I once had a student – we’ll call him Harold. Harold was one of my most committed and consistent students. When I gave him homework, he’d get it done, and stick with it.

But Harold got really stuck when it came to approaching and connecting with women on the street. He’d do all the assignments I gave him every day, week in, and week out. But after months of this, he still wasn’t growing at the rate either of us would like.

He was doing the work and had the power of consistency down…so what gives?

Then I asked Harold if he was actually enjoying the practices and the approaches. The answer was no. Bingo!

The practices were only a means to an end for him. There was no enjoyment in the process. It was all a “have to” for him. Like real homework. This attitude towards your growth isn’t going to work well, especially when connecting with women. If you’re not enjoying meeting new women, then it’s going to be tough to connect with them and attract them. But with all areas of life, using this pushing energy is likely to actually push what you want away. In order to be successful, it’s really about enjoying the journey.

I realized this was actually a really common issue among the men I worked with, and in order to help give you more clarity around this area, I’ve created a scale that can help you pinpoint where you’re currently at with how your inner motivations are affecting your path forward. This can apply to anything you’re working on or any part of your life:

-approaching women

-asking for numbers and dates

-actually going on the dates

-meditating and your morning ritual

-going to work or school

-going to the gym

-eating better

-working on your career or starting a business

-working on your relationships

-taking care of yourself

-working on any other goals

Throughout your waking life, you’re constantly somewhere on this scale. Of course,we all typically move up and down the scale from moment to moment.

Are you in…


Avoidance is the level you experience when you have so many walls put up between you and the world that either you’re avoiding the activity or practice completely, or you are numb and not even feeling your feelings at all. You are in emotional avoidance.

A lot of men dip down into this level when they are triggered. Sometimes these men come off as extremely confident. They’re “Approach Machines.” They can walk into a bar and approach every woman in there one after another. However, these guys are hardly ever actually successful because they are so numbed out that none of their approaches connect emotionally with women. They’re avoiding their emotions and emotional connection or vulnerability.

When these men begin to get in touch with their emotions and get vulnerable, they sometimes freak out and experience extreme overwhelm. They don’t know what to do and their bodies literally lock up. With enough practice though, men at this level can move up on the scale once they get used to feeling their emotions.

I sometimes get these “Approach Machine” clients, and they think they’re getting worse when we start helping them get more in touch with their emotions…because all of a sudden they’re too scared to approach. But as I tell them, it’s important to remember that you’re not actually getting worse. You’re getting more real, more relatable, and there’s just more of you there for women to connect with. This is scary for a lot of men and causes them to experience this “freak out.” It’s very normal though. It’s just your emotions coming back online. In the long run, you’ll be far better off, more confident, and more attractive to women.

Someone once gave me this analogy: It’s like when Tiger Woods (in his prime) would get a new swing coach or learn a new swing. He’d actually seem like he was getting worse for a while, but then later he’d be better than ever. Because he was learning a more difficult, but better tool.

Have To, Should, or Need To.

This is where Harold was in relation to doing his approach exercises…and really, most of his daily life.

This next level up is defined by a heavy sense of urgency or not having a choice.

When men come out of avoidance around women and dating, they usually believe they “have to” or “need to” go out and meet girls. There may be an element of wanting to prove something to themselves or others, or just a sense that they don’t have a choice about it. Like having to go to work at the job you hate on Monday morning. There’s no joy in the process or the actions themselves. At best, the actions are a painful means to an end.

The energy of this level is forceful and feels like “pushing.” This energy is also experienced when you are trying to force yourself into a change in diet or exercise routines. You’re running on pure willpower and you may well burn out and drop back into avoidance. Men can loop back and forth between these two levels for years if they don’t become conscious to their behavior.

Want To, Desire.

The next level up is the “Wanting To” and “Desire” level. Wanting to do something feels much better than having to. It’s a lighter energy and more conscious. Still, there is work to do. Think of the difference in feeling and circumstances of wanting a chicken sandwich and needing a chicken sandwich. With wanting, you are hungry and desiring. You are focusing on the most pleasurable aspects of eating, whereas with needing, you are literally starving and justhave to get some food in you. Again, wanting has less urgency than needing.

Wants can feel good or painful. Wants and desires feel good if you believe they are possible for you to attain…especially if you actually enjoy the process. Then all you need to do is put in the work and you can accomplish them. But when you want something and you don’t really believe you can get it, or that you don’t deserve to have it, or if it suddenly becomes harder to achieve than you expected, that’s where you can quickly drop back down into the “Have To” stage and begin a further spiral downward.

Choice (Having, Choosing, Expecting)

The last stage is where proactive behavior begins. It’s defined by “Having,” “Choosing,” “Expecting.” This stage could also be called Faith – whether it’s faith in yourself, the process, the Universe, a god, or anything else. It’s a sense of belief you have and carry with you into the present moment. You have a rock solid confidence and a degree of expectancy for achieving the results you’re after. It could be the results you’ve become accustomed to. A multi-millionaire is rich and he’s used to making money. He expects to make more! Even if he loses it all, he’s not afraid because he has the belief that he “is money,” and has no doubt about his ability to create more.

You have a knowing that the results will come and are also happily choosing to take on the process as part of your life – not solely an unpleasant means to an end.

This level is distinct from the others because you are most conscious about the results you’re looking for. You cannot want something and have it at the same time. Think about the chicken sandwich again. You can’t have it simultaneously in the to-go bag and in your belly. That would be physically impossible. You’re either in one state or the other or in transition. In order to move up to this level, you need to find the feeling in your body of having your want resolved. Once you can get to that place, it usually shows up in your life like magic.

Use this scale to monitor your own behavior as you move through interactions. Don’t judge yourself for where you’re at. Simply notice what’s showing up for you.