An Open Letter to Seekers

Isn’t it mind-blowing how many of us pay for truth, connection, and reality—but don’t show up when it’s right in front of us?

We buy an online course and do 20 percent of it.
We buy books and read a third of them.
We sign up for events we never attend.
We follow “gurus,” or pedestal prophets, hoping to get a glimpse at their human existence or hear something we already know but are too afraid to admit.
Look, I get it.
So many of us are searching for something we feel is missing or broken, thinking we won’t be happy and whole until we find it.
We struggle to feel content no matter what we are doing, who we are with, or what we’ve accomplished. So we pay for something, hoping and praying it will connect us to some “absolute truth.”
Seekers—I see you.
You’re not lost.
You’re definitely not alone.
You’re not broken, or empty, or wrong.
You just are.
You’re looking.
And that’s okay.
Honestly, for years I was in the same position. I looked in every crevasse of the human experience to find some universal truth in my existence.
It was the classic existential crisis: Why am I here? Who am I?
There is one universal truth I’ve learned through all of this, and I wish I could tell every seeker on the planet:
We’ll never find answers to these questions if we don’t give everything we’ve got.
I don’t mean this in some motivational “rah-rah” way. More in the “we need to jump in feet first and learn how to swim” kind of way.
Play full-out.
Buy the online course and do the whole damn thing—not because we paid $97 for it, but because it could literally hold the key to our enlightenment.
And perhaps that sounds dramatic, but think about it:
What if the answers we have been looking for were in one of the countless books we started but never finished?
Or on the other end of that coaching call we committed to, but didn’t show up for?
Or in the yoga class we paid $25 for, but decided to sleep through instead?
The worst thing we can do as a seeker is to sign-up for everything and show up for nothing.
I know this because my life didn’t change until I did.
I spent an entire week unsubscribing from email lists I didn’t open, giving away books I knew I had no interest in reading, and deleted courses I knew I’d never finish.
All of the unread, unfinished, uncommitted things had a cost—a weight that was holding me back from seeing my actual truth.

Every unfinished course, unread book, and half-assed therapy session seemed to push me further and further away from my ability to find answers.
It became increasingly clear to me that the problem wasn’t the programs or the books—the problem was my (lack of) commitment to finding answers.

So from one seeker to another, here are three things I learned after wandering for years.

1. The Four Life-Changing Words.
“Belief clings and faith allows.” ~ Alan Watts
These four words can change our lives. Our brains are meaning-making machines. They are pattern recognition pros, which constantly look to understand and make meaning out of things which often can’t be fully understood.
Therein resides the problem.
The challenging aspect of belief is that sometimes there is no evidence. Sometimes we have no real proof that we should believe. Because of this, sometimes it seems impossible to do so and sends us on a journey for answers we may never find.
Our job isn’t to constantly seek out evidence to believe something will happen the way we want. Our job is to have action-based faith. What I mean by “action-based faith” is this:
We need to take action in the right direction (or at least the direction we feel we should go) and have faith that whatever is meant to happen will happen. We need to notice where our mind is seeking evidence to believe and shift by asking ourselves, “What action could I take to have more faith?”
Faith is not blind; it helps us see what our minds cannot, but only when we’ve taken action that allows faith to be present.
2. Stop Saying Yes to Sh*t That’s a No.
“No: It’s a complete sentence.”
But how? How do we know what to say no to? Simple—if we aren’t going to complete something, press ctrl + delete.
Unsubscribe from the email lists we never open. Donate the books we aren’t going to finish. And say no to people who drain our time, happiness, resources, and faith in humanity. (You know the ones I’m talking about.)
So many of us are seeking happiness because we don’t know what it looks like. We say yes to everything and only enjoy some of it. We confuse ourselves about what’s a “f*ck ya!” and a “f*ck no.” It’s all just “meh, I guess so.”
We will never find answers living a “meh” life.
3. Stop Half-Assing Everything and Start Whole-Assing One Thing.
There are a lot of people who know a little about a lot of things, but not many who know a lot about a few things.
We put a half-assed effort into a bunch of courses or books and never really implement the content in those courses.
Last year, I implemented the “would I read this three times?” strategy and found it immensely powerful.
The reason this works so well is because most people buy books they don’t even plan on reading once, never mind three times. It forces us to really chose something, to be intentional, and to commit to something deeply.
Find a book you want to read and commit to reading it multiple times. Take notes, highlight it, implement one of its strategies for a week, and then see how this shifts your understanding of the core principles within the book.
We can use this concept in so many areas of our lives—dating, for example:
We swipe left and right so fast now we hardly see a person’s face. Instead, imagine that swiping right meant you had to go on three dates with this person. We’d be much more intentional, wouldn’t we?
So choose what you want to whole-ass. Choose, intentionally, what you want to commit to and then dive in like a navy seal.
So have action-based faith, say no, whole-ass the things that bring you joy, and before you know it, you’ll have the answers you’ve been seeking for years.
**This post was originally published on Elephant Journal**
An Open Letter to Seekers
Connor Beaton is the founder of ManTalks, an international organization focused on men’s health, wellness, success, and fulfillment. Before founding ManTalks, Connor worked with Apple, leading high-performance sales and operations teams. Since founding ManTalks, Connor has spoken on stage at TEDx, with Lewis Howes, Gary Vaynerchuk, Danielle LaPorte, taken ManTalks to over a dozen cities internationally and has been featured on platforms like Forbes, Huffington Post, HeForShe, The Good Men Project, UN Women, CBC, and the National Post. Catch up with Connor on his website.

