Tom was shut down, numb and couldn’t feel.

Submerged in a barrel of ice water for several minutes.

Shaking, he appeared unaffected by the cold icy water.

It wouldn’t be long before hypothermia set in.

The room was dark but the lights on the stage were visible.

Directed at Tom for impact. 


I met Tom a few weeks earlier. We were both registered to take part in a three day seminar for men. Over four-hundred men’s eyes were locked on Tom.

Tom lived in Southern California. He was in his forties, a father, a husband and real estate professional.

By his own admission Tom’s life was a catastrophe. 

His real estate business was suffering, his children were confused because of the dysfunction at home. 

Tom wasn’t sleeping, the stress was impacting his health.

He wasn’t eating, he was numb, alone, emotionally absent. 


Two weeks before the incident on stage, our conversation began at 7AM on a Sunday morning. 


I didn’t know Tom well, but I was willing to listen, to hear him. To ask questions that no one else would ask. 

Tom was upset and was crying. 

Between breaths he shared that his wife was having an affair. It wasn’t physical. Yet. 

She confided in him that she was unhappy and that she had met another man who listened to her. Another man who heard her and gave her attention.

“I am not happy with our marriage.”

“I am not happy with you.”

“I am not happy…”

He could not imagine another man with his wife. 

Tom began to future trip…

“I can’t imagine another man raising my children..”

The marriage was heading this way. They were living with his parents.

Professionally Tom didn’t consistently produce financial results. He knew how. He had been a successful Realtor before, but not now. Tom was lost, confused and numb.

The barrel of ice was an exercise to help Tom feel. Feel something. Cold, pain, discomfort, physical sensations. 


What I learned from Tom’s courage was that physical sensations and feelings are different from emotions.

I feel hungry, I feel hot, I feel sore.  No emotion, a physical sensation. 

Tom was shut down and the exercise in the ice barrel confirmed it.

He was lifted from the icy water and wrapped in a warm blanket. 

Tom began his journey of learning how to feel sensations.

Then to access his emotions and emotional intelligence.

Physical body…

Emotional body…

Emotional Intelligence.“the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.


Two years later Tom’s wife and family are transformed. Tom is thriving professionally and personally. Supporting and connecting with his wife and family.

What was missing in Tom’s marriage was emotional connection.

This is the gap for many relationships.

Women share with me over and over…

“I want deeper conversations with my husband….”

Some men are uncomfortable or unable to access their emotions. 

One way the scenario plays out. 

Men have been taught that sex is connection…

Women lose interest…

Because of the limited emotional connection…

Women withhold and search for other emotional connections…

Friends who have similar experiences. 


Men may shut down and look for connection too. They receive support by other men who have similar experiences. They collapse into the stories about their partners and compare evidence why their marriage is not working. 

It’s a recipe for breakdown, for divorce and for broken families. 


Four hundred men saw Tom’s first step. His commitment and courage were extraordinary. Tom began reinventing his life day by day leveraging a system that works. 

Courageous and bold moves followed by consistent daily work. 


His story probably is not you but a version of the story exists for millions of men and maybe you. 

Tom no longer worries about another man being with his wife or other men raising his children. 

Tom’s focus is the daily work that has transformed his life. The  work that opened the value of his heart to his family, his creativity, his power and his emotions.

Tom has learned how to navigate his emotions and to feel. 

Can you relate?


Let’s have a conversation like Tom and I did on that Sunday morning. 


Financially, Emotionally and Spiritually….

Men who are numb and know they are leaders but are not showing up in their lives. 


P.S. How much longer can you endure this in your life?


Tom did the work, he is not special, yet he overcame the limitations that were bankrupting his family.

Having the courage to explore, to be in a community of  self-inquiry. This is a path to liberation, power, purpose and possibility.


Doug McGhee
Founder of Realm.Men