Man Of The Week – Mark Groves

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.

Age: 37

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]

Man Of The Week – Horrasias Balabyekkubo

For those of you who have attended our events in the past, you may have heard about this week’s ‘Man Of The Week’: Horrasias Balabyekkubo. Horrasias is an incredible human being with a wealth of talents ranging from a being loving father, a successful entrepreneur, a visionary philanthropist, an author and a motivational speaker, to name a few! From the age of 14, Horrasias began taking steps to plan his future, sought out mentorship from community leaders and making his dream a reality. Having lived on three continents, Horrasias has a wealth of stories that will send tingles down your spine, inspire you to find your purpose, live in integrity with it, and to help lay the foundation for future generations.

  1. Age: 32
  2. What do you do? (For work)
    Brand Ambassador and Distributor for Enagic Canada, Project Director at a Primary and Secondary School in Uganda and an Author.
  3. Why do you do it?
    I do it because it gives me the opportunity to give back in a life giving way to the current society I live in and across the globe. As a director it allows me to continue to build the vision of the school as well as set it on a higher trajectory for greater impact in the community we serve and the nation as a whole. I write because what I have found is; my sharpest weapon to dethrone mediocrity from the lives of young people and my greatest tool move this generation forward is my pen.
  4. How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
    I make a difference in the world remaining constant, consistent and determined to see every man, woman and child meet their true self. By writing words that inspire, teaching the practical steps to attain fulfillment and speaking in motivational tones to ignite passion and determination in the hearts of my listeners. By staying open and vulnerable before the people it shows that the only way forward for any individual is to find that harmony and balance in the shared experience mankind by recognizing the heart of another human as significant as their own. With my children, it is simple, blow their mind daily with showing them anything is possible with determination and hard work and a lot of imagination. Setting them on a foundation of joy and compassion goes a long way to help them realize their true potential. At work the balance comes to me in delivering superior quality service and discipline in my own individual effort thereby shifting the culture among my colleagues to present our excellence to the market place. We set the standard high.
  5. What are 3 defining moments in your life?
    1. At 19 I realized, that at 6 years old I had known all along and I had delivered with precision the oracles of God with out fear and with reckless abandon, I knew who I was and why I was here; from that moment I was determined and walked with discipline to bring forth that same vigour and excellence to whatever I would do in my life and vowed never to forget my purpose again nor dim its light to “fit in” with the masses of men.
    2. My first trip back to my homeland after 12 years of being away was one of those defining moments in my life to set me on course to reaching and attaining my destiny. I was in college and had bought the marketing plan of North America: go to school, get the degree, get a job at a reputable organization, work 40 years, retire well. But it was landing into Entebbe Airport, seeing Lake Victoria and the vibrant colours of the soil and greenery, the red tile roofs mixed in that told me there was something more for my life. You see North America has a way of lulling one to sleep, or choosing the safety and complacency of mediocre exploits over the grand design and purpose for ones life. It was those 37 days in Uganda changed everything. From leaving my chosen field of expertise to enlisting in battle against injustice and poverty, choosing that my life would be spent in defence of the widow and the orphan, the last, the lost, the least and the nearly dead. I knew that this was the raging desire of my life, the constant purpose to carry me through the darkness and the fog. This was to be my magnum opus.
    3. When my son was born. August 25th, 2009 changed everything. It was the culminating event of my young manhood. I had dreamed of being a husband and father for so long that on that day, I was in heaven, the whole earth faded away and all at once I was one with the divine as I opened my mouth to speak the first words he would hear from his father, his defender and protector; I looked into his blue eyes and spoke, “you are my son, in whom all my life has found meaning, I will dare to embolden you to reach for your greatness, I will never leave you, I will defend you against the perils that life will bring, but most important I will love you for all time. You are born of fire, to be fire and to breed fire. A man of the horse and spear. Defender of the realm. You will arise, you will stand, you will conquer.” I sang to him the songs of my father in Luganda, and we became One soul. My Daughter was born May 24, 2011. I was speechless. my heart stopped and danced with rapture. I was now a King among men, I was now to raise these two to the light of their purpose. Life’ Song was worth dancing again. From the first, Fatherhood has been the crowning achievement of my life. Everything else is noise.
  6. What is your life purpose?
    My life’s purpose is to inspire young men and young women to live at their optimum level of impact. Teaching them to marshall their faculties to achieve their chief aim and ultimate purpose in life. To build an army of like minded individuals who want to build great and thriving communities so the generations to come will be living in balance, moving with clock work precision towards maximum impact, disciplined in thought, excellent in conduct, noble in deeds.
  7. How did you tap into it?
    I went back to Uganda when I was 21 and it was on the mountains of Rwanda that I got the spark and it was in the valley of Tyler, Texas where the blueprint was found. I then spent the next 11 years learning, tweaking, and masterminding the plan that will culminate in Operation Trailblazer Dec 31,2015. It took going back to my roots, going off the beaten track and off what I thought my purpose was, questioning what was handed to me as my chief aim by my family, friends and teachers, that I was able to see the signs, the writing on the wall and the omens that would guide me to my greatest treasure.
  8. Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
    My greatest role model is my father, John Deogratias Balabyekkubo, a Son, Brother, Father, Husband, Friend, Activist, Pioneer, Author, Musician, Playwright, Disciple, Apostle, Preacher, Missionary,Philanthropist, Leader, Visionary, Luminary, Revolutionary, Maverick, the list is endless. He is my father, my friend, confidant and constant north. Defender of my dreams, preserver of my virtue, he is my best example of what a man looks like and what a father loves like, what a husband acts like, what INTEGRITY sounds, tastes, feels, looks, smells like. Oh and he was the sharpest dressed man I have ever seen. He loved God and he served his people.
