• Ron Maxson Jr.

A Powerful Recipe: The Secret Sauce of Successful Men

I know the secret.

As a men's mentor for more than 30 years, a certified life coach for men, and a longtime menswork consultant, advocate, and speaker, I am often asked questions such as, “What is the secret to success for men?”, I always respond with great enthusiasm, “I know the secret!” So far, I have never been wrong.

For the record, I believe that success is defined as fulfillment in all areas of life. Not perfection. Not without failures along the way. In the end, fulfillment, satisfaction, doing things that matter, creating positive change, making a difference, having a positive impact on other people, something to be proud of. That is what I see as someone who is successful.

I am a man who has, at times, journeyed through life’s gutters. Far from perfect, let me assure you. I have struggled at times in being a proper husband, proper father, sometimes feeling as if I failed at times. I did at times. Simple as that. Most of my life, however, I have lived well, strong, extraordinarily happy, full of energy, and ultimately very successful in both my personal and professional life. I have been fortunate to have had some wise men in my life over the years to help me identify, navigate, and refine my approach to issues early on.

So, what is the “secret” to success for men? I firmly believe that the “secret” to success for men is: Connection.

Perhaps, it is less of a secret and more of a recipe. It is important to note that I believe connection enhances but does not replace nor eliminate the need for spiritual, mental and physical health. So, keep that in mind as I reveal a three-part recipe for the secret sauce of successful men, connection.

Connect with other men.

First, let's talk about connection to other men: Connection to other men is critical for support, guidance, letting off steam, sharing frustrations with others in our lives, open discussion, encouragement, learning how to be a good husband and father, receiving feedback, care, compassion, brotherly love and camaraderie all in a non-judgmental environment. It can be through one-on-one mentoring or coaching, a group mentoring environment, or just an incredible friendship with another guy. It does not have to be formal. It does not necessarily have to be tightly structured. It does not have to consume a lot of time. It does, however, need to be honest, transparent, and confidential. It also has to be routine.

If you can find both, a trustworthy person of connection as best friend, mentor or coach, and a group of connected men, you’re more likely to succeed far beyond your expectations.

Connect with significant-others, spouses, and children.

Second, connection to the most important people in your life: Connection to other men typically leads to a much improved connection with your significant other or spouse and your children, if you have children. You will often feel less stressed. You will be more aware of the needs of your spouse or significant other, as well as your children.

Typically, men who have another man or group of men as a support, tend to organically become happier, less frustrated, less triggered, less angry, and less annoyed with their spouse or significant other and their children. This is based upon countless reports I have personally heard from men, as well as reports from other menswork leaders across the globe. You will know that someone else in your life gets you, understands where you are in life and can help you learn how to navigate your other relationships a little better--maybe a lot better.

Overall, you will be able to develop healthier, deeper, more meaningful relationships with the most important people in your life.

I want to pause here for just a brief moment to address something that I hear on occasion, which is along this line, “My spouse [or significant other] is my best friend; I don’t need another confidant such as a male best friend, mentor or coach, small group, etc.” Well, that is awesome, to a degree. I must admit, however, that I have some questions about this: When you get frustrated with your spouse or significant other, who will you reach out to for support? When you’re looking for feedback or advice, maybe just comparison, on how to be a great dad, can your spouse or significant other really help you with that? Who will stand up to you and tell you that you’re wrong when necessary? How can your spouse or significant other hear all of your troubles, deal with all of your stress at home and in your work life, fully understand all of your nuances, fulfill your sexual needs, etc. and be sane afterward? Maybe. I'm not saying it's impossible. That’s a lot for one person to handle. Yes, you may think it works well and is all that you need, but I’m a little skeptical. Have you thought about whether it is fair to expect your spouse or significant other to live up to all of those roles and challenges? If you think you’ve got this, go for it--you’re one of a few. I will respect you. I will not judge you. I may continue to question you on occasion just to keep the door open for discussion and or a change of heart later on in life. I will be willing to listen if I ever hear you say that you need to chat.

Now, back to the recipe we go.

Connect with others.

Third, connection to others in your life circles: As we become a more fulfilled man on the inside, outside, at home, in personal relationships, etc. men tend to organically become happier, less frustrated, less triggered, less angry, and less annoyed with coworkers, supervisors, business partners, customers, friends, extended family members, neighbors, etc.

Never give up.

Once all three of these areas of connection come to fruition and you grow more as a person, over time you should find success. I mentioned at the beginning that connection enhances but does not replace nor eliminate the need for spiritual, mental and physical health. I urge you not to lose sight of that very important statement. However, I believe that these three areas of connection, if done in the order and priority outlined above, will set you up for success in all areas of your life, assuming that you put your mind, body and soul into those areas of growth. Move forward. Don’t look back. Never give up.

