We are occasionally asked by men if we can in some way assist or mentor them for free.
This article explains our position on this, but more importantly, it explains how this kind of thinking hinders a man deeply in every other place in his life.
The short answer to “can or will we mentor me for free?” is no, we won’t help you for free.
Mentoring Men is a global men’s community that…
- Guides men to renew and restore their hearts and minds.
- Inspires men to improve their relationships.
- Shows men the path to a deeply-connected intimate life.
- Empowers men to discover and express their mission and purpose.
Everything we do is centered on restoring, inspiring, connecting, and empowering men.
Guiding men to cultivate personal virtues like ownership, self-reliance, and personal agency is critical to our mentoring process and to our community.
What we do and don’t do
We don’t rescue victims in distress; We don’t exist to rescue men.
Doing so would make us heroes but, more importantly, make such men victims.
Men aren’t transformed by treating them as victims but by inviting them to become heroes.
The plain and simple truth is this – men that view themselves as victims won’t grow upward but downward. In fact, the more a man is treated like a victim, the more he gravitates toward becoming something even worse – a villain. This is true in every story we love. Every villain was a victim who didn’t know what to do with their pain other than spread it to others.
Victims don’t need and won’t accept mentoring.
They’re looking for guidance, but rescue, someone to enter their story, turn things around, and save the day.
We fundamentally believe that the person who needs to enter a man’s story, turn things around, and save the day, is himself.
To be clear, all men we mentor suffer some level of victim thinking at first, and our mentoring process guides them to see these areas of their life more clearly and address them.
However, too much victimization precludes us from being effective in a man’s life.
We guide heroes on their journeys to enter more freedom.
Like in all our favorite stories, Heroes aren’t waiting for rescue and assistance; they’re seeking out guides.
They’re Luke Skywalker seeking out Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda. They’re Frodo Baggins looking for Gandalf to help them find their courage.
Such men understand their journey requires something deep from within them. They’re ready to find it but need help digging it out of their hearts.
Heroes are committed to self and, thus, to self-rescue.
Men who want free mentoring are not committed to themselves or those with a self-rescue mindset.
Victims make terrible mentees
Men living with a deep sense of victimization live in a story where all the solutions to what pains them are outside them, including the answers to their financial challenges.
They want free or cheap because they don’t consider anything that requires more of them to be viable solutions. They don’t know and trust themselves yet as sources for solving their problems.
They’re also not good mentees.
First, they begin with a story of “I can’t afford the journey.” Soon after, their story changes to “life is conspiring against me” and “limiting my ability to start the journey.”
Then, it changes to “I can’t find the time to do the work because my wife/employer/kid/neighbor/pastor/friend needs me and is ‘forcing me’ to make something else a priority.”
They begin not attending group calls, canceling their commitments, and showing up late or not at all – all for reasons “beyond their control.”
Eventually, the journey becomes too hard, fast, slow, or long, and they don’t finish their journey.
This is often the pattern of the lives of men who want things for free, and it shows up in mentoring as much as it shows up everywhere else in their lives.
Here’s a reliable pattern that we’ve witnessed
We’ve learned that the more comfortable a man wants the start of his mentoring journey to be, the more certain he will not follow through to finish it.
By contrast, the more invested a man is in his journey, the more thorough and transformative his experience.
The less personal investment a man has in his journey, the less likely his journey will lead him anywhere transformative. It’s no secret that our mentees with the most skin in the game are getting the most transformative results. Therefore, “free” mentoring isn’t something we do because it doesn’t yield results.
Mentoring doesn’t offer anything to victims because a victim doesn’t see change as possible until his villains stop being villains and start being his heroes.
When a man lives in that story, other people and external circumstances must change before he can move forward.
We’re no more able to bring about those things than he is. We have nothing to offer such men.
They don’t really want a mentor to guide them along the way but a hero to create the way for them.
Men need better stories
As we’ve guided many men, it’s become very apparent in doing so that the vast majority, if not all, of these men’s suffering is mostly attributable to the self-limiting, defeated stories they’re living in.
