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Lewis Howes

My Journey of Reclaiming Masculinity

"I didn’t have the courage to express what I wanted - what I needed.”

Lately I’ve been traveling around doing a book tour for The Mask of Masculinity. I always like to do a Q&A with my audiences to learn more about them and help answer any questions that may not be in the book.

I recently recorded my talk in Los Angeles with an amazing group. They really dug deep and asked a lot of great questions, including a lot about my past.

My book can only fit so much information and was written to help others more than be a biography.

So I wanted to share with you this special talk. I really open up and practice what I preach. I talk about my father and open up about how he affected my life. I also share how I’m still learning, how I keep myself on track to keep my aggression in check, and much more, on Episode 569.

“All human beings are scary when we have no vision or inner peace.”  

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why I couldn’t communicate properly (8:34)
  • My lonely relationship (12:05)
  • A physical fight with my business partner (17:26)
  • Me opening up about my past (18:57)
  • What I think about before I react (21:56)
  • What I’ve seen in the media over the last six months (26:36)
  • Why the suicide and crime rate is so much higher in men (31:02)
  • How I reacted to problems with TSA at the airport (32:52)
  • The conditioning men have gone through (39:43)
  • The biggest challenges in bringing my message to the world (42:52)
  • What I do on a daily basis to remain open (47:27)
  • What I would say to my 17-year-old self. (50:00)
  • How your inner conversation affects your outer actions (52:30)
  • How to balance competition and self expression (55:00)
  • The greatest lesson I learned from my father (58:38)
  • What made me finally see a therapist (1:05:42)
  • How to create a safe space for others to open up (1:08:43)
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Lewis Howes

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:     This is episode 569. Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.

Welcome everyone to this episode. I wanted to share with you a talk from my L.A. book launch party, because I haven’t shared the full story behind my latest book yet, on the podcast, The Mask of Masculinity. In the book tour I got to share so many different stories weren’t actually in the book, and some other intimate, personal things, and during the L.A. book stop we had a great audience out, and some people really asked me some powerful questions, and, man, we went in there.

A lot of people asked me about my dad, because I really didn’t talk about my father much in this book, and what his experience has played a role in my life, and how that’s really affected me. So, I dive in and talk about the full story about my relationship with him and how’s really impacted me and everything else that’s actually happened and went down about twelve years ago that I don’t really talk about that much.

We did a lot of other things in the Q&A and I gave a full speech about the importance of this and why this is so timely right now, how so many people have been thanking me; men, women, gender-fluid alike, how so many people have been thanking me for how timely this topic is.

Again, with everything that is happening in the media right now, it’s time we have more of these conversations to talk about what is masculinity. How do we define it? What does it mean to be not even a man, but just a human being? And how can we all learn to communicate it with healthier forms of expression, release a lot of the frustrations from our pasts, let go of things, feel freedom, so we can actually live our fullest lives. And what does that look like for all human beings, and what are some of the pressures and stresses that men have faced over time that have been conditioning them to act out in certain ways, and causing a lot of the stress, anxiety and problems that the men are facing in the world right now?

So, I’m excited for you guys to hear this. Again, a lot of people are asking me to come to their city and do a book signing, and we only did a smaller book tour this time around, just because we have so much going on in our business right now that’s happening. But, for those who couldn’t come out and watch one of the speeches, and do one of the Q&A’s and do a book signing, I want to give you a view behind the scenes so you can hear what it was like, so this is a live book speech Q&A, and you get to hear all of it, if you couldn’t make it out.

But I hope you guys enjoy this and I’m excited about it because this is the meat, this is the stuff that I love to talk about. This is the intimate, behind the scenes look, so let me know what you guys think. It’s lewishowes.com/569, go ahead and share it out on Instagram, Twitter and social media.

And before I start the speech, with the Q&A, I want to give a shout out to our sponsor, that’s M.V.M.T. today. These watches were founded on the belief that style shouldn’t break the bank. The watchmaker’s goal is to change the way consumers think about fashion by offering high quality minimalist products at revolutionary prices. Now, with over 1 million watches sold to customers from over 150+ countries around the world, M.V.M.T. Watches has solidified itself as the world’s fastest growing watch company. That’s right. And with holiday shopping it can be tough but thanks to M.V.M.T. all that gift-giving anxiety can disappear with the press of a button and these watches make the perfect purchase for just about anyone in your life, guy or girl, and remember, they start at only 95 bucks to get you a high quality looking watch, that looks like $400/500 price point. Now if you’ve already heard me talk about M.V.M.T. and got yourself a watch, now let’s get yourself a watch for someone else, for your holiday list.

