Patriarchy is practiced in this society as men hold primary power, and it has been around for 3500 to 4000 BCE. However, men cannot ignore the shift of women rising into a position of sovereignty. Do you believe that behind every successful man is a woman? How does a feminine point of view help to solve a problem? Rob shares his insights on the expectations and pressure that men face in business in this interview by his former student and colleague, Peter Rubin of Manbiz.men. He also touches on his book, unHIDDEN, the #MeToo movement, what makes a man successful, the compulsive production mindset, and what it means to be conscious in business.
180: Patriarchy In Business: A One-On-One Interview by Peter Rubin
I’m here with Rob Kandell, author of unHIDDEN, an incredible book for men and those confused by them. Rob is also a dear friend of mine, a mentor, a speaker, a coach of life and business, a podcaster, and an incredible lover. I’ve heard from Morgan. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Peter Rubin. I’m a professional coach of businessmen and the creator of Man Business, an unconventional group for visionary male business leaders. We’re talking about the expectations and pressures that men face in business. We’re exploring the archetype of the businessman, which is changing a lot. Rob, you’ve been around for a bit longer than I have. What I want to do is chat a little bit, get to know you, have our audience get to know you and then go into some of your responses to a Facebook post I wrote about this topic. That’s where we’re going. Thank you for reading this. If you’re a man in business or wondering about your husband, your colleague and what is driving them and motivating them, this is the place to be. Thank you, Rob, for being here.
It’s my pleasure.
Let’s start with a bit of your personal story about you in business. How did you get into the business? What was that like? Can you share some highlights of your business journey?
I was born to be a businessman. It’s part of my DNA and my blood. My father was a successful, smart, savvy businessman. He took his accounting firm in the heyday of the ‘80s and ‘90s from a ten or twelve-person firm to a 60 or 70-person multimillion-dollar firm. He was hardworking. He loved his work. He’s still there for the baseball games, but I could feel his true love was his business. That went into my DNA. I remember when I was thirteen years old, I had a newspaper route. I tried to optimize the business. In other words, I had surveys from my customers. I kept logs of how much money I made. I figured out who is the best tip. I optimized the newspaper business at thirteen years old. I then went to college. I went to grad school for engineering. In my second year of grad school, I realized I did not want to do engineering. I got into the computer business in San Francisco in 1994, which was the beginning of that heyday. The personal computer came out. Apple was producing powerful machines. I worked for a small computer firm in 1994 and I left that for Corporate America for a couple of years.
In 1998 at twenty years old I said, “I don’t want to work for anyone else. I want to be my boss.” I had a computer consulting firm in San Francisco driving my motorcycle from place to place building databases. I loved the independence of being an entrepreneur, not understanding what it meant to be an entrepreneur, but loving the freedom of it. In 2004, I met a woman named Nicole Daedone a couple of years previous, started OneTaste. OneTaste went from a paper napkin sketch in 2004 to an international, eight-figure business by 2015. I burnt out. In 2014, I came to Venice Beach, California and started my own business. I left OneTaste and started my own business. For the last few years, I’ve acted as a business coach, life coach, podcaster, writer and speaker.
I met you in that OneTaste era. I was a student of yours there and got to see you probably the most solid person in the whole organization. You were there behind the desk day-after-day putting on massive hours holding it down. Ultimately, what burnt you out is holding that level of structure amidst the chaos. That’s the outward journey. Tell us the inward journey. In terms of you and your mindset as a businessman, as an entrepreneur, can you give us a sense of how you grew and evolved in some key places?
I was always a hard worker and to the core of it, I have degrees of workaholism inside of me. It has always been a fun game for me to get better and better no matter what position it was. When I worked for the computer integration firm in 1994, I built a database using something called FileMaker Pro. I was the Purchasing Manager and I couldn’t figure out a way to organize my purchases. This thing called FileMaker showed up because we all got this free software. I was like, “I’ll teach myself self how to do that.” I taught myself and then I built a system that they used for years after I left to organize. When I was in Corporate America, I ran a team of developers building on mainframes and Fortran and all these crazy things. I wanted to learn how to do it. I invested my time and energy.