WTF Is Holding Space? (A Man’s Guide)

“I need you to hold space for me.”
These words get tossed around A LOT in modern relationships, but most people have no clue what it is or how to do it.
In a workshop I led recently, the concept of ‘holding space’ came up.
I asked how many people had heard of this concept and the entire audience raised their hand.
Then I asked how many could define it or effectively knew how to do it…
Crickets. Only 2 hands raised.
One of the men spoke up and said “my wife asks me to do this all the time, but I haven’t got a clue what it means or how to do it. I assumed it just meant shut up and listen, but that doesn’t seem to work either. She often says i don’t understand her, that I’m always trying to fix her or that I’m cold and emotionless.”
“Same here” “Me too,” said a few of the guys in the room.
Then, I asked the women in the room what the impact or result would be if their partner could hold space for them properly.
“I’d finally feel heard.”
“I’d feel like he understood me!”
“I’d feel more emotionally connected which would make me more connected at an intimate level.”
“I would feel like he was compassionate and empathetic.”
“When my partner has been able to hold space for me, I’m always more open to physical connection afterward.”
Clearly, this was an important topic men needed and wanted to understand.
First, let’s agree on what holding space is NOT.

Holding space is not:

  • Just Listening
  • Trying to fix, solve or provide alternative points of views for your partner
  • Disconnecting or diminishing your partner’s emotional experience
  • A one-way conversation
  • Being disconnected from your own experience.

I asked the men to share their past experiences of trying to hold space to really drive home the point.
One man summed it up by saying “I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried being completely silent and listening, I’ve tried fixing the problem, offering suggestions and I’ve even tried just agreeing with everything she’s said. Nothing seems to work and I’m almost ready to give up.”
So what IS holding space?
Here’s my definition:

“Holding space is the process of witnessing someone else’s emotional state while simultaneously being present to your own.”

This means the person holding space has double duty.
If you are the person holding space, you need to be tuned into your own judgments, emotions, desired outcomes and opinions all while understanding what’s happening for the other person.
Holding space goes beyond listening because it requires us to hear the other person, have empathy and not make the situation about us by trying to ‘give insight’ fix or ‘offer advice.’
Think of it this way; when you hold space, you are creating a container for the other person’s emotions to come up, be seen without the interference of your own and be released.
Holding space it’s like creating a metaphorical bucket for someone to emotionally and verbally vomit into.
Sounds classy, right?
Holding space doesn’t mean you remove or avoid your own emotions and it doesn’t mean you get sucked into their emotional state because then you’ll both need a bucket.
But how do we effectively hold space? How do we create this bucket? Knowing what something is and knowing how to do it are two very different things.

The 3 things you need to know about holding space:

1. Awareness Is Crucial. 

Your emotions, thoughts, and opinions are going to get in the way.
If you want to ‘build the bucket,’ or really hold space, you’ll need to master the art of noticing your own internal processes while observing theirs.
Being able to see what you think and feel is essential. It’s what all really exceptional listeners, leaders, and therapists do.
They hear what you say, feel what you’re feeling all while noticing (without judgment or attachment) what their own thoughts and feelings are about the situation.
Without this awareness, you will fall into the trap of trying to effect an outcome based on your own desires or opinions.
The outcome of holding space is not decided by something you’ve done, it’s determined by something you’ve created. 
Awareness is so crucial because as human beings we are easily influenced by other’s emotional states. Think about someone who is quick to anger. When you’re around them, it’s much easier to become frustrated, annoyed and angry than normal. Why? Because of transference and emotional mirroring. Put simply, if not aware, you take on the emotions of others.
The point here is that you need to be equally aware of your own thoughts and emotions as you are of the person you’re hiding space for. The goal is not to be empty or devoid of emotions, the goal is simply to be aware so you don’t react from those emotions.
Oh, and put your damn technology away. You’re not holding space properly with your phone out, email open or TV on. Be Present.

2. It’s Not About You.

As much as you will feel the need to fix, solve, be right or ‘of service,’ the best thing you can do is realize that the whole conversation and point of holding space is to make the conversation about their experience and not about yours.
Notice how when you’re trying to fix or solve a problem, it’s more about your own validation than your partners. If you want real validation, use the law of reciprocity: give that which you want to get.
Here are a few things that help create the bucket and shift the focus onto them:

  • Give them permission to share, permission to trust their instincts/intuition and trust their internal wisdom.
  • Create the space for them to make decisions or take actions that might be different than your own.

