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Episode 015: A Conversation on Masculinity with Nick Papadopoulos

Episode 015: A Conversation on Masculinity with Nick Papadopoulos

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and “Coach Nick” Papadopoulos as they shine a light on…dudes! The two explore some common challenges facing men, and dig into the work Coach Nick is doing to help redefine masculinity.

About our guest

Nicholaos “Coach Nick” Papadopoulos is an author, speaker, executive coach, facilitator, consultant and disruptor who’s committed to inspiring leaders, teams and people to live life purposefully and to transform the world. An energetic and charismatic speaker, Coach Nick has been a keynote speaker nationally on the topics of transformation, men, inclusion, culture engagement and leadership.

Coach Nick is committed to male transformation so that men redefine what it means to be a man therefore showing up differently in today’s world. He’s been successfully running Men’s Groups and retreats for over 14 years and currently facilitates two groups. He’s had a Top-25 ranked podcast in delivering male driven, transformational and leadership topics called Dudes of Disruption.

Coach Nick currently lives in New York City and serves in a senior leadership role at a healthcare organization. During his career, he has consistently delivered transformational and organizational change that gives today’s most forward-thinking leaders and their organizations unique ways to generating high performing cultures that produces change and results never imagined before.

Coach Nick’s strengths lie in delivering leadership and team development, organizational consulting and culture engagement which are all designed to align leadership teams, inspire people to connect to something larger than themselves and to create highly inspired environments where teams are deeply engaged in a culture of collaboration, accountability, learning and recognition.

Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations, where each week we explore a topic to help us have more powerful conversations with ourselves and with other people. I’m your host, Sarah Noll Wilson, and one of the things one of the reasons we started this show was to be able to explore topics that we might not normally talk about in the workplace. And we’ve had to reschedule for a few reasons for- you had tree trimmings, and all of that. But I am so, so excited to introduce our guests this week, and the topic we’ll be talking about. So let me introduce you to Nicholaos “Coach Nick” Papadopoulos, who is an author, speaker, executive coach, facilitator, consultant, and disrupter, who is committed to inspiring leaders, teams, and prepare people to live purposefully, and to transform the world. He’s an energetic and charismatic speaker, he’s been a keynote speaker nationally on topics related to transformation, men, inclusion, culture engagement, and leadership. Coach Nick is committed to male transformation so that men redefine what it means to be a man, therefore showing up differently in today’s world. He has been successfully running men’s groups and retreats for over 14 years, and currently facilitates two groups. He’s had a top 25 ranked podcast in delivering male driven transformational leadership topics called “Dudes of Disruption.” He joins us from New York, and as you can tell from the bio, we’re going to be exploring this, I think, really important topic of, of men and intimacy, and all of, all of the things that come along with that. Welcome Coach Nick.

Nick Papadopoulos
Thank you, Sarah. Thank you for having me on. Hello, everyone, and I’m excited to be on to talk about dudes.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Dudes, the dudes.

Nick Papadopoulos
Right, exactly.

Sarah Noll Wilson
What- before we, before we start talking about the dudes, I am so excited for this, I shouldn’t set the bar like I should set it really low, like, low-key.

Nick Papadopoulos
I know, like, now I’m, now I’m feeling a little pressured. Okay, I better deliver.

Sarah Noll Wilson
But, but part of the reason, part of the reason that I’m so excited is because it’s something so near and dear to my heart. You know, my husband, my husband Nick, my Nick, we, you know, we have a lot of conversations around the impact of masculinity and the rules and roles. So I’m just personally very much invested in this. Thank you. Okay, so what else should we know about you? What else would you want people to know about you? Before we jump into talking about dudes.

Nick Papadopoulos
Be careful what you ask for, Sarah, wasn’t that long, wasn’t that long enough, it’s almost as long as my first and last name. You know, I would say, you know, you know, I would just say that the work that I do is both in the personal development, and the organizational development space. And regardless of the space, you know, as humans, we take ourselves everywhere, and so the work that I do, you know, you may use different words, or you may frame things or expressions or sentiments a little differently. And at the end of the day, it’s really, you know, people peopling, you know, and people, you know, being messy and, and, you know, I love, I love that, you know, your podcast conversations about conversations, because, again, regardless if it’s in the corporate space, or personal development space, conversations like this are super important.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, yeah, no, I appreciate your language of, you know, as humans we take ourselves everywhere-

Nick Papadopoulos
We do.

Sarah Noll Wilson
That’s about it’s about the snappiest way that I’ve described it, it’s like, well, we don’t actually turn off parts of ourselves, we may departmentalized it, but it’s absolutely with us, especially, you know, when we talk about emotions, and we talk about, like, I, you know, the people who are, you know, we just need to leave emotions at the door. And it’s like, well, that doesn’t happen.

Nick Papadopoulos
Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah, I mean, I think how you show up in one place, you show up another, right, so, a different way of saying that. And, you know, I suppose I would say especially now, that sentiment is true, right? Where, the world has evolved so much where, you know, folks are working hybrid or remote, you know, everything is mixed up. I mean, I think the days, the days of, you know, at home on one way, at work of another way, which, by the way, again I’ve never, never subscribed to, I think that’s all definitely gone out the window.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, yeah, I’m here for it. I mean, on some level, and you have to be careful, right, that sometimes the bleeding of the two together can make it hard to set those boundaries of-

Nick Papadopoulos
Which is why you want to have conversations about conversations, I mean-

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, absolutely.