I’ve always been curious about the game behind the creation of the business, how to do it better and better and more efficient and more solid. It has always been intriguing. OneTaste was complete mayhem. We had seven different business models from the time I was there for several years. We went from one center in San Francisco to the max of nine centers in 2012, including London. Having to learn how to do business in London, the whole thing across the board got crazy. Hundreds of people are volunteering, there’s money going in and out like mad. I had to learn on the job. The mindset thing I always got was there’s always a solution to the problem. There’s a book by Michael Crichton called Disclosure, which was a sci-fi book. There was this one line that he kept saying, “Solve the problem.” I was like, “I can spend as much time as I want to whine about the circumstance.” I did at times. The more powerful thing was there’s always a solution to the problem. There’s always a way to do it. From that mindset, I created so much.
Do you know that video, It’s Not About The Nail? It’s a woman with a nail in her forehead and her boyfriend trying his best to connect with her. She’s complaining of a headache and he’s saying, “I think you might pull out the nail.” She goes, “You’re not hearing me. I have a headache.” That sounds like you have a masculine approach to business. Solve the problem. That is the role you’re in and I see as a masculine man on that spectrum of masculine energy to more feminine energy. Would you say that’s true? Would you say you’re 90% masculine? That’s how it comes across as you describe it.Women have risen into a position of sovereignty into being an extension of a man. Click To Tweet
Only if you think of solving the problem from a masculine point of view because my best skill is moving up and down what I call the masculine-feminine ratio, that moment where it calls for the masculine or calls for the feminine. Sometimes solving the problem means dropping everything, stopping, slowing down, verifying and validating the person’s feelings and not worrying about the nail on the head. Not trying to pull it out. How does it feel to have a nail in your head? Sometimes that’s the solving of the problem. There have been times where I’ve been dogmatic about solving it from a masculine point of view. That doesn’t tend to work as well when the fluidity, the awareness, the respect of the feminine gets involved in the business, which is a big piece challenge for men like me who are trained. Work effort, but it’s finding the most optimized beautiful solution to the problem.
That word beauty is one I keep coming back to in business. We have an intuitive sense of what’s elegant and that elegance is related to efficiency and productivity. There’s an elegance to a formula that has a whole complex set of data that make sense. I hear in it the bridge between the masculine and feminine. I share your engineering background. I get it. Geeks were having trouble with women and that came later. All that empathy stuff was earned and learned for you. What you didn’t talk about in the book, but I’m picking up on is that those skills you learned in a relationship are the same skills that allowed you to be in a more feminine business and any business and have a broader range of response.
When I started OneTaste in 2004, I was not that great at handling the feminine. I was a little hotty, a little arrogant, a little rude. I could get my feelings hurt. I had all the experience because my business partner, Nicole, was in charge. There was no question about who the boss was and who the second-in-command was. I had to learn all my viewpoints, all my judgments about my masculine, chauvinistic, misogynistic viewpoints about women because I was with a more powerful, much smarter person than me running the business. From my chauvinistic point of view, that was impossible because she was a woman. How could she know better about this? More often than not, she did. Certain things she didn’t know about, structure and flow. Once we got in cahoots, that’s where the powerful thing happened. Once we got out of cahoots, that’s where destruction happened. It’s the marriage between the two.
You had to humble yourself. I’ve been humbled many times over the years because as men, we’re taught we’re in some one-up position, whether we merit it or not, and often we don’t.
That’s 6,000 years of the patriarchy. Patriarchy’s been around since 3500 to 4000 BCE, depending on the historian you listen to. That’s 6,000 years of generation after generation viewpoint after viewpoints saying, “You’re a man. You know better than a woman.” For me to face that was not true, a majority of the time I was humbling and had to force me to either bail or say, “There’s something I want to learn.” Luckily, I stayed and learned because I love who I am now, but that is based on my willingness to be like, “There’s something more for me to see here. I don’t know yet.”
Let’s go into the patriarchy. A lot of people know this, but it bears repeating. How do you see that women had been harmed in business by the patriarchy? How have men been harmed? They’re both worth speaking to. The second one might be less intuitive or less obvious.
