In an increasingly digital world, we at ManTalks often hear people frustration’s about how difficult it can be to find quality human connection. Our Man Of The Week, Mark Groves, is someone who specializes in human connection and believes the depth of our relationships, both with ourselves and others, are arguably the single biggest predictor of our life’s happiness. Through a heartbreak of his own, Mark came to the realization that many of us, including him, suffer from being subconscious patterns & actions that don’t serve us or our relationships. These patterns drove Mark’s desire to want to understand the science and psychology of great relationships, both for himself to build one and to be able to channel his purpose of helping others build those relationships. Mark believes in the power of vulnerability and by sharing our vulnerabilities with the world, we no longer give them the power to weigh over us and have the ability to turn them into strengths. Read on to get a true feeling of how raw and honest Mark gets in sharing his tougher learns, but also in inspiring us to show up and act with integrity in our relationships.
What do you do? (Work)
I love the subject of human connection… soooooo, I help people connect better with themselves, and in turn, others
Why do you do it?
Because helping people foster deeper connections with others is why we’re here. In my opinion, the depth of our relationships is the single greatest predictor of our happiness and well-being
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
I live everything I write. I am doing the best I can. I write from my soul. I speak and teach through my own life lessons. I put myself our there and am vulnerable with the world… through sharing my story, I invite others to share theirs… and to own them and make their stories their strength, no matter the plot line.
What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– It may be a vague answer, but my childhood. I am blessed to have great parents and a great family. That, to me, has been a defining pillar to who I am and how I show up.
– I broke my leg when I was 25 playing soccer. This break led to an embolism (from my bone marrow) in my lung which are usually about 40% fatal. That was really the first time that I was faced with my own mortality. It made me value each moment so much more…and it made me realize that I wanted more. That I was on this earth for more, and I wasn’t done here, yet.
– My romantic relationships have all been very defining… the most impactful in terms of being a catalyst for serious change was an engagement ending. And that one really woke me up to my choices and starting to recognize that my subconscious had been in the driver’s seat. It was the moment I consciously took the wheel…or so I think… haha ☺
What is your life purpose?
To wake people up to themselves. To help provide the space and platform for people to recognize their subconscious patterns and then change them. And ultimately, to learn how to connect to others from this space.
How did you tap into it?
Through having my relationship fall apart. I needed to be confronted by the consequences of my choices. I realized that I was never taught how to have great relationships, and what that even meant. I was taught to want to get married… but that’s just a title. We aren’t taught what creates great relationships, especially the one with ourselves. I wanted to understand what made great relationships work… and why did they not work? I wanted to dismantle the science and psychology of connection.
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
I’ve had so many amazing ones. I would say my parents first, and as a man, my father. He is brilliant, kind, wise, and he really modeled that other people matter in more ways than I could ever articulate.
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
Exercise, being around nature, and practicing gratitude. I have taught my mind to look for the good. Even in difficult, challenging, and sometimes heart wrenching moments, I look to feel and understand the lesson and what the gift(s) is(are).
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I can sense it… that I need stillness. To walk in the forest and find myself. Being around other people, which normally charges me, begins to make me irritable.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
When a breakup shattered me, I turned to partying and trying to hook up with girls. Anyone who knew me before that breakup, knew me as a teenager with incredible integrity. After the breakup I was out at the bar and I took a girl home to my parents’ house (great plan right?!?). I tried to have sex with her, but I couldn’t get an erection. Not because of booze, or lack of desire, but because, for the first time and very obviously, I abandoned my principles and integrity to adhere to the measures of what society believes makes a man a man… the ability to get ladies. I thought that would mend my broken heart. I knew in the moment that I was hurting more than I was wanting to have sex. The irony, is that I thought I would be able to cure my sadness by abandoning my heart… but in the end, I never got the fulfillment I thought I would, till I acknowledged and accepted the profound level of hurt that the breakup had delivered to me.
What did you learn from it?
That emotion and truth always demand to be felt. We can’t run from ourselves, our hearts, and who we are. Our commitment must always be to ourselves, our truth and our integrity. I let a breakup define who I was… that I wasn’t enough. But relationship outcomes have zero correlation to what kind of man we are… however the kind of man we are does have a correlation to the outcomes of our relationships.
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Understand your web, your psychology… why you do what you do. Align your life with your integrity, and despite all that you were taught about emotion and what it means to be a man, be yourself. Let all that bullshit go. Seems simple right? It takes courage to step into ourselves.
How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
It’s not good enough for us to say “I’m just not good at talking about how I feel.” The world demands more from us. Our partners, our sons, our daughter, our friends. They all deserve more from us. And we deserve more from ourselves. We MUST be better. We MUST learn how to show up. When we change our beliefs, we change our identity. I often tell people to say the opposite, “I’m good at expressing my emotions.” What would that demand of you? How would you have to show up? Learn you, get intimate with yourself and your heart… because the depth to which you connect with others will always be limited by the depth to which you’ve connected with yourself.
Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I am always donating and supporting different ones. I’m not really specific to a certain one, just charities and causes that speak to my heart in the moment they pass by me.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Return of the Mack. Haha. Just kidding. That’s how I ended up making out on dancefloors. Ummmm. One of my fave artists is Ben Howard… I love all his music, but “Keep your head up” comes to mind right now.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I’m not sure. Happy, maybe with the beginnings of a family. And a larger platform to communicate my messages. I’ve been really keen on a documentary series on relationships… that would be fun. Any investors out there…. ☺
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
That I loved and lived all out. That I left nothing on the table and made my fears about pursuing all of my dreams my bitch. That I was a good man, an amazing partner, son, brother, friend and father.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
I’m picking two… cause I don’t like rules. Hmmmm. I would say that right now, the one book I think EVERYONE, especially men should read, is “Attached” by Amir Levine. And “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Victor Frankl. SO good.
If you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]