Nick Papadopoulos
You know, because if you’re, if you’re withholding in one place, it impacts the other. Right, and, and, you know, we talked about dudes, you know, dudes have a tendency, right? Again, I want to make a generalization, there’s clearly exceptions. Dudes have a tendency to keep things in. Right? You know, men have a tendency to keep things in when they come home, about what happened at work, or vice versa, right? And I do think that has a consequence, because the more that you keep things in, like you said about emotions, they’re going to bubble up somehow. They’re going to, they’re gonna get expressed somehow. And if you keep suppressing them, if you keep compartmentalizing them, if you keep pretending like they’re not there, there will be an impact in how you’re interacting in relating to others.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Well, and I wonder what the connection is, something that I’ve learned, you know, in personal explorations, and talking to a therapist is, you know, a lot of times, anxiety, depression, and men will show up as anger. And, you know, and I wonder what, what’s that relationship between not having the skills, not having the muscle, maybe not even feeling like you have the permission, right? Because I, you know, I know that I’ve been conditioned very differently than probably you were culturally and socially conditioned, which is different than my husband. And, and, and also, you know, I think anger is this emotion that’s totally acceptable for men to, to express, whereas like vulnerability, sensitivity, sadness, right, maybe isn’t as acceptable. What’s been your, what’s been your experience with, just, I mean, because you’ve worked with so many men over such a long period of time.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, as you said, I’ve been running men’s groups for a number of years, and I’ve got a couple now, and, you know, men often, you know, won’t share or won’t divulge about themselves, or what they’re dealing with. It’s often because they don’t want to feel like they’re not doing it right, that they’re doing it wrong in fact. You know, if you’re expressing to your partner at home, or you go to work, and you express any kind of doubt, or any vulnerability about what’s happening at home with your teenage kids, right, which anybody, anybody could relate to, it can be perceived as a weakness. You know, I mean, as men, you know, most of us are brought up to, to the, to the language of toughen up, you know, be tough, you know, boys don’t cry, you know, don’t be a sissy. Don’t be like your sister. You know, often you get mocked if you do show a softness or a vulnerability. You know, especially as boys get older, you know, I think there’s, I think boys are celebrated when they’re babies, and then as they get older, I do think that there’s a high level of shame and, and, and I think what happens is that we, we really start to, you know, what I like to call we put on our Halloween costume, you know, which includes putting on the mask, you know, putting on the putting on the, you know, all the, all the accessories that go with the Halloween costume, you know, the blouse or the shirt, you know, the pants, it’s, you know, the headwear, all that, right, to protect ourselves. And I think that we spend so much time protecting ourselves, and we spend so much time protecting ourselves by ourselves, you know, so it becomes this, like, very small, lonely place. And I’ve got all this armor and Halloween costumes all over me with all these accessories, and this mask is, you know, wearing on me after weeks and months and years and decades. Yeah, we get pretty angry. You know, it’s as if we, it’s as if we don’t even realize that it’s there. Just as a sidebar, I just want to say I think anger gets a bad rap. I think anger is important to express. You know, um, you know, my kids play basketball, for example, I have two boys. They both play basketball. And, you know, when another player fouls my son, or, you know, they block my son’s shot or whatever the case may be, although if they heard this, they would deny all that. I get angry, right? I’m like, I’m annoyed. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. Right? That’s okay. It’s okay to express that because I think, again, I think men, you know, are often told not to express anger, right, so we get made wrong. It’s just, it’s this weird cycle going on, you know?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, no, I appreciate that clarification. And, and totally agree and, and it’s, and it’s almost like you’re not allowed to express many emotions. It’s just like here, here’s the like, you can express I mean, this may be as an emotion, but it’s a behavior, but like, resilience and grit and toughness, and, and, you know, in that idea of, of sensitivity and softness and hurt and all of those things, and one of the things that you know, I’ll probably weave in conversations that my Nick and I have had, because we do talk about this, and so I see things through his perspective and as well as my own lived experience, and, you know, one night we were chatting about it because he’s been on a journey, and just to, you know, clarify, I validated with him that I, I can share some of this but- because I always want to protect someone’s stories, their story, it’s not mine to share. You know, but, but, but he, he isn’t motivated by like, high career, he isn’t like highly driven, and it’s taken him a while to untangle and unpack that from his sense of self. And one of the things he said one night that was so profound was, these, these rules that have been placed on us from a gender perspective, it basically makes it so that none of us get to experience our full human existence.

Nick Papadopoulos
Exactly. That’s, that’s really, that’s really fabulous, what you just said, and spot on. You know, I, you know, I know personally, and again, men I’ve worked with, we’re socialized and brought up to gain fulfillment, or at least this is, this is what we’re sold, the goods that we’re sold, or the story that we’re sold, is that the way to be fulfilled is to, you know, land the big job, make tons of money, buy lots of houses and boats, and have, you know, multiple homes and, you know, sweet looking cars and all that. And, by the way, that’s all awesome to have. Right? You know, and obviously there’s-

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, if that’s important to you.

Nick Papadopoulos
-a whole bunch more. And, you know, and most men, including myself, no one ever said, hey, make sure you enrich your relationships. Hey, make sure that you share your heart with your people, right? Make sure that, you know, you lead by example, in ways of being around, being respectful, and being inclusive, and being loving, and being vulnerable, snd being honest. We don’t talk about those things, right, as being, as giving us a sense of fulfillment. I can say, listen, I, you know, I’ve talked offline, you know, I, I’m dealing with cancer, I have cancer, I’m doing well, I’m still in my cancer journey. And I can tell you, you know, I’ve had a successful career, I’ve had lots of successes, I’ve had lots of, I mean, I’ve had more setbacks than successes, I have a lot of material things, I can tell you, the last six, seven months of my journey, what’s been most profound, most powerful, and most important, and what’s carried the day literally, are my relationships, are my people, is my support system. And I know that the greatest lesson I’ve learned from these six, seven months is that that’s what I want to attend to. And I believe, I have to believe, and I’m going to, I’m going to be right about it, because as human beings, we’re always going to be right about well, we’re going to be right about, is that spending more time and leaning in with my relationships moving forward. Well, presently, and moving forward, that everything else will come, you know, everything else will show up, you know, when it’s meant to show up, right, you know, from a material perspective, and all that. So, you know, I think as men again, you know, one of the messages I want to get out is, totally cool to be the top of your class or to, you know, strive to be the Senior VP or CEO, you know, to make certain amount of money, etc, etc. And at the same time, not at the expense of what you said Sarah, about being fully expressed, you know, being your authentic self, right, because I just, I just think that, you know, this, these halloween costumes that we put on, that we, we basically, and we keep on, and you know, after, if you think about it, you think about how tiring and exhaustive that can be, right? Because, you know, we’ve all gone to a Halloween party dressed up and you come home, and you’re like, thank god, I can take this off.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, right, like I just want to shed it, like.

Nick Papadopoulos
Right, it was fun, but like, I’ve been perspiring, and like the makeup is coming off, and all that. But imagine your men are wearing these costumes for decades. And I think that ultimately what we’re carrying, are secrets, right? We’re carrying our secrets. And, our, inside of those secrets is where our power really lies, because if we were able to loosen the grip then we would actually, or another way said, share our vulnerability, right, being, being more authentic about what we’re feeling, what we’re contending with, what we’re excited about, you know, what we’re fearing, what we doubt, etcetera. I honestly think that we would be freed up like you’ve never could never imagine. And at the same time, I think that we would free up the people around us. You know, because I think, because the people around us, I think are, we’re always dancing with everybody’s ways of being, right. We’re always like dancing with each other, and I think when men are in their heads, right, and they’re, you know, inwardly focused in their heads, people are dancing with that. And I think it makes others uncomfortable. It makes others feel insecure. It makes others potentially feel like they’re doing something wrong. It makes others, like, want to try harder, even though they’re not really sure what they’re meant to be doing to change the situation, right? So if men can, again, loosen the grip on these secrets that we’re carrying, and when I say secrets, I mean it can really be, you know, as simple as, you know, I feel tired today, or, you know, I’m really scared right now about my cancer. You know, literally last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and I was, I was thinking about my mortality. And it spooked me, you know, and you start to think about, you know, my father who passed, and I’m thinking about my kids, and wanting to be here, and, and, and I just started to journal for a few minutes about it, just, just to, just to like, be connected to it, right? You know, rather than, okay, I’ll just sleep it off. Or let me get on, you know, Facebook or something. Does that make me sound old? Getting on Facebook?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, yeah, no it totally does, you did just age yourself.

