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As many of you know, I’m a single guy and have been for a few years.  I’ve been doing a lot of personal development work recently, and really feel pretty good about myself and what I’ve got to offer.  That said, I’ve been more strongly putting myself out there in the dating world.  As you can imagine, the world is quite different for a middle-aged gay man than it was in the late 1980’s when I was first looking for love.  Now, everything is online and you are presenting yourself and your features and benefits for all to see.  You can be screened out or screened in depending on how you present yourself.

One thing I feel pretty strongly about is presenting myself as closely as possible to who I am right now. I post my current age (if you aren’t interested in maturity and experience, fine), my physical size (this is what I’ve got; take it or leave it), and my current interests and how my personality comes through. Also, I want people to think that I look really good for my age, not that I look really old for 10 years younger than myself.

I am surprised that not everyone feels the same way.  When I’ve met guys, sometimes I’m surprised that what I’m presented with doesn’t match the information I was giving.

  • One guy posted that he was 53, but stated that he was actually 59 when we got together for dinner.
  • Another stated that he was 5’9″, but when I met him he was shorter than me (and I’m 5’7.5″!)
  • A third was very chatty in our messages going back and forth and showed a lot of enthusiasm in meeting, but when we did meet, I had to practically drag a conversation out of him.

I’m of the point that I feel good about myself and I’m looking for the right fit: a mature, intelligent, communicative, adventurous man who can be my partner in crime.  I know the criteria I’m looking for, and I’m willing to wait, but also willing to give a guy a chance if he doesn’t initially seem to have all the qualifications but looks promising.

As I’ve mentioned before, a job search is like dating.  You both are looking for the right one and everyone is awkward.  You want to present the best you have as truthfully as possible.  If you’ve got little lies here and there, they will be found out, and your reputation will take a nose dive.  If you’re willing to play fast and loose with your own information, they might not trust you with their business. If what you present (resume, cover letter, stories about yourself) don’t match what I get when I meet you, I will feel like it’s a waste of my time.  (That’s one reason I like to chat with guys a bit before agreeing to meet.  If you can’t hold up your end of a conversation virtually, you certainly can’t do it in person, and I hate wandering into that trap!)

The key here is that there is someone for everyone in the dating world and the job search.  It’s not automatic and people won’t fall out of the sky into your lap, so you have to be proactive to find a mate and find a job.  As I say, figure out where the people are that you want to be with, and go to those places and say you want to be there (and figure out what they want and if you have it or need to acquire it!)

So, are you presenting yourself truthfully, and do you know what others are looking for?

I just returned from Easton Mountain where I took part in Single Men’s Weekend, which was an opportunity to reflect upon the state of being single, how I am with that, and what I need to do differently if I want to change that situation. As many if you know, I’ve been single for five years and am in a pretty good place as far as bring happy with myself and what I want in my life. This weekend did give me the chance to look at how I’m being in the world and if that’s serving me in the long run.

Here are a bunch of reflections that I’ve had since coming back:

  1. Too often we think of a date as a Big Fat Hairy Deal. We could just use it as another opportunity to have a good time and not put so much pressure on yourselves to see if this is “the One”.
  2. I need to practice dating like I need to practice meditation or playing the hammered dulcimer. I’m not expecting to get it right all the time. I’m going to make mistakes.  Plan for those.
  3. You need to compromise in a relationship, but you shouldn’t compromise yourself.
  4. You need to bring all of you into a relationship. Otherwise you will be giving incomplete information to your potential mate, and he won’t be able to make a good decision if you’re not being truthful about yourself, and you’ll feel nervous about being “found out”.
  5. Ask for what you want, but don’t “spook the sheep” by unleashing it all at once. This assumes you know what you want first.
  6. I’m just as busy as everyone else in this culture. Am I using my busyness to keep me closed off from openings to be with a potential partner because “I don’t have the time” ?

The parallels between dating and job search should be obvious, but if it isn’t, substitute the word ‘job’ for ‘partner’ or ‘date’ in the above thoughts.

So, where are you keeping yourself from a relationship, whether work or romantic?

Yesterday was the deadline for the contest for a free registration to Singles Weekend at Easton Mountain, and I’m happy to announce that there are two winners! While all the entries were great, these two really expressed why this will help them in moving forward in their lives, and they also did some of the extras that were mentioned in the contest rules.

Please congratulate William Adriance of Bronx, New York and Jeff Cumming of Dorchester, Massachusetts who will be attending Singles Weekend courtesy of Resonare Consulting and the Spirit/Work Connection. With their permission, I will share some of their words on this blog later.