First, the patriarchy was created by both men and women. There’s this subtle viewpoint that men created, fostered and only benefited from the patriarchy. I don’t think that’s true. From my viewpoint, in my research, it’s not true. All genders have benefited from the patriarchy. Now, women have been negatively impacted more by men, by the patriarchy. Holding both sides is important. You look at Donald Trump, my favorite example of the patriarchy holding on with their teeth, their fingernails, holding on to society. You look at who supports Donald Trump. There is a strong mixture of men and women not wanting to evolve to this next level of the possibility of the word or of the egalitarianism. How the patriarchy has negatively impacted men is in terms of this arrogance.
It’s what author Michael Kimmel likes to call aggrieved entitlement, the belief we should have this job. This job belongs to us. Why is that woman taking this position? Why is that minority taking my job? This aggrieved entitlement that patriarchy’s fostered into men not willing to work to earn their positions. In terms of if you look at incarceration, you look at suicide, you look at deaths on the job, men suffer significantly more in terms of in positions of war, soldiers, Air Force, fire or police. They’re dying in a larger clip because they’ve been ushered into these positions. There is an impact on all genders.
The impact on women is quite clear. Women still make less than men for doing similar work. Workspaces are still often quite unsafe. This can be a conversation about race and other dimensions of privilege and how far we still have to go. Mad Men style, still that culture lives on. Here we are doing one small thing to help correct it, awareness.
I’m reading a book called The Feminine Mystique, a Betty Friedan classic from the ‘60s and ‘70s. It’s an amazing book on the history of feminism and masculinity. What I read was there are all the popular magazines, Good Housekeeping and all the positive magazines for women. In the 1920s and 1930s, we’re painting women as empowered position after the roaring 1920s, women freedom and women can fly, experiment and go into the workforce. Something happened after World War II, the ‘40s and the ‘50s, where it shifts the narrative, totally shift to women being housewives. The good woman is a good housewife. It’s an interesting but short shift from women rising into a position of sovereignty into being an extension of a man.
Certainly, men had been forgotten and are behind on education specifically around emotional education.
It’s a good time to be a man. It’s a tough time to be a man. That’s my viewpoint at the moment.Decide who you want to be and start to be it and shift your attention in that direction. Click To Tweet
The thesis of your book that men are dumb and women are angry. It seems reasonably accurate. If we’re going to have a broad brush about anything in this gender binary and what’s happening in the #MeToo Movement, that sounds about right to me.
It’s also important to know that this is societal viewpoints in concepts handed down from generation to generation. This is our fathers and grandfathers’ scripts. We’re not a bad man for having these viewpoints. We’re not bad women for having these viewpoints. It’s history being passed on. Every single person inside can change and evolve. We do live in a society. Most of us live in a society where we do have the opportunity for freedom to change. Certain demographics don’t have that, but in that, every single man has the opportunity to get educated, to learn, to ask questions, to be curious, to have humor and curiosity. They can catch up with what’s happening in the world.
What I want to talk about now is both of us have worked with many clients. You worked with a ton of people, 10,000 clients in your private practice and classes throughout the years. There’s a certain way we can speak to our own experience and certain pattern recognition that we have we can bring. What sparked this conversation was me seeing in my clients. These are visionary men. Most of them are Millennials, most of them on the cutting edge of whatever their field is. Some transformational work they’re doing. What I was noticing that even with the best intentions to do business in a new paradigm way, a collaborative way, that’s equitable, that’s creating a more beautiful world. I keep seeing my clients getting caught in these old patterns of being motivated by fear or by greed or stuck in limited mechanistic thinking.
What it speaks to is that these old paradigms of business like the DNA and conditioning passed on by our fathers and our fathers’ fathers live in us. If we leave them unexamined, they’re going to run us and get stuck in our businesses. We’ll be showing up as some pale limited imitation of who we want to be. I posted on Facebook and I want to go to this actual post. I asked four questions or had four filled in the blanks. There’s an overwhelming response by various men, women, non-binary people in my community. What I want to do Rob is going through and read your responses because they were brilliant and deserved some expansion and unpacking. The first prompt was, “At their worst, businessmen are,” and you wrote, “At their worst businessmen are acting from their unexamined childhood wounds and are using money and power to fix these wounds unconsciously like people use their partners, i.e. imago to fill their unresolved issues with their parents. They will use the building of business to fix what can be fixed to this way.” Can you unpack that for us?