Nick Papadopoulos
You, you know I meant, I meant Instagram or Twitter-

Sarah Noll Wilson
TikTok.

Nick Papadopoulos
TikTok, or whatever. But, you know, I journaled for a few minutes on purpose, just so that I could capture the moment and be connected. And be scared, I mean, and I’m okay saying I’m scared. And at the same time, and I think this is what men don’t get, maybe humans don’t get this because if this is, you know, when I’m coaching, even women as well, but definitely with men, that you can be, you can have both experiences at the same time, meaning, right, one experience of being scared, like, I was in the middle of night, last night, and at the same time, being inspired, or being hopeful, or being introspective, or being connected- like, both can exist, you know, I think we’re constantly taught, you know, you can only be one way, and I think men in particular, when we’re taught that way, we then compartmentalize. And I think it really, really harms the relationships around us. Because, again, people are dancing with that, and I think it often leaves people feeling feeling like they’ve done something wrong and feeling wanting, wanting more.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, and, and I think another way that I see that showing up, because that’s something that I feel like comes up a lot in our work, is, a lot of things can be true at the same time. A lot of emotions can be existing at the same time. And, you know, and especially, and, you know, what’s coming, coming up for me is, a lot of times I’ll see the clients that I work with that are, that are men, especially when we start talking about relationships, because even though I’m working with executives, well, originally, the work I’m doing is about relationships, which means it’s not uncommon that we’re talking about their partner, their spouse, and their marriage and-

Nick Papadopoulos
Right, right.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And there’s this desire to want to, like, fix the problem that their, their, their partner brings to the table, or their, you know, their- and, and some of that I often wonder is like, from from an inability of sitting with the discomfort and sitting with the complexity of the moment, and that, that we don’t have to fix it. I can’t tell you, I mean, I’ve had at least a few different gentlemen, you know, when I’ll say something and like, well, so, you know, what came up for you? What do you feel? They’re like, oh, I don’t feel anything below my neck. I was like, oh, but you do, you just haven’t, you’ve been literally conditioned to not listen to that in the same, in the same way. You know, as I’m, as I’m hearing this, right, I also hear it through the lens of my lived experiences being a woman, is, you know, like, we’ve been conditioned to not listen to our needs, right, not advocate for our needs, to nurture and take care of other people, right, and, and it really is a muscle to be rebuilt, but it’s not that it’s not in there. It’s you know,

Nick Papadopoulos
Absolutely.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And I want to go back to, you know, something that you were, there’s so many, there’s so much, this is why I was so excited for this conversation, you know, that language, how you described it as like, secrets you’re holding on to, and I couldn’t help but, as you’re talking, and as I’m thinking about the men in my life, the men that I support, how lonely, how lonely that must be, and how much of a burden that is to have to hold that, because one of the things, I mean, we talk about it somewhat jokingly, right, my husband and I, is when if something were to happen to him before me, right? It would be hard, but I’d probably be like, I’d be able to navigate it because I have such a support, emotional support system to, to hold me in that grief in the process with whereas, like, he doesn’t have that. And I think that that, I mean, that’s something I’d really love to dig into, because you know you talked- what was, you said, oh, protecting ourselves by ourselves. That’s a, that’s a statement right there. And, and I know that, you know, research shows that by the time, you know, a man is like 35 or 40, they have three quarters of a friend. And that often, and often what happens is that if you do have a partner or a female partner, that they become your everything from an emotional, like, support system, therapist, all of that. And I just I want to hear your thoughts on that. Because, again, like, in conversations that I’ve had, realizing that that’s not healthy. It’s not healthy.

Nick Papadopoulos
It’s not, it’s not at all, there’s so many consequences, well- you just, you just, you know, got on a landmine there. You know, I had a COO of a company hire me as their executive coach. And he literally said, you know, when I sat down to do my assessment, about, you know, should we should we not work together, you know, what are your goals, you know, sort of the, your typical first session, you know, if you will. He said, I need someone to talk to, and, and I said, what do you mean? He said, look, I’ve got lots of guy friends, and we go to the bar, right. And we talk about-

Sarah Noll Wilson
You’re like, you’re telling stories that I’ve had told to me like, we talk about sports, but that’s it. Sports and beer. That’s it, Sarah. That’s what we talk about.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, yeah. And we talk about sports, we talk about work, and we’ll talk, you know, we’ll do some passive aggressive, you know, quote, unquote, funny jokes about our spouses, right. You know, and or our kids, right, and that’s about it. I- he said, I really need to talk to someone. I said, what do you need to talk about? He said, well, I just had my first child, and my wife and I are not intimate right now. My father, you know, who I’m really close with, has cancer, and he’s dying, and, you know, we’ve had a challenging relationship all our lives. I have a challenging relationship with another senior executive at the company. And I feel like I’m on the outs. And I’m scared. And I don’t know how to express that to anyone. You know, my wife right now is dealing with a newborn, you know, you know, can’t talk to my father, the guys, you know, the guys that I go out for a drink or dinner with, you know, that’s not what they want to talk about. So I need to talk to you, you know, it’s so, it’s so, you know, that is pretty common. That’s, you know, for starters that, that we don’t, as men, feel like we have friends. I remember, I remember about 15 years ago, I was seeing a therapist, and I said to him, I said to him, I, you know, I’m scheduling all these lunches with men, you know, guys that I’m trying to get closer with. And I said, they kept canceling on me. And I said, what, why do they keep canceling? And he goes, because they’re scared. I’m like, why are they scared? It’s like, because you’re an intense dude, and you scare people because you want to talk about real stuff. And, you know, men are really good at being, being, being friends shoulder to shoulder. Right? So think about it, right? You’re at the bar, you’re shoulder to shoulder, right? You know, you’re out at a networking event type environment. Generally, you’re shoulder to shoulder, if you will, right. Men who play, you know, think about most of the men in today’s environment playing video games, shoulder to shoulder, right. So when I think about my then therapists comment about what lunch, one on one, is face to face, right? That’s, that’s super- okay, Halloween costume, some of its going to have to probably come off if we’re going to have a real lunch conversation, right? And I do think that, you know, during COVID, I think men experienced, I think men have been experiencing a friendship crisis for years. And I believe COVID really exacerbated that. Because think about it, what happened during COVID, especially, you know, the first year or so, but, and then certain parts of it afterwards, locked down restrictions, you know, restrictions on you know, being indoors, or a number of people being indoors, etc, etc. Right? So, what we used to as men rely on, which is to go to the bar, right, play softball, another, you know, another shoulder to shoulder event.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Watch a sporting game, like I’m literally having the image of like, we’re at a family event and all the, all the dudes are standing shoulder to shoulder whereas like, women we’re like leaning into each other, right? We’re like, face to face, belly to belly almost, right? Yeah.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, exactly. And so I, so I-

