When I was first a coach in the early Noughties, I used to attract a disproportionate amount of men as clients, given that it is a generally accepted principle that most participants in the wider word of personal development are women.
Then that fell away and I reverted to “normal”; for some time now men have been quite the rarity. Except for Richard, Kevin, John, and another Richard. That first Richard was the only man at my annual summer party a few years back, in amongst about forty women, and he didn’t seem to mind it one bit, brave man!
But this summer, they – men – have made a storming comeback. And not typical men either, as you will read, though now that I write that I am not altogether sure what a typical man – or woman – is, especially amongst the ranks of the self-employed. Hallelujah again, we are not typical.
I love men, me.
I went to a boys’ school. I was the only girl in the choir. My own first career in accountancy was very male-dominated in those days, more men in grey suits with whom I felt quite at home. I always used to say it felt just like the Lower Sixth!
My father had two very masculine careers back to back – the Royal Marines and then the Rugby Football Union at Twickenham, so that’s the environment in which I grew up and that explains my ease with men. Sometimes I have quite a blokey energy.
Of course, these days there are women in both the armed forces and rugby and, interestingly, my father called his boat the Hannah Snell after the only woman to have served in the Royal Marines back when that wasn’t allowed. It was only after she was injured that they looked under her uniform! And this was in 1750. But I digress.
Back to men, and to 2017.
I am writing a book during August and it is about the things I see that my clients want from me now compared to what they wanted when I started out coaching fifteen years ago, how we’ve all become more complex and consequently MUCH more interesting in that short window. Well the men have changed too in that time, it seems.
In 2002 they were careerist and thrusting, onwards and upwards, flying in to City airport to visit me in Canary Wharf and all about growing big and bigger businesses and making more money and raising their own personal profiles as a way of doing that, and having boys toys as rewards. Helicopter lessons, fast cars and wristwatches. As I read that now, yawn. Frankly. So old school. So yesterday.
This summer the men in my life are presenting as gentler and more sensitive, and the three who have shown up in my work in the last couple of weeks have all told me something I have heard women say a million times in the last decade and a half, that the way they work is first and foremost built around their children and family life. They’ve worked out ways (or they haven’t yet) of being home for the kids and the businesses they are building are all about that flexibility and life design. All have mentioned and factor in their children as a top priority, something they actively want to do and be and have.
I think the way my Dad earned a living was also about his family, albeit in a different way, (and obviously, during WW2, it was also all about duty to King and Country and all of us back home) but he never wanted or intended to leave work at 2.30 in the afternoon so he could be home doing his whack of the domestic stuff and being with the kids. In fact, I’d be prepared to bet that he was happy that neither of his careers would have encouraged or permitted that. I wonder if they do today? Flexitime perhaps?
So here we are then. 2017. Men. Modern men. Hallelujah! It is raining these sorts of men in my business right now. I love and respect them as I do the women and they are going to fit right in round here because their values are spot on. In fact this is one of the best things I’ve seen in my lifetime, that this isn’t a women-only thing now, raising children, it’s a parent thing.
This shouldn’t be remarkable, but it still is. Could this be the tide turning, I wonder? And wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Men. Women. Who cares, really? It’s people I love. Especially those of us who have chosen to employ ourselves for money which is my latest way of explaining what we micro business owners do.
And, of course, my own gentler vibe with which I present in 2017 is also part of this deluge too. Like attracts like.
Who and what are you attracting in your business? Are you happy with that? Do write and let me know please, you know how I LOVE that.