3. Validation, validation, val-i-da-tion

Let’s make one thing clear, you don’t need to agree with them to validate them.
The biggest trap people fall into when holding space is that they are looking for evidence to AGREE with before they feel like they can give validation.
When this happens, validation of any form is a challenge because the person holding space is trying to understand the situation and emotions associated with it based on their own view of reality.
In general, the masculine will struggle with this. The masculine will want to understand someone logically before validating their partner’s emotional experience. (Notice, I’m not saying MEN, but the masculine. More logical, analytical women can get caught in this trap too.)
There are two important things about validation:
The other person needs to feel understood. This means you have to take a different view point, put yourself in their reality for a minute and understand why they are thinking and feeling that way.
Reflecting back their thoughts/feelings is the best way to do this. (remember, you don’t need to agree, simply understand).
Really listen for the core of the issue they are having. Mirror back what they say the issue is and take the time to validate their emotions. You’d be surprised how many people are simply looking to be understood and be told that they aren’t crazy (like they’ve been telling themselves in their head).
Finally, trust them.
Trust that they can handle their shit.
Trust them to navigate their emotional turmoil, solve their problems and trust in their ability to find what they need.
And remember – the bigger the problem, the bigger the bucket, the longer you’ll need to hold it.

Stop Saying “Yes” when its clearly a “No”

Make the choice to stop doing it. Literally chose to stop. Period.

Stop saying yes to relationships you know are a no.

Stop saying yes to people you don’t want to date.

Stop swiping right when it’s a left.

Stop saying yes to someone who treats you like a massive maybe.

Stop saying yes to partners who don’t share your values or sense of humour.

Stop saying yes to mediocre connections and communication.

Stop saying yes to mediocre, half-ass sex in your relationship.

Stop saying yes to dating people you don’t respect, who don’t inspire you and call you forward to grow.

Stop saying yes to ‘acquaintances’ who are clearly a no.

Stop saying yes to jobs you hate, bosses who cross the line and projects that leave you sitting in your car white knuckling the steering wheel while yelling at the top of your lungs cause you can’t fucking take working there anymore and you’re on the verge of a breakdown…

Stop saying yes to working for companies you don’t like, making products you would never use, and services that leave you feeling like a total fraud.

Stop. Making. Everyone. Happy. But. YOU.

Look, I get it. You have bills to pay, a family to provide for, and a future to build.

But who’s future are you building? The one you want or the one someone else has asked you to do?

So how do we shift? How do we be more selfish and choose ourselves?

Here’s the deal: everyone is selfish. All the time.

However, most people spend the majority of their time and energy trying to create the illusion they’re not.

They find jobs, causes, partners and friends all to create the illusion that they are selfless. They surround themselves with people who constantly need them, people who will reaffirm that they are a needed, important, and ‘good’ person.

But for those who want to lean into the discomfort of choosing themselves and start saying yes to the things that matter, there are a few things we need to know.

  1. What Being Selfish Is and Isn’t.

Being selfish is not about spiting people, intentionally hurting others, going out of your way to offend people, or recklessly choosing yourself at the expense of others (neglecting children, physically endangering others because of your behaviour).

Being selfish IS choosing to set good boundaries, being self aware, respecting what you need to perform and show up for the people you love most.

Healthy selfishness is the understanding that when you take care of your own needs first, you can better provide for the people who really matter to you.

2. Know That Happiness And Success Require Selfishness

Want to know one of the biggest things holding you back from success, happiness, real love, intimacy, great sex, and connection?

You would rather be selfless than happy (or any of those other qualities).

I’ll prove it to you.

Let’s use happiness to make this simple.

Think about someone you love deeply. Maybe your wife, husband, children, or family member.

Picture them in your mind.

Now imagine saying to them “I’d rather be happy than have you.”

You’re in a compromised position aren’t you?

Most people can’t imagine saying that because it would make them seem selfish, mean, or look like a complete asshole.

You don’t want to admit that when it comes down to it, but you would chose someone else even if it cost you happiness.

Let’s take it one step further.

Think of that person who you love so much.

Now imagine asking them, “Would you rather see me happy or be with you?”

The majority of people (the ones who have healthy boundaries and aren’t so attached to you that they can’t live without you) are going to say, “I want you to be happy.”

Isn’t it ironic that the people we love most want US to be happy, yet we are constantly making choices just to appease them?

Here’s the cycle people get stuck in trying to avoid being seen as selfish:

We want to be happy –> happiness depends on us owning what we want –> we think what we want will hurt other people –> we compromise or settle –> we aren’t fully happy –> we realize this and want to be happy…. and so it goes.

So what do we do? How do we change the trend now that we know happiness and success require some selfishness?

We need to…

3. Learn How To Say No

First, think of someone who you think is very happy or very successful (those two things don’t always go hand in hand).