Sarah Noll Wilson
Well, that’s so profound, sorry, that visual is like, it’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking. And as soon as you said it, it was like, holy shit. I see this everywhere. Everywhere I see this, and I’ve never, I’ve never had that lens to look at it through, so please continue on.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, no, I mean, you know what, I think COVID, like I said, I think really, really, you know, shined the light on this, on all of what we’re talking about, right. And I think it really mess with men. You know, the second men’s group that I’m currently running, the way it started, actually, is that two years ago, right, so, March, I’m in New York City. So I know COVID sort of hit different parts of the country at different times. We obviously were on the front end of it, right. So it was mid March, I had a weekend retreat for men at the end of March of 2020, right. Actually, I think was the weekend of March 28th. And we had about 25 men coming to the, to the weekend. And, you know, COVID hit New York, it was a sort of the week of March 11th, everything shut down, the place that we were holding, the event, the weekend retreat event, you know, cancelled appropriately, etcetera, right. So we decided to do, I was co-facilitating with another man, we decided to do is let’s, you know, since everyone has that weekend already carved out, let’s be loving and supportive and offer like a, like a, like a Saturday, three, four hour Zoom, you know, sort of half session, we’ll do some distinctions, we’ll be supportive, because at that point people were spooked. I mean, not that people aren’t spooked today, but you know what I mean, at that point,

Sarah Noll Wilson
There was just so much unknown.

Nick Papadopoulos
Right, and we didn’t know what we didn’t know, right? So we do the three hour plus session, right, with these with these 20 plus men. It goes amazingly. And then as we’re starting to wrap up in the last 15 minutes, one of the men said, he said, could we do this again? And I said, well, we’re planning to reschedule the weekend. Now I’m thinking, well, we’re gonna be rescheduled in a month, right. You know, silly me, here we are.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Two week plan, like at two weeks we’ll be great.

Nick Papadopoulos
Two week, two week plan. I said, well, we’re planning to do this in a month or so, you know, whenever we get back, and he said, no, I understand that. He said, but inbetween now, and whenever we reschedule this retreat, I need someone to talk with, and, you know, so, could we do this again, and my co facilitator put a poll up and asked who else would like to do this again. Unanimous everyone said- you know it was, it was, it was an anonymous poll, right? People could have said, no, not interested, and we would have been fine. My point is, that second men’s group that I’m currently running, or, you know, co-running, started because one man spoke up and said, I need to speak to someone. And I, you know, I think it’s one of actually one of the several silver linings of the COVID crisis, which is, I do believe, you know, this particular group has about, you know, almost 15 plus men in it, those 15 plus men, you know, are together and growing, because one of them stood up and said, hey, I’m scared. He was basically saying, I’m scared, I don’t know what to do. That, that’s what it was code for, right? So it was really powerful. And here we are, two years later, with a second group because men needed a place, right, to just, to do what you said. Right? You said if something happened to your husband, Nick, by the way, great name, just saying.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s-

Nick Papadopoulos
You know, I mean, I like the guy ready, right. You know, like you said, you have your support system. That’s what he was really asking for. And it’s why I believe all 20 plus men all said, yes, let’s do this again. By the way, they kept coming back, and have been coming back, right. I want to, I want to highlight, or build on the other comment you made about what often happens when we live in these worlds all by ourselves, right? Is that we ended up, our world becomes really, really small, like super duper small, right? And you want to put a visual that’s really, really scary, right. Is that, it’s almost like you’re like, in a room, like, by yourself, you know, in your man cave, if you will, right. And what happens is, that, you said it, men often, especially in, I can speak more so on the heterosexual relationship side, men in heterosexual relationships will lean on their, their wives, and you said it perfectly. They become, they become the mom of the house, the project manager of the house, they become their therapist, their coach, they, you know, when you come back from work, or you know, now again, living in the remote hybrid world, you’re done with your day, and you come out of your man cave. You’re complaining, or not complaining, and not saying a word right? Or, you’re, like, going outside to look, you know, mow the lawn by yourself. Point is, you’re, you’re relying on your, on your spouse for all of that emotional support. And I think what happens, I think one of the consequences is that the woman really becomes, and I think I mentioned this to you offline-

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I’m glad we’re getting into this.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, a woman becomes more like a mother.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right. And I, I hear that.

Nick Papadopoulos
Or, or, or a big sister, you know.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right. Which, which then has, I mean, which then has consequences to, like, your sexual intimacy, which has consequences to your relationship intimacy, and I can’t tell you how many, how many, how many women that I’ve heard, you know, will say things like, I feel like I just have a fourth child. I feel like I have- and, and it’s not, that’s not necessarily from like, oh, I’m just gonna complain about my husband, sort of way. But because we get put into that position of soul nurturer, which is ultimately a mothering position. And, and like, and, again, has so many implications from, from so many different levels. And even, you know, I’ve had similar conversations with other people. And, and I was talking with one therapist, and she said, listen, if you’re, if you’re viewing your husband like a child, or they’re viewing you like a mother, like, that, that’s going to have significant ramifications, especially to your sexual intimacy.

Nick Papadopoulos
Game over, I mean-

Sarah Noll Wilson
You know, exactly.

Nick Papadopoulos
Game over around the sexual intimacy, game over even, you know, supporting each other and exploring each other’s interest, right? You know, immersing ourselves in each other, right, it becomes a relationship where you, you have dinner, and you’re talking about your problems, right? Or you’re talking about your kids, right, as a problem, right, and what you’re going to do, but, and often the men, and even in those cases, from what I found, they’re always, you know, sort of, you know, allowing the spouse to sort of make the the major decision, but the point is that, you know, when men are relying on their wives to, you know, fix things for them, or make things better for them, or to- which is what really happens, you talk about the anger piece, because it’s not just the sexual intimacy that goes away, what goes away is the safety that women have, I believe. I can’t- listen, I’m not a woman, obviously,

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, keep talking. Yeah.

