October 28, 2010 by David Gillaspie
0. You don’t have to be a man to be THE MAN.
The part of the right women being THE MAN is they don’t let you know that’s what they’re doing. They count on you being smart enough to figure it out on your own.
“Who did this? How did this this get done? Ooooohhhh-kay. She’s The Man. Thanks.”
Just don’t wait too long to figure it out. THE MAN moves on quickly, regardless of gender, and they don’t keep track of thank-yous.
1. Take Charge.
The full lifeboat from the Titanic didn’t turn back when the ship tipped up and put everyone in the water. They couldn’t take anymore aboard without sinking.
THE MAN made the call.
It was a tough call, but not as tough as the armed ship’s officer who pulled his heater and shot the terrified passenger rushing a lifeboat while Titanic was still afloat. He took charge. He was THE MAN.
After what he’d done sunk in, he turned his pistol. He realized his mistake and capped himself to correct it.
Either that or he couldn’t find lady clothes his size and didn’t know how to swim, which isn’t a disqualifier for being THE MAN in most places.
2. Be a good listener.
Strong and silent doesn’t cut it. Listening to someone isn’t the same as being on the clock. You can’t listen for ten minutes, then decide you’re through.
If that’s how you do it, offer feedback.
Aim the conversation toward productive topics at first. In the middle, explore possibilities and outcomes and the consequences of each. End by narrowing the choices to win-win.
You’re THE MAN, this is what you do: beginning, middle, end.
3. Make Gradual Change.
When Grammie serves lard with chocolate gravy for dinner, just eat it with no complaints. Remind your Mom to check the Crisco barrel so Grammie doesn’t run out of her favorite food group.
Gradual change for some means dates on a calendar; for others it’s glacial time like rings of a tree or layers of stone in the Grand Canyon walls; there’s evidence time passes, but you can’t feel it.
THE MAN knows they can’t change a family member in their lifetime, but they can change themselves. The next time Grammie breaks out her lard scooping spoon, rush out for a bucket of extra-crispy double fried chicken and cheese dipped in Ranch Dressing.
Grammie won’t lose any calories with your food choice, so she won’t get cranky.
Be proactive, but do it gently.
4. Accept limitations.
You’ll never Flame On like Johnny Storm, or wrap your leg around your neck like Reed Richards. They are comic book heroes, and more than that, they are mutants, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
You don’t want to wear your leg like a tie, but as THE MAN you can imagine wrapping someone elses leg around their neck.
Seeing it in your mind’s eye is enough.
5. Overcome the limitations you accepted.
Will you run a six-minute mile at forty after getting so fat that guys from your hometown wonder what happened to you?
Yes, under certain conditions.
Make a bet with someone close to you, then get busy cheating. They know you are THE MAN and will forgive you.
First, find a downhill slope with two blocks of undisturbed curb. Have someone film you running those two blocks as fast as you can. Later, do a continuous edit so it looks like you’re running full speed and sync it to a clock to just under six minutes. A five thirty mile works fine.
It shows you are an ambitious cheater
Send the DVD to the person you made the bet with in one envelope, the amount of the bet in another. Then start training to do it right.
That’s how it works with THE MAN.
6. Make a list.
Rotate the tires on your car? Clean the gutters of your house? Fix the fence? Go to the grocery store? Stop by the cleaners? Cook dinner? Clean the kitchen?
These things need to get done, but that’s not the list for THE MAN.
Honesty. Enthusiasm. Kindness. Intelligence. Consideration. Effort. Focus. Go through this list and give an example of what you did today for each word.
When you’re done, start on the first list.
THE MAN is busy.
7. Follow through.
You know what to do, so do it. If you have questions, find THE MENTOR MAN for mentoring. You’ll recognize them by their willingness to share.
Be sure to filter what they tell you. Some of their ideas are like mountain fresh streams, the sort you see in Coors commercials. You are thirsty, but you don’t want beer, and you don’t want to a case of beaver fever from untreated BS.
You take it all in until you won’t take any more. After that happens you start setting things right.
Do it correctly and you are THE MAN.
Do it incorrectly and you’re still THE MAN, but you need work.
Why not start now?