These suffering stories have a main thing in common – they require other people or circumstances to provide for what we want, need, and desire. They’re stories of dependency.
Men that live in these stories experience tremendous suffering in romantic relationships.
In their stories, a significant source of their well-being is their partner. Their value, worth, and significance don’t come from within but depend on their partner’s ongoing approval, acceptance, validation, interest, affection, and attention.
When their partners move away from them, their sense of self and value moves with them. Where do they look for remedy and rescue? A change of heart, mind, or actions in their partner.
The same men might also experience suffering in their careers because their stories about their careers are those whose opportunity, potential, and financial capacity are limited by their company, employer, the economy, colleagues, circumstances, or anything but themselves. Their career advancement depends upon the notice, approval, and opportunity of others.
Lastly, these men experience financial suffering because their stories about their finances are similar.
Their financial status happens to them instead of in them.
They’re waiting for something outside them to change. Their financial well-being depends upon the next big break, winning the lottery, a contest, a promotion, an inheritance, a raise, or more.
These are the same pattern – waiting on our dependencies to provide for needs.
Men suffer until they begin choosing to be heroes
Most men suffering like this don’t realize that their suffering is a choice.
Notice we did not say their circumstances are their choice!
Our circumstances are often far beyond our control. However, we believe every man has the power of personal agency and choice in determining how we respond to our circumstances.
We all experience challenges, adversity, discomfort, stress, and hardship. All of us! However, we do not all suffer because suffering is a choice.
If he can’t choose, what would mentoring offer him?
Sadly, much of the suffering a man is experiencing is precisely because he hasn’t yet realized he has a choice or more commonly, is unwilling to take ownership of his own life.
Many men don’t yet know they can.
Most are waiting for the pain, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and shame to stop before choosing.
That’s not how it works!
Choice and agency come first, allowing a man to lead himself out of pain, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and shame. This is what it means to self-rescue!
The longer a man waits for rescue, the more his life erodes.
His romantic relationships with women fail because a woman doesn’t want to be his hero and lead around a man incapable of leading himself.
His jobs fail because employers don’t want to be his hero, rescuing a man from all the reasons he can’t perform his responsibilities.
Men like this aren’t yet ready for mentoring
We have no judgment for men suffering this way. We yearn for them to wake up and be free! We patiently wait for such men to find the spark of self-rescue!
We believe they’re just as valuable, worthy, and significant as everyone else.
But what we believe about such men doesn’t matter because they lack belief in themselves! In their mind, it’s not them that needs to change. What, then, would mentoring offer?
Were we to try to guide men who don’t believe in themselves, we’d be doing more harm for them than good.
We’d keep them in a perpetual state of powerlessness, defeat, immaturity, and suffering.
That’s not mentoring but creating more dependency.
Men don’t find a life of deeply-satisfying connection, intimacy, inspiration, mission, purpose, and fullness by becoming more dependent.
They create it by becoming more self-reliant.
Self-Reliance begins when men start choosing a new path away from dependency without waiting for something or someone else to change first.
Men struggle to be self-reliant when they don’t value themselves.
This is a paradox of our work – the “self-worth” paradox. Men need mentoring because they lack a solid sense of self-worth, yet this same lack of self-worth often sabotages them from making investments in themselves.
Just as we must choose a new path out of suffering before the pain ends, we must choose a path out of low self-worth before the pain of low self-worth ends.
Pain begins to end when a man leads himself out of one story and into a better one.
Leading requires deliberate action.
For men wanting our minimum mentoring guidance, their first step in their self-reliance journey is to take whatever painful steps are necessary to secure the $25 a month our community costs for themselves.
That’s 82¢ a day.
Is that a painful amount to secure?
Or is the real challenge that the men who want free mentoring don’t see themselves as worth 82¢ a day?
Though they say things like, “I can’t afford $25 a month,” their actions are saying, “I don’t see me or my growth as worth 82¢ a day,” or I don’t see what you have to offer as worth 82¢ a day.
In either case, pursuing a mentoring relationship does not make sense. The mentee does not value the experience sufficiently.
Mentoring is about mutual relationships where men share their lives with one another.
