You Didn’t Understand The Assignment

Episode #621

Are you working so hard to provide financial support to your family but feeling like no one is appreciating it?

If you’re working so hard, but your wife doesn’t appreciate you, then learn to take charge of your emotions and create emotional safety in your relationship.

In this episode, we’re sharing why providing emotional safety is the assignment that you don’t understand and what you can do to build a healthier relationship.

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Doug:  Hey, guys, welcome back. You are in for a treat. I want Andy Tor to come back with us again. If you haven’t heard the previous podcast I did with Andy, please go back and listen to that one first. Andy drops a lot of knowledge and gold on that one. And so, I tried to persuade him to come back and give us some time, which wasn’t hard because Andy always likes sharing his wisdom. So Andy, thanks for being with us again.

Andy: Oh, thanks, brother. It’s always a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me back. The first time was such a gas. I’m really happy to go deeper with you today.

Doug: Love it. Love it. So you had a great topic that we were talking about before we were recording about safety. I’ll let you kick it off.

Andy: Sure, yeah, it really comes down to… a conversation that I have with a lot of guys when they come into the AM, which is a one of the programs that I coach in TPM, a lot of guys come in who are really, really good providers, right? They’ve got the career, they’ve got the business, they’ve got the money, and they do it really well. And they’ve been able to create, you know, financial structure for their families. And they take it seriously that assignment, you know, the assignment to go out and to provide for the family. It’s easy to become resentful around that, you know, if you don’t get the response, you know, oh, I’m providing I’m working so hard, you know, all these hours, I’m exhausted, you know, like, Why doesn’t my wife love me? And why am I not appreciated? And why am I not respected? And all of that kind of thing, right? I hear this from a lot of guys. It’s understandable why guys would get frustrated when we work so hard to be able to fulfill this assignment of being the provider. It’s important in our society and in our families. And I think what a lot of guys don’t understand is that there’s actually more than one assignment for a man. Right?

The second assignment is to create safety for the family, right? Yes, having money creates some financial security, and that’s important. But emotional and physical safety for the family is an assignment that I think a lot of guys don’t understand that it’s their responsibility. I’ve heard you say this over and over again in the trainings, the man sets the frame for the mood in the house. Whatever mood you bring walking in the door at night, after your work day, that’s going to set the frame for the entire house. And so, if you can find a way to create a frame in which you’re creating physical and emotional safety for your family, then you’re going to have much more peace, and harmony, and cohesion as a family unit.

So, I guess the obvious question is, well, how do you do that, right? And a big part of that comes down to being able to manage our intense emotions, right? We have a challenging work day, we’re feeling frustrated, maybe we’re feeling angry or triggered, you know, when you bring that into the house, then that puts everybody else on edge, right? That immediately removes all of the safety from the house, and people don’t know how to act, they don’t know how to respond. And your family members go into DEER mode, right? They just, they just scatter like cockroaches, right? And that’s obviously not the environment that you want to create for a cohesive, you know, happy family experience. So, learning to regulate our emotions by doing things like the AD that we teach during the AM really helps guys to become more aware of their emotional states and to take proven steps to be able to manage themselves so that they are really coming into the house as a safe person, as someone who is in charge of their emotions, in charge of their themselves, and can step into the house as leader of the family.

Doug: Well, it’s so true and so interesting when you say that. There are two things that come to my mind. One is I grew up in Orange County, California, which is Southern California, very affluent area. We have this area called Mile Square Park, which is a four mile of you know, a park, it’s a square mile. And in that park, you would drive by it, and what was interesting is you’d always see families just filled in that park, having fun, joy, laughter. And the families that you would see weren’t families that were well off. They’re usually the family serving the other families driving by in their cars, with nobody talking in the car, being absolutely miserable. And it went to show me at a very young age that you know, money doesn’t buy that for you. Of course, I fell into that trap as well. And it’s just so easy in our culture to get in. I must provide, must provide, must provide. Yet it’s really what the family unit wants, and us men want, is that cohesiveness. We want the fun, the joy, and what have you. And for a lot of us, we’ve lost that along the way. And a lot of guys just lose how to do it. Like, I forgot how to have fun.

