A Check List of What Makes a Good Man

I like systems and checklists. My best stress reliever is if I can take a task like writing a book or giving a speech and apply a system to it or develop a checklist to guide me. Not only does it remove my stress it boosts my confidence.

I think this all started when I worked at a small Sears store during my freshman year of college. Back in the 80’s Sears had a group of stores where people picked up their catalog orders. That’s the kind of store I worked for. We had a few appliances, tv’s and lawnmowers but most people came to the store to pick up what they had called us 3 days earlier to order.

I was the only male other than the manager who worked there so I got to do everything. Unload the daily truck. Sort the packages. Clean the bathrooms, sweep/mop floor, unload and load packages for customers. And the part where I learned to love checklists, assemble floor models.

Most of the time this was just unboxing and removing packing material, except for the gas grills. Gas grills came in a box that looked too small to hold all the pieces for the final product. Grills were a pain.

I had to figure out how to do it on my own because my boss made it very clear to me if I kept asking him how to do it, one of us was unnecessary. It didn’t take me long to figure out I was the one on the verge of being labeled unnecessary which is a great incentive to figure it out.

In the beginning the problem was reading directions was not something I liked to do. What would usually is happen is I’d get bored half-way through the project, throw the the directions away and try to figure it out on my own. That never worked. After lots of trial and error, I discovered the only 100% effective method was to read the directions and follow them step by step.

Later on I thought “If it works for grills why wouldn’t it work for men?” I’m always looking for the answer to that question and recently I ran across a list we can use to make a Good Man’s To-Do List.

Take your role/job seriously, but not yourself

Lighten up. You’re not that big of a deal.

Have a purpose/mission

Life is too short to waste a minute of it. Wives, kids, businesses and churches will follow any man who knows where he’s going.

Choose principles over popularity

The right thing to do is seldom the popular thing to do.

Look and act the part

Learn how to dress for any situation. Also, learn how to behave at a cocktail party, business dinner or tailgate. Remember, manners matter, hold the door, say please and thank you.


One of my favorite songs, “Humble and Kind” says it better than I can:

“When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride but

Always stay humble and kind”


Sense of humor

Real men do smile. The more you learn to laugh at yourself, the more others will respect you.

Be steady and reassuring

Rudyard Kippling did a pretty good job explaining this in his famous poem “If”

“If you can keep your head when all about you   

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

….You’ll be a man my son.”


Be opinionated but maintain the ability to be objective, fair and flexible

“A mind set in its ways is wasted. Don’t do it.”-Eric Schmidt, Google CEO

Also, if you can’t discuss politics, religion or college football without showing your butt, keep your mouth shut.

Be rooted and stable yet be willing to take risks, accept hardships and put skin in the game

Men are wired to take more risks than ladies. One reason is early men had to take risks to fulfill their role as hunter-gather responsible for putting food on the table. Ladies more cautious approach to life is better suited for keeping families together.

The trick is learning which risks to take and which ones to avoid. Another word for that skill is wisdom.

Everybody is looking for good men but no one seems to be able to describe what a good man looks like. This makes it tough for the men who have being a good man as their goal. We don’t know what to do or what skills we need to develop. Let’s use this list as a starting point to guide all of us.


A Check List of What Makes a Good Man

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