Nick Papadopoulos
I mean, I don’t want to speak for women, but from, from what men have shared with me, is that men will then unleash, right, and you know, and then that creates an unsafe environment, both for your spouse, and also for your kids, and anyone else who, you know, you’re, you’re taking care of, because you’re basically walking around the house like a walking time bomb, right? You’re- and the people around you, as I said earlier, they’re dancing with your way of being. They’re walking on pins and needles. Listen, my dad used to come home, he’s a blue collar worker, he worked his buns off, you know, to, to support us. To this day I have no idea how he supported our family and put my sister and I through private school. But it had a consequence in that he would come home after you know, 12 hours, and he would just go upstairs and make a path for himself. And he would sit in the bath and crank, you know, classical music for like an hour and a half. And honestly, like, at the time, I didn’t know what I was experiencing. But today what I think it was, was this uneasiness like, yeah, is something like, did I do something wrong, you know? Does he not like me? Like, why is he up there versus down here, you know, wanting to go out and play catch with me, or check in with me about homework or, you know, like, what’s going on? Or, like, don’t go upstairs. You know, like, let him like, do his things.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, like, let him, don’t, don’t interrupt Dad.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah. And I, you know, to go back to the relationship with your partner, you know, imagine, you know, I imagine the dynamic now that gets- that exists, right? Because that, I would imagine as a woman, you become not only put in a position of, like, a mother, big sister, but also there’s a lot of resentment that starts to build up, right, which is, wait a minute, hold on, you’re yelling at me or yelling, you know, yelling, yelling in general, or you’re upset, me while I’m having to deal with planning the vacation, you know, when is Johnny going to practice, you know, when does Suzie have practice, right. You know, we’re, you know, we’re planning a dinner date with our, you know, friend, you don’t, I mean, because, because I do totally, I mean, women do carry a, you know, a large- I call them the, the, they’re not just project managers in the house, they are the

Sarah Noll Wilson
The archivist, the, you know it, like-

Nick Papadopoulos
That’s a great word. They hold the space, they hold the space, right. And so, if you- like, I think that’s why they, that sentiment of, well, I don’t want to have a fourth child, right, or, you know why, like, what’s going on with this guy, you know what I mean? And the man becomes almost, not even a child, it becomes so inadequate, like, you know, and I think it becomes even even more consequential because I think men, we, I do believe men are, well, men and women both, I believe, are wired to protect, now we protect in different ways, right. And both are great. And I think that when men start to interact with their spouses and their families in the way that we’re describing, they no longer are providing the support, and the protection, and, and that has like, and I think that messes up the whole dynamic of the house.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And it, and also, and also, and also it can, it, you know, it, when you’re, when you’re relying on your spouse to be everything, it can create an unhealthy dependency, which sometimes then, as the spouse, maybe you feel like, I can’t be your everything, I shouldn’t be your everything, like, and you know, and in the world of, of relationships, we know that independence and intimacy, or like independence is really important for connection, and so when, when you are the persons everything, like that also can become overwhelming for the partner of like, I, I can’t I can’t be it for you, I can’t, can’t do all things for all, all people. And it’s, and it’s, I will say, it’s so common, it is something that I hear, I mean, this dynamic you’re describing of right, defaulting to your partner being the the total nurturer, right, the big sister, the, it is so common. And, and, and I think because, I wonder, let me just say this, I’ll say it this way, like, what’s coming up for me as we’re talking is, and because men aren’t taught how to value engage and develop relationships elsewhere, this is like the one relationship they know, they know the relationship with the mother. And so that just can transfer to the relationship with the spouse, because there’s no, often no other deeply intimate, right, supportive relationships that they’ve nurtured or created or have in their life. So, part of it, you know, and I think that’s, I just want to, you know, clarify this for anyone who may be, I don’t think anyone’s listening to this going like, oh, you’re shitting on men, like, because we’re not. It’s, it’s, it’s how, it’s our, it’s a social, you know, it’s how we’ve been socialized. Just, you know. And so it makes sense to me as you’re talking, that like, it makes sense that that, that relationship, that is such an important bond as a child, gets transferred when you don’t have examples of what that can look like outside of that dynamic.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, I mean-

Sarah Noll Wilson
I hadn’t thought about that before, so.

Nick Papadopoulos
What also, what also starts to happen over time, right, as this dynamic is now evolving, and the roots are growing, and, you know, really settling in, my experience has been that the spouse starts to, starts to make the husband wrong. Right? They’re, they’re so annoyed, right? They’re so frustrated, and which is, which, again, this is where it’s, this is this, this, this wild cycle, right? Because what happens then, as the woman makes the man wrong, and sort of starts to have, starts to lose their listening of them, right? And then men, men do not want to be made wrong, right? Because again, then they feel like, I’m less than, I’m weaker, right? I’m not as strong as everybody else, right, other, other men in particular. And so what do men then do, well, they just go deeper into isolation, right? And they’ll stay away. Now, again, COVID messed all that up. But, but, but, but it happened, actually, sort of real time in the house where men sort of locked themselves in their offices, if you will, you know, claiming to be working, you know, overtime, and all that, right. Because I think what happens is- a mentor of mine said, years ago she said, you know, we were in a sort of Co-ed, you know, personal development workshop, series of workshops, and she would say to the women, what your men need is “Ooh, baby, baby, you’re the best.” “Ooh, baby, baby, you’re the best,” and your man will do anything, right. And I do actually believe that men want that, or actually need that, I should say, right? The problem is, if you have this dynamic going on where I have no other friends, I have no other outlets, oh, by the way, I can’t see a therapist, because that would make me feel weaker. Think about, think about the story I just told you about that one executive, right, who said I’m hiring you so I can talk to you, versus a therapist.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, right. Well I-

Nick Papadopoulos
Because it’s okay to talk to an executive.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, no.

Nick Papadopoulos
But not a therapist, right?

Sarah Noll Wilson
I had somebody once go, why don’t you just become a therapist, Sarah, because like, then he would just like, you know, like, you would never, you know, like, have to wait for clients, or whatever the case is, like, you would just have a- And I said, because the people I work with probably wouldn’t see a therapist, and they need to, and I don’t pretend to be a therapist, but a lot of, it’s not uncommon, it’s not uncommon that once I start my work with people, that eventually it’s like, I’m just, I can help you here, but I think a therapist can help you here. And it’s like, I can bridge bridge that gap. Yeah.