Andy: Yeah, absolutely. I’m gonna drop a word that I know that will resonate with you. Our families need presence, right? Not NTS, but NCE presence. They need our attention. They need our focus on them when we are with them. And there are so many guys who, you know, they don’t close out their workday properly, they got a million open loops, and they’re thinking about work and money and all of the stuff that they got to do, that even when they’re physically present with their family, they’re not emotionally present. And when you are physically present but you’re checked out emotionally, that’s not safe, right? That’s not something that your wife and kids can relax into, and have fun around. Right? So, a big part of creating that emotional safety is actually bringing yourself into the present moment of choosing to be with your family, and then choosing to deal with all of the other stuff that is your responsibility in your life at another time, so that you can focus on the present moment.

Doug: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. I was working with one of our one on one clients, Andy, and I was talking with him, and this guy has a level of wealth that I think all men would agree was- he’s done well. His net worth is in the eight figures personally. And so, he’s accumulated just a massive amount of wealth, properties and done all these things. And as we were going through the coaching, it’s one on one, it’s intense, it’s very guided – he went over and asked his wife, you know, kind of, they started to reconcile, they were on the brink of divorce. And they started to reconcile and actually have deep conversations. And she turned to him and said, I’ve never wanted the money. I didn’t want the beach house. I didn’t want the house on the lake. I didn’t want the land. I didn’t need the apartment in the city. All I wanted was you.

And it blew him away. Because this guy is super intelligent, and such a great guy. Which is a great mix, right? Because sometimes they don’t happen. And here he is, working his tail off, busting his ass to provide for his family, to give them all the things he never had as a kid, self-made man. And he’s given his wife everything. I’m talking designer clothes- she can do anything she wants, they have a lot of money. Yet she’s miserable. Because all she wants is the family. He provided the financial stability, and then some, and then some, but it did not provide the mental and emotional stability that she needed, which caused them to erode the relationship.

And this spilled over. The kids are watching. Right? What do kids do? They don’t listen to what you say. They copy what you do. Monkey see, monkey do. And so, when he figured this out, it blew him away. Now granted, he’s taken the trainings and things that we teach, and he’s done a full 180. And his business grew even more because he’s more fulfilled. He started focusing more on, how can I protect my family emotionally? And learning those skills. I wasn’t taught that. I don’t know if you were, as a kid. Communication.

Andy: Never.

Doug: It’s funny, I always joke. We all go to school, we go to school for a long time, some of us longer than others. The two things that cause the most strife in a man’s life: money and relationships. Those things aren’t taught. Unless you study economics at your university or college, chances are you were never properly taught about money and how money works in the real world, and you probably are never taught how to handle the most important relationships in your life. It’s mind-boggling.

Andy:  And I’ll add to that, Doug. A lot of guys don’t choose to invest in their marriages, until it comes to a crisis point. I have three kids, and I can’t even tell you how many parenting books we bought. And I think maybe we bought one book on relationships, and it was The Five Love Languages. And it wasn’t until things got really extremely uncomfortable that I was like, oh, shoot, there’s a serious problem here. Okay, now I need to figure out how to get the train back on the tracks. That’s where a lot of guys come to us in the AM, right? Like, things are blowing up and I just kind of thought we would say our vows and everything would be fine.

Doug: Guilty. I certainly did. Yeah, you get all this advice from people. But yeah, we’re going to be different, right? When the reality is guys, statistically, it’s a flip of a coin. Right? Percentage-wise, it’s actually worse off for you guys. And as we’ve talked about, oftentimes, Andy, over 70% of divorces are initiated by the woman which catches the guy by surprise, and over 90% of divorces are issued by the women if she’s got a college degree or better.

Andy:  , and that’s a terrifying statistic, right? If that doesn’t motivate the guys who are listening to go and invest in their relationships, nothing will.

Doug:  What’s crazy, we invest so much in our education, we invest in, you know- guys will spend more time watching YouTube videos on how to remodel their house than they will on how to fix arguably the most important relationship in their lives, outside of their children, perhaps. until it’s too late or until they’ve let it go too far. And sometimes it’s not in their control. That’s completely understandable. But as a couple, that’s something you really, really have to do. My wife and I, we’ve talked about this openly as podcasts we hire intimacy coaches and stuff when things are going great. Instead of when it’s going wrong, when it’s great, we want to hire someone to come in, give us a third-person perspective, because we know what it’s like to wait when it’s bad. Then you’re putting out fires. It’s almost like trying to save a business that is going through bankruptcy. Much harder than saving a business that’s very profitable.