What makes them this way? Their bank account? Their perfectly straight, white teeth? Their nice car, big house, or the amount of travel they do every year?


It’s their ability to say no to the shit that doesn’t interest them.

But this can be overwhelming at first. For most people, they have either become so skilled at saying yes to everything that the “No” facing them seems HUGE and insurmountable.

Because of this, we must start small.

When it comes to breaking the cycle, don’t try and make a big gesture (ie: getting divorced, buying the BMW you’ve always wanted and refusing to pick up the kids from school anymore so you can get in your 18 holes of golf after work. Those are just mid-life crisis indicators).

Start by noticing the small things you’re saying yes to on a daily basis that don’t work for you.

Maybe it’s a call with someone who just isn’t a priority (notice how you’d rather say ‘don’t have time for’).

Maybe it’s agreeing to go to the dinner with friends when what you know you need is a night in.

Start from these small “No” opportunities.

Start to shift your language to focus more on priorities than time. Where you would normally say “I don’t have time for that,” replace the word time with the word priorities. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but you get used to it.

Finally, get comfortable being selfish.

Do one thing every single week that’s only for you.

Schedule it, block it off, and make it a top priority.

Maybe its going to see a movie solo, doing a scotch tasting, catching a sports game, grabbing your camera and going on that photo hike you’ve been dreaming of.

Whatever the activity is, do it consistently and notice how you begin to shift.

Good luck on real challenge of choosing yourself first.


Connor BeatonConnor Beaton  is the founder of ManTalks  — an international organization dedicated to promoting modern men’s growth, purpose, and fulfillment.

ManTalks has grown to cities across North America, with several new communities forming this year.

He is also a podcast host and international speaker, having shared his message on stages around North America including TEDx.

Connor has been featured on platforms like Forbes, HeForShe, The Good Men Project, UN Women, CBC, CNN, the National Post and more.

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The Real Reason Men "Can’t Handle" Powerful Women

The real reason women believe that men can’t handle our greatness? It gives us an excuse not to handle theirs.

When I first saw the headline, I balked a bit. Okay, a lot. Especially after clicking through and reading these ’10 reasons most men can’t handle a deep woman’. Because ‘deep women’ are honest! And know what they want! And are looking for a deep, intimate, real relationship!
In other words, the reasons are: because men are shallow, dishonest, distant, closed off, and incapable of real love. That’s what this viral article is really saying. And it’s not unique. It’s proliferated around the web, being republished over and over, in the few days since I first saw it, and there are thousands of others like it, with similar ideas about just how useless, unreliable, inherently disappointing, and frankly inferior men really are. The idea that most men can’t handle women, that men are letting us down, is everywhere these days.
Here’s the thing. These articles and ideas? They’re wrong. And they damage all of us in profoundly deep ways. In particular, these beliefs cause women to have terrible, unsatisfying and heartbreaking relationships with men.

This isn’t about men. It’s about women. It’s about unhealed pain. And these beliefs don’t just prevent healing that pain – they create even more of it.

Imagine an article titled ‘Most people can’t handle deep people.’ What would that really mean? It would mean that most people have difficulty meeting deep people where they are. Fully showing up, in the way that ‘deep’ people do, and want others to do, in the way that’s needed for true, satisfying intimacy.
In our culture, we have this story that men never show up for us. From the absent father and mid-life-crisis abandoner to the ‘best friend’ who secretly just wanted to get laid, the ghosting tinder date and the guy we lost our virginity to who didn’t know what a clitoris was, our very identity as women is shaped by stories of men letting us down.
Over, and over, and over.
Almost all of us have experienced that sense of abandonment, rejection and deep shame at some point in our lives. And in the context of a culture that tells the story that ‘good men are as rare as unicorns’, and that men are so unreliable, so unable to meet our needs that we must pretend we don’t need them, or need them ‘as much as a fish needs a bicycle’, that pain feels even more powerless, because it is tinged with fear.
The fear that no man will ever show up for us. That no man will ever provide us with what we need.
Now imagine an article titled ‘Most women can’t handle deep men.’ I don’t know about you, but I can already hear the outcry – that it’s misogyny, the hatred of women; that it’s just men who are angry they’ve lost a bit of power and privilege; that it’s sexist.
Those things are all correct. And it’s vital to understanding what happens when we as women believe that men will always let us down; to understanding why articles like the one mentioned go viral:

Because when we feel powerless, we have a choice. We can either look within, take our power back by taking responsibility for ourselves and our own actions, and heal… or we can blame someone else, and get angry.

