Leaving My Shadow In The Dust

I couldn’t handle it.

Money came in, I blew it, and now it’s gone.

And I believe it’s going to be on of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s so powerful, and fast, and badass! That Tesla P90D is everything that my ego wishes I was. And in some ways, it is a lot like me. In order to make that car mine, I had to face my fears, grow my company, execute like mad, make big decisions quickly, and sell my whole company to one of the world’s biggest publicly traded corporations in the cannabis industry.

What I didn’t see at the time, is that there was a part of me that felt like it needed to prove itself to the rest of the world because I didn’t actually believe deep down that I was powerful, or cool, or confident, or any of the things I wanted to be.

That is my shadow. The inner little boy that hides inside waiting to jump out and fuck shit up. The inner saboteur.

I’m sure you have one too, maybe it goes by a different name: the scared boy, the inner bully, etc. Regardless of what you call your version of it, most of us have one that interferes in our life from time to time.

For me, it’s a version of myself I once was. A scared, shy little boy who wanted desperately to be seen, to be acknowledged, and to be loved. I did get a lot of love from my mom as a kid and still do now. We have a pretty great relationship actually. She’s definitely responsible for my kind hearted nature, the foundation I have of wanting to do good, and the drive I have to be a better person in general. She’s pretty damn awesome.

On the other side, not so much. My biological father left before I was born and even though my Step Dad came into my life when I was only five, it turns out I was a real dick as a kid and never really gave him much of a chance to actually fill those shoes. I never opened up to him, never let him in. I’ve put up walls and held him at a distance my entire life. And I’ve struggled with my relationship to the masculine within myself my whole life as a result.

My biological father left before I was born and even though my Step Dad came into my life when I was only five, it turns out I was a real dick as a kid and never really gave him much of a chance to actually fill those shoes. I never opened up to him, never let him in. I’ve put up walls and held him at a distance my entire life. And I’ve struggled with my relationship to the masculine within myself my whole life as a result.

Even though I’ve struggled with this for so long, this realization of how I was responsible for putting up these walls only came to me recently. When it finally hit me, it struck me so hard in the moment I started to cry. Why did I push someone away so much that clearly loved me and wanted to support me? Why was I so stubborn and bitter towards a man that loved my mom, and gave me my brother, and played such a big role in my life?

I’m still not sure I understand why, but I do know that doing this work is getting me closer to understanding myself and figuring it all out.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long way.

I’ve been intentionally working on my relationship with my masculine side for a good few years now and it’s been quite the journey. My work with the Samurai Brotherhood especially has been huge for helping with this. Having men to air my bullshit with, let out the deeply buried anger and hatred for the man who left me and never even cared enough to be part of my life at all until I tracked him down in my mid-twenties. As you can see I haven’t let it all out just yet, but I have come a long way. I’ve grown as a man and as a leader a lot in the last few years. I’ve chosen to step into the fire and grow as much as I can in my life and it’s paid off.

How have I done this?

It would be impossible to list all the ways in here, but a couple of the things that have played the biggest parts for me are consistency, making life less about myself, and getting better at setting boundaries.

Consistency is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Whenever I found life being too challenging or not going the way I wanted it to, I would often bail on what I was striving towards. I’d quit the job, leave the girlfriend, or give up on the project. I’d abandon. The pattern that was etched into me by my biological father leaving before I was born ended up repeatedly showing up in my own life unconsciously.

How did I get better at this?

The regularity of the group meetings plays a huge role. We show up every week, whether we want to or not. And sometimes, I definitely don’t. Especially when things aren’t going well. I find it incredibly hard to show up to a group of men when I’m struggling. I don’t want to be seen as weak. I want to shoulder the pain in silence and figure it out on my own, then come back to the group when I have everything figured out. But learning to let go of this pattern has been a big part of my growth. Learning to not abandon things when they get hard, and not run away from people when I’m struggling has been a big challenge, but I’m getting better with practice.

I don’t want to be seen as weak. I want to shoulder the pain in silence and figure it out on my own, then come back to the group when I have everything figured out. But learning to let go of this pattern has been a big part of my growth. Learning to not abandon things when they get hard, and not run away from people when I’m struggling has been a big challenge, but I’m getting better with practice.

It’s not all about you.

Easy to forget sometimes, but this is one of the biggest things that’s been getting drilled into me lately, and a big piece that I’ve had the opportunity to work on through co-leading Lion Squad. When I was a member of a group, I looked forward to bringing my shit to the room at every opportunity and getting feedback and attention. Since stepping into a leadership role, I’ve naturally had to evolve and put my focus on my men, instead of on myself. I have to show up for them, as well as for myself. This responsibility, while challenging, is so important for growth.

Boundaries are the other area I feel the group has helped me grow the most in. Before I got involved in the Brotherhood, I was the classic “nice guy” that Robert Glover describes in his book No More Mr Nice Guy. I just didn’t believe I was worthy of love and acceptance. I didn’t believe I deserved to ask for what I wanted in life. I would often agree to do things for other people that I didn’t want to, just because I didn’t want to upset anyone. I was more concerned with not upsetting anyone, than having my life be the way I wanted. I was soft.

Through some of the exercises we do in group, I’ve gotten more in touch with my anger and I’ve learned to stand up for myself. I’ve also had the push from the men to not back down from the challenges life gives me. I’ve learned to harden up and get better at setting boundaries, which has led to me achieving more, and feeling more confident.

But there was clearly a big piece still there to look at. There was a part of me that was in a huge rush to prove to myself that I deserved abundance and wealth. But I didn’t. I hadn’t earned it yet. I couldn’t even wait until the damn papers were signed to go buy the Tesla I’d been dreaming about for all those years.

What I’ve realized, though, is that it happened for a reason (as cliche as that sounds). It showed me what’s possible. It showed me how not to do it. It showed me how fast I can get shit done if I want to, and it showed me how incredibly impulsive and naive I can be at the same time.

I did learn a lot through this whole mess. I learned that there is still a piece of me that desperately wants to be cool and seeks approval from the masculine. I learned that, really, the only person’s approval that actually means shit in my life is my own. And while I still do have moments of self-doubt, I can say with confidence that I am on the right path, especially now that I finally let go of the car. I feel so much better. I feel free.

It’s actually kind of ironic. I bought the Tesla to make myself feel cool, to feel respected, to be looked up to. Instead, from the minute I rushed out and bought it, and then even more after the deal fell through, I just felt stupid and guilty every time I drove it.

It was my dream car, my shadowy bad ass egoic toy. But since I didn’t have the patience to wait until I’d actually earned it, it went from a dream to a nightmare that cost me $30,000. At least now the nightmare is over. I can accept the mistake, be grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, and carry on with my life. Now I can keep moving forward, apply what I’ve learned and build myself back up even stronger than before!

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