My viewpoint is that men are external validation junkies. We’re constantly looking externally for validation that we’re doing it right. The best way we do that is through sex and women if you’re heterosexual. The second is in money and power and position and things. Do we look at what makes us a successful man? He’s someone like Tai Lopez who has all these cars or Bill Gates or someone who builds Amazon with all the money. We look and think that’s what makes a man successful rather than building our own internal belief that we’re right who we are. I know as a kid, I was bullied by kids. I was an overweight kid. I was smart, overweight, nerdy, Jewish and emotionally soft. I was a prime target for those kids to bully. A dangerous combination and I was bullied. What happened to me was that I learned to fight back. I learned to get smarter, faster, meaner and harder than all those kids. I was bigger than them. I learned. What I did in response was I became a bully to out-bully the bullies.
Before I examined all this, I realized I was doing the same thing with business. I was using business and success to tower against the ghost of my childhood. My father disowned me when I was 30 years old and I started OneTaste when I was 34. Me saying to my father, “Fuck you, you’re not going to win,” is one of the reasons that OneTaste succeeded. There was no way I was going to let that fucker win. I was going to win. We use these external motivators, which isn’t bad, but that could also cause the ulcers. That could cause the workaholism. If not examined, these demons that were fighting for the wrong reasons can cause a lot of pain.
I hear that story and I know that, but I’m also a little jealous. A lot of people become massively successful being fueled by some wound in them. I’m thinking about one person, a business mentor of mine who had a hard childhood. He was often hungry as a child. He built a multimillion-dollar online company when SEO was first becoming a thing. He did it so he would never be hungry again. I see that and my heart breaks and I’m also blown away by the beauty of resolving your wounds externally. I see it can be problematic and lead to complications. There is a certain beauty.
I was lucky. I was in the field that requires self-examination. My community of peers was reflecting on me. I’m not sure if I didn’t have that reflection, that coaching, that love and that truth where I found the healthy peak of it. It is using my dad’s disapproval of me as a way to motivate me could have led to a dark and dismal place. I was lucky along the way. I’m not saying badly to the motivation. I’m saying make sure you examine it so you understand what’s filling you.
As you feel that wound, I imagine that wound is much less strong than it ever was. Would you say your motivation level decreased or different things motivated you?
I found it a balance between the two. I’m definitely as motivated now in a different mature way because I was being fueled by young pain. I’m motivated by desire. I’m motivated by having a wife and two children living in Los Angeles who I want to provide a certain lifestyle for, which is no small thing. I’m fueled by beauty, desire and love more than trying to beat my father. I’ve already won that war, not with him but with the young me who was at war with him. I’ve worked through that trauma through a lot of work. The point is we can evolve. We can morph it. We can take it and take the best of it and leave the rest behind.
I have a similar but different wounding around my father and work. If I work hard and I’m successful, then I’ll be admired by him. Under the admiration is closeness, wanting to get closeness with him. Not too long ago I saw that in full detail, the full extent of that patterning and it was heartbreaking. To see what an ineffective strategy is to build a business to get closer when I could reach out to my dad and say, “Dad, I’d like to be closer to you.” I want to go onto your next question. I said, “Businessmen are under a lot of pressure to blank.” You wrote, “Businessmen are under a lot of pressure to produce because men get their validation from their production. They will equate how well they’re doing as a man and the amount they can create and produce. They will often ignore their pain, families, their bodies and common sense to succeed so they can get their external validation.” You’ve been talking to this some but can you go deeper into that compulsive production mindset and how you see that showing up for men and what it costs them?
To some old school viewpoints that men get their value from production and women to get their value from their beauty or their ability to attract. There are elements of that piece. For men, we look at it time and time again how often we’re comparing ourselves to others. How it’s the natural tendency to think. No matter what I do, I’m not doing it as well as X, Y and Z. You can start with your father. You can go to your peers, you can go to your siblings, you can go to people you’ve made up. There’s a guy named John Wieland who is an incredible teacher. We are like in the same business and the same phase. He’s one of the men I most respect, but I used him as a foil. He’s like the little rabbit in that I chase after. He succeeds and I’m like, “Damn you, John Wieland,” and there will be on this podcast. I want to be out like, “Damn you, John.” I’ve told him this.Stay present, open, and responsive to the needs of people rather than being all grandiose and trying to save the world. Click To Tweet
It’s nothing to do with him. I’m using him. I know I’m using him as a way to motivate me healthily. The unhealthy side of it is when you’re comparing yourself. We live in a dangerous world of social media where people are posting the cream of their lives and often not the approach to get there. We’re constantly in a place where we can self-flagellate where we can think ourselves less than on some arbitrary imaginary comparison with another person. The ability to know, set reasonable goals, push yourself but then congratulate yourself. Dance with your success. Celebrate every single win no matter how small will build in your mind your self-esteem and your empowerment that you’re not looking externally to know you’re producing.