The company was started by two broke college kids who wanted to wear stylish watches but couldn’t afford them. So they started their own company. I love the innovation that these guys had, and you can get 15 percent off today with free shipping and free returns by going to mvmt.com/greatness. That’s Movement, M.V.M.T dot com slash greatness. It’s got a super clean design, makes a great fashion statement as well and it’s time to step up your watch game, guys. So go to mvmt.com/greatness and join the movement today with 15% off.

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Plus, I end up saving money on quality food and household goods by ordering from Thrive Market. As an advisor to the company, I have a special perk for you, when you check them out right now. So make sure to go to thrivemarket.com/greatness and you’re going to get a free product with your first order. That’s right, go to thrivemarket.com/greatness and check it out today.

So, again, I hope you guys enjoy this one today, a talk at my L.A. book stop, it was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed this tour. If you guys haven’t picked up a copy of the book yet, make sure to go to lewishowes.com/mask, pick up your copy of the book, get it for a friend, buy a few for gifts for the holidays and let me know what you think.

This is all about helping the men in your life look within and see how they can optimise their emotions, their communication, their health, their happiness, and also, if you have men in your life, if you’re a woman with an intimate partner, father, you’ve got sons, you got brothers and you want to understand them better, then make sure to pick up a copy for yourself and read it first, before you hand it to the men in your life, because a lot of women have been coming out to these book launch parties and been messaging me, saying how empowering it is, how important it is for them to read it as well and how it’s really helped transform their relationships, by understanding the men in their life better.

So make sure to check it out, lewishowes.com/mask. It’ll take you right to Amazon, or you can go to Barnes & Noble, pick up a copy and tag me when you get it. When you get it in, tag me, I will screenshot it and I will post it up on Instagram Stories as well.

As always, thank you guys so much for your support in spreading the message of greatness. You’ve got greatness within you, and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!

What’s up, everybody? What’s up? Welcome, welcome, welcome! Thank you guys for being here! Welcome, welcome! Yeah! Thank you guys, thank you, thank you. The non-flakes made it out, the non-flakes! Thank you guys for being here, very excited! Three people got that. I appreciate you guys for being here. Thanks for taking time to come out and connect.

I’ve been doing this for the last 14 days, travelling around the country, and I feel very grateful because every place I’ve gone to, just such incredible people. So I feel like the community that we’re creating is just positive thinkers, people that want to grow, people that believe in healthy relationships, and also the best-looking people in the world come out to these events, so… So many single people come out and they’re, like, always dating each other after they leave, so it’s pretty cool.

So, four years ago I went on a journey, a journey of self-discovery, to realise that I was pretty much not living up to my best life and best example of what it means to be a man and was very triggered emotionally in certain situations. I was a very loving, giving, happy, affectionate person my entire life. But those moments that would trigger me, the Incredible Hulk came out. Anyone who can relate to that?

And I was always giving, but then someone looked at me the wrong way, and I felt attacked. It was, like, I had to defend myself at all costs. And those costs were very high sometimes. I paid a high price for my reactions and my inability to express myself in healthier forms of communication. But my entire life I thought I wasn’t able to express myself in those forms of healthier communication, because it wasn’t cool, it wasn’t acceptable, with my peers, with classmates, with team mates. And that’s hard.

When you just want to fit in as a human being, when you just want to be accepted, and then you want to fit in and you want people to like you, growing up. We become conditioned. At least I did. I became conditioned to do things, to say things, to wear different masks to fit in, and to feel like, “Okay, you’ll accept me, you’ll be my friend if I continue to live up to this standard.”

And in a lot of ways, it worked, it worked for me. I achieved great results in my life as an athlete through wearing masks. I achieved great results in business. I achieved great results in relationships, I had the hot girlfriends, I made a lot of money, I achieved things in sports. All the things that I thought was desirable, that would make me happy, that would make me feel fulfilled as a kid growing up, I was doing those things, at least to the outside world, and it looked like I had figured some things out.