  9. Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
    Daily Method of Operation is crucial to attain your best from yourself. It demands discipline to achieve any success in any venture. Even if the venture is relaxing, you must do it in a disciplined way so you can maximize the benefit of it. For me that means Reading two hours a day, then studying or mastering your craft gets an hour and a half daily; Physical exercise gets an hour and fifteen minutes, then work on your necessary projects such as income generating activities, networking and building relationships. The bulk of my time however is spent in fostering the seeds of excellence and epic-ness in the imaginations of my two glorious children.
  10. When do you know your work/life balance is off?
    I know my life and work balance is off when it starts to feel like there is not enough time to do the “joy” activities. You get so excited sometimes about a particular project that you begin to get consumed by its manifestation. Which often relegates the important things to the side for the time being, now don’t get me wrong there are seasons when you have to put priority and importance on said projects but for me I always try to include my two top priorities in whatever I do so I never neglect preserving the wonder in their lives. So the moment I am to “IN” to a certain project that I have to say no to any of the requests I normally would gladly do with the Royals. I stop and reassess the plan and rectify it, because they are never going to feel second to any mission, person, or goal. It’s all for them.
  11. Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
    Vulnerability is the wellspring of creative growth. I truly believe that when you lay bare your heart and soul you can look at and live your life in front of you. I was honoured and blessed to be apart of a ManTalks event that was based on mentors and fatherhood. I was blessed to share the stage with great men and even more humbled to hear their stories. I spoke on my father’s influence on my life and the way I parent my children; as I was speaking I felt this great opening in my heart to really love the people present there in the room, to really show them that I was a man who was unafraid of discussing life, liberty and the pursuit of epic-ness. I spoke about wounds that I have thought had healed and fresh scars from recent events that have sought to un-man me. The experience was exhilarating and educational both for the audience and myself. I felt as if I had let the world see me for the first time unafraid to be seen.
  12. What did you learn from it?
    I learnt All my life, after my father’s death I have sought to lead a life of polish and poise; but it was this unmasking in front of two hundred plus new friends that helped me see that I could be free to lead my life to the full again. It taught me to go with ‘Plan A’ every time, show your fullness. I am going to quote a t.v show Friday Night Lights, the football team had the team mantra: “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”
  13. If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
    If I were to mentor any man; I would simply tell him “find the honesty within you again. Look inside and be really real with yourself, pull back every layer, peak into every crevice and find your humanity, what makes you authentic is not just being sincere, its being truthful about your motives, intents, and core value. So it is vital you know what they are and how to deliver them into the market place of ideas and life.” Teachability says, I may know it already but there may be another way to do it. Let me seek it out. Learn, Learn, Learn, then Implement the knowledge.
  14. How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
    The key to being the best partner is simple; be willing. Willing to learn from each other, Willing to hold your partner at their absolute worst and celebrate them at their best even when you don’t “feel” like it. Willing to communicate your needs in a way that can actually get the result or desired end you have in mind. Be willing to Love for loving’s sake; not for a pat on the back, or to get something, just simply to Love your partner in a way that would inspire them to rise to their greatest self. Be willing to show yourself at any given moment to reassure your partner that they have free access to your heart especially when you want to close off and run. Be willing to admit wrong, be willing to be still and listen, be willing to grow. Be willing to show up consistently.
  15. Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
    I work with Bavubuka Foundation and Cleft of the Rock Foundation which use the arts, education and social entrepreneurship to impact various communities in Uganda and in the diaspora. Working with youth to influence their communities at large. The reason for my continued involvement is I believe in equipping the next generation to step into the halls of power fully armed with reason, a sense of equality and justice for all as well as the self discipline and governance within that will keep them on the path of high moral values, integrity and service to the communities they work in.
  16. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
    Like a Rock, Bob Seger
  17. Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
    Three years from now I will be finishing phase one of Operation Trailblazer, I will be based out of Uganda, East Africa, building infrastructure projects in rural areas. I will be leading two thousand young people and developing training schools and other entrepreneurial pursuits to bolster the robust plan in phase two . Also at that time I will be balancing out all that legendary stuff at my farm at Kilindi, Uganda as a gentleman farmer.
  18. What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
    Love, Loyalty, Legacy. These three principles are at the core of my being and my compass home. The Legacy I want to leave for future generations is Love God, Love his people. We are all human, we are all endowed by our creator with greatness. If we serve one another and help one another on the path to our greatness we will surely get to that desired better world we have all been taught about all our lives but have never seen. I want to go there with you. Therefore it is left to us in this generation to lay the ground work afresh with fresh zeal and purpose, so that our children and their children would benefit greatly from our sacrifices. I love people. Love them. Understanding that it is this gift of loving others that frees you up to attain self actualization, to reach fulfilment is power beyond measure. the Legacy is to ensure that every man woman and child can dream and realize that dream whilst they have breath in their lungs; life, liberty and the pursuit of epic-ness is our charge. Dare to dream and allow others to benefit from its goodness.
  19. What One book would you recommend for any Man?
    The Book of Proverbs

