Hi, I’m Todd Gorishek and I have a story to tell you...
It is a hot summer day in the early 70’s. I just moved to a new neighborhood where I don’t know anyone.
I’m 7 years old and looking out the window of my new home. I see two boys about my age on their bicycles in a field next to my house. At the encouragement of my mother, I hop on the banana seat of my green Schwinn bike and peddle out along the dusty dirt path to meet, whom I hope will be my new friends.
After I say hi to them, one of them asks me if I am a boy or a girl, then looks at the other boy and they both laugh at me. In that moment, unbeknownst to me, begins my struggle for acceptance, identity, and belonging in the world of men.
Later those same boys tag me with a moniker. They call me Worm because it has male and female sex organs. It is a word they will use and encourage others to use when referring to me until I graduate from high school. .
Each time I hear it, the shame and uncertainty of who I am grows.
As I navigate my life from boyhood, to adolescence, through puberty, and into manhood with these “friends”, I experience bullying, humiliations, and betrayal on an almost daily basis.
At times I retreat from the daily uncertainty of how I will be treated by my peer group, and seek out the approval and connection of men in my family.
My real dad died in an accident when I was three years old, so front and center of the men in my life is my step-dad. He shows up in my world at five. A fierce man without warmth or kindness, except on the rarest of occasions, I learn to live in a state of fear and uncertainty.
I’m 13 and smoking as I mop the floors at my warehouse job. My friends smoke, my grandpa smokes, and my step-dad smokes. I really want to connect with my step-dad, and I don’t have many opportunities to do that. I’m thinking, however, maybe it could happen through smoking.
Riding alone with my dad in our maroon and tan Lincoln, he lights another cigarette. Like a boy with a plastic sack tied over his head wanting to breathe, I want this man’s approval and validation more than anything. I want to be recognized as a boy changing into a man, as a male who belongs in the world of men.
“Hey dad”, I said attempting to start a conversation with the man whom I fear more than any other.
“How old were you when you started smoking?”, I casually ask.
“Thirteen”, was his one word grunted reply.
Being thirteen now I feel encouraged to go on. “So dad, when will you let me smoke?”, I ask with as much adulthood as I can muster in my puberty cracked voice.
“You can smoke whenever you want. Just don’t let your mother find out.”, he says to me, looking straight ahead, never even glancing my way.
That sealed it for me. I will plan my smoking event with my dad.
It’s Saturday afternoon and my dad and I are eating at a cafe, just the two of us. After we finish eating he lights a cigarette. My heart is pounding. With fear, but also hopeful anticipation, I pull out my cigarettes from my jacket pocket and light one.
“What are you doing?” he asks me accusingly.
“You said I could smoke whenever I want, so I’m smoking”, I say, now being acutely aware of his disapproval and questioning my decision.
We sit in silence until he finishes his cigarette, smashes it out in the ashtray, and then says, “Let’s go”.
Later at home, my dad tells my mom how impudent I am, that I would just start smoking in front of him. My mom doesn’t believe I would ever smoke in front of my dad unless he gave me permission. She knows me well.
The conversation between my parents about me smoking is escalating into a fight. Mom asks me, “Did your dad give you permission to smoke?”.
As I look at my dad, him seething with anger, his dark eyes burning right through me, I say, “No mom. I just wanted to smoke.”
I walk away deflated, betrayed, and confused; again, struggling for acceptance, identity, and belonging in the world of men.
At 40 years old, I’m married, raising two sons, and in a good career when my years of confusion and uncertainty of who I am as a man come to a head.
At a men’s weekend retreat, I’m sitting in a circle with 30 other men who also came to figure their shit out.
Surrounding us are at least 40 other men who have done this same weekend, experienced everything we are going through now, and who are here to support us to get the most we can in the short 48 hours we are here.
Those hours don’t seem short.
We share in processes that help us see where we fall short in accountability in our lives, and how we can move back into accountability. We are going through other processes that allow us to be completely authentic with each other, vulnerable.
It is a weekend designed to help us wake up, and choose to be men who are congruent in our choices, values, and actions.
I’m standing in the middle of the room.
The other men are sitting behind me, while I face one of the men on staff. I’m telling him about the time I was in 6th grade and no one will talk to me. My “friends” had coordinated a “don’t talk to Todd” campaign that lasted for three days.
I pass my friends in the halls at school and say hi, but remaining silent they look away, or worse, look right through me. On the third day, the last bell of the day rings, and I grab my books and head down the halls to exit the school.
Coming out of the double doors of the school I see my friends and peers, 12 of them, standing together and all looking at me. After three days I know better than to say hi, so I just keep walking. I pass them all, and am about fifteen feet away when they say, in unison, “Hi Todd”.
My heart leaps in my chest. I feel a rush of joy. Finally they are talking to me. I turn around and take a step toward them when they all say in unison, “Bye worm”.
As I say this to the staff man in front of me I drop to my knees in tears under the weight of the nonacceptance, ridicule, and shame I feel. Other staff men surround me, and I see a bucket put in front of me. I’m being encouraged to puke out the shame and loathsomeness I feel about myself.
With the encouragement and support of the men huddled around me, I retch and puke. For most of my life I have been carrying a belief that I am less than, don’t count, and living in shame that I am something less than a man.
Now, in front of all these men, I am puking it out.
The staff man who I told my story to grabs my shoulders and helps me stand. Looking me in the eyes, with his face so close to mine I can feel the heat of his breath, he asks if I am ready to know what kind of man I am?
I say yes and he turns me around.
I am facing 12 men.