And people would always comment to me, like, “Wow! You’re doing great things! Everything seems to be working for you.” And on the outside it might have looked that way, but on the inside I was constantly suffering. Suffering, and never felt a sense of peace in my heart. I always felt like this weight of the world was just pressing my chest, and this tension… it was like a prison for my heart. That’s what I constantly felt like.

Has anyone ever felt like the weight of the world on your shoulders, or your chest? She raised her hand before I even finished. She was like, “Yes!” For me, it didn’t matter what I achieved, the results I got, the hotter the girlfriend, whatever it was, none of it mattered, whatever I was trying to chase. Because it still left me feeling unhappy and unsatisfied and unfulfilled and I just didn’t understand. I was like, “Why?”

I figured that this was just the way things are, that I’m going to go through life and just keep striving for more, chasing other things, until kind of like the trifecta of the perfect storm happened for me. And just a show of hands, who here has never heard one of my podcasts on The School of Greatness? Just raise your hands for me. Never heard, okay, there’s a few people, cool. So some friends dragged you out, it sounds like. Perfect! It’s like, “You’ve got to come see this guy!” Okay.

For me, four years ago I got into the… the trifecta happened. I was in this relationship, that for me, was very emotionally toxic. I wasn’t able to, I didn’t have the courage to express what I really felt in this relationship and so I was constantly trying to please and do things that I didn’t feel comfortable with, to try and make the other person happy. And it made me feel very insecure, and it was just up and down, up and down a lot. And to the point where, again, I just didn’t have the courage to express what I wanted, what I needed, anything like that, so I stayed in it really long, and I constantly felt a sense of suffering and loneliness in the relationship.

How many people have ever felt really lonely in an intimate relationship. Yeah. For me, I just like, “Man, this person doesn’t get me, I feel alone, I feel like we’re not connecting,” but I was trying to do whatever I could to just please this person. And since I didn’t have the courage to express myself in the relationship, of what I needed, what I wanted, and desired, I expressed myself in the world, how I felt.

So I was very angry, upset and disconnected in the relationship. I was raised to never touch a woman, or scream at a woman, or any of those things, but men, that was okay. I could take my anger and aggression out on other men, and that’s okay, because that’s what we do, right? So, I started to, literally every single day, look for a fight. And I was constantly trying to express my anger and frustration in the world.

So, any time somebody tweeted me anything critical, it was like, “I’m going to kill you!” essentially, in my tweets back. And meantime, any time walking down the street, someone bumped into me, it was like, “What are you doing?” Right? I remember it got so bad, I mean, it got so bad, that one time I was driving my car, off Melrose, near Dohini, right by Verve Coffee Shop, and I drove the car and I’m cutting the corner to turn right and there happened to be a runner coming through the street, and the light had just turned red for me, so I turned right on red. It was green, turned red. I kind of cheated it and kind of like kept going. You know, you’re supposed to stop fully.

And the guy’s running through and he sees it’s green for him and I’m cutting a corner, and so he kind of has to stop, because I’m going in front of him, and he punches my car, punches my car. And this is a prize possession, 1991 Cadillac from a mentor of mine, just like, “He touched my car!” That’s like, it’s an attack on my life! It’s the way I was feeling. I literally, went, driving like a maniac, to chase down this runner. I stopped the car and started sprinting after him. And I’m like, “Why am I so reactive?”

All these things continued to happen. I started playing a lot of pick-up basketball, with my good friend Matt over here. Every day, just to get my aggression out. I’m like, “Okay, I can’t communicate, I don’t have the courage in this relationship to talk about what I really feel, so let’s go play basketball and let’s just get this out.” And every time we played, some fourteen-year-old kid would step up to me and it was like I had to defend myself.

Right? So, I’m like, a little shrimp that’s just, whatever, zero threat to me, would say something, would talk trash, whatever it is, and it was like I had to show that I was the most dominant person on the court, at all times. I had to defend myself, I had to put them in their place, because that’s how I could express myself, in a more comfortable format for me, because I didn’t have the courage to just share my feelings, or have a conversation, and be vulnerable. I didn’t have that courage or that capacity at the time.