If a man hasn’t concluded that the life or the experience he wants isn’t worth an 82¢ a day investment, why should we, as mentors, see his life or journey as worthy of our investment? Why would anyone invest in him?
How can we effectively invest in a man who won’t invest in himself or see it as an unworthy use of his time? What would he get from that?
Would you invest in a property that created more work, pain, and suffering without reward?
We won’t either.
As mentors, our time is our most precious commodity, and the most honoring or respectful use of it is to use it in the service of those for whom it is the most valuable.
Therefore, we only mentor men who value our mutual selves and time.
Yeah, but…I can’t come up with 82¢ a day. I can’t even afford groceries!
Typically, someone seeking a mentor from us in the West is not a man in a second or third-world nation encumbered by the search for more basic needs.
Most of the men reaching out to us with a desire for free mentoring are from first-world nations, where 82¢ a day is less than a large cup of coffee. Nevertheless, there are men in our culture for whom 82¢ a day will be a legitimate struggle.
We understand this without judgment, and we don’t necessarily consider these men to be experiencing victimization.
Yet, such men do need to reconsider their priorities and stop focusing on free mentoring and begin focusing on more basic needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs demonstrates that some needs must be secured before others can be met.
For example, our physiological needs of basics like food, water, shelter, and air must be met before focusing on other Safety and Belonging needs like friendship, intimacy, and connection.
We understand that some men cannot meet these physiological needs of food, water, and shelter. We have empathy, compassion, understanding, and acceptance for such men. We’ve been there!
Our mentoring is not a path to securing these foundational needs but for men with these needs already met. What we offer is best suited for men who already have these Physiological needs met and are working on meeting their Love/Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization needs.
If such men can’t find within themselves the creativity, grit, tenacity, problem-solving, and hard work to improve their financial situation by 82¢ a day, there’s little we can do for them. They’re either not ready, serious, or mature enough yet for what we offer. Our mentoring and community are not yet suitable for them.
We work hard daily, supporting and encouraging men to take steps to be their own heroes.
We work to strengthen them to carry their load, but we will not carry any man’s load for him, nor can we take their journey for them.
Doing so directly conflicts with our mission and purpose of restoring, connecting inspiring, and empowering men.
Do we offer anything for men who can’t afford 82¢ a day?
Men can find many articles and videos to broaden their perspective and understanding there. It’s not quite the same as our “mentoring,” but it’s a start!
Are you worth what you want for yourself?
Recently, a man named “Matthew” entered our community. He’d say that it was a sacrifice for him to do so. Matthew began his journey by vigorously pouring himself into everything we offer at the 82¢ level. He vocalized how we wanted to go deeper, entering into our Renewed Masculine Man experience, but didn’t see any way possible to come up with the $8.24/day for the six months it would take to complete the RMM course.
Matthew grew in strength, ownership, self-reliance, and other core masculine virtues. On his own, he realized that his real challenge was not funding, but fear. The voice within crying out for the life he wanted started to become louder than the voice of his fear.
So he signed up for the Renewed Masculine Man course. Within days, he let us know he got a raise – exactly in the amount of his new needs. He chose to lead himself before it was comfortable!
Then Matthew decided he wanted to go even deeper, experiencing one-on-one mentoring with one of our apprentice guides (about $17/day for six months). So Matthew began doing labor-intensive side work in addition to his full-time vocation.
Matthew started among us as a man who didn’t believe he could afford even the 82¢/day and is now growing in influence and leadership in our community, inspiring and encouraging other men in their journeys.
Because Matthew is a hero, not a victim! The pain and adversity he experienced in getting started gave him the opportunity to find the heroic, capable, freedom-loving, problem-solving parts of himself that he’d long forgotten about. That’s what mentoring should do and has done.
He refused to wait for a rescue and did what every man must do to grow – he chose. Specifically, he chose himself.
“Free” mentoring would have never given Matthew that gift.
If you’re ready to move past “free” and “easy” and be the hero in your own story
We want men like Matthew in our community. Men who are afraid but ready to courageously choose a better future for themselves and ready to labor, sweat, and bleed to have it.