Unlike the 12 friends who waited outside the school doors that day, these are 12 men who entered through the same doors I did this weekend. Men, who in less than 48 hours, I have gotten to know, and they know me. Deeply, authentically.
I am instructed to ask each man what kind of man they see?
“What kind of man do you see?” I ask the first man, bracing for ridicule.
“I see a strong man.” he says to me with a smile.
I ask the next man the same question. “I see a man I can trust”, he says looking directly into my eyes.
I ask another man, then another, and I am told I am strong, kind, trusted, masculine, smart, courageous, respected, and more. The affirmations and validation wash over me like a flash flood in a dry desert river bed.
I look at these 12 men. I look at the other men sitting around me. I look at the man I told my story to, and all of their eyes say I am accepted, welcome, and worthy as a man among them.
Standing in front of them, I know I belong.
So that’s my story, my drive, and my passion for why I chose to become a life coach for men.
Over the following 10 years I continued to work on myself. At the same time I began to informally coach hundreds of other men to become their best selves as well.
In 2014 I officially trained as a Life Coach, and entered the field full time in 2016.
That same year I left my career as a clinical hospital pharmacist, sold everything I owned, and moved to South America. I have been living here learning a new language and customs while building my full time online coaching practice.
I live each day at my edge. Growing. Learning. Discovering.
In my life I have journeyed through three career transitions, have owned my own businesses, and have gone back to school mid-life for more education.
I have been in a 38 year relationship, that includes divorce and separation along the way. I know the hard work and importance of communication to make a relationship that works.
I’ve raised two sons into terrific men. I know the pain of being a dad who makes mistakes along the way. Through authentic communication with them, they know I am in their corner and rooting for them no matter what. And I see them do the same for me.
I combine all of this…my experience, education, and intuition to give you a coaching experience that creates tangible and successful results.
At the end of the day, I help men show up confidently to do what they set out to achieve. It is nothing different than I do in my own life every day.
I am a Clarity and Confidence Coach for Men.
That's why I am here....
I know what it is like to want clarity and direction and not know how to get it. Did you have a strong male role model in your life to help you figure that out?
In fact, my “guide” to be a man was basically to do the opposite of what I had seen the men in my life do in terms of their relationships, raising sons, and showing up as men in the world.
It wasn’t until I met men who were authentic, who held themselves accountable for their actions and decisions, and who chose to be vulnerable in their masculinity was I then able to understand what being a strong, confident man with purpose meant.
Because of these examples, because of the support and encouragement I received from these kind of men, I was able to own my brilliance and my faults.
I no longer had to operate from anxiety of “being found out”, or feel like “something is wrong with me.”
The frustration of feeling uncertain in my ability as a man in a relationship, a job, and a life routine was replaced with an awareness of the power I possess to choose my path and create whatever I desire in all areas of my life.
An Empowered Man
Today I am a Men’s Empowered Action Coach, an entrepreneur, a licensed healthcare professional, a husband, a father…I am an Empowered Man.
It hasn’t always been this way for me.
Basically, growing up I was routinely bullied by my peers and belittled by my father. The message and belief I took from those experiences was that I’m not enough and I don’t count.
These became truths I held about myself. So as an adult, I learned to live small, play it safe, and not have a voice. I discovered a way to change this!
I learned to separate events in my life from the meaning I gave them. In this process, who I am in the world changed; what I am able to do changed. Feeling “less than” was replaced with feeling powerful and confident about who I am as as a man.
My life hasn’t been the same since!
It hasn’t always been easy working through my confusion, emptiness, and loneliness. I had to look at hidden aspects of myself and how consciously or unconsciously it affected my clarity and the direction of my life…in my marriage, my personal relationships, my parenting, my career, and even my spiritual relationship.
I had to confront my sabotaging beliefs that I wasn’t good enough and I didn’t count. I had to face my fear of letting go of old ways of behavior that, although kept me safe in my childhood, were totally fucking me up as an adult.
I had to experience my grief of things lost or never had in my life, acknowledge regrets of my own mistakes and behavior, and really allow myself to feel all of it.
It was the dark portal of light. Until I stepped into that darkness I couldn’t come through and out into the light of my own magnificence.
I Got My Life Back
The incredible thing is that I got my life back and it’s been moving in the direction I want ever since! I now have the ability to show up as the man I choose to be on this planet.
My emotional range is fuller and I no longer operate from anxiety, fear, and frustration. I discovered my power by owning who I am, all parts of me.
I live more authentically.
I created a better marriage, stronger personal relationships, became more engaged as a dad, became identified as a leader in my work environment, and pursued a career with more fulfilling interests.
I now live my life empowered as a man in my family, my personal relationships, and my career. And I’m not unique. After working with me, many men have these same experiences.
Live Life Empowered Now
My passion is that you choose to Live Life Empowered Now. Are you ready?
Here is my commitment to you. I will create a safe and sacred place to explore whatever is on your plate so you find clarity and direction, find a sense of relief and inner peace from things left buried, hidden, or ignored, and find or reclaim your power and gifts…so you can create the future you want!
Being Vulnerable Is Scary
Being truly vulnerable with someone is scary. I get it!
You may be thinking “don’t do it”, “don’t let your guard down”, “don’t be vulnerable”. And isn’t it true that an Empowered Man is responsible for his choices, and takes action to create the life he wants?
Is this who you want to be?
You don’t have to do it alone. In fact truly empowered men choose the support of other men.
Discover New Possibilities For Yourself
Working with me means discovering new possibilities for yourself and taking empowered action!
How much longer will you continue as you are, and put off becoming who you want to be…who you are meant to be… to Live the Life You Want Now?
Contact me and let’s get started.
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