So, I got into a really bad fight on the basketball court one day, where Matt, luckily, was there, and pulled me off of this guy that I began to fight with, and I remember, at the end of the fight he stood up, because it got to the ground. He stood up, and there was a huge gash on his forehead, blood gushing out, spraying all over the court, and the police station is literally across the street.

And Matt’s like, “You just need to get out of here,” because I’m so riled up, I’m like the Incredible Hulk, screaming at this guy still. He hit me first, so I said it was okay that I hit him back. Right, guys, it’s okay if someone hits us first? And I’m screaming, I’m so charged emotionally, I’m just like, so much adrenaline. And then he’s like, “You should probably leave, before something else happens.”

So, I run back, like a coward, to my place, shaking, trembling, because I’m like, “What did I… What just happened?” I’m looking at myself in the mirror, and I’m like, “Who are you? Who are you?” I just kept saying this over and over again, and I was washing out the blood on my knuckles. And I keep thinking to myself, I’m like, “Why am I so sad and angry in these moments?” When I’m always giving, loving, you know, I’m affectionate. A lot of my friends in here will tell you, I’m always pretty loving and giving and affectionate and happy. Why, in these moments, am I not able to express myself in healthier forms. I just didn’t know the answer.

Then, I’m in the middle of Times Square with a business partner, at the time. A former business partner of mine, and we almost get in a fist fight in the middle of Times Square. After six months of passive aggressive energy, where neither of us could communicate with each other, it gets so heated one time, in the middle of Times Square, where I’m about to torpedo punch him in the face, off some stairs, in the middle of thousands of tourists.

Luckily, one of our mutual friends was there, and he kind of like feels so awkward, that he’s just like, “I don’t know what to do here, but you guys should just probably not talk anymore.” All these things were happening, where I said, “Okay, finally I’m going to start to look within.” And I wasn’t ready to look within before that, because my results were so big on the outside world.

I was like, “Why should I look within, when I’m achieving things.” And people would give me feedback, and I’d be like, “Screw you. You’re not doing what I’m doing.” Right? So, my results were big, and no-one else that was giving me feedback was doing certain things that I was, so I would just be like, “I’m good. I don’t need your feedback.” I was very defensive.

Then, you know, my good friend Matt, people like , some other people really started to stand for me and say, “Listen, we think you should look within a little bit, and start checking this out and seeing where it’s coming from.” So, through hiring therapists, hiring coaches, going to emotional intelligence workshops, trying everything, I started to open up.

I started to open up about my past. The things that I’d been through, that I’d never told anyone. So, for those that don’t know my story, who were dragged out by your friends, I was sexually abused when I was a kid, when I was five years old, by a man that I didn’t know. My brother went to prison for four and a half years, when I was eight to twelve, so during that time, the neighbourhood parents weren’t allowing their kids to hang out with me, because they thought that I was a bad kid as well.

My parents, probably like most of you in here, were going through challenges, they were arguing a lot. They actually got divorced, and I was in the special needs classes all through my life. There was not one year that I remember being in a normal class, without having a tutor next to me, without being in a special needs class as well. Plus I was 6’4″ when I was nine years old, so I just looked like a freak. Like, Dumbo ears, you know, acne face, just like, awkward, right? I was just, like, this awkward, skinny dude, that was very insecure.

And so, when I finally started to open up about these things and talk about them, it was the most terrifying thing I’d ever done. Even more terrifying than saying ‘Hi’ to a girl that I liked when I was ten years old, or anything else, paying in my championship games in front of thousands of people. It was the most terrifying thing for me to actually say the things I never wanted anyone to know about me. It was terrifying.

But after I started to do it, it was complete freedom. That weight that I had been carrying on my chest and on my shoulders my entire life, I was no longer carrying. It took some time for it to finally, kind of, go away, but after practicing it and just talking about it more and more, the instances in my life didn’t own me anymore. I was in ownership of them. And I just felt a sense of pure bliss and freedom.

Now, in no way do I feel like I figured it all out for the last four years, because I still get charged, I still get frustrated and angry and defensive. But I feel like I have a handle on it, because I feel like I’m able to practice being more intentional in my responses, and in responding with more love and compassion as opposed to reacting from anger or fear, defensiveness.

