Man Of The Week – Daniel Tal

This week’s Man Of The Week is Daniel Tal for his inspiring perspective on the importance of both, businesses and individuals, to give back to society and those less fortunate. From a young age, Daniel witnessed his Mother give back through the smallest of actions, quickly realizing how simple it is to raise money and donate to causes without disrupting his daily life. He soon discovered that doing good in the world was his true purpose and as a result he now runs two non-profits and has supported causes from arts, culture, LGBT, to the environment and many more! Today, Daniel Co-Founded DUDEBOX and is a Director of Operations at Manifesto, a fixture in Toronto’s arts and culture scene where he hopes to inspire the next generation to be better than him and show them how giving back is actually better for business.

Age: 30 years old. It’s official.

What do you do? (Work)
I try to do as much as I can. In my personal life I’m a board member and active organizer of the non-profit I co-founded called DUDEBOX. My professional life is equally rewarding; I’m the Director of Operations and Development for Manifesto, a fixture in Toronto’s arts and culture scene.

Why do you do it?
Because it’s fun, inspiring and it’s my ethical responsibility.

How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
By setting an example to a shifting society. We’re proving that not only can you build a successful business model that is hype, sustainable and profitable, but you can factor in a charitable element in a way that enhances the entire process and brand. We’ve donated over $120,000 to various local and international causes, but more importantly we’ve shown other entrepreneurs that not only is it easy to give generously, it’s actually better for business.

What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– I remember shopping at the grocery store with my Mom, and at checkout the cashier asked “Would you like to add a dollar for United Way?” and my Mom was like “Sure”. To me that was a pivotal moment; I realized how simple it is to raise and donate money without really disrupting regular life.
– After our first official DUDEBOX party/fundraiser, I sat down with my friends for lunch to chat. I was super nervous because I was going to tell this group of poor guys that I thought we should keep donating all of our profits to charity. But before I got a chance to share my thoughts, one of the other guys said it first and everyone else was like “Totally, I was thinking the same thing”. That’s when I decided to get a stupid DUDEBOX tattoo. I shouldn’t have told you that part.
– At one of our parties we were raising money for a local cancer support network, one of their former clients (a cancer survivor) pulled me aside, told me her story and hugged me with tears in her eyes. She thanked me for the work we did, and I thanked her for fighting and being a beautiful person. It was epic as shit.

What is your life purpose?
Do good and do it well.

How did you tap into it?
It’s a part of everyone; we’re all good people. I’ve just been privileged enough to have the time and resources to realize a shared calling to help others.

Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
I look up to the people making moves around me despite the barriers they’re facing; they inspire me to be grateful for my blessings and use them to help others. Over the years mentorship has come to me from many different people, but right now I’m “between mentors”…don’t judge me.

Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
I try to start as many conversations as possible every day, whether it’s a text, an email, a call or a meeting. Maybe it’s just “how’s your shoulder?” to a friend or “let’s raise a million dollars” to a collaborator. Regardless, my daily habits consist of a morning coffee and opening as many doors as possible. That and kissing my dog way too much.

When do you know your work/life balance is off?
At all times because it’s always off. I’m trying to discover where the line between work and life exists, and to be honest a part of me thinks I’m in a good place because I can’t see it. If work tasks and life’s passions intersect often, maybe I’m lucky? Still figuring that out.

Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
I broke both my wrists and tore a bunch of muscles on an elementary school ski trip. That was painful physically, but my pride hurt a lot more when I had to rely on my parents to bathe me and help me with the…cleaning after a visit to the little boys room.

What did you learn from it?
My parents love me unconditionally and are unbelievably supportive to the point of grossness
There are always ways to wipe, even with two immobile arms. They may chafe, they may scrape, but they’re better than yelling “I’m finished!” at the age of 13.

If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Stay inspired, always be kind and never stop working.

How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
I aim to choose my girlfriend every day, on a real level. I try to choose her because of who she is: her strengths, her hopes and her challenges. I also buy her flowers a lot and play with her hair 67% of my downtime. She’d argue 34% though.

Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
That’s my jam. I run two non-profits and have personally and professionally supported countless charities/causes over the years. They’re chosen organically and have crossed the spectrum of need including arts, culture, poverty, environmental, medical, LGBTQ, community, mental health, international crisis and more.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
There would be a couple, but for this stage of life it’d have to be Bunji’s “We Ready For De Road”. *Airhorn*

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I’ve got a master plan in the works, so in three years from now I see myself even more immersed in the non-profit or “for purpose” field, focusing on creating systemic changes to the way we help each other. All of this while a parallel business runs itself and pays my rent (that’s the master plan part).

What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
Be better than me and be better at it than me.

What One book would you recommend for any Man?
The same book my Dad passed along to me as a kid: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. It’s as beautiful conceptually as it is visually and lyrically.