The author of the original article wasn’t trying to be sexist against men. No, this belief doesn’t have hatred as it’s motivation – quite the opposite. It comes from powerlessness, which is based on fear that men will always let us down… And pain, from times that they have. It’s written from a place of woundedness, fear, and scarcity.
Not from a place of writing about reality.
Spoiler alert: men can handle deep, or strong, or smart, or otherwise powerful women just as well as women can handle powerful men.
But articles like that one, they act to confirm the belief, presented all around us, that men will never fully love us, for who we are, never give us what we need, never truly meet us.
And because we learn to believe that they can’t, our actions towards men change. We close our hearts, find what we expect, and end up in relationships where our deepness isn’t met, accepted and celebrated. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy, and a heartbreaking one: we learn to sabotage our relationships with men.
The truth is that, to the extent that individual men are able, based on maturity and experience, nine out of ten men are dying to share our real, deep emotional selves, to witness us, to be truly intimate. To be the one we choose, the one we give the chance to step up and be a great man, for the world, and for us.
Nine out of ten are so, so eager to do that. To love us. Truly and deeply. They won’t do it perfectly – no one can. But they will do it, they will give it their all, they will love us honestly.
If we let them.
Hi! I’m Kathryn Hogan. If you liked this article, you’ll love my new book, which provides practical tools for overcoming the most common types of self sabotage. Your Big Life: Ground Rules to Get Unstuck and Stop Sabotaging Yourself, is coming now available! I’m a wellness and relationship coach, and author. I share powerful tools and mindful practices to help you live that Big, Rich, Satisfying life your heart knows you’re meant to be living.
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Man Of The Week – Jason Connell

Our newest Man Of The Week has gone through a roller coaster in life, and along that journey he has discovered the most beautiful of life-lessons that only life experiences can teach. From a very young age, Jason Connell was obsessed with perception, behaviours and psychology, where he started his career as a child entertainer who performed over 300 live magic shows before his 18th birthday. After high-school, Jason attended a small liberal arts college for a few semesters before realizing this wasn’t the life he wanted to live, so he packed up his things and traveled the world to experience it first hand. His travels dispelled the illusions of limitations that hold us back from our dreams and allowed him to channel his inner potential to becoming the successful coach he is today. His journey wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, Jason had to deal with financial struggle, the loss of loved ones and broken relationships to really feel broken to the core, which is when he begun working on his relationship with the self. Today, Jason helps people develop confidence, authenticity, self-compassion and self-love because “the singular most important relationship you will ever have, is your relationship with yourself.” To learn more about Jason and to explore how he can help you realize your potential, check out his website.

Age – 30

What do you do? (Work)
I help high performing men and women remove the psychological and spiritual barriers to self-love, confidence, and authenticity. If you’re successful but still feel like there is something missing in your life, there’s a good chance I can help you.

Why do you do it?
I love helping people step fully into their lives. So many people have been held back by their education, friends, family, society, and culture without even realizing it.

How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
In my personal life, I’m the guy in my circle of friends who gets everyone together and organizes events. Professionally, I help people realize how amazing and powerful they truly are. A lot of people are captivated by this bullshit illusion that they aren’t powerful, can’t be happy, can’t make a difference, and don’t deserve an amazing life. I help cut through the illusions.

What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– When I was 19 I dropped out of college and spent three years traveling the world. The travels were a mix of hedonism (I got to go behind the booth at the hottest club in Amsterdam), service (I spent a lot of time volunteering in poor communities) and exploration. I learned that the limits of reality are far greater than most people perceive. I also learned that no matter how distracted or exciting my life becomes, I can’t possibly run from myself and my truth.
– There was a four-week span where my best friend moved away, my girlfriend and I of two years broke up, and then a close friend died. Before I had a chance to even realize what had just happened, I left on a speaking tour that kept me on the road for several months. The combination of all of these events completely broke me and forced me to learn the importance of prioritizing my mental and physical health above all else. If I’m not supporting myself, there’s no way I can support others.
– Eight months ago, I left Washington, DC after six years of living there. I knew DC wasn’t right for me, but I didn’t know where I wanted to move. I travelled until I found the place that was right for me, Denver, CO. This was the first time I consciously trusted myself and my intuition to guide me through major life decisions. It went far better than anything I could have possibly imagined. In the past, I relied on logic. That was good for business but shitty for life.

What is your life purpose?
To live as fully as I can while I am alive, and to help people step more fully into theirs.

How did you tap into it?
In my personal life, I try to always be honest. This means not lying, of course, but it also means speaking my truth, and making my actions mirror my authentic desires. This is far far harder than most people realize. However, even harder than living your truth is lying to yourself and the people around you, whether through action, inaction, word, or omission.
In my professional life, I help people connect to themselves, and then find the innate courage to live their truth. We all have deep well springs of confidence and courage within us. Most people just don’t know how to access them.

Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
There are two mentors who have made disproportionately significant impacts in my life. The first is Jean-Pierre Lauzier, the second is Philip McKernin. If you ever have the opportunity to work with either of these men, leap at it.

Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
The only thing that I do every day is meditate. I practice Vipassana (insight) meditation. On most days I practice intermittent fasting, write, and scribble down a few things I’m grateful for.

 When do you know your work/life balance is off?
That’s something that is purely emotional for me. I know I’m in my zone when I’m feeling playful, confident, open, and energetic. Of course, even in my best months, those feelings ebb and flow, but if I’m waking up feeling anything less than that more than one or two days in a row, I know something is off.

Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
I just turned 30. The vast majority of my close friends are married and own houses. Three of them are expecting their first child this year. Me? I’m very single and rent a cool apartment. Compared to my friends, I feel extremely stunted in my personal life. A very real part of me fears that as our realities drift further and further apart we will no longer share the same deep connection we once did. I also kind of resent them for falling onto the beaten path. I thought the plan was that we were going to abandon the beaten path and stay up late drinking and travelling and chasing pretty women and talking about books and trying to save the world.

What did you learn from it?
Actually the most valuable thing I’ve learned from ostensibly drifting from my friends is that the fear of being disconnected from them was a phantom. I realize that so much of the loss of love and connection I was afraid of didn’t actually exist in reality. If you find the courage to own your fears and vulnerabilities and open up within them, you’ll find that you are capable of mastering them. More than that, you’ll find that many of them are complete fictions.

If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Stop pretending to be so fucking strong, and surrender. Feel the God damn pain you’ve been pretending doesn’t exist. Let it cripple and destroy you. If you’re not crying, you’re doing it wrong. Once you’ve processed all the shit you were avoiding, you’ll notice that resting beneath it all is a deep sense of power, stillness, happiness, and love. But you’ll only ever get there when you stop pretending to be someone you’re not and for most men, that begins by surrendering.

How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
My commitment to all present and future partners is to share my truth with them even if it makes me extremely uncomfortable. This means loving with more wild abandon than I’ve done in the past, as well as being more proactive about the tough conversations than I’ve been in the past.

Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
Yes. The two I like the most are Ingenuity Prep and Global Camps Africa. I’ve worked closely with the leaders of both organizations. Ingenuity Prep provides a world class education to some of the most disadvantaged children in Washington, DC. Their model is highly scalable, their leaders are world-class experts, and the results they get for their students are breathtaking. Global Camps Africa provides life skills for children living in the slums of South Africa. Studies have shown that children who attend GCA have lower HIV/AIDS rates, commit fewer crimes, attend school more frequently, and manage money better.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Home, by LCD Soundsystem.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Denver, CO, continuing to speak, write, and run seminars for amazing people.

What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I haven’t hit the point in my life where I spend any time at all thinking about legacy. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever will. As far as I can tell, the best thing to do is spend your time focused on authentically sharing yourself and your gift with the world while you’re still here. It’s kind of arrogant and delusional to believe that you’ll matter much once you’re gone. Most people find that cold. To me, it’s liberating. I see little value in trying to live in the future or manipulate people’s perception of me – especially after I’m dead.

What One book would you recommend for any Man?
The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. Inner Game does an amazing job of helping readers realize that they can control their mind, while also teaching them how to access their intuition.

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]

Time for Reflection and New Goals with Roger Nairn and Connor Beaton

Episode: 023

Roger and Connor talk on how to set and achieve goals effectively.

Roger and Connor catch up on their year with ManTalks and talk about why every man should do a
reflection on the year past. Connor recommends a couple of key questions the audience can ask
themselves to provide better insight on how their year went. Roger and Connor also talk about their goals
with ManTalks, as well as their personal goals for the New Year.
ManTalks Podcast on iTunes
Listen to it on iTunes
Mantalks Stitcher podcast
Listen to it on Stitcher
Key Takeaways:
[0:35] For this episode, Roger and Connor will be reflecting on their year.
[2:15] Get rid of programs and phone apps that aren’t serving you.
[2:55] Why is reflection important?
[3:45] What is Connor’s process of reflection?
[9:15] Where do you thrive the most?
[10:05] Where have you struggled the most? Reflect on this so that you don’t fall into the same trap.
[12:25] High achievers carry a lot of guilt when they don’t accomplish their year-end goals.
[13:40] Roger plans to color more in 2016.
[14:20] Why do you have the goals that you have? Is it just for ego?
[16:00] Who are the people in your life that you’re thankful for?
[18:15] You don’t have to stop life just because you’re going into a new year.
[20:20] Connor has flexible goals.
[24:50] What can people look forward to from ManTalks in 2016?
[27:20] Feel free to email us guest recommendations.
[28:40] Roger recommends Think and Grow Rich to develop a healthy goal mindset.
[29:35] What will it cost you to achieve your goal and are you willing to pay the price?
[30:25] Be honest with yourself.
[31:00] What will your vision statement for 2016 be?
[32:45] Take the next week off to reflect on your year.

Mentioned In This Episode:
The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes
[email protected]
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Music Credit:
J Parlange & Latenite Automatic ( –
“Where do I thrive and where do I struggle?”
“The transition into a new year, you don’t necessarily have to stop life and refresh everything.”
“What are you willing to sacrifice to accomplish your goals?”

