to do it more consciously, and we have room for improvement; it was not done out of spite, meanness or wishing harm, I believe mostly it’s happened out of an inward focus on “JUST surviving until the next training”; just like I heard Carl Griesser say so many times, “Trying to hold this all together with a few pieces of string, bailing wire, and some shoelaces somebody left on site from the last training”
If we do not remember that which has already gone before us and those who made it happen, we are certain to repeat mistakes we can learn from, mistakes that can ONLY make us stronger and more able to bring to the world, this work that we all value and love. NO shame, just learning opportunities.
I hold that as we learn to honor those who have traveled before us, who have blazed the trails we now walk, we will finally begin to value our past and what it will tell us of our future.
As we do, the future will ONLY become brighter, and more luminescent.
In the words of the great Martin Andrew when asked what he wanted he said: “To be acknowledged for who and what I am, no more, no less, not for acclaim, not for approval…………but for the simple truth of that recognition, this had been the elemental drive of my existence, and it is to be achieved, if I am to live, or if I am to die, with dignity. “
The second is our relationship with MKPI. This is not an attack; it is my assessment of what is and my dream of what might be.
I hold a vision of a worldwide organization that will someday allow a man in Bangkok, the same possibility to change his world, as a man in Sioux City, IA has. At the moment that is not the reality. WE, as in our worldwide structure, are nowhere near the point where we can make our dream a reality. I believe that creating MKPI was premature. That cannot be changed and it was done with good intentions. So what can we do now to maximize our chances for that man in Bangkok?
I believe if we continue to NOT deal with our dysfunctional relationship with MKPI, we risk the possibility of failure in the long term.
We are now eight regions. I propose that we get a commitment in writing, a binding agreement with MKPI that together, we conduct an in-depth examination of what works, and what does not work in the structure of MKPI and commit to doing whatever it takes to make our long term goal. I believe that we have the courage to face ourselves. I see it on our trainings, I have seen it in our circles, I trust in it as an organization.
We can reach out to each other as brothers, who hold at the bare minimum one major thing in common; our passion for this work and a desire to see it flourish on all parts of the globe. I do not doubt for a second, our worldwide brother’s commitments to this work and doing it in a good way. As we continue to recreate ourselves as a region, we must attend to the impact of our non-functioning relationship with MKPI.
I will take to my grave a time, just a little over a year ago, when we were having hard choices to make around budget and we – MKP-USA just could not come up with more money for the budget and Gautier stood up and said “Our brothers have helped us time and time again. We – The French speaking region – can pay a little bit more. It is the least we can do in brotherhood to make this work.
We will make this work. It will take courage vision, and a lot of hard work.
Let us face the issues head on. So, be courageous! Be audacious!
If relationally we were ONLY, about cooperation and collaboration, rather than competition, what would we look like, how would we operate, how effective would be in the world?
It has been an honor to serve with the men of this council. You men have proven to be some of the most wise, smartest, hardest working, and loving men I have ever had the privilege to work with.
Changing to a council and executive team, learning the five dysfunctions, working towards collaborations vs. competition we have achieved greatness these last two years. I am proud of what we have achieved.
Our organization is growing stronger with the amount of focus and clarity on professionalization which translates into serving our mission in the world. Reorganization started out with so much talk about fear of losing our soul, I am here to say, we are NOT losing our soul. Our soul is deepening. We continue to help men grow; because the world is in desperate need of grown-up men.
We still have much work to do in building a strong foundation to build our next evolution upon. This is hard work; it is time consuming and requires massive efforts to make it happen. Men step up to assist in a way I had never experienced previous to my service as chair. The foundation builders, which I still swear is one of the most brilliant ideas I have ever heard, is working its magic, slowly but steadily it is creating stability.
2011 has been an incredible year for our young region as we continue to move toward professionalizing our organization. A few of the other highlights;
Fund the plan more than tripled any fundraising efforts of our previous much larger international organization.
A next level Executive Director with vast experience running large successful not for profits; a man who initiated on his NWTA several years ago.
CiviCRM!!!!!!!!! Keith Jarvis, on his own dime, and his own time, went to Chicago to research a new communications software package that might work for our broke ass system of non-communications and wow. It touches my heart that we have men working for us that are so dedicated and determined to find better ways to achieve our mission. Our employees do not get anywhere near the recognition and kudos that they deserve. So, thank you to all of our spectacular employees!
Created a new, highly competent financial committee.
Higher a firm to pull our financial world together in a manner that most likely has saved the corporation long term. Going through stacks and stacks of unopened mail they have finally gotten us a true picture of our financial world and righted the ship.
Hugely successful temporary ED Martin Marks, to fill in time between Carl Griesser and David Lang
Membership tweaked going into our 2nd year of a fully rounded out membership program. Our future depends on a healthy relationship to our members. I believe the membership team has put us on the road to long term health. As we move into the New Year I believe we will see great enthusiasm around the new membership initiatives.
My one big regret;
We have not had the time or resources to focus on what I believe may be our most important offering going forward; I-groups! I see a time not too far off when we will have our foundation in place strong enough to turn our attention towards I-Groups. Change does not occur without sustained support, which is why the I-groups really make us more than just one kick ass weekend. The NWTA needs no tinkering; we do need to build support for other programs to offer men in the future.
We have only so many hours in each day, week, month, year. My belief is that as we move into the second half of next year we will begin a renewed focus on how the make this dream a reality. This has been slower than my wish, and it will be faster than I believed possible two years ago.
WE are changing our culture!
We are finally growing the fuck up.
Our council is changing, becoming more professional. The level of commitment and functioning is high.
I will check out with an honoring of a man who has possibly done more than any man for our work, other than our founders; Robert Moore. Not enough can be shared about how much the support of Robert has meant to the deep levels of understanding and acceptance of our work.
We truly owe Robert a debt of gratitude for all he has done over the years. Robert is probably the most renowned figure among the “big names” out there in men’s work, yet, Robert alone has been the one who had the humility to submit to doing the NWTA; even though he was/is of such legitimate stature in the world of understanding men’s work and the historical relevance concerning the absolute need for this work in our current world culture.
Thank you Robert! Bless you for all you are and what you do in the world!
I deep gratitude and service,