I’ll admit a geeky practice I do. I’ll give myself high-fives throughout the day. I’m like, “Answer some emails.” That’s helpful. It works with our neurochemistry. It gets some dopamine flowing and feel like we’re winning. We can be in charge of that. I like how you described your healthy competition and how you framed it. I know a few people who can do that well. More often I see it going in the other camp of self-torture and constant comparison. Sometimes I’ll tell my clients, “Get off Facebook. Stop comparing entirely. Stop reading books. Stop absorbing new information. Stick with what you’ve got.”
On Facebook, a lot of people post the cream, but you also have a lot of people posting the deep dark vulnerability. Sometimes in a way that still makes them look good. What you miss is the whole mid-range of what it takes to be successful at business. The non-glamorous day after day, chopping wood, carrying water, doing your books, showing up to your clients. You don’t get people posting boring stuff on Facebook. We get this idea that business needs to be this constant success and drama. A lot of what’s needed is execution, plain and simple. You taught me your rules for life at one point. This was back in the OneTaste days. I don’t remember them all. The one that comes to mind is don’t compare yourself to other people. Compare yourself to yourself a few years ago. That one’s stuck with me. It’s extraordinarily useful. If any of us look at ourselves a few years ago, the amount of growth and evolution is remarkable.
It’s an interesting comparison. This came to me in a planned medicine journey, but I saw that I was comparing myself to an arbitrary ruler or measurement. I realized I was in control of the measurement or the baseline. I could shift the baseline to make things easier. I could shift the baseline to making it harder. Nicole liked to talk about the concept that we’re building a bridge to nowhere. We’re building a bridge of unknown. We’ve never been here before. Life is one improvisational theater act and we’re making up our lives each step along the way. How do you compare yourself when you’re in total improvisation every second of your life? Once I got these viewpoints of like, “I’m hard on myself. I’m beating myself up based on my arbitrary views if I’ve been doing it right or doing it wrong, shifted things.” I could see, “I worked my hardest on that or I know something is missing, etc. was important to perceive.”
There’s a book called There’s Nothing Wrong With You by Cheri Huber. She’s an incredible Zen teacher, a lot of warmth, a lot of heart in this book. The entire book is telling you there’s nothing wrong with you. In some ways, that’s what you’re doing in unHIDDEN in a more masculine way. In this scene, you are a good man. Using comparison to fuel us but not to beat ourselves up is important. Let’s move on to the next question, “Men in business get blank where other genders don’t.” You wrote, “Men in business historically get more advantage where other races, genders and people of non-mainstream sexual orientation don’t. However, we are starting to see a significant shift in this balance, although we are nowhere near equal, which is leading to experiences of angry white men’s aggrieved entitlement. See Michael Kimmel’s book.” We unpack this a bit. What’s difficult is knowing where we are. It’s different in different subcultures, different parts of the country in the world. Is there more you want to say on this point?
It’s important to take off your blinders constantly. Get out of your comfort zone and walk in other people’s shoes around you. I’ve had the good fortune of talking to many people who can share their experience of life, love, sex or money. We get a narrow focus and we believe that our perspective is the only or the right perspective. We project who we think other people should be based on our perspective. Our ability to get out of our line of sight and look from their vantage point is a part of the connective intimate tool in terms of relationship to business, to leadership to mentorship. It’s the ability to get out of your seat and look for another seat like NLP. Part of NLP is they have Gestalt chair exercises which you keep shifting chairs to see from different perspectives. It’s like, “It’s amazing,” turning and sitting from another seat at the same thing can alter your viewpoint about yourself, your relationship and your success. Our willingness to slow down, change our viewpoint is important.