Man Of The Week – Michael Ventura

Michael Ventura is a Man of many talents and gifts, from being an award-winning entrepreneur and creative director, to a healing practitioner forming strategies for Fortune 100 companies, and now currently serving as a Adjunct Professor teaching Empathic Design at Princeton University. In 2004, Michael founded Sub Rosa, a strategy and design studio that focuses on helping brands form creative and strategic practices with empathic design at its core. Bearing a strong connection to community and nature, Michael and his wife, Caroline, also run a shop and gallery in New York, which serves as a place for communal gatherings and human connection. If that wasn’t enough, his desire to leave the world in a better place than he found it has seen him serve on the boards of numerous organizations and non-profits: United Nations Department of Public Information’s Tribal Link, The Burning Man Organization and The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, to name just a few. It should come as no surprise that Michael is our Man Of The Week, read on to discover what an inspiring role-model Michael is for Men today.
Age: 35
What do you do? (Work)
The short answer is I help solve problems. A longer answer is that the way I do this varies considerably depending on what part of my work we’re talking about. For the past 13 years I’ve run Sub Rosa, a strategy and design studio that works with brands to help them explore, learn, and grow into better businesses. Additionally, my wife Caroline and I run a home interiors shop and gallery in the West Village. The shop is really a community gathering space where so many people we know and love find a way to spend time together and connect. Lastly, I have also spent over a decade studying and then practitioning a variety of alternative and indigenous medicine modalities. I treat about 15 people each week across a spectrum of physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges they are facing.
Why do you do it?
I think I’m genetically wired to do this. My whole life, I’ve always been a pretty empathic person. I feel a lot of stuff and I try my best to harness my own capacity for problem solving to fix the challenges that get presented to me.
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
Ooof. That’s a big question. I guess for me, making a difference isn’t always about the big, seismic moments. Sometimes it’s the little things. The small, 2 or 3 degree turns you make that end up changing things for the better somewhere down the line. I hope that being intentional, thoughtful, and considerate of those I interact with helps each of them to go through the daily round a little better than the day prior.
What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– Meeting my better-half back in 2005. Caroline is the perfect partner who truly understands all of my strange idiosyncratic ways and helps me to live the life I want to live. I try my best every day to reciprocate.
– Realizing in 2009 that I needed to learn alternative medicine from some of the amazing healers and shamans who were working on me. Their guidance, collaboration, and belief in my work is something I carry every day.
– Bouncing back from tough moments in my own life, my business, and my personal relationships. There isn’t a date for this. These are defining moments that occur all the time. Life is unexpected. It’s challenging. But it’s also amazing and lessons await us around every turn.
What is your life purpose?
To be open to possibilities, work diligently at improving myself and the lives of others, and to embrace and spread kindness.
How did you tap into it?
It wasn’t a thunderclap. It was (and is) a slow boil. Most of my twenties (like a lot of people) were about exploration, failure, and finding a way to chart the course of my life. Constant self-observation mixed with a healthy dose of humility and forgiveness were (and are) a big part of it.
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
I don’t really have a “mentor” per se. Lessons come from everywhere. Being involved in fairly diverse types of work and thought, I don’t think I would have been well served with a singular mentor guiding me. My family, my spiritual community, my dog, my plants, and my friends are all teachers – and I hope my lessons will continue to come from such a wide array of participants as my life goes on.
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
I do a variety of alternative medicine and wellness work every day. This includes meditation, qi gong, tai chi, and a host of other practices depending on what the day calls for. In addition, I try to spend at least a quarter of my day outside whenever I can and I walk as much as possible.
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I feel it in my bones. My body gets sluggish and my mind moves slowly. It’s usually a sign I need to cut and run for a few days – getting myself to a quiet place in nature – be it the desert, the woods, or the ocean – typically resets my clock.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
My wife and I have been together for 10 years. We’ve been married for 7. We’ve seen great couples come and go through those years and we’ve had a few rough patches ourselves. We got married kinda young and we were still figuring ourselves out, nevermind figuring out each other. As a result, there came a point where we needed to get really raw and open with each other about the people we had become, what we were getting rid of, and what we wanted to grow toward. We both knew that in the discussing of this moment of transition, we might find we had grown apart. But to not discuss it would have been even tougher in the long run. Good news is, we worked through our own evolutions and got to understand each other even better in the process. Had we not been willing to be vulnerable to each other and to the potential outcomes that might result, we may not have made it.
What did you learn from it?
(see above)
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
If you don’t get into trouble you’ll never get out of it. Challenge yourself but don’t be too hard on yourself either. Take risks and learn from failures. Enjoy successes but only for a moment. No one likes an asshole.
How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)?
Think before you act, listen before you speak, have sex after a fight, tell her you love her in imaginative ways every day.
Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
A big part of our work at Sub Rosa is focused on supporting charities and NGOs. I am a formal and informal advisor to a multitude of organizations that I know and love. They include The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, The United Nations Tribal Link Foundation, The Burning Man Organization, Esalen Institute, and a series of social initiatives being run out of the White House.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
“Long as I Can See The Light” by Creedence
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I’m not really a planner. I’ll be where I need to be.
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I’m less concerned with my own legacy. What I’d like to ensure is that I’ve made a difference in the hearts and minds of those I’ve met, that I helped them to get through this life a little easier, and that maybe I’ve inspired them to do the same for someone else.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
“Shadows on the Path” by Abdi Assadi

Man Of The Week – Graham Snowden

This week’s Man Of The Week is a shining example of what is possible when one lives true to his/her purpose. In addition to fundraising over $600,000 for charities since 2008, Graham Snowden is changing the lives of many men by showing them their true potential and allowing them to channel their purpose in everyday actions. Running numerous multi-day marathons, some up to 250km, Snowden strives to be an example of what is possible.