Thanks to all the other men to sent in their registrations, and I wish that I could offer this great opportunity to everyone.  I will be having future contests and announcements of other events in the future, so keep reading this blog to find out!

In collaboration with Easton Mountain, I am giving away a free weekend at their Single Gay Men’s weekend this October 8-11, 2010 (a $595.00 value!) As those of you who have read my blog know, my experiences at Easton Mountain over the past two years have have been nothing short of life changing, and I want to offer this opportunity to others as well.

The rules are:

  1. You must have never participated in a program at Easton Mountain. This opportunity is to introduce new men to the magic that is Easton.
  2. You are responsible for your own transportation to and from Easton Mountain.
  3. Fill out the Application Form, which includes a short essay of less than 500 words as to why you would like to attend the program. Entries must be received by Friday, September 25 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
  4. Selection of the winner will be completely up to me, but you can increase your chances by having one or more of the following:

Please let your friends know about this great opportunity. I will be advertising this far and wide, but the more you let your friends know the better.  Even if they don’t win the weekend, I would recommend attending the event anyway.  The facilitators (Harry Faddis and Bob Bruillard) are great and I’ve been to many programs that they have facilitated.

Questions? Ask me below in the comments section!

I’m writing this on the ferry traveling home towards Boston. I’ve been in Provincetown for a couple of days enjoying the great weather, the food, the sun and the sights. Highlights on my time were a great show at the Post Office Cafe (check out her video of Liza Minnelli as Lady Gaga doing Telephone), bike riding up to Race Point, and lying by the pool at the Provincetown Inn and not getting burned.

You see, I’m what you could call melanin challenged. My ancestors came from places where the sun hardly shined (Sweden and Ireland) and I have almost now protection from the sun. I like to say that I think of the sun and I burn. I’m blond and red headed and go between porcelain white and lobster red.

All my life, I have wished that I could be dark brown. I see all these tan and golden skin people and I’d be really jealous. It’s taken me a long time, but I’ve finally come to accept that this is the way it will be and I may as well not only accept it, but celebrate it.

As the world’s population has a majority of dark hair and supposedly blond/red hair is a recessive gene, I’ve decided that my fair skin and rosy complexion is exotic. I can be unique and a great find. Funny things is that since taking in that attitude, I’m finding that I’m attracting a lot of attention from men who are really attracted to this color combination.

As is often the case with me, I wonder about how the lessons in my life are similar to those in the career development field (and vice versa).  This reminds me that you need to accept those parts of you that are unique and will be seen as special in the field you work in. Don’t belabor that you aren’t a good designer. If you train and try to get better and you still feel that your talents aren’t up to the task, look for something else you do that’s special. Your special gifts will be appreciated by the right people.

What do you have that’s special?

I’ve just returned from an intensive weekend program at Easton Mountain called Authentic Eros, facilitated by Kai Ehrhardt and Don Shewey. I had heard great things about this program and knew that it would force me to look at myself more closely to see how I was being in my interactions with other men.

I came onto this workshop with the intention of being present all the time. Like many others on this high speed world of ours, I tend to always be thinking about many more things than what I’m doing at the moment. While my meditation practice has helped me be more centered, it’s much harder for me when I’m out in the “real world” and have more inputs.

We also did a lot of exercises on saying what you want and negotiating when that doesn’t align with others wants. This is a big one for me. As someone in the helping profession, I want to help others, many times to the detriment of my own needs. It’s and ongoing learning process, and this took me one more step.

Some of my key learnings were:

  • I have a difficult time doing more than one thing at a time – I know this is why I like playing the hammered dulcimer (two hands doing similar movements) better than playing the guitar (two hands doing different movements).. My mind just doesn’t function well in that situation. This also got me to recognize my coping pattern of trying to build systems where things are automatically bunched together. That way, my mind thinks it’s all one action.
  • When I’m present in my body and all the voices in my head have been quieted, I can feel the rhythm of my body – We did a lot of meditative type activities (thanks Kai!) and one that really worked for me was when I was invited to take an inhalation and have the back of my pelvis go down. In all the breathing and yoga work I’ve done, I’ve always had the front of my pelvis go down. It probably just came at the right time, because it felt like my whole trunk relaxed. I then was feeling a pulse of my body like when I’m laying on the acupuncturist’s table.  This revelation felt like finally finding your balance when learning to ride a bicycle. Now at least I know what it feels like and I can shoot for getting that feeling again.
  • I tend to go out in the world with armor on – I’m finally accepting something that I’ve denied for a long time: people find me attractive. This may seem a silly thing to many of you, but it’s been something that gas been difficult for me. I’m realizing that I’m in such need of control, that I get scared if men approach me and I’m not interested. I sort of freeze up and armor myself against everyone, or at least the shields cone up when I sense “danger”. More practice needed in claiming my own power to get what I want in the world, and to gracefully decline what I doesn’t serve me.

