Through one of life’s unexplained serendipities, Wayne and I connected online a few weeks ago.
Wayne M. Levine is the director of BetterMen Coaching in Agoura Hills, California where he supports men in being the best men, fathers, husbands and leaders they can be through coaching, group facilitation and retreats.
Being the best “man, father, husband and leader” sounded like something I want in my life, so I was inspired to dig a little deeper.
Wayne’s interest in men’s issues began in the early ‘90s when he was invited to a meeting of a friend’s men’s group. He describes that first night as “electrifying” and felt he “had to get more of it.” He became involved, went back to school and then started his career as a life coach for men. In 2001 Wayne opened the West Coast Men’s Center which later became BetterMen Coaching.
Wayne holds a BA in journalism (Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Southern California, as well as a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University.
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Q: What are your core belief and values?
“I believe we each know what’s best for us, but can’t always identify the path. I help men to feel comfortable in their own skin so they can begin to trust themselves again to discover that path.”
“Though I have a solid foundation in psychology, I rely on my many years working with men, my intuition, and the work I’ve done personally to heal my wounds, and to understand myself as a man, father, and husband.”
Q: Who would benefit the most from your services?
“I think most men are isolated, and have not been socialized to ask for help. Any man who feels stuck, alone, unfulfilled, depressed, confused, angry, or in need of guidance can benefit from the work we do. I focus primarily on relationships — those we have with ourselves, our partners, our families, friends, and in the workplace.”
Q: It sounds like men need other men to grow. Would you agree?
“Absolutely. To be the best man you can be, you need to be in the company of other men. When I coach men, the first relationship is with me. In time, they often join a group, and that’s where the gold can be found. Through the wisdom, camaraderie, guidance, mentoring, ass-kicking, humor, and care of the other men around them, men begin to respect that voice inside that already knows who we are and where we’re heading.”
Q: In what ways are the men you work with changed, healed or transformed?
“In my book, ‘Hold On to Your N.U.T.s — The Relationship Manual for Men‘*, I talk about the need men have to silence the little boy and to start behaving like the man they want to be. It’s difficult work. It takes commitment, awareness, and the support of other men, but when men stick to the process, they begin to see their behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs change. As the men shift, so do those they care most about. When we see our positive changes reflected back to us by the people around us, we receive the ‘juice’ we need to keep at it.”
* In case you’re curious, your N.U.T.s are your “Non-negotiable, Unalterable Terms”. Your N.U.T.s are the things you’re committed to, the things that are important to you more than anything else, the boundaries that define you as a man. Happy & fulfilled men’s N.U.T.s are respected and nurtured, but if your N.U.T.s are repeatedly compromised, you are likely to turn into a pissed-off, resentful and unhappy man.
Q: Would you like to say something to the men who read this blog?
“Men have an extremely difficult time reaching out for support. But for those courageous enough to know they can do a better job in their lives, there is some terrific support to be had. The coaching I do individually, with couples, the men’s groups and retreats, all support men and families to be healthy and happy. I’ve worked with a lot of men over the years, many who had horrific tales to tell, or found themselves in dire straits. It’s been amazing for me to see these men find their footings and the solutions to their problems. And it’s been a real blessing to accompany them on that journey. I encourage all men to take that step to be the men they’ve always wanted to be. I honor the men who helped me by helping the men who reach out to me for support. It’s a fantastic job!”
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In this post-modernistic and constantly changing world, as gender roles are frequently re-defined, many men (yours truly included) find themselves challenged and confused. Our N.U.T.s (see above) are in constant friction with the world around us, and many of us experience pain and feel disempowered as a result.
I believe that supporting men in being the best men they can be is not only extremely important for them and the people around them, it is a crucial component in the evolution of our species. In my mind, ‘Being a Man’ is a skill we should teach our sons in school, alongside ‘Being a Woman’ for girls and basic interpersonal skills such as Kindness and Generosity for everyone.
Wayne – I enjoyed getting to know you, and I appreciate the work you are doing. I look forward to re-connecting with you when I get back to California.
To the men in my life, and to my father above all: You are my teachers and my students, my mirror and my flashlight, my map and my compass, my crutches and my wings. Thank you for being you, and thank you for being there through the good times and the bad. I am grateful for having you in my life.