Andy:  Absolutely. You know, it reminds me of when I learned how they actually fly airplanes, you know, between cities. And it’s never a straight line. It’s always a series of little course corrections, right. So if you can bring somebody on board to help you make those little course corrections before you get way off course and you’re looking at a landing in the wrong city, then it’s just going to save you time, and it’s going to save you a lot of grief.

Doug: Yeah. And energy. I mean, that’s the biggest thing. I remember when my wife and I were going through our turmoil, it consumed me, Andy, like, I still was running multiple companies at the time. But really, what I was thinking about is, my brain kept switching to what the problems were with my wife, all the things that she was doing wrong – of course, it wasn’t me – I took some ownership to be fair, but not as much as I do now, retrospectively. And if I think back of how much more money I would make, or money I would save, and all these things, and really the heartache is what it is, you know, for myself, but also seeing somebody that I love so much. I loved my wife, she loved me, but yet we couldn’t meet. We couldn’t figure out how to get there. And TPM didn’t exist at the time. We didn’t have the resources.

Andy:  Yeah, yeah, I’ve had those conversations as well. Right. And, you know, one of the things that comes up for me a lot when I’m coaching guys in the AM is this idea of, like you mentioned with your one on one client, that guy who has been really successful and provided and made all the money, and his wife actually didn’t want that, she just wanted him. Most of the guys that I work with, their wives just want the man that they married. And somehow, over a period of years, he took his eye off the ball, and he got his priorities backwards. And he thought that his assignment was just to go out and break his back to make all of this money. When in fact, she is much more concerned with who he is than what he has. Right? And a big part of the work is bringing guys back to like, Okay, who were you when you got married? And what was that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that you brought into the relationship that really tickled your wife’s fancy, and how do we reactivate that?

Doug:  I love it. And, you know, Listen, guys, we’re not saying don’t make money. You know, we’re organization of businessmen. So, we like money. Money is a good thing. And something was interesting about this particular guy is, I asked him I go, okay, on a scale of one to 10, how much do you absolutely love what you do on a day-to-day basis? Camilla. He thought about it for a second – one. Oh, so you’re spending all your time at work, which is destroying your marriage, destroying your relationship with your kids? You freakin’ hate it. Hmm. Let’s see here. But sometimes it just takes somebody, a coach, to hold up a mirror. Right?

I think a great coach isn’t somebody who gives you advice, per se. It’s just someone who holds a mirror up. Right? The men that we work with are extremely intelligent guys. And once the mirror is held up, they’re like, Oh, wow. I can see it clearly now. Awesome. I can move forward. And once I talked to him about that, we started working on an exit for him. How do we exit? What does that exit look like? Fast forward to today, his marriage is doing well. I wouldn’t say great. It went from horrible. One of the worst ones I’ve heard of staying married. he was staying married out of obligation, religious obligation, they were staying together, which is basically, hey, let’s be miserable together. Right? It’s horrible.

Now they’re having great conversations, going on trips, and what’s come up for him is, he’s gonna be able to make more money working less, and with more autonomy than he has before, simply because he decided, you know what, I don’t like what I do, so I’m going to pursue something different, or a different cause of action. And all of a sudden, things just started to fall into his lap. And he’s like, Doug, what is happening right now? He’s gonna make more money, be closer with his friends and family than he ever has before. And it’s amazing.

Andy: He’s aligned. He’s aligned internally, and he’s passionate, and he’s got significance behind what he’s doing now. And I relate with that very personally. I wasn’t always a coach, Doug, as you know. I was a corporate guy for a bunch of years, and worked in a soul-destroying environment, office politics and all of that. And it finally took a coach to grab me and say, listen, you need to find your significance. And I was like, what does that mean? Took me a little while to actually figure out what it was, that was a combination of what I’m good at and what I’m extremely passionate about. And fortunately, ended up partnering up with you guys at TPM, and I am so excited to get out of bed every day, and help these guys get unstuck and step into more powerful versions of themselves. It’s incredibly rewarding.

Doug: I absolutely love it. And you know, as we’re talking, I pulled up- we use Slack internally for the TPM movement. We have a team of almost 40 people that help make this movement a reality for the men that we serve. And one of the things that we spend most of our time talking about is client wins, we have a client win section, and Andy is in there. As a coach, Andy, I’m just gonna say it, I know this podcast isn’t about you. This is not me blowing smoke. But you have transformed the lives and families of people all over the world. Talk about significance. There’s not many times you get to make that impact. And gentlemen, if you’re listening to this, Andy is one of our coaches, he’s a real guy. This is real world stuff that we teach and very applicable.