Nick Papadopoulos
Yeah, I, there’s lots of research about what you just said about men and their relationship to therapy, men and their relationship, actually, to medicine- their health and well being, their medical well being, you know, men not wanting to go to the doctor, or going- going less, right. Or, or, you know, I can, again, tough it out, or, you know, I don’t want to show any, any pain, right. And again, we’re often- I can, I understand there’s exceptions, but often we’re doing this in this very isolated way. Because again, we, we have been conditioned to- the expressive side of us has been, like, ripped out of us, if you will, you know, and I think that happens again, as we become, you know, as we get older and older and older, right. You know, I, I just thought of, you know, I got connected to why I even started my first men’s group, which was about 15, 16 years ago. You know, I mentioned I was seeing a therapist at the time, and I said to him, I said, you know, I, I want to, I want to- my dad had passed away. And I said, I want to create a new relationship with my dad, even though he’s physically gone, right? And I said, I know that that’s the keys to the kingdom in my relation- in how I relate to other men as well, right. At that time, it was interesting at that time, right? I, I was the, I was the guy I just described. My partner was my best friend. I would, I would almost exclusively hire women over men, I had no trust for men, right? Men were like, unsafe. Now understand my background, right? I grew up in Queens, New York, right? You know, sort of, you know, you know, you know, you know, in a relatively, you know, you know, tough neighborhood. I was, I played sports, I played lots of- you know, basketball, baseball, volleyball, very competitive, you know, always. I was president of my fraternity, you know, I was definitely what you would call a guy’s guy, right? And I can tell you the entire time, and I’m not, I don’t, I don’t know if there’s ever an exception the entire time, I felt totally alone, totally isolated, totally misunderstood. I was scared to death to ever say how I really felt, or to really sort of step out of line. Right? And, and so 15, 16 years ago, I realized, you know, geez, I’ve really, before it, before my game is over, I really have to change this, you know, because if- it’s unfair to me, you know, you know, you know, going back to like, at that time, I had, you know, secured the title and, and material successes, and, you know, and sort of all those symbolic things that men are taught to strive for. But I was completely unfulfilled, you know, my relationships were, you know, in a disempowered place, right? So, I remember when we started our first men’s groups, I actually started with this therapist. And it was a group of about eight or nine men. And I remember in the first session thinking holy crap, these guys are like exact- it’s like a mirror. We’re all talking about the same stuff. I mean, different circumstances, the experience, though, the same, right? The experience of, of, again, feeling alone, feeling like we have to protect, have you know, feeling like, again, we have to be, you know, inauthentic so that we could fit in and look good. So that again, we’re not called out as a sissy, or you know, a tree hugger or or you know, you’re not really a man, or you know,although all those really derogatory you know, awful mean things that, you know, men get, you know, are scared to reveal because they don’t want, they don’t want that shame.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, yeah. What- there’s so much we could explore. Okay. Here, where, if somebody is listening, I want to, I want to, I want to think about this answer through two lenses. So, for our, our male audiences, like, our men who are listening, who are probably going, you just have spoken my truth in a way that I don’t think I maybe realized, or I didn’t have the courage, or whatever, I have no doubt that there are going to be profound impacts from this conversation. Where, where would somebody start when they go, but I want to, I want to start to change that, because it’s not as simple as, it’s not as simple as just like, okay, well now I’m going to be vulnerable. Well now I’m going to be intimate, and now I’m going to be this, because it’s so deeply woven into your, you know, I’ve worked with a coach once and she, she coaches through the lens of systemic oppression. And, and one of the things that that we were talking about, for myself of, you know, just some, like, very, like, white dominant culture, like, corporate culture, norms of hustle and all of that. And she’s like, it’s not as simple as plucking the weed from your garden, say, well I don’t want to value that anymore. It’s like, it’s literally intertangled with your weeds, but every time you notice it, it’s like a micro incision. And you just gotta keep cutting it and cutting and cutting it until eventually it becomes quieter. So what’s your recommendation for people at home who are listening to this? Who are thinking, how do I, how do I even start? It’s so scary to even think about that, but I want to. What would be your recommendation?

Nick Papadopoulos
I would say acknowledgement. You know, the acknow- I believe it’s really courageous and vulnerable, to acknowledge where you are. Right? That, and when I say acknowledge, it’s not just acknowledging that you want something different, that’s obviously part of it because I think that’s, that’s sort of the, one of my favorite questions is, you know, after you have a conversation like we’re having, which is really what you’re doing, which is, okay, now what? Right, like, okay, now what do we do, right? The acknowledgement is also that, you know, a part of you has been taken away, you know, a part of you has been squashed, right? A part of you, a part of you, there’s a part of you that you don’t know that you don’t know, right. That there’s a part of you that you don’t like, there’s a part of you that you do, right? There’s a part of you that you want to explore, there’s a part of you that knows that there’s something different. I think, I think the acknowledgement of it, I think is really, really important. And then sharing it, right. You know, I always like to say, you know, if the world happens out here, right, literally outside of your head, not in your head, and men often are living in their heads, which by the way, is the man cave, for me. For me, the man cave is our head. I know, I know there’s the physical, the visual of the man cave with the big TV and, you know, the darkness and, you know, you know, cheese doodles or whatever potato chips all over the place, maybe that’s just my room. But I think the man cave is really our heads, and the world happens outside of us. And I believe, and I think this is actually, for anyone who’s looking to transform, the best way to start changing your relationship to anything and to anyone, is by taking what you have in your head and putting it out into the universe, putting it out into the world, right, and sharing it with others. Because that’s actually what happened in that first men’s group for me, which is, as I- sharing, I mean, creating that group was my share, right? That was the acknowledgement, that was the okay, well, now what? Now what, let’s create a men’s group. Oh, by the way, this is an important sidebar. That therapist who I created the men’s group with didn’t want to start a men’s group with me. He said to me, men, men, men wouldn’t go for it. And by the way, the way that it even came up for me was the woman that I was, I was with at the time, was in a women’s group, and she would come home and tell me like how amazing, right, and all that. And, and, and she would say to me, and a lot of times, I would start to complain or vent, and she would say, no, no, no, she goes, go tell your dudes. Don’t tell me, right. And then there were times where she was start to share with me about something she was upset with, and she said, you know, let me let me stop that. Let me let me go take that with my ladies, right. And I remember going to him and saying, hey, this, she’s got this great thing going on, let’s do it. He’s like, men won’t do it. Men travel too much, you know, men will cancel too much, men will make excuses too much. And I said we got to do it, and I persisted. And I’m, if I’m one thing, I am definitely persistent. Like, I said, I’m going to be right about what I’m going to be right about. But, you know, I would say the best place to start, Sarah, is the acknowledgement and then, more importantly, sharing it. Because for me as I started to acknowledge and share, it’s how opportunity started to open up for me to explore new parts of me, or all parts of me, right? Parts of me that I had, you know, that either forgotten about, suppressed, or didn’t even know were there. You know, as I acknowledged and started to share, all of a sudden, you know, people will say things like, hey, why don’t you go to this workshop? You know, my dad passed away in 1996. And I went to a workshop, you know, about five or six years later, and I had not cried, you know, and not that you need to cry, but sharing to mourn someone. And at the same time, that is an expression, right, a place that many of us go to, to heal or get to a different place, right. But those first five years after his death, I hit, you know, it was very much, you know, like, check the boxes, you know, I’ve done all the right things, I check in on my mom, right? You know, I took care of the other things that I’m supposed to take care of as the man of the house. And I remember going to this workshop, and it was a week- a four day workshop. And the first two and a half days, I was, I didn’t say a word, right? Now, here I had been, I had been opening up and acknowledging and sharing, but now I’m like, now I’m like facing, now I’m like facing, right. Like, you know, you know, be careful what you ask for. And here I’m in this workshop, and one of the, you know, and God bless her, one of the coaches came up to me and said, look, there’s an exercise that’s going to happen this afternoon that I really, really want you to, you know, let go. Like, this is like your chance, you know, and she actually said to me, she said, she said, I want you to let go, not just for you, but for the people in the room. And I said, what do you mean, and I even got mad at her, right. And this was like, my defense, like, she’s like, people get- I keep going back to this theme of people are dancing with your ways of being. She said, you have a presence, you have a, you have an energy about you, and you’re shut down, and you’re angry, and there’s like steam coming out of you, and it’s impacting the room. Now, it’s okay to have your experience, right, so it’s not, she wasn’t saying don’t have your experience, and understand-

Sarah Noll Wilson
There’s impact.

