In this episode we welcomed Joe Horton from Guild of Dads. Joe set up the Guild of Dads podcast and brotherhood for dads in 2020 after he went through a period of great personal change and upheaval in his own life after his dads’ passing.
He now coaches and mentors other professional men and dads who are at the midway point of life – to navigate this tricky time with greater balance, purpose, and thriving relationships. He also organised a monthly dads’ hike on the Ashdown Forest in Sussex aptly called The Guild of Dads Hike.
Joe lives a great life, but at some point a few years ago he asked himself ‘is there something else I should do’? Given he is a keen student of personal development, he thought there must be more in life, and more he could do. Listening to a podcast about brotherhoods for men, he founded the Guild of Dads, getting dads together to walk in the forest, but also he offers 1-2-1 coaching for men.
He read James Hollis who suggested that the first half of life is the ego journey, where you’re driven by materialism. The second half is the soul journey, where skills and resources are different. We often take a view on success being material values and money. All that we were told is to achieve and have success, and once we do, we often end up not knowing what to do next.
We also touch on suicide. Middle-aged men are more likely to die by suicide than any other age group. Postnatal depression, addiction and workaholism, marital problems, loneliness and losing a parent all contribute to this. There is also the post kids no man’s land, and often we put on a few pounds and we don’t look after our mental health. That goes in line with abuse of alcohol or other self-medication.
Volker argues that time isn’t ticking down, and that if we change our lifestyle and life to 120, we are only ⅓ through our life at 40. There is some excitement about the opportunities to live longer and have more opportunities to try new things, different jobs and meet new people. Isn’t it all about perspective and purpose?
Other people seem to put their marriage on hold until the kids leave the house. That can’t be a solution. A few people hit the wall and have a re-think in terms of what priority there should be in life. Often there is just work and life, and nothing else; life is revolving around kids and that’s all there is. But we have to look at life and prioritise ourselves, and it’s not a selfish thing to do. This is one of the reasons Joe put out those walks for men to get out and invest in themselves to recharge their batteries and share their story with other men.
According to Joe “Vision + Action = Meaning” – and these things need to be done regularly by men to create meaning in their life. Whether that is to build a she in the garden or going for a walk. Life is made of a lot of small ‘meanings’. Joe, who also suffers from depression, suggests that having that formula helped him to get through slumps.
Some people go through life with no self-awareness and just get on with life, not looking left and right. They seem to be able to just carry on without being stressed, unless they seem calm on the outside and feel different on the inside. Again, their meaning and purpose is different to others, and society has a lot of input on how we see and interact with the world.