So you have the opportunity of working with somebody like Andy, who’s been down the road and has actually made those changes necessary to get people back on track. And I’m looking at one of these messages right now, Andy, where you’re talking about a gentleman who’s a runner, and the importance of him showing up consistently. And that’s just the other day. I mean, I can go on and on and on about these. So, when we look at this whole idea of showing up and providing protection, this guy going from a runner, running away from his relationship, running away from his problems, to actually standing strong and being there for his family, that provides a level of emotional safety for his wife, but also an example for his kids to grow into. They’re gonna see how to handle a mature relationship. And that dad or a man doesn’t have to be scared, or can be scared and still stand in there. And that’s the definition of courage.

Andy:  Absolutely. And, you know, I really enjoy working with that particular guy, and he shared some wisdom with our group, based on his experience as a runner. He said, you know, when I’m training for a marathon, I recognize that when I don’t show up for a training session, that I go two steps back, and I gotta make up the time. So, he translated that learning to his routines, his daily routines that he’s committed to doing, and he was letting himself off the hook a little bit. And then he realized, like, oh, if I get out of my habit of doing my routines every day, then it’s much harder to get back in, and I noticed that things start to fall apart a little bit in terms of relationships, and mindset, and all of that kind of stuff.

So, I think we all bring some experience from various parts of our lives into our relationships, and we can really lean on some of that experience. Most of the guys that I know who were coming to the program, they already have the answers to a lot of their questions, they just need that mirror held up to them. They need Tim and Doug in their ear, and sometimes they need Andy in their ear, and just a little bit of support and encouragement, and community, to know that they’re not alone out in the wilderness. And I feel very blessed to be able to be part of that community.

Doug:  Yeah, well, as they say, iron sharpens iron. So, being around other men who are like-minded and on that journey- it’s hard to find. These are the one percenters that show up. We have literally 100s of 1000s of men that digest our content, yet less than 1% actually take action. And I’m not calling you guys out, I’ve done that before. I’m sure Andy has too, where you’re just not quite ready. You’re on the fence, and you’re waiting for something to come. But I’m hoping for a couple of you guys, this calls you forward. Whether it be through TPM or through something else, doesn’t matter to me one way or the other, won’t change my lifestyle if you guys join or not, but it will warm my heart to see you guys get the results that you want. That’s why I do what I do, why Andy does what he does, and the 30 other people that are involved in the movement, we show up for you guys. And I just hope you guys get the results and take the action that you actually want.

So Andy, when we summarize some of these things that we’re talking about, and I like to always put you on the spot when I can, because you can handle it, give me one or two things that the guys can do. Because we’re guys, we like practical action steps. Give me one or two things the guys can do in this insight.

Andy:  So you know, we really talked about the assignments, I think that was the theme for this conversation, the assignment of providing. And that’s an important assignment, and like you said, we want to encourage you guys to go out and make the money and be successful. But don’t make it all about the success, right? It’s not about having the house and having the money, it’s about the guy who has the house. So, you know, I don’t care how successful you’ve been, I want to know what kind of a man you are, and what your qualities are like.

Approach being a provider with some enthusiasm, but also with some moderation. And understand that the second assignment is equally important, that assignment of creating physical and emotional safety. And that speaks to self-mastery. That speaks to being able to know what kind of emotional state you’re in, being able to regulate yourself so that you’re not feeling triggered, and you’re acting out and behaving badly. But rather, you’re able to experience yourself having feelings, having emotions, things coming up, and being able to process those in a healthy way.

For me, I’m a yoga teacher, I meditate a lot. Those are two things that really helped me be in my body, be with myself. And it’s a practice. It’s something that we evolve over time, that ability to sit with ourselves in the fullness of our experience and go, what’s actually going on for me right now, and can I sit with this, rather than numbing it out with social media, or alcohol, or pornography, or a million other things that are available to distract us from the experience of actually just being present for ourselves. And if we can be present for ourselves, then we can be present for our families. So, you can’t give what you don’t already have?

Doug:  Love it. Sage advice as always, Andy. Thanks again for being here, love to have you back on again soon.

Andy: It’s been a slice, Doug, thanks so much for having me.

Doug:  All right, gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Guys, get off the fence. It’s never fun there. We’ll see you next time on the TPM show.