Nick Papadopoulos
There’s impact, right? Now in the corporate world we call that having emotional intelligence, right, having, having emotional awareness, which at that point, I definitely was not going to pass with any, you know, by any means. But she said to me, come back after lunch, and really let go. And it was basically a visualization exercise around our relationship with our mothers and our fathers, and I said to her, I mean, this is how scared I was to, to be face to face, you know, versus shoulder to shoulder, because here I was in a workshop, shoulder to shoulder, and I was steaming. I said, okay, I’ll let go, whatever that even means, as long as you put me in the back of the room, and I’m facing the wall where no one can see me. Now imagine this, right? Imagine- like, this is what I mean about like, all the work that I was doing to protect myself. Like, it’s like, tiring, even like reconnecting to that. Right? And, and so the facilitator started with the music. Actually, I remember it was Roberta Flack’s song “The First Time-” “The First Time I Ever Saw You.” And he starts to talk about you know, you know, picture your mom as a young woman- I, sorry, picture your dad as a young man. And I just- and all I know is it only was an hour and a half later, I like, came out of a trance. I had, it was wintertime, I had my sweater like wrapped around my head. I had like soaked the sweater from the crying. Because if you could just imagine, like, what I was holding on to, right. So to me, it goes back to your to your question. It’s the acknowledgement. It’s the sharing. And it’s the willingness to, you know, look for those opportunities to allow yourself to lean in, you know, versus leaning out.

Sarah Noll Wilson
You’re such a gift. I’m not done with you yet. But I just want to pause-

Nick Papadopoulos
Thank you, I appreciate that.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And I so appreciate you sharing that and, you know, not only sharing with me, but everyone who will be in communion with us, right, in community in these conversations. And, yeah, so I just want to pause on that moment a second.

Nick Papadopoulos
Thank you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I- One of the things that that I’ve noticed is in watching my Nick and his journey and trying to lean into his vulnerability, you know, both with me and with with his you know, with those around him, friends, family is that so often it is like the secret amongst men, you know, that, you know, he has a very close relationship with my, my siblings and, and particularly one brother, and like, they both are just working on leaning in together. And it’s like this, like, oh, this is something we can talk about, this is something we can do. And they’re such a, because there is such a craving for connection. I mean, we are humans, we, we want to be connected to people, we want to feel safe with people, we want to be seen and heard. And we’ve been so conditioned. So now I’m curious to hear the flip side is, if you are, let’s say, you know, me the wife. Talk to to me the wife, because that’s something I’ve had to learn to even untangle for myself is to not dismiss or minimize or be like, this isn’t that big of a deal. But to really honor and notice the courage that I know it takes, right, whether it’s, whether it’s my Nick, whether it’s clients that I’m working with, or whatever the case is. So what are some things that we can be thinking about as the friends, the family members, the partners, right? When you see a man in your life maybe starting to step, step into this, because, because I know sometimes what can happen, is like, because the the role is being shifted, that sometimes I have clients whose spouses are just like, what are you doing? Like, you don’t need to do that. And they just sort of shut it down, because we’ve all been conditioned to believe that we show up way, so.

Nick Papadopoulos
What a great point. Yeah, yeah, this is, this is, this is, I know we’ve been talking about men, men, you know, male transformation. The transformation is really, it’s a human conversation, it’s a human transformation, right? My partner will not like me for this. You know, one of the ways that I’ll answer your question about what can the spouse do differently, or how it’s actually not even about doing, it’s really about being, right? How can how can they be different? Right? So I remember, you know, in the last couple, last couple of years, I live in the city so in the city you don’t really need a car. But, you know, we bought a car, and I remember, you know, when we bought the car, you know, talking to her about, and we bought a second home in Connet- on the coast of Connecticut, about two ours to the city. And I said, you know, I’m really worried about if a car breaks down, what, what we’re going to do, and she goes, what do you mean? She goes, she goes, you’re a man, you know how to change a tire. Now, my part my partner is, is a radically progressive, she was, she was in a-

Sarah Noll Wilson
Sure, yeah, it’s those weeds, they’re in our system. It’s in our DNA.

Nick Papadopoulos
I mean she was in a legit rock band, you know, for many years. She’s an artist, right? She’s that kind of a human, right? You know? She’s a feminist. I mean, she is, you know, you know, hear me now, hear me roar, you know, powerhouse, right? And she’s like, well, you know, how to change a tire. You’re a man, you know, you should, you should know how to do that. And it was, it was, and I said, I really don’t. And her reaction was, what are you talking about? You know, and, and it’s not about making her, making her reaction, or her wrong, but when women are conditioned in the way that I just described, right? You know, women need to be aware of that, number one. Number two, what men fear most is shame. Like, shame, like, like, like, I wish- I felt shame. Not that that was her intention, she is the most loving human, she loves me beyond, you know, beyond belief, right. And at that time, the experience I had was shame that I was less than, that I was small, that I was doing it wrong, right? Listen, men want to please their, their, their women, their partners. I mean, they really, really do, actually. And so I think as women, or for the women out there, my, my, my request would be as, one, you know, elevate your emotional awareness and intelligence, just like we’ve been talking about for men to do, around again, what are your, you know, well, you should know how to change tire conversations. Number one. Number two, understand that when when you go to a place of shame, like, what do you mean, you don’t know how to do that, right? You know, as a man, I again, I feel like well, like, oh my gosh, again, not only do I feel like I’ve been made wrong, okay, I can’t even protect you now, because if we, if we break down on the road, now most men who will listen isn’t going, dude, just get a service, whatever it is, you know one of those triple A things, right? I get it, I get it. But that’s not- I mean, that’s the context.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I mean, like, that, that’s logical, right? Yeah.

Nick Papadopoulos
That’s the context.

Sarah Noll Wilson
But like, that’s not how our brain is processing it.