I went through the whole NLP Marin Program. A lot of empathy, a lot of respect, like an attitude of respect towards the human condition. Back to this point about advantage and privilege. I’m a firm believer that it’s important for us men to stay with that discomfort of seeing and recognizing the historical privilege we’ve received and not wiggling away from that. Staying in the burn of the #MeToo Movement is important. There was a New York Times visual expose on the CEOs of the top 100 or so companies in the US. They’re pretty much all white men. There are ways in which sexism is still quite pervasive and still keeping women back from some of those top positions. The question is like, “What do we do as men around that?” Empathy is one useful and important tool. Is there anything else you’d offer men around this inquiry of being real with what we’ve received unfairly and how to hold that?
What I said before is slow down and examine. After #MeToo came out in 2017, there was a lot of aggression from women finally having their voice. There was a lot of defensiveness from men. That’s not me. #NotAllMen was the hashtag against #MeToo. They couldn’t see that even though they’re not overtly acting like a chauvinist, not overtly mansplaining, there are still elements of it. Even in the best men. In me, every aspect is like I was born to be a chauvinistic, misogynistic man. I know that. I was a kid in the 1970s. I grew up in New York. I’m the first male born Jew. All of these concepts of privilege that I didn’t even know were in me. It’s been unpacking for my personal development because once I understand the programs that are running me, then I could say, “Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for doing the job in the past. This chauvinistic thought is not the best at this moment to create intimacy with my wife that I want.” If you don’t examine it, if you don’t see it, it’s running you. Every man can look for a second to see these subtle little ways we are using our privilege to maintain our position.
Every so often, all have one of those feet in my mouth moments where I say something chauvinistic or racist. Otherwise, I’m not proud of it to various levels of publicity. One of the characteristics of myself I’m most proud of is my general non-defensiveness. I pretty quickly, almost instantly say, “Shit.” It’s not the intended impact. Let me look at that. There’s always some grain of truth. It could be that most of that’s true or it could be that someone’s projecting on me, but there’s some piece of it that’s true for me. I have a process I’ve honed and refined of sorting with my integrity and collecting feedback.
Every time I’ve received one of those hard reflections, it’s deeply grown who I am as a leader. Last time that happened in business, it spurred me on to create a code of ethics for my coaching practice. It’s on my website. It’s a 24-point code where I said, “I was out of integrity.” I don’t even know what integrity is because I haven’t articulated it for myself in business. That turned into a code of ethics and then a blog post where I teach other people, other conscious leaders how to create that for themselves. There are ways I want to tell men like, “Don’t be defensive.” The defensiveness is not serving you or anyone. In the end, you can throw out what doesn’t fit and take what does.
One of my teachers said, “The opposite of a truth is another truth.” If I have my truth and someone with their truth is confronting me, most of us think I’m right and they’re wrong or they’re right and I’m wrong. In this dynamic world, you’re both true. It’s both the truth for you at that moment. Your truth can alter with time, intention, conversation and intimacy but the first step is you don’t have to defend. There’s so much defense. In politics, what’s the first thing that happens when someone accuses another of something they did to them? We defend. We say that’s not possible. That didn’t happen. You made that up.
That causes more disconnection. We live in a society of offense and defense and defense as offense. There’s a lot of separation at the micro level. When Morgan says something that I don’t like, my first inclination in my head is like, “You’re wrong, bitch. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” That is my chauvinistic mind saying, “You’re wrong.” Luckily, with self-evaluation, I’d be like, “Thank you for your thought. Let’s pick a different path on the view screen. Let’s pick a different option.” From that, “I can be connected. Tell me your truth. What is it? I want to understand it. I don’t come from that perspective. I want to understand.” That’s where intimacy occurs.Celebrate every single win, no matter how small. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite examples in your book, as there were many, was your humility and asking how you could be a better lover, a better kisser. Your ex-girlfriend, Justine, who said she doesn’t like how you kiss. How many men would be like, “You’re wrong? I’m the best kisser.” I’ll share something vulnerable. I took a cue from you and asked my girlfriend how I could be a better kisser. She gave me a tip.
The funny part about that is I might’ve been a great kisser for 80% of the women, but for Justine I wasn’t. It doesn’t mean 80% of the women were wrong. It means Justine wanted something that I wasn’t doing and her willingness to tell me the truth built a deeper connection for me. If I fought it, then I wouldn’t have learned. Why wouldn’t I want to learn? It’s ego. It’s the ability to say, “Yes, and.” From that, there’s so much more connection available.