And I practice every morning. I say to myself, “Okay, people are going to criticise me today, maybe my girlfriend will say something that I don’t appreciate. Maybe my family member will say something that I don’t like.” Maybe someone leaves a negative review on Amazon and doesn’t actually put their real name on there because they are a coward. Whatever! Maybe somebody cuts me off on the road, maybe someone bumps into me, someone looks at me weird, someone says something.

So, I prime myself and I think about, “Okay. What are all the things that could happen today?” And I start to visualise all these things. I say, “If someone cuts me off, if someone leaves me a bad review, if someone says something to me I don’t appreciate, do I want to respond from a place of anger and fear and frustration? Or do I want to respond from a place of love and compassion? Or not respond at all?”

And what I’ve realised is that I focus on two things now. These two things are: Are my responses supporting my inner peace and my freedom, and are they getting me closer to my vision, or are they hurting those two things? So are they supporting my vision in the way I respond? Supporting my inner peace? Or are they hurting both of those things? Because anything other than those two things really doesn’t matter.

It’s going to continue to hold me back if I react from a place of anger, frustration, fear, defensiveness, and it’s going to keep me from my potential greatness if I focus on these negative things. And those things will make me tighter, or make me more stressed, anxious, fearful, and there’s no way to achieve our greatest potential unless we’re in flow.

It’s science. There’s no way we can achieve the greatest results, unless we’re in flow. The greatest dancers in the world understand this. If they’re constantly thinking and analysing themselves, or worried about what people are thinking about them, they’re not going to be able to gracefully perform in ways that they could imagine. Athletes, actors, musicians, writers, it’s all about getting in the flow. But if we’re stressed, and anxious and focussed on negative things, then it’s not going to happen.

So, for me, it’s been a very fun journey over the last four years, to realise how flawed I am, and how it’s going to be a continual practice for the rest of my life. To be aware when the masks come on and try to quickly remove them. And just try to get rid of them as fast as possible. And so it’s been a practice in the mornings, to say, “Okay, when these things happen, am I going to respond from a place of love, or anger and hatred?”

And I’m not perfect. Every day I still get triggered sometimes and sometimes I fall backwards and I don’t perform the way I’d like to. And other times I’ll give myself a score at the end of every night, how I performed on a scale of one to ten. How did I show up? Did I get angry throughout the whole day? Okay, I’m like a three. Did I respond from a place of love when I felt attacked from everyone? Then I’m like, “Wow! I’m really proud of myself.” Give myself a nine or a ten. So I’ve just tried to figure out ways that work for me. Based on my triggers, the things that hold me back, and the things that keep me from my vision and my inner peace.

And I focus on those two things: Vision and inner peace. Because I believe men, and all human beings, are scary when we have no vision and no inner peace. We become wanderers, constantly trying to figure it out. “What am I doing? What am I doing?” And if we’re always stressed out and anxious, we are more inclined to do things that don’t support humanity.

So, it’s been a fun last couple of weeks, I’ve been on the road. We were in New York City, and did a lot of press, did a book tour there and then in Chicago a few nights ago and now I’m here. We go to San Diego on Friday, and then Charlotte in about a week or two. And what’s opened up for me the most, is the people who have started reading this or have completed this book.

It’s funny, last time I had a book come out, I was so concerned with the results, with the numbers, the results, hitting the New York Times list, looking good essentially. And I’ve hit these results that I wanted and I still wasn’t happy. And I was like, “Why am I not fulfilled still? Why am I not getting what I want inside?” And this time around I feel just so much more relaxed.

Because, yes, it’ll be great to hit the New York Times list. And it would be great to hit these certain numbers and get these results. But what I am so grateful for is the conversations that we are having in our community, based on what’s happening in society and in the media right now. So if we analyse what’s happened just this year alone, in let’s say the last six or seven months, mostly in America. Besides the hurricanes and natural disasters, what are we seeing in the media?

