‘Success is always temporary. When all is said and done, the only thing you’ll have left is your character.’ – Vince Gill
When you publish a book, you hand out multiple copies to people you know.
Then you wait and wait a little more.
I now understand artists' anxiety at their latest exhibition, pre-release screenings of their movie and why famous authors publish anonymously using a pseudonym. Not everyone will understand and appreciate your work.
As an author, the bigger the effort, the higher the potential anxiety, and the more painful the critique. Critique is an essential part of learning. It offers how you can better structure and improve your writing. Some of the critiquing will be someone's personal opinion or perspective. Others will provide insights to allow you to evolve.
At one of my former employers, a senior leader once said that feedback is information, don't ignore it but choose only a few things to work on at any one time. Based on some credible international editors, their guidance is to try and share more thoughts with the facts. Not just the facts…
Some readers may expect solutions or answers to the observations in Finding A Better Way. That is not what this book is about, and I am now wondering if this has skewed the reviews, as the majority have been offered by women. Many have used the word love within their review, and that word is not something my stoic peer group of men would necessarily use to describe a book.
Some of these men want answers; an action plan!
Rather than that, we intend to offer the reader an opportunity to soak in the book content, understand what could be important for them, and take more considered future actions.
Finding A Better Way includes this research;
Australian Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women
In the US, males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females
A man's loss of a job is their loss of identity and masculinity
Symptoms of male depression include anger, irritability and agitation
Men talk better when working side by side; the Australian men shed movement is vital to this
Hofstede research found, and their commentary indicates, Australia is a masculine society; where the winner takes all, conflicts are resolved at the individual level, and the goal is to win. Alternatively, feminine society keeps work/life balance in check and includes everyone. There are successful feminine societies; the Nordics are a great example
Further to this is research from Man Box of the expectation of young men to be strong (69%) and to fight back (almost two thirds).
What could be some of the implications of this?
Research indicates that men want to take time off; however, they don't ask for it. 39% believe this would have a detrimental effect on their career
Further, 43% of dads who take extended parental leave receive unfavourable comments
60% of fathers would like to take extended parental leave.
The book makes for some uncomfortable reading with the above and the below personal story.
A possible client a couple of years ago, represented by a red-faced overweight senior male executive, enquired about what I had been doing with my time since leaving my most recent executive role. I explained that I had split my time into thirds. One is for paid client engagements, another for thinking, including my writing, and the final third for my family and me. "What makes up the final third," he enquired? I explained I was splitting this time between; exercise (yoga specifically), being present for my family (like the odd school drop off) and learning how to cook. He responded, "I had gone soft."
There my male friends and colleagues, is the opportunity.