Last week, we organized a launch party for 10 Ways to Win A Girl’s Heart. Being that the event was in LA, we were concerned it could easily turn into a poser, sceney one. An attire range from cocktail to black tie attire invites stuffiness anywhere, but LA is notorious for “too cool for school” environments.
I didn’t want people putting on a front. I also didn’t want to create space where some felt catered to and others felt completely left out; this is the substance of Hollywood clubs and parties. Some are willing to pay a high price to be a part of this superficiality for some odd reason, but I’d like to think nothing is more powerful than inclusivity.
Even though our event had a red carpet, people came up afterwards and told me how comfortable they felt. One girl stated, “I’ve grown up in Hollywood my entire life. I didn’t want to come, but I was surprised. I felt at home.” It got me thinking–what if we could create atmospheres where people felt invited and included everywhere we go? How awesome would it be if people felt empowered when we walked into a room? I think it’s possible.
I was reminded of how powerful an inclusive atmosphere can be this past weekend at the most unlikely of places. There’s one spot that can create expectation in the atmosphere more than Hollywood clubs–it’s church. At a club, you’re often judged by your appearance, what clothes you’re wearing, and who you’re hanging with. While difficult, a lot of people can wade through these insecurities. But, at church, some feel judged by their way of life…far more insidious.
Judgement is not the case at a church called Bethel in Redding, CA. A group of us went up and attended it this past weekend. It attracts all sorts of people, even a few I might not typically feel comfortable around. But, by the close of the service, I felt connection with everyone there.
How does a church of all places create this atmosphere? Bethel calls it a “culture of honor.” Here are some of the tenants of this culture based on Danny Silk’s book, The Practice of Honor: Putting Into Daily Life the Culture of Honor.
4 Ways To Create An Authentic Atmosphere Instead of An Awkward One
1. Everyone has a unique gift that’s important and needed. It’s looking past skin-deep matters and focusing on the true identity of someone despite what they might be presenting on the outside. “Reaching in and grabbing our people by their true identities is an act of love that will live on far longer than the sting of failure and consequences,” says Danny.
2. Create a safe environment. Once people are recognized for their unique design and importance, let them live it. Danny says, “When we use our freedom to love, as intended, our freedom and those around us are protected and cultivated.”
3. Create freedom from control. Instead of trying to control someone because you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself, “Why is this affecting me? Why am I trying to control out of fear?” Danny nails it with this, “Without a core value of honor, we find that our discomfort around those who choose to live in ways that we would not leads us to shut down their freedom.”
4. Create an atmosphere of gentleness. The essense of a gentleman is gentleness. It’s a forgotten core characteristic of being a man. “Gentleness is the perfect term to describe the attitude we must have with those who have made mistakes or failed somehow. Gentleness does not mean nice, and it doesn’t mean polite. The heart of gentleness is the belief that ‘I don’t need to control you,'” Danny says.
Finally, honor has to be demonstrated. When planning a party or event, it’s easy to think it’s all about you. That alone creates a stifling atmosphere. I like what Bill Johnson, the leader of Bethel, has to say about the culture of honor: “this culture is never built around ‘what I need.’ It is built around ‘what I can give.'”
At the 10 Ways To Win A Girl’s Heart launch party, the real core of the night was recognizing Gordon Dalbey, one of the pioneers of the men’s movement. While I wanted to raise awareness for the book, I saw the night as my ability to give Gordon recognition he deserves.
When you take egos out of the situation, everyone gets to thrive. Looking at someone through a lens of love, giving them the freedom to be their true selves, being a gentleman, and recognizing and honoring others will create an authentic atmosphere everywhere you go.