How to Survive Being Emotional in a Room Full of "Tough Guys"

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with a group of eighty managers and senior leadership. I was in a room full of “tough guys”, men who were physically and mentally hardened by the long hours, long-distance commutes, and hard labor. Like nails, diamonds, and honors calculus, these guys were tough.

Typically “tough guys” aren't all about smiling for no reason. Usually, being flamboyant in energy and passionate in enthusiasm do not serve them as they weather difficult circumstances that require endurance and mental fortitude. These guys had a quiet strength, a calm energy, and a love for what they do for a living. Like many people pursuing the coveted “American Dream”, these guys had a healthy interest in creating and pursuing opportunities.

These tough guys had straight faces, folded arms and were relaxed back in their chairs. However, as we progressed and they started talking with each other and sharing experiences, advice, and knowledge, the...

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