Vicki Simon was one of the recent friends who asked for the back story of how I created my soon-to-be released book Grow Up: A Man’s Guide to Masculine Emotional Intelligence.
The back story of how I went from a kid with a learning disability to a man working with men on developing Masculine Emotional Intelligence is in the book. So for those who haven’t read the book, here’s the short story: I had to eat so I had to heal.
After college in the mid 1970s, I found myself in Boulder, CO, living in a house with a group of guys. One fellow moved from Florida to study at the Rolf Institute in Boulder. Breck had given up his law practice after eight years to pursue Rolfing as a career, and he argued his case so well, I tried Rolfing… which led me to becoming a Rolfer. After seeing how Rolfing set me free, I couldn’t stop. In thirty-five years I’ve healed most of my Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia and dyspraxia from an array of holistic therapies. (My spelling still needs work.)
Yet even after healing the incurable, I realized there was more: I still didn’t feel like I was a man.
Eighteen years ago I decided to get into men’s work by starting men’s groups. I got all the training that was available at the time. Once I became part of powerful group, I knew I’d found what I’d been missing.
Nine years ago I decided to completely redesign what a men’s group was. I started from scratch with new assumptions, processes and intents. In nine years, the Sandpoint Men’s Group evolved to be a leader in the men’s movement, and is featured in the upcoming documentary: About Men.
Four years ago, a friend suggested I write a book on men growing up. That was the first book I’ve ever wanted to write. As I started writing, I realized writing a book like this means starting a business that is based on sharing information through a network. I had no network, so I needed to get one. I started blogging at www.owenmarcus.com, speaking at conferences such as WDS, writing for other blogs and sharing my unique perspective on men.
I also started the nonprofit Men Corps to give men free tools to start their own men’s group. Out of that men wanted to experience and begin to learn the ways we take men deeper into their own inherent emotional intelligence, so we created www.freetowin.co.
Two years ago I had a book agent take my book on, but after no action I approached one publisher who had some interest. When that interest died, I decided (with the encouragement of many, including my editor)to self-publish. Once I got through feeling overwhelmed (with the help of books like Guy Kawasaki’s APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur), I realized I could do it.
I then researched what I needed. I found a great book cover designer in Vanessa Maynard and a layout master in Robert Henry.
Once the book was done, it was time to ask my community for help. I posted a request on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ for people to write an endorsement or a review of the book. I hoped to get twenty responses. In two days I had seventy. Now I’m telling the people who continue to contact me that I will have a special offer for them and the first buyers of the book.
Four years ago I never imagined my work on myself and my free groups would become such an adventure. I still love Rolfing; it’s my art.. But sharing what men’s groups and our form of men’s work can do for men brings me joy I never knew. Then, to have men and women respond with such interest, sends chills through my body.
We can change how we’ve framed and limited men. Men are not bad, broken or doomed. It’s how we were trained to be men. We can unlearn the limitations and discover the simple joy of being a Freemen.
A note: Grow Up: A Man’s Guide to Masculine Emotional Intelligence will be published soon.