  1. Age: 34
  2. What you do you do? (Work)
    I live my life’s purpose – to be a constant & expanding example of what is achievable, reminding everyone that they are larger than themselves, recognize what they are truly capable of and I activate them to fulfill that potential so they in turn activate others to fulfill theirs. I believe that health is the absolute foundation for everything we want to achieve.
  3. Why do you do it?
    For the first-class, front row centre ticket to an individual’s growth and belief in his or herself. There is nothing sweeter.
  4. How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
    Staying true to my life’s purpose.
  5. What are 3 defining moments in your life?
    – Completing my first multi-day running race in Nepal. 250km self-supported. It showed me how little I know about myself; making me excited to spend my life having an amazing relationship with myself.
    – Overcoming a difficult time during university & emerging with the approach that if I ever have an idea that I believe will make someone else happy, I will act on it.
    – Standing up as my brother’s best man, looking at his elated wife and knowing that was the happiness I wanted to cultivate and nourish in my own relationship
  6. Graham Snowden & his team at The Coastal Challenge Rainforest Run
    Graham Snowden & his team at The Coastal Challenge Rainforest Run
  7. What is your life purpose?
    See #2! 
  8. How did you tap into it?
    It was a purposeful and intentional process. I cannot isolate the starting point. It emerged after several ultra-distance races, the cultivation of an amazing love-filled partnership, and consistent personal development focused on uncovering and constantly being my best self.
  9. Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
    There are several. My fiancée because she is so incredibly giving of herself and “the peaceful quiet she creates for me” (yes those are Dixie Chicks lyrics). A relative who overcame addiction who showed me you can always change where you are. Bill Chalmers, an outstanding personal development & business coach who has guided me through breaking down limiting beliefs. 
  10. Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
    I book end my day. Morning = Wake up. Hydrate (500ml – 1L). 15 – 30 minutes personal development (usually reading). Exercise at least 30 minutes (often more). A clean, low-glycemic breakfast along with my personalized vitamins. All to start my day. I write intentions for a variety of elements of my day from important business meetings to how well I want to sleep. Night = I end my day by journaling in the positive about whatever happened, no matter what happened and tracking 4 key daily habits that move me towards my most important goals. The last thing I do before I go to bed is to write on a chalk board in our kitchen something I am thankful for about my fiancée from that day.
  11. When do you know your work/life balance is off?
    I don’t actually believe in this concept. I believe in life balance. Your life isn’t comprised of work and then everything else. If it is then yes, you are definitely OFF balance. And you should probably connect with me so we can change that. If I am not writing my intentions and doing daily personal development I know that very same day that my balance is off.
  12. Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
    Just one moment?! I just quoted Dixie Chicks lyrics in this interview! They can happen every day. Asking my fiancée to marry me, asking her dad for permission, losing a job, in a job interview, starting a business, before a speaking event – it can be a pretty long list.
  13. What did you learn from it?
    I have become willing to be vulnerable because it is always an opportunity to grow and demonstrate to the world who I am.
  14. If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
    Love yourself. 
  15. How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
    I try to be the best for my partner. I am not seeking to be the best in the history of partners ever. We have daily thankfuls. I demonstrate my love as often as possible; both big & small gestures. When she comes home I also stop whatever I am doing and welcome her. I always suggest writing out in compelling detail what your ideal partner would be like. Then you MUST write out in just as compelling detail who YOU need to be in order to attract, nourish and love that person.
  16. Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
    I have led the fundraising of over $600,000 since 2008. I have supported the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, MenCap, Red Cross, Boston One Fund, imagine1day, Blessings for Backpacks, and many others. Going forward I most likely to support environmental related charities focused on preserving the most magnificent places on our planet from forests & mountain ranges in BC to the farthest reaches of the planet. It is in these places that I have become who I am. I want to preserve these places for others to enjoy. 
  17. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
    Oh it would have to be a mashup of highly questionable yet entertaining song selections. Let me answer it this way, during the closing credits to my life “You’ve Got A Friend” by James Taylor would be playing.
  18. Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
    On a horse named Falcor.
  19. What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
    Health, happiness, and the planet. 
  20. What One book would you recommend for any Man?
    I’ll go with the first book that came to mind (and not just for men). “By the River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept” – Paulo Coelho. To me it is far superior to 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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