096: A Man’s Mission vs. Self Care

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Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. The concept of the show today is man’s mission versus self-care, and the strange balance that exists between the two. Many people, Rob included, have a challenge finding that balance. Morgan asked Rob why the show is called ‘a man’s mission versus self-care’ instead of ‘a man’s mission and self-care’, but it’s because to Rob, the two feel contrary to each other. It’s like the motherhood versus self-care conversation, and how most of us don’t know how to do both sides of the equation well.

Rob has realized he is actually horrible at self-care. He’s an A+ for a man on a mission, but a C- for a man who knows how to take care of himself:

  • Rob isn’t sure exactly where this workaholic nature came from but it is a strong element of him. He’s really good at producing and creating, but there is a downside.
  • There is a book series by Michael Connelly that Rob loves and has been listening to on audiobook for 5 or 6 years. The main character, Harry Bosch, is a man on a mission. His mission is solving crimes and speaking to the dead etc. The character has a line, ‘everybody counts or nobody counts.’ In other words, when he’s solving crimes, the high end Hollywood executive who got killed matters just as much as the person on the street matters.
  • This one line affected Rob deeply when he was at the height of the OneTaste experience. To him, it meant that he wanted every single person he was engaged with or responsible for—and Rob was teaching hundreds and even thousands of people at the time—to count. He didn’t want to have to prioritize where he put attention or who got special treatment or perks. Everybody counts, and it’s been a driving force in Rob’s life since.
  • The negative side of “everybody counts or nobody counts” is that Rob is always kind of on the job, 24/7. There isn’t an off button in his mind. He can be hanging out with Morgan and the kids, and feels like he’s putting his attention on them in those times, but there’s still a part of Rob’s brain that is ‘on the job,’ worrying about an article or Facebook post or client or work task. It’s hard to separate the mission from himself.
  • This is something affecting a lot of people in the world today, especially as we move further into the lack of separation between job and home life. Back in the old days, there were no cell-phones or personal computers. You had a bunch of paperwork, you do your job at your big desk, and then you left work, went home and had a family life.
  • Rob’s Dad was an accountant and during tax season, he worked pretty much non-stop. He brought paperwork home, much to the chagrin of Rob’s Mom. To some extent the intertwining of personal and business life has been going on before, but it’s increasing.
  • Rob and Morgan went on a journey a few weeks ago and one of the things Rob learned from it is that he likes to turn his brain off. In that space, in the peak of the journey, and coming back down to earth, some part of he relished in the depth of the permission to be a lazy sloth.
  • “Lazy” and “sloth” are two words that are horrible together for Rob. If you want to insult him, use those words, those are fighting words. There’s angst around that for him.
  • Once a month for one night, that’s where Rob lets himself have it. He sees that he has an inability to let himself do that in real life, so the journey provided the motivation and gave him permission to chill the fuck out.
  • Rob doesn’t even have the skillset to be a lazy sloth outside of some plant medicine telling him what to do. He needs to start look at this piece for the future.

The most interesting part of this for Rob is the motivation. Where is this motivation to be this man on a mission?

  • Rob doesn’t know how to stop creating. He just published an article on Medium about #metoo which caused a lot of conversation, to say the least. Rob doesn’t like the drama of it but it does feel like it fits into his mission somehow.
  • The piece about not feeling like he deserves self-care on some level comes back to Rob’s Dad. Growing up as the first-born, New York Jew in the 70s and 80s, Rob has a strict upbringing when it came to the relatiaonship with money. You weren’t allowed to spend money until you had savings, you had to be extremely frugal.
  • So Rob was always impressed by his Dad in terms of how much he worked and the presence and stature he had around it. He was an exceptional provider and he worked really hard.
  • Rob’s Dad was a workaholic and in some ways loved being at work more than being at home, which Rob understands on some level. There was a pride and activation his Dad got from it, he was the top guy in the firm, so Rob thinks he learned from his Dad that to be on the mission it had to be your top priority.
  • There were a lot of messages Rob received after that in terms of spending and schooling, the need to do well at school, be a good worker and provider. When Rob got to corporate America there was a feeling that he had ‘made it’ because he was approaching a 6-figure salary at 26 years old. Wearing a suit and tie every day, working 18-hour days, Rob thought going to work like that was the right thing for a man to do. He took such pride in being a producer.
  • Then after a successful career in corporate America, Rob went to burning man, and started the orgasm business. Rob told his parents he wanted to have more fun. They were worried that fun had become the top message of his life. Rob could feel their disapproval and a lack of awareness.
  • Then Rob went into One Taste, which was a workaholic’s dream. It was creating community, business and non-profit at the same time. It was a 24/7 buy in and Rob’s workaholic was happy.
  • Rob’s whole identity, is based on producing. He doesn’t even know what it’s like not to be that person. He has fear of letting go of the reins. Things are going so good in terms of relationship, money, business, the book, Rob wonders if he lets go, what will happen?
  • But there is a calling Rob feels that in order to go to the next level, it will involve some kind of letting go. He doesn’t know the exact nature of it, but it’s time to step up and find that right balance because the way it’s going doesn’t have the shelf-life it needs.
  • Rob wants to move from ‘man’s mission versus self-care’ to ‘man’s mission and self-care.’ He has no answers yet on how to find that balance, but there is something arising inside him to start the romance between the mission and the self-care.
  • If you’re in this similar position, and you’re blindly following this mission that you picked up or designed and it’s negatively affecting your health, your relationships, maybe it’s time to really take a look at it. Rob isn’t prescribing anything except awareness at this point. Find that awareness of what needs to happen so you can slow down.

There is no coachee today but Rob speaks with Mark, who is also feeling the need to get closer to self-care for himself:

  • Mark wonders if Rob can fold the self-care into the mission? Right now, they sound separate, but maybe they’re actually supporting of each other. Self-care is an essential aspect of making it possible to continue to be driven so hard by the mission.
  • Perhaps the root of the problem is that Rob sees the mission and self-care as different.
  • Is there a 15-minute practice Rob could fold into every hour? E.g. a nap, or a massage, or work out.
  • Mark is also integrating self-care into his life more. It’s the next step for him.
  • As a musician, when Mark records, he has a ‘sleep on it’ rule where before he decides on anything being finished or not finished, he will sleep on it and come back to it a few days later. Rob does a similar process with writing but as a math geek, it only takes him so far so it’s time to get an editor.
  • In society, self-care is something we need to start thinking about. It’s time to really finding that balance between the two in order to start improving our lives. And maybe it’s not two separate things but actually one thing: man’s mission self-care.