For me, I think about Charlottesville, and the racial marches of men who are angry, trying to protect themselves, wearing masks, that don’t know how to communicate and express themselves from a loving conversation. So they lead with fear and anger. Then I see, what was it, a few weeks ago, the Vegas shooting. A man that doesn’t know how to express himself in healthier forms, and says, “Well, I’ve been holding it inside my entire life. I’ve just been bottling up. And I don’t know how to talk about it, I don’t know how to connect about it. I don’t know how to do anything, so let me just unleash, and then shoot myself.”

I was just in New York City a few days ago when someone ran through the city a mile away. I was doing, you know, literally, a Facebook live, when we hear sirens going off, one after another. Because someone, a man, ran through the streets with a truck, bus, whatever it was, and ran down a bunch of people. Every single year we hear about people, men in the NFL, or some sports team, sports league, with domestic violence. Hitting their girlfriends, their wives, whatever it may be.

This is related to a lot of people in this room. Some of you might have already had experiences, since we’re in Hollywood, but three weeks ago we saw all the sexual abuse, sexual harassment coming out from all the people in Hollywood, all the men, wearing the sexual mask. A lot of these things have been happening in the last six months. But, I don’t hear women in the media doing these things.

We’re not hearing about women, I mean I’m sure it’s happening, but we’re not hearing about it, at the level that we’re hearing about it with men. So, for me, this is a very important message. Because I believe more men should be looking within to see how we can continue to heal the stuff that we’ve been through. And express ourselves in healthier forms than what we see in the media. From hitting people, to taking advantage of people sexually. From marching in streets with torches, whatever that men are doing right now, it’s coming from a place of fear and anger and trying to protect themselves.

As opposed to just saying, “Here’s how I feel. Let me just communicate it in a healthier form, and trying to listen, and be more compassionate and loving.” So, for me, I’m very excited about us having these conversations together, and talking more about how we can open up and how men can continue to heal. How men can continue to grow and evolve, so that the stigma that we’ve had as men, and I’m speaking from my point of view. The way I grew up, in the Midwest, and a lot of the friends that I know, they would never talk about this stuff, growing up.

They’d get made fun of, they’d get picked on, they’d get punched in the face. Something would happen if you said anything sensitive or vulnerable. Especially in my sports teams. I’m speaking from my experience and I know, not all men have had that experience. But when the media are highlighting all of these things that men are doing, it’s 45% of men who say that they don’t have one guy friend that they can share their vulnerabilities or insecurities with. Their fears, their struggles. Almost 50% of men say they don’t have one man in their life, that they can just open up and talk to about.

Whereas, ladies in this room, how many of you get together every day and talk about your fears and insecurities, right? Like, you’re on the phone with your girlfriends, you guys are joining for lunch, and you’re like, “Ah, this is what I’m going through in this relationship, and this is what I feel about my body image. This is what…” You’re constantly talking, right? You’re sharing, you’re expressing. And then, usually, afterwards you feel a whole lot better, don’t you? You’re like, “Man, thank you for listening to me. I’m glad I was able to get that out. Right? As opposed to not sharing, and then it bottling up and manifesting through, what happens with men, suicide.

Men commit, I think it is a six times higher suicide rate for men than it is for women. Men die younger than women. There are more criminal men than there are criminal women. And I believe a lot of this manifests from us not being able to, or being conditioned, some of these men being conditioned to not being able to express themselves in healthier forms, because it’s not acceptable for them. It’s not cool, they don’t fit in with their peers, they’re made fun of. Whatever it may be, the conditioning of years over years, that’s held myself back and other men like me who experienced similar things.

So, I’m very proud of the conversations we’re having as a community, and the people who have been coming out and the people who have been messaging me online just thanking me for talking about this. Because I think it starts with each one of us, to continue to grow and learn and develop how we can serve humanity in better ways than we’re doing right now.

I feel like the world is suffering a lot with all the things that are happening. All the bombings, all the attacks, all the sexual abuse. And it starts with each one of us to continue to dive in and so I hold myself accountable and responsible for a lot of the suffering in the world, because every action I take, creates a reaction in other people as well. Everything I say or do affects the people who hear it or see it.

So, I think all of us get to continue to improve and look from within, and I know I’ve just started scratching the surface. I haven’t even begun to evolve to the level that I would like to, because just last week, or a week and a half ago, right before I went on my book tour, I was in the airport, and I forgot my wallet, I forgot my ID, right when I got to the airport I realised it. And knowing me, people who know me, I get there 15 minutes before the plane leaves. Because I’ve got CSA pre-check, it’s all figured out. I’ve just got to carry on, I just go right to the lane and I’m in.