It will get hard.

Candidly, navigating the first area of connection may not always be as easy as it seems. I fully realize that at times this may be more difficult for some men than others.

Finding a great friend can be challenging, although not impossible. In fact, you may already have one that you just might need to lean into a little more.

Likewise, finding a mentor or coach can have its challenges.

Undoubtedly, I have seen the best and the worst when it comes to men’s groups.

All of these involve, guess what… another man or group of men for goodness sake. We all have our share of problems. We are human. We are not perfect. We all need support. We all need help. We almost always need each other for all of those reasons.

Let me be clear. The wrong friend, mentor, coach, or men’s group can suck the life right out of you and be detrimental in many ways. Be careful. Choose wisely.

As you search for a true friend (if you don’t already have one), mentor or coach, and a men’s group, you should probably look for certain traits. Men in these one-on-one roles and group roles should be open-minded, non-judgmental, accepting of others, willing to support others regardless of their own personal feelings, beliefs or biases, and allow you to be you, treating everyone with dignity and respect in a confidential environment. There are group and one-on-one options with a plethora of formats, different focus, different styles, etc. Look online. Do some research. Contact me. Try one, two, three--whatever you need to do until you find the perfect fit.

Making these connections may just be one of the best things you ever do for yourself, your family, your career, your life.

All of these areas of connection require a significant amount of work on the part of each individual man seeking success. The hardest work may just be what you have to do to break through your own issues surrounding relationships. You may need to own some things that you suck at. You may need to learn to be a better communicator. You may need to let go of some things in the past that hold you back. You may need to learn, admit and remedy some of your own insecurities. You may need to address the issue of shame. Likewise, you may need to learn how to be less arrogant, selfish, angry, bitter, etc. Who knows? Each of us is different. We all have different issues, different perspectives, different desires, different mannerisms. What you need to work on is something that you probably already know, and if not, you will figure out, and often takes hard work. If you do not figure it out, the intent of this recipe is that another man (friend, mentor, coach, or group member) will tell you the answer(s) straight up, boldly.

Overall, If you want the results, you will need to be willing to do whatever is necessary. This work will get hard, but the end result is success, meaningful relationships, clear purpose in life, more fulfillment, more peace and harmony, less stress.

Wrap it up.

Let’s begin to wrap it up like this: If you want to succeed in life, get connected. Men should have a solid one-on-one confidant whether it is a best friend, mentor or coach. In lieu of that one-on-one confidant if you simply cannot find someone to fill that role immediately and or in addition to that one-on-one confidant, men should strongly consider joining a men’s group of 5 to 10 participants that meet regularly. If you cannot find both, one will do, for now. The rest of life’s connections will fall into place over time. Get connected. Find success.

Stir the secret sauce.

You now know what I believe to be the secret to success for men. You have the recipe for the secret sauce of successful men, connection. Continue to stir your secret sauce, improving it daily. That means, always practice the changes you are trying to make. Continue to grow your connections. Continue to open up. Continue to do the hard work. Do more each day. Do better each day. Think of each day as one more day at being a better man, even if you are not perfect at it just yet. You will never be perfect at it, but strive for better and best constantly. Keep stirring.

If it gets messy, just keep going.

As you stir the secret sauce, it might get messy. Even if you do the hard work, it can still get messy. You may get off track. You may slip away from regularly meeting with your friend, mentor or coach, and or your men’s group. That can cause you to backslide a little bit in your other connections. That is to be expected at times. I already made it clear to expect that it will get hard. That’s no joke. It will. Never give up. Even if it gets messy, just keep going strong. Jump back in and get busy. You will master it, eventually.

I also want to address the elephant in the room so-to-speak: Counseling. Some men need a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist in order to work on healing from something in the past or in the present. Do not be too manly or too arrogant to seek out professional help. Men, this is not degrading. If anything, you realizing that you need that level of help and finding a way to get it is one of the most masculine things you could ever do. So, if it gets messy, you may need to keep going by taking it to a different level and finding a professional to help you get to the bottom of whatever is going on in both your head and or your heart while continuing to stir the secret sauce, leaning in to your connections at all levels.

Stay connected.

Be self aware and always ready for more. I can assure you that I will be flooding the blog with posts highlighting men’s coaches, mentoring programs, and a variety of men’s organizations that offer group meetings, activities, mentoring, friendship, love and support as I continue to resource men for life. Keep in touch. Follow the blog and or my social media accounts in order to stay connected.

Keep it real.

I strive daily to keep it real. I hope that you will as well. Have a great day, men!

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Ron Maxson Jr.

Gaithersburg, Maryland USA 20878