Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1789 that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I’d like to add a third: transition.
We all go through numerous transitions in our lives – leaving high school, leaving home, changing jobs, redundancy, retirement, getting married, getting divorced, having children, losing someone close, facing a mental or physical illness.
These become those weeks or months, or even longer periods of tough emotional times where we move from the comfort of what’s known to the uncertainty of the unknown.
One the most significant transitions I went through was leaving Australia in 2007: leaving my friends, family and the success of the Movember Foundation in my home country to immigrate to the US by myself. It was a lonely time, and the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.
Taking Movember global and establishing a new life in Los Angeles was a huge transition. It was two years before I really felt settled and back to my normal self.
For men, these moments can challenge our notions of masculinity and the traditional expectations of being the provider, always being strong, invulnerable and in control. I wasn’t in control, I was vulnerable, my life was filled with doubt and uncertainty. Like a lot of men, I kept my struggle to myself because I didn’t want to burden my mates with my shit.
I know this attitude is so unhealthy and damaging, yet it’s so common.
The Movember Foundation conducted research into the state of male relationships. We found that 70% of men surveyed agreed with the statement that 'my friends can rely on me for emotional support'.
However, only 48% of the respondents agreed with the statement 'I am able to rely on my close friends for emotional support'.
So, it seems we are missing something. As men, we don't feel as though we can count on our friends, yet they are ready to be counted on. And at certain moments in life, that connection might make all the difference.
Let there be no doubt in your mates' minds. Let them know you're there for them. Ask how it's going, and don't be brushed off with a casual “yeah, I’m good” - always ask the follow up question.
Particularly when a man you know is going through a transition, really listen, be there and hear the men in your lives.
To highlight the importance of this issue I’m really proud to announce that the Movember podcast is returning with a series focused on transitions where I talk with inspirational men from across the globe about the transitions they have been through - how they handled and often didn’t deal with those moments.
To listen to real conversations with inspirational people from around the globe on the Movember Podcast, go to movember.com/podcast, iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear there, please subscribe, and share it with your friends - it really helps others find us.