And I get there and I’m like, “S**t! I don’t have my wallet, I don’t have my ID!” and I start freaking out, rushing through the TSA area, and I’m like, “I don’t have my ID, can you get me on a plane? What do I need to do, like, what’s it going to take?”

“You need to go over to that line and talk to this person,” so I’m sprinting over there, and literally it’s, like, 15 minutes till the plane leaves.

So, I’m sprinting over there, they shut the door. Sprinting over to the next line, there just happen to be a hundred people in this line, so I’m like, “I can’t wait,” so I have to manoeuvre my way over to the front, ask people to move out of the way, enrol them in figuring this out, I’m talking to someone at the desk and then, “Sorry, you have to go back to the end of the line,” and I’m like, “Sorry, I don’t have my ID, and my plane leaves…” I’m trying to explain myself, right?

They take five minutes to get someone else, I tell my story, they’re like, “Okay, do you have any identification?” And I literally pull out my book cover, and I say, “Here’s my book!” And I’m like, “Here’s my website, my social media,” and they’re like, “No, we need a piece of mail or something else.” I’m like, “I don’t have anything.”

So, they’re like, “Okay, we’re going to call this other person”, and they bring someone else over, and I’m like, “Guys, can we do this, like, urgency? Life is now, let’s go, people!” But they’re taking their good old time, you know. So, finally I get someone to say, “Okay, we’re going to have to do a phone call. There’s a form you have to fill out, you have to go through a bunch of questions to verify this is you,” and I’m like, “Cool! Let’s do it! Call them now! Let’s go!” They’re like, “Let’s walk out here,” they’re just taking their time.

So, we finally make it happen, do the phone call, I’m going through these questions, like birth date, mother’s maiden name, car you had twenty years ago, all these crazy things that they have. Then finally they verify it and I’ve got like, 5 minutes. And we go back and I go, “Okay, can we finally figure this out?” They have to literally strip me down pretty much naked. And take out every item in my bag, swab each item, because of this process.

So, now I’m pretty much naked, in a little room in the back. They’re going through the instructions: “So, I’m going to put my hands back like this, I’m going to pat you down, here, here…” I’m like, “Just pat me down, let’s go!” I’m like, “Whatever! I’ll do whatever you want!” They’re taking out all the items, they’re just taking their good old time, and I’m like, “Is there any way we can hurry this up, because I’m the gate says it’s closing in two minutes,” I’m looking at my phone, and they say it’s closing in two minutes.

They’re like, “The gate is right here, it’s the first gate. You’re going to make it.” She was not convincing me though. I was like, “I just believe that it’s not going to happen.” I never missed a flight. I’ve never been late for a flight. I’ve always snuck in right before the door shut. I’m notorious for that. But something inside of me was like, “I don’t know, you’re just taking too long. And I’m still naked, so I got to put my clothes on and run there.”

So, they finally finish up, I’m sprinting with stuff hanging out of my bag, holding my shoes, running through the airport. Right as I get to the gate, the door shuts. And they say, “Sorry, once the door is closed, it’s closed.’ I was like, “There’s got to be a way you could open the door.” There’s always a way, right? They say, “No. Once it’s closed, it’s closed.” I’m like, “But the plane is literally right here!” People are walking on there still, it hasn’t even left, the thing is attached to it, and the customer support lady is like, “I’m sorry, but it’s closed and there’s nothing we can do.

And I’m literally, I mean, like I start and the Incredible Hulk in me starts wanting to come out. I look at the trash can right there, I think about punting it through the window. There’s a pillar and a dry wall, and I’m, like, I want to take my fist and smash it all the way through and rip down the airport. This is where my mind starts to go. The conditioning that I have, right?

And I want to scream at this person. I’m thinking all these things. And essentially make this big scene that I didn’t get my way, right? So, I don’t look at the customer support person because I feel like I’m going to say something that I regret. So, I’m looking to the side, at the plane, and I’m just thinking, “It’s still here, it’s still here. You could get me on, but it’s not going to work.”

I’m like, “Could you