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]

Your Ultimate Pathway To Personal Growth: Feedback That Hurts

One of our deepest human needs is to grow, develop and become better today than we were yesterday, and that is not easy.
We associate growth and development with pain because they usually mean change; we need to do things differently to achieve different results and get different outcomes.
To do things differently is to explore areas we aren’t familiar with, use skills we haven’t mastered, develop and evolve processes we haven’t perfected.
What it comes down to is stepping into unfamiliar grounds, putting ourselves on the line and being more liable to fail. That scares the heck out of us and makes the pathway to our personal growth seem harder than it really is, to the point we avoid it at any cost.
That pathway is feedback; it’s the one thing that matters most for any personal growth or development to take place. Without feedback, you have no idea what’s the true value you’re creating, what your impact is and how your results are received by the outside world.
However, not every feedback is valuable feedback. In fact the only feedback that really matters, the only feedback that is valuable, and the only feedback that makes a real difference, is the feedback that really, really hurts!
What is feedback that really hurts? It’s the one that looks like an attack on you, your personality, ideas, values, what you stand for, your work, what you do, your actions, behaviours, everything you’re part of, everything you represent, everything you are, everything that is you.
The worst part about feedback that really hurts is that it never looks like feedback. It always looks like an attack, it comes with anger and it usually forces you to shut down, stop listening, raise your shields, put up your defences, and attack back.
Why feedback that hurts? Why not regular feedback?
When people are angry and in an attack mode, they’re usually not reserved, and the rational part of their brain that usually sugar coats feedback with bullshit icing is temporarily unavailable to them. As a result, they will share their raw thoughts using the first words that occur to them. That is the most honest and most valuable feedback you can get.
Could that be why Steve Jobs got remarkable results from his team? Jobs is known for being unapologetically direct and rude. So if he thought a piece of technology is shit, he would not say “thank you, why don’t you try harder and do your best the next time.” He would get angry and call it “a piece of shit.” That is a super clear response that means you really need to go back to the drawing board and rethink the whole damn thing.
If you got that kind of feedback, there is no doubt in your mind that you need to be rethinking the whole thing and innovating the heck out of it. You just can’t rationalize your way around such feedback, and you won’t misunderstand it.
Recently I got into an argument with someone I work with, we both got angry and the argument turned into a shouting match. I wasn’t listening, I was ready to defend myself, I wanted to win and prove I was right.
When I calmed down and thought things through, I saw things differently; ‘that was feedback.’
Yes, he probably didn’t intend for what he said in the argument to be feedback, he was just angry about a few things and upset from me. But when I thought about it as feedback, that completely shifted my response, and instead of seeking an apology from him, I asked for more ‘feedback.’
So we met a couple of days after and I asked him to share with me everything that was coming in the way of us working together as one team and preventing us from collaborating. In plain terms I asked, ” tell me where you think I fucked up, what was I doing wrong and what issues do you have with me?”
I listened as he shared all the things that caused him to be angry at me. I realized that I had no idea of the unintended impact of things I said or did. It was the best feedback anyone could’ve given me about how I show up for that team and the impact I have on them.
I recalled some arguments I had with people I worked with in the past. How different would our results and relationships be if only I saw their anger, frustration, and the hurtful things they said as feedback?
How valuable would it be for you to get this kind of unedited, unfiltered, honest feedback? Are you able to see anger, argument, and disagreement as feedback? Are you able to get curious about the reasons behind these reactions and ask questions to find out?
You don’t have to wait until you get involved in an argument or someone gets angry at you. You can start getting feedback today by asking the people in your life and the people you work with open questions like:
– What is there between us that is unresolved?
– What is there for me to clean up or address?
– What do you really think of my work?
– What do you really think of my behavior?
– What do you really think of the way I conduct myself?
– What impact do I have on our work and our relationship at work?
– What do you really think of the way I show up at work?
– What are my strengths?
– What are my weaknesses?
– Where do I mess things up?
– Where did I fuck things up?
Make sure you ask the questions and listen intently to the answers. Create a safe space for them to be brutally honest and direct with you. The last thing you want to do is argue with them, negate what they are saying, or point out how they are wrong. That will not go well. The moment you start doing that, people will shut down and will get back to sugar coating their answers and giving you bullshit feedback. What’s worse is that you will mostly show up as someone who doesn’t listen and only interested in your own opinion.
Warning: Honest and direct feedback is going to be hard, sometimes very hard. So breathe through it. And remember feedback about you is not an accurate representation of who you really are, it’s just the way that person sees you and how you showed up to them in the past. You can change that and turn things around.
With every feedback session you conduct, you will have a more accurate representation of your personal brand and how you show up in the world. You will start to recognize certain patterns of things you say and do that are shaping how people see you and deal with you.
Such valuable feedback paves the ultimate pathway to personal growth. Even before you start doing or saying things differently, just the fact that you are asking for this kind of feedback will cause people to start to see you in a very different light. They will respect you more, they will be more open and honest in how they deal with you. This is a very different way to operate, one that will enable you to generate very different results.
You now have information you can act on. It’s up to you to choose what you’re going to do with it. You can ignore it, or use it to become the person you are meant to be and create a remarkable impact in the world.

Hussein Hallak is a serial entrepreneur with 22+ years of startup experience in strategy, branding, marketing, and growth. Hussein started 6 successful companies, worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies and World’s Top 100 Brands, and was featured in Forbes, BBC, and Entrepreneur. 

Currently Hussein is the Director of Strategy and Marketing at 3 Tier Logic, a shopper marketing and engagement software startup out of Vancouver, BC. Hussein is also the Director of Marketing at TEDxStanleyPark, Advisor at Spirit Games Ltd, Head Instructor – Lean Entrepreneur Program at LaunchAcademy and Founder of

Hussein lives to inspire possibility, to enable people, to achieve the remarkable.

Connect with him through his websiteFacebookLinkedInTwitterPinterest, and Instagram 



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