There’s a great distinction that I learned at NLP Marin, which is distinguishing between who we are and our behavior. The more we can separate the two. Who I am is a good person. I’m okay. I can validate myself. I’m fine. Be like, “That behavior is not working. The way I kissed my girlfriend or the way I coached my client or the way of doing business, that’s not working.” The feedback is on the behavior and we don’t have to take that personally. I see many of my clients getting held back because they’re afraid of asking for feedback. They’re afraid of their client saying, “I don’t like the way you do this thing.” As if getting negative feedback makes their clients like their business less or makes them less valuable. It can only make you more valuable. Your clients are already feeling that way. Any fragility and being willing to hear that is only costing you. The more we can get unfragile and receive feedback as men in every area of our lives, the more everyone gets to win.
I want to bring it home to the fourth question, which is the point of this conversation, the direction we’re heading. At a certain point, we need to stop looking at all the wounds, patterns and dysfunctions and decide who we want to be and start to be it and shift our attention in that direction. The prompt is, “A conscious man brings blank to business.” You wrote, “A conscious man brings consciousness to business. He is also deliberate, aware and understands his impact. He practices integrity, sees the power of a win-win situation and has a sense of humor about it all. He also tends to sleep better at night.” Whether it’s that or anything about that question, what do you think it means to be conscious in business?
There are many movies and stories about the robber baron who cares more about their gain than the impact they have in the world and environment. It’s still going on constantly. You look at the dying of our environment. I am quite nervous about the impact on my children. I worry about climate change. I worry about the population growing. We’re heading in a direction and some things can be shifted so quickly like eat less meat, we’ll have less climate change. What does that impact? It impacts the whole cattle industry. It could be some more consciousness and education. The war against drugs, I would write a book about that classic of the ‘80s and ‘90s in the first part of the century about the war on drugs. They spent billions on fighting the drugs, but a small percentage on education, a small percentage on centers for people to get better. At a micro level, it’s like, “What are we doing? What am I doing? What are you doing to impact the world positively?” These small little changes we can make can impact thousands.
In the coaching industry, there’s this bias of selling high packages, which exclude a lot of people who need coaching. I know finding the sweet spot of valuing myself but also not ripping off my clients, being in integrity, offering the right number is a hard balance for me and my work. There are a lot of coaches out there who are not trained and charging a number because their peers are charging numbers. My point is to find the impact and that’ll enable you to sleep better because you know you’re integrity rather than cheating the system.
I share your concern for our species and the planet on various levels. I appreciate that piece about integrity around pricing. In the end, it’s about knowing what’s resonant. What’s right for you at that moment, your needs, who your clients are, a bunch of different factors. As a conscious leader, we do need to be connected to these larger questions. It is not conscious of being just in the little bubble of your moneymaking or whatever your egoic agenda is. It’s important to be connected to some of these larger themes we’re part of. It’s hard for me and a lot of people to know how to make a change when such monumental problems are plaguing us. Do you have any advice on how to even start thinking about one’s purpose and place in this mess we’re in?
Read, ask questions. Instead of watching four hours of Netflix at night, watch two-and-a-half and read for an hour-and-a-half. The best part about writing a book is your motivation to read and I haven’t lost that. I’ve read over 100 bucks in the last several months. Absorbing books and concepts, not finishing all of them, but in the love of the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge is power and these books that I quote have deeply impacted me and it affects not just the writing and the work, but my relationships. Look at yourself and say, “Is there room for me to better myself?” and whatever methodology that is. For some that could be going to the gym, it could be eating better. It could be treating your kids better or getting the support so you can be a better partner, a better father or a better mother. Look at these minute ways because if we’re not aware of the impact, then it becomes unexamined. Those unexamined impacts can be detrimental. It’s important to take the available resources we have to become better human beings.
There’s another concept I want to bring in from an author, Charles Eisenstein. He is famous for his book, Sacred Economics. The one I’m reading is called The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. He talks about what can be lost when we’re in the metrics-driven orientation. Even with something like climate change, if we’re focused on the amount of CO2 in the environment, it’s not rational to help an old lady across the street. How does that contribute to climate change? He’s saying that is a dangerous viewpoint. Here we are in these strangely shaped lives of ours with our communities and our families and whatever’s in front of us. We do need to stay present and stay open and responsive to the needs of people who are close to us. Rather than being all grandiose and trying to save the world while neglecting our families, neglecting the people who need us.
