When I started Order of Man a little over two years ago, I made a post and video available called 8 Skillsets Every Man Must Master. The video and the post have been viewed tens of thousands of times which led me to believe that men really wanted to know what they needed to be able to do in order to call themselves a man.
And, while I still agree with the 8 skill sets I shared, overtime my thought process has changed and, through my own personal experience, I’ve been able to articulate a little more clearly what I think it means to be a man.
Of course, that’s open for interpretation. I’ve asked over 130 men in our interview podcasts what it means to be a man and I’ve received over 130 answers. Coming up with the exact formula for masculinity is proving to be a difficult process.
But, what I have discovered through thousands of hours of work, reading, and personal observation is that, in order to fulfill our responsibilities as men, there are four quadrants – four domains – that I believe every single man must address in order to become the best possible version of himself.
So, I thought it would be a good idea to break down those domains a bit more and share with you some of what I’ve learned over the last two years.
The domains are: Calibration, Connection, Condition, and Contribution
I’m going to explain what all of these mean and how you can become more proficient in each of these areas so that you can fully step up as the protector, provider, and presider you are meant to be.
When I talk about Calibration, I’m talking about getting right with yourself first.
Yes, our job is to provide for and protect others but, as I’ve said in other podcasts, it is impossible to do that when we haven’t fully learned to take care of ourselves first.
I’m talking about your mindset. I’m talking about your psyche. I’m talking about the virtues of honor and integrity we all must adhere to. I’m talking about your soul and, if you believe, your spirituality.
This is not an easy thing to do but, the fact remains, that calibrating yourself to a vision and a purpose and an objective for your life lies at the core of your ability to function as a man.
You’ve seen men who are what I would call wanderers or worse, zombies. These are the guys that have no purpose and no direction and seem to go where the wind blows them. They’re burnt out and exhausted because, in some cases, they gave so much of themselves to others at the expense of their own well-being.
Personally, I meditate. Even if I have to go through Mark Divine’s Box Breathing for a couple minutes. I read scriptures. I read other books (I’ve even started reading more non-fiction books). I go on walks with my family. I reflect. I spend time thinking about what is actually important and how I’m actually going to get it.
On the flipside of Calibration is Connection. This is your ability to connect with others – your family, your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends.
As I’ve thought about how we’ve been able to grow Order of Man to what it is today, I can’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of you who listen in each week. I can’t help but think of the guys I met at StyleCon two years ago who helped me launch in the first place.
When I think about the times I’ve been the most fulfilled and happy, I can’t help but think about going on vacation with my family, or going for a walk, or eating dinner together.
When I think about times where I’ve been failing and, more importantly, how I’ve recovered, I can’t help but think of my band of brothers who have done and said what needed to be done and said to kick my butt in gear.
I think it’s critical that we step back occasionally and evaluate the relationships that we want and the relationships that we already have. We should also consider how WE are showing up in the relationships (I’m going to talk more about that in a minute).
Are the people in your life inspiring your or deflating you?
Are the people in your life helping you get where you want to go or hindering you?
Are the people in your life energizing or do they detract and drain you?
As you take inventory, you’re going to identify people that should not be in your life. Get rid of them. I know that’s hard but it’s imperative.
You’re also going to find people that you should double-down on. Do it. You never know what will come from one of these relationships if you’re willing to invest a little time and energy into them.
The third piece is condition. When I talk about condition, I’m talking about your physical health and, more specifically, your diet, nutrition, exercise, strength, stamina, conditioning, sleep, and those types of things.
So many of you have heard a bit about my fitness journey and I won’t bore you with the details here but what I will say is that I was nowhere near the man I am today.
I did not have the energy and physical capacity to show up fully at work, at home, or any of the other place that we, as men are required to show up.
Guys, get your health in check. Go to the gym daily. Get the right amount of sleep. Stop looking at food as a luxury and start looking at it as fuel for your body. Go on a run or a walk. Be active. Play sports. Get your body moving.
I haven’t always been great at this but the more you can get your physical health in check, the better man you’re going to be.
The last domain I wanted to cover with you today is Contribution. What is mean when I say “Contribution” is your ability to add value in this world.
Sometimes that value is going to be a monetary exchange (as in employment). Sometimes it’s going to be charitable (as in community service).
If you truly want to show up as a man, you are going to have to find ways to make yourself more valuable, bottom line.
Get educated. Read books. Listen to podcasts like this one. Learn a new skill. Hone an old one. Constantly be improving yourself. Connect with people who are further down the track than you are (that overlaps with Connection). Be a student. Constantly be learning.
And, more importantly, implement what you learn. Look for problems. Offer solutions. Be a connector (also overlaps with Connection). And, leave every engagement, encounter, and environment better than the way you found it.
I don’t care if you’re trying to find love, a meaningful career, how to grow your bank account, the answer always lies in providing more value or as I like to call it “being a producer.”
I know I haven’t given you a lot of details in each one of these domains of manliness but I have given you the framework.
I encourage you to study it further. I encourage you to join our Facebook Group and converse with the tens-of-thousands of men there. I encourage you to connect with the guys we’ve had on this show in the past. I encourage you to subscribe to this podcast so you never miss an episode and, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention our exclusive brotherhood, The Iron Council. This is your own band of brothers who will not let you fail and help you master the four domains of manliness.
Gentlemen, that’s all I have for you today. Until next week, take action, master the four domains of manliness, and become the man you are meant to be.