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Expansive Intimacy EP15: The Power of Gentle Men w/Mike Sweeney

“I’m a work in progress.”
Announcement of new episode of Expansive Intimacy featuring Mike Sweeney on The Power of Gentle Men.

Mike Sweeney is the proud dad to three teenage girls. He's also Chief Strategy Officer at RallyBright, where he helps clients build inclusive, resilient and high performing teams.

Mike’s interpretation of intimacy has evolved to include what he calls “noticing and nudging” someone when they say they’re fine. He shares the many types of support his brother showed him throughout his divorce–including asking a very important question that took Mike a long time to fully comprehend. He also describes a moment of grace from an unexpected source that literally brought him to his knees.

As Jim and Mike explore where life has taken them over the years, Mike describes how his definition of success has broadened over the years towards what Jim calls “expansive success.” Hint: it's more than just having the right job title and zip code. He also discusses ways to introduce vulnerability to the workplace, how a leader should set the tone for the team and the importance of modeling.

In a disarming moment, Mike also discusses that, while there is no one "right way" to do intimacy, he knows of some of ways he’s done it wrong in the past! And in a nod to the episode's title that echoes back to a seminal moment in his relationship with Jim, Mike explains why gentle men often make the best leaders.


“I didn't really expect the shared experiences like sitting on a mountaintop, watching a sunrise to be as powerful for me. But that one and the emotional, reciprocal sharing ones are probably the most powerful.” (6:54 | Mike - on different types of intimacy)
“I came in, my daughter’s sitting on the couch, my ex-wife is there, and my whole body is shaking. I said, ‘She didn't feel comfortable, she wanted to come back’ and I couldn't use the word ‘home.’...The empathy that I was shown made me collapse.” (13:49 | Mike)
“I grew up with ‘Failure’s not an option.’...So it's probably new, this evolution to processing failure.” (22:32 | Mike)
“My improviser wants to ‘Yes, and’ that. You can create meaning and…have all of those ‘eulogy values’ fulfilled… messaging makes it seem like it's an either/or proposition… I just don't buy that. It's bullshit.” (25:25 | Jim)
“Some of the best leadership experiences I've had, the leader that has inspired me the most was the quietest person in the room… to be surrounded by gentle men, it’s inspiring.” (31:08 | Mike)
“I've been thinking about the difference between fitting in and belonging…I don't really fit in a lot of places, but I love to belong…but I'm not going to pull in the edges of the square to fit in the circle.” (41:14 | Mike)

Show Links

Connect with Mike Sweeney

1:1 coaching:

Resilient Team Development:

Pan Mass Challenge donations:

Connect with Jim Young

The Expansive Intimacy Brotherhood:

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The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.


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