Any similar experiences?  If you were at the retreat, please feel free to leave your own comments.

After a number of years after the end of a long term relationship, I’m feel like I’m ready to get back into the dating pool. It’s been a long time and it’s a different world in many ways from being single in my mid 20’s on the late 1980’s. Back then, you’d go out to clubs or parties and see if you could meet someone new or get introduced to someone by a friend.

Nowadays, we’ve gone from the simple dating sites like match.com to a hyperlinked world with everything from Facebook to Grindr to LinkedIn to even more specialized sites. No matter where you see someone, you’re bound to see them somewhere else to. Recently, I started chatting with a someone online, and then noticed that he also popped up as a mutual friend of a friend on Facebook. Upon clicking on his profile (which I couldn’t completely see because he had set his privacy settings right), I saw that we had 17 friends in common.  Talk about coming with references!

Seems like the old way of getting introduced is still working, but the other way around.

What does this have to do with job seaching?  Everything.

We all have a digital presence now, and you not only need to manage that, but also figure out who the people are that you need to be connected to on order to be introduced (or bump into) their professional colleagues. Also, as you are so connected, they have people who know you and can get the real dirt on you.

Do you know what they’re saying? And is it what you want them to be saying?

You’re going to be trusted more if people know the sane people you do. If there are places where you want to work, make sure you hang around with the people there so the get to know you and refer you to other when they hear of an opening.

And who knows? You might end up with a date too.

On Valentine’s Day, everyone who don’t have a partner tends to be a little obsessive (and possibly desperate) about finding a mate. As most of us know, nobody wants to be with someone who comes off as needy. You kind of wonder what’s wrong with that person. You don’t want someone who you expect is going to suck the life out of you because you will embody the answer to that person’s prayers and make life complete.

I’ve recently had come conversations with Greg Halpen (The Gay Guy’s Love Coach), and we were talking about the similarities in the type of work we do. This conversation reminded me of how I talk to a lot of people about looking for a job, and that it’s a lot like dating. You’ve got someone who’s looking for a job, and someone who has a need. It’s about making the match.

I like to say that most people think that job search (like dating) is like baking a cake: you follow the directions and in the end you come out with cake. Obviously, life doesn’t work that way. You can do all the right things, and you still can come up with a gloppy mess.

The analogy that I like to use is that getting a job (or finding a mate) is more like getting hit by lightning. You can’t make it happen, but you can put yourself in a situation where it is more likely to happen.

The conditions that you can effect are threefold: being in the right place, having the right conditions in place, and being there at the right time.

  1. Being in the Right Place: Well, where do you want to be?  There are lots of great places in the (work) world.  What’s perfect for you might be a bad place for others.  Figure out where you want to be, and then hang around that place.  If you want to work in the film industry, go to the place where all the film people hang out (e.g. film festivals, workshops, professional associations, etc.)  If you’re looking for an athletic partner, go to someplace where there are active people you’re attracted to.
  2. Having the Right Conditions in Place: For the job search, you need to know what the position is that you want, know what the hiring manager needs for someone in that position, and make sure that the manager knows you have those skills.  Don’t know what the job title is? Don’t know who the hiring managers are (or the people they know)? Don’t know what skills are necessary for that position? Don’t know what you have that would convince the hiring manager that you’ve got what’s needed in the job? Well, you better do your research and find out.  Once you find out, better figure out how to make sure the people in the know know that you are one of them.As for dating, do you know what you’ve got that others think is cute, sexy, attractive, etc.? Better figure that out and start showing it off.
  3. Be There at the Right Time: When’s the right time? You never know.  When will they have a new client and need more help? When will that employee announce she’s moving across the country and they need a replacement?  When will the man of your dreams be attending your friend’s birthday party? Damned if I know.  This is why it’s so difficult.  This is why you need to have the other two attributes in place.  Hang around the places you want to be, and make sure everyone knows what you have to offer (either as a potential employee or a potential date).

This takes some thinking and planning, but if you do it right, you’ll always be there at the time when someone is thinking “So, who do we know whom I’d want to work with?” or conversely “Who do you think would be a good match for Dan?”

And as a side note, don’t appear desperate in either situation.  Be happy where you are now, and others will be attracted to your magnetism and charm, and they will want to be around you.  Confidence is attractive!

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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