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When Men Feel the Need to Perform

October 21, 2013

polls_dog_pee_4353_36415_poll_xlargeNothing good happens when men feel like we need to perform… prove ourselves… be someone…. demonstrate our manhood. Yet, we guys do it anyway.  We perform for you.  Will we ever learn?

I clearly witnessed this performance behavior in my three male dogs the other day.  While tethered to me and their leashes – Harry, Scrappy and Barney beheld a female golden retriever.   “Well, Looky here Scrappy!!!”  After yanking with all their doggy might, dang it, they discovered she was hardly giving them the time of day.  Quickly, Harry  began biting and barking at Scrappy as if they were engaged in the fight of their lives.  Soon Barney joined and within moments my three “clowns” were actively demonstrating their personal virility, viciousness and vigor. Looked pretty silly to me!  And being yanked didn’t feel good either!

Results: First and foremost: the “girl” was clearly not impressed!!  (And she was much better behaved than my three!)  The other results my three performers experienced was yanked collars, tangles leashes and a master (me) who was not at all pleased and promptly ended our walk.  Their staged antics failed miserably.

Personally, I am not that much different.  Since I was a young child, I somehow learned (though falsely) that I needed to perform to be acceptable, attract attention and prove my own worth.  I’m not proud of this, nor am I fully healed from it’s affects or the false belief that  I need to act to attract.  Or that  I need to do something noteworthy to have real worth.  In many ways, I’m very much like my three best friends on the leash

Since we were young, most  guys were taught or somehow believed that other boys, parents, teachers and certainly girls would like us if we drew attention to ourselves.  “Hey there! Look at me!  I can pitch a baseball! ”   “Hey there! I can ride a 5 speed bike!” “Hey, look at me, I can do donuts in the parking lot with my Camaro!” “Hey there! I can get drunk and do foolish things!”   I’ve got something cool to offer!”  Yeah, the showmanship wasn’t much different from the peacock’s strut…. and for some of us, it even  seemed worked – at least at first to “get the girl” or win the starting job on the team.

However, when not backed up by the real deal, performance doesn’t go the distance.  It’s not authentic. It loses over time.

So, why should we guys see the downside of performance before it’s too late?

Well – here’s four things we lose when we keep on performing:

1. Presence: When we perform, we quit being fully there in the moment.

When we perform, we put energy and focus into the performance and stop being fully present to the moment, or to those we are there to serve or be with.  We get working so hard on engaging the dog next to us that we become distracted from doing what the other really needs or wants.

2. Perspective: When we perform, we forget why we are there in the first place

Performance actually takes the perspective: “It’s all about me anyway.”  It loses the mindset that we’re there for them or caring for what they need. It’s really all about me and how I am perceived… forget reality.

3. Passion:  When we perform, we end up forfeiting the joy of doing something because it’s fun, enjoyable or because we can.

Performance takes away our sheer enjoyment of the process itself – because it becomes about getting the reward or the applause. We can perform for money, sex, recognition or other accolades.

4. Peace of Mind: When we perform we allow fear and anxiety the room to grow.

Performance mindset tends to fear one very large result: Rejection. Performers fear this almost more than anything else.  So, when we weight our own worth on whether the audience finds us acceptable, we simply stop enjoying the dance.  We worry ourselves into being tired and ultimately burnt out.  It’s just not enjoyable anymore and we look for a break or a rest.  One of the biggest clues to performance is performance anxiety.  And performance anxiety simply drains us over time.

The first step then in changing a performance mindset:  Notice that’s what we are doing… AND realize it’s not a good way to live.

More to follow.

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