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When men desire to build walls

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Donald Trump wants to build a great big wall. To make everyone feel safe from what they fear. You may lampoon him for this, but we should also accept that many of us do the same thing in our personal and professional lives.

 

Men particularly are very good at it.

 

Over centuries we have built a world with beliefs, ideas and norms that have served us well. They have allowed us to grasp more power, control and resources, and in many ways make progress into a more civilized world.

 

Many of these beliefs and practices are embodied in notions of what it means to be a man. They are masculine in nature. Power, control, competence, order and mastery are just a few.

 

But like Donald Trump we find ourselves under siege by a new set of expectations in society that may leave us feeling confused and uncertain. The role of men is being challenged and we do not have a clear and detailed plan for how to respond.

 

So instead of embracing the uncertainty and letting go of what we think we know, we instead grasp even tighter to our existing beliefs to create an increasingly illusory sense of control and order.  

 

We pretend to open the gates and let down the drawbridge to allow access whilst at the same time reinforcing existing walls inside the keep. 

 

Our beliefs, written in stone become the building blocks for these thicker and taller walls. We lay them on the foundation of our fears, using mortar made from a mixture of deliberate ignorance and non-conscious bias

 

The walls we have built in the corporate world that keep women out of the boardroom and our leadership ranks are not a result of their incompetence or capability. They are the product of our fears.

 

The sooner we start talking about our fears, the sooner we can work out what is real and what is imagined. We can then face into our fears and make progress. 

 

I would love us to stop building walls in order to keep our fears at bay. No species, civilization or group has ever thrived for long by shutting down its borders.

 

It strikes me as poignant that a fortress and a prison both have impenetrable walls. I worry that the fortress that we have made may slowly become a prison.

 

Real courage and bravery involves facing our fears and opening the borders of our minds.

 

Lets do it not just for the benefit of our wives, sisters and daughters. Lets also do it for our mates, brothers and sons.