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]

Man Of The Week – Chris Brandt

Here at Man Of The Week, we strive to find the most awesome and inspiring men around who better the lives of the communities around North America. This week’s spotlight is no different! Chris Brandt believes it is every single person’s responsibility to positively impact the world around, and uses his life’s work at ‘Music Heals’ to teach others how music can promote and maintain mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. In the years to come, Chris aims to grow Music Heals to a charity that contributes $1million/year to local music programs.

  1. Age: 43
  2. What do you do? (Work)
    Executive Director, Music Heals. Also, professor of Music Business at BCIT, and yoga teacher at YYoga and Contact Partner Yoga.
  3. Why do you do it?
    [youtube video=]
  4. How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
    I teach, in all aspects of my day. When the student exceeds the teacher, the teacher becomes immortal.
  5. What are 3 defining moments in your life?
    1. The last day of every job I have ever worked.
    2. Starting a record label
    3. Crossing Tibet in a jeep
  6. What is your life purpose?
    To teach
  7. How did you tap into it?
    I have always known, although sometimes I have had poignant reminders.
  8. Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
    Dalai Lama
  9. Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
    Leave the office for coffee. Never make coffee at work. While it costs more, leaving your desk and going for a walk can completely reset your day.
  10. When do you know your work/life balance is off?
    My body knows. Hopefully I am listening before it has to yell.
  11. Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
    Being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  12. What did you learn from it?
    That I signed up for it. This was my PhD course.
  13. If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
    Do what you say you are going to do.
  14. How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
  15. Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
    Music Heals, all day every day.
  16. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
    “Life’s What You Make It” by Talk Talk
  17. Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
    Married with 1 kid (and maybe another on the way), traveling with my family and work, and Music Heals being a $1million/year charity.
  18. What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
    It is not your opportunity, but your responsibility, to do big things that have a positive imact on the world.
  19. What One book would you recommend for any Man?
    The Alchemist

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]


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