As the month of November was approaching immediately after Halloween, I wanted to do something to bring the readers of My Boyfriend Wears Flannel together in philanthropy and community – two tenets that are core to what I’m about and aspire to espouse with fellow men.
The Movember Campaign was perfect for this for a variety of reasons. One particular highlight for me of their Values is being a:
We stand for constructive change. We challenge the norm in all our activities and as a result we drive significant outcomes from the conversations we create and funds we raise.
Assuredly I could take this to heart because part of the narrative I have written for myself, which sits firmly in the background of my self-identified purpose is:
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
And as I dwell upon the true motivation for why I write here, in some respects as a scribe, documenting those lessons in life that I’m picking up on this journey, it’s simply:
The pursuit of. The experience of being in. The tragedy of loss. The feeling of looking from the outside in. The motions and gestures we must make and go through.
The possibility of having.
Being transformed and never again being the same.
It’s definitely one of those big ones (issues) of life, which has as many interpretations as there are people who’ve lived.
So then what about Movember? What’s the connection?
Whenever we make choices in life, in the most basic and fundamental way, we are choosing to move either in the direction of love OR we are choosing to move in the direction of fear.
Love is expansive, open, seeking to connect and flowing freely.
Whereas on the other hand,
Fear shrinks back into itself, closed-off, seeking to protect and maintain the ego or sense of identity.
I decided to go full steam ahead and took it upon myself to form a team. As Captain of Team MBWF ‘Stache & Flannel Men, I saw this as an opportunity to do extraordinary things and develop leadership in myself by doing the following:
1) Recruit, Motivate & Build-Up A Team
2) Set A Vision / Common Goal to Achieve
3) Create An Environment of Camaraderie & Fun
Inherently, the nature of this endeavor is to move in the direction of love. I believe as gay men, we are looking for opportunities to be challenged; to rise up to a call greater than ourselves and be pushed to our limits. It’s during these times, in fact, that we feel most alive. Not when we are reclining in our comfort zone.
Recruit, Motivate & Build-Up A Team
Certainly, the task in itself to form a team for Movember of predominantly gay men hasn’t been a walk in the park either as I have met some fairly sizable opposition. Even with my recruiter hat on, overcoming obstacles with rebuttal in hand has kept me on my toes. There were guys who initially didn’t want to join because they thought they looked creepy in a mustache or wouldn’t get laid because they were no longer scruffy-looking. Others were job interviewing so they needed to keep a tight, professional look. Yet, some just needed a gentle reminder to officially register as I’m sure they have had several things on their plate. While also there were others who were only going to join if they saw their friends RSVP on Facebook first when I sent out the Facebook Movember Invite.
Assuring teammates they would still be attractive in addition to where their true validation should come from helped me to ultimately win guys to MBWF ‘Stache & Flannel Men as well as individually hitting up guys via FB, text, email and phone calls who needed those reminders to sign up. I am proud to say we are at 15 guys on the team. Right now, it’s a not a time to think just about ourselves, but rather, those who are in need. C’mon guys – we are changing the face of men’s health!
Set A Vision / Common Goal to Achieve
The month started off slow until I realized we needed to strive for a common goal. After talking with a couple guys over brunch, I figured a goal of $1000 altogether would be within reach (~$65-70/person) while leaving room for some to exceed it and carry the slack for others. Through talking with and coaching my teammates [even still at the time of this writing], we are working through some common objections that may come up: Some guys are shy to ask for donations, some feel it’s too close to Christmas and they don’t want to be a lump of coal to someone’s stocking and some even feel that if they asked they would be flat out rejected. As I listened and heard their reasons, it became clear that most of them were just telling themselves stories about what they think would happen though it wasn’t actually reality.
The lesson here, some of us are scared of rejection. We have a real fear of rejection. However, if we can set aside our stories, instead choosing to become our Word then and only then can we have real power to overcome
Who you are is your Word.
Not your reasons.
Your Word gives you access to Unreasonable-ness (without reasons or excuses as to why you cannot achieve what you set out to do)
Create An Environment of Camaraderie & Fun
Since the start of hosting events during the summer for My Boyfriend Wears Flannel, I have always kept in mind an environment of camaraderie and fun. Just like the Movember campaign I seek to create:
At every touch point – phone, email, online, in person, at our events we create a remarkable experience.
Whether it be on the MBWF summer Nautical Tours, Stag Pool ParTEA, happy hours, bowling, or other outings such as our upcoming Tree Cutting event, I’ve always wanted everyone to feel like they can connect with other guys in an authentic way. That’s the reason why I include icebreakers, giveaway prizes and encourage sharing photos and videos via social media. For this Movember campaign, I’ve even hosted brunch, secured some swag from a good friend and Movember teammate from The Art of Shaving and am looking into planning a predominantly gay gala parte. It’s definitely a fun way to mobilize other guys and build each other up. As the old proverb says,
“As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Perhaps with Movember, it’s about sharpening your buddy’s razor as well as his countenance.
Occasionally, I ask myself,
“Who am I to lead? Why should anyone listen to me?”
Then I realize I still have some room for growth. There are still some things to be revealed to me in due time. So even when fear surrounds me, I won’t stop now. There’s just under two weeks left until Movember is over.
I am the one who is willing. I am the one choosing to be open and available.
I choose, here and now, to move in the direction of love.
If you are inclined to make a donation to my personal Mo space page, it would be with my sincere gratitude for your generous gift.