Nick Papadopoulos
That’s, that’s the content. The context is really about, again, understand that kryptonite for men is shame. So, don’t shame men, understand what your disempowering narratives are about men. I would also say that, you know, for women to celebrate, you know, when men open up, yeah, and not get scared that they’ve opened up, it, and not get scared that they can’t protect them, if you will, or their families. And I’m not implying that women need protection. That’s not what I’m talking about. Contextually I’m talking, right? That, oh, my man just expressed that he had a bad day at work. And oh my God, he’s gonna get fired. And then all of a sudden, you know, the woman goes into this mama role, you know, mama bear role, like, you know, Nick, you, you know, better write a nice email to your boss, and the next time you talk to him or her, you know, do this and don’t- no, no, no, no, like, allow me the space to, to open up with, with, without, again, making me feel like I did something wrong. And going into that sort of critical parent, that cric- critical parent place. The other thing I’ll say is, and I think the men listening will like this. I do think that men, I do think that men- part of our process, in processing, and in dealing with stuff, sometimes is to withdraw for a moment, to go into that man cave for a moment, right? And to allow us to do that, allow us our process, allow that to take place. Now for the men, if you can sort of follow this, for the men, what’s important, this is goes back to elevating our emotional awareness and intelligence for the men to communicate hey, Sarah, I’m going to the cave for a moment. I’ll be back. I’ll come back down from the mountain in a day, okay? So like, have no fear. I will be back better than ever. I’ll be rejuvenated. I’ll be, you know, I’ll come back with the answers you want. Right? I think that’s how men and women can have healthy relationships in that, again, you know, men communicating they need that space. And for, for the woman or for the woman in that relationship to go my man needs that. And, you know, and my man also needs to go to his men’s group, whatever that men’s group is, if it’s a prayer group, if, even if it is, you know, softball team or what, like, let him go do that thing, rather than you’re not home enough. You know, you’re not doing enough with the kids, you’re not involved enough with the kids. I’m not saying that not to have those conversations, there’s a way to have them in a healthy empowered way, without again, a man feeling shamed. Because again, I’m telling you, that’s the kryptonite for, for a man. So the dynamic is let your man have his space, allow them. And at the same time, the man has to also, like I said, has to have that conversation and be responsible in his communication around, I’m going up to the mountain for a moment because I need- or I need to go play softball or whatever, whatever it is, I’m going to my men’s group, right. And let me go, let me go work it out over there. Right? Let me go to my coach, let me go to my therapist. Let me, let me go work it out there first, and then come back to you. And I promise I will come back to you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Coach, Nick, you could talk- We could talk forever.

Nick Papadopoulos
We’re talkers.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Well, yes. And it’s such, it’s such important work. And it’s such important conversations. And, and there’s so much we haven’t even been able to tap into, right, we’ve been talking about this, you know, from a very sort of hetero, heterosexual perspective. And what does that look like in, in, you know, gay relationships? What does it look like in in all types of different types of relationships? And then also even just, you know, it’s like, I’m thinking about just even, like, age dynamics, and, you know, like, and what is, and what’s similar when you have children, and what’s different about that, and, right, and there’s, and there’s so, there’s so much I would love, when the time is right, to have you back on.

Nick Papadopoulos
Great, I appreciate that, thank you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
This has been such a gift, and, and I just, I thank you so much, and I wish you nothing but healing and heartfelt energy as you navigate this time, and there’s, the work you’re doing is so important. And thank you for sharing that with us.

Nick Papadopoulos
Absolutely. No, I appreciate that. This has been, this has been, this has been fun. You know, let me just say this because I think it’s appropriate based on the title of your podcast. I have gay men in my men’s groups, and I’ve had them, you know, so we’ve I’ve had gay men, heterosexual men, regardless of your gender identity, again, you know, what kind of, you know, sexual preferences you have, what hasn’t been always common is that when men lean in and have conversations, good stuff happens. And that, that, that would be, you know, my final thought is, when in doubt, lean in and have the conversation, whatever that conversation is, again, if it’s just, here’s where I am, here’s what I need, you know, here’s where I feel, you know, what’s missing. You know, what do you need? You know, how can I be supportive to you? You know, I think that’s, again, that’s, regardless of, of, you know, heterosexual relationships or gay relationships. When conversations happen, good things are always always blossoming.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I love that. I love that. I normally ask a question, but we won’t have time because of our time constraints, which just means you have to come back, okay, so that we can ask you-

Nick Papadopoulos
A cliffhanger.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s a cliffhanger. Okay, how, for people who are listening to this and want to follow you, learn more about the work that you’re doing, work with you, what’s the best way for people to connect with you?

Nick Papadopoulos
Well, I appreciate you asking. And again, thank you for having me on here and for this conversation. So my email is Coach Nick at Coach Nick dot com. So I keep it simple, moreso for myself. On Twitter, Coach Nick NYC. I’m proud of my city. That’s another way to get in touch with me as well. And I also have a website, Coach Nick dot com.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Perfect. And we’ll put all of that in the show notes. I highly, I highly recommend you follow Nick. I don’t even remember how our paths crossed, it crossed on Twitter.

Nick Papadopoulos
It did, I know.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. And and I don’t remember the moment or where I was, like, you know, someone shared something, or, and I, you know, I can say as just, there’s so much that I’ve learned and I’ve appreciated from following your content, and being able to attend some of the webinars that you were hosting previously. And, again, it’s just such an honor to have you on the show. So thank you for for being with us.

Nick Papadopoulos
Thank you for being part of my support system. Again, my support system, which includes you and your husband, Nick, has been everything on this, you know, my current journey, this cancer journey, and just overall provided me great fulfillment. So thank you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Thank you. Our guest this week has been Coach Nick, Nicholaos Papadopoulos. And I always, I always have just pages of notes, but, two things that I’m really going to hold on to is that idea that he shared quite a few times of that people are dancing with your ways of being. Thinking about that for myself, thinking about that and how I can bring that into the work we do with leaders. The other one that is really holding tight to me is that idea of of men in their relationships as being shoulder to shoulder instead of out front, and thinking about what role can I play in helping the men in my life be able to loosen that grip, and be their full true selves. We want to hear from you, so you can reach out to us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can find me on social media where my DMs are always open. We want to hear from you, what resonated, what are you curious about? If you’d like to find out more about the work that we do, and how we can help you or your team have the conversations that matter, check us out at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can also pick up a copy of my latest book, “Don’t Feed the Elephants,” wherever books are sold. And if you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a patron. You can visit Patreon dot com slash Conversations on Conversations, where not only your financial support will sustain this podcast and our amazing team that makes it possible, but you’ll be able to get access to some pretty great benefits as well. Also, if you haven’t already done so, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show. You can do so on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast platforms. This helps us get the word out and continues to allow us to bring on amazing guests each week like Coach Nick. Thanks to our amazing and incredible team who makes this podcast possible. You’re listening to me only because I have them around me. To our producer, Nick Wilson. Our sound editor, Drew Noll. Transcriptionist, Olivia Reinert, and marketing consultant, Kaitlyn Summitt-Nelson. And just a big wholehearted, healing thank you to Coach Nick Papadopoulos for joining us today and having such an amazing conversation. This has been Conversations on Conversations, thank you for listening, and remember, when we change the conversations we have with ourselves and others, we can change the world. So I wish you all well, please make sure that you stay rested and rehydrated, and we will see you again soon. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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