You’ve been a role model for me in that in ways you served the people close to you. The number of phone calls I’ve had with you that you didn’t charge a dime for that didn’t even come up, it touched me and set an example of how service can be bigger than business. I’m disturbed by the level of the commodification of everything. Nature is being turned into products and relationships are being turned into services. That’s necessary for this time to a certain extent, but it gets scary when everything has a dollar sign on it. Any final words of encouragement for men who want to feel more fulfilled and more evolved in their expression of being businessmen?
The final word I tend to say is you should do the same. It comes from this concept that you can’t go from bad to better. You can’t go from, “I’m doing it wrong,” to “I want to do it better.” You have to go from bad to good and then good to better. “I’m doing it right and I can do it better.” The amount of energy we spend beating ourselves up overtly or covertly or how we numb ourselves with alcohol, drugs, food, porn, video games or TV is if you can flip that energy into self-improvement. I’m not saying food, drugs and smoking are bad. It’s the misuse of it. Our ability to find that balance, that awareness, that clear, concise, next step is a practice. A practice includes, “Making mistakes and learning.” Start your life that you’re doing it well and let’s make it better. That’s my final word.
One way to make your life better is to read Rob’s book. I can say this honestly, this the best book for men I know of. It is my top recommendation. Could you share a little bit about how to engage with the book and your other offerings? Give us a little tour of what you’re up to and how we can engage.Compare yourself to yourself five years ago, and you’ll see that the amount of growth and evolution is remarkable. Click To Tweet
Everything can be found on my website, RobertKandell.com. I have a podcast I do weekly called Tuff Love. The Brotherhood Community has been on Tuff Love. I have online courses, I have coaching circles, a low cost of $500 a month to be part of a coaching circle. I do communication courses. I’m building two circles. One for entrepreneurs and one for others. It’s $500 a month up to eight people, one-hour a call. If one person signs up, it’s you and me for four hours a month for $500. I also like the concept of working with each other, helping each other, learning from each other as a resource to like, “That’s what you’re up to.” That’s starting in April. Communication courses and a whole bunch of other things all can be found on the website.
For those of you who don’t know me, you can go to ManBiz.men to check out the work I do with visionary businessmen and the Brotherhood Community at BrotherhoodCommunity.com. We make retreats for men. We do online community, a lot of good stuff there. That’s where to find us. Rob, thank you so much. This was engaging, insightful, and I hope to add value to our audience.
It’s my pleasure.
Thank you so much for reading the blog. I hope you enjoyed this interview. I like being interviewed a lot and Peter did a great job with me. I’m grateful to him and his interest in the work. For more about me, you can go to RobertKandell.com. Please subscribe to Tuff Love on your favorite podcast app Spotify, Stitcher, whatever works for you. You can find Peter at ManBiz.men. That’s it. Go forth, be merry. Take care. I love you.
- Man Business
- FileMaker Pro
- Michael Kimmel
- The Feminine Mystique
- #MeToo Movement
- There’s Nothing Wrong With You
- Sacred Economics
- The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
- Brotherhood Community – previous episode on Tuff Love
- Spotify – Tuff Love podcast
- Stitcher – Tuff Love podcast
About Peter Rubin
I’m one of the co-founders of the Brotherhood Community, an organization dedicated to connecting and training new paradigm male leaders – powerful and sensitive men who are creating a more beautiful, equitable, and sustainable world.
So unlike many business coaches, I’m actually in the trenches alongside you, growing a mission-driven organization.
It’s one of my offerings as a “Business Midwife” – I help visionaries give birth to their dream businesses.
One of my best friends is a homebirth midwife. I’m fascinated by her work, and the contrast between protocol-driven, intervention-heavy hospital birth, which too often lead to negative outcomes, and her approach that honors the natural intelligence of her clients and their bodies.
One day, in a flash of inspiration, I realized that I was a business midwife. I share her values for love and care and honoring my clients’ inherent business intelligence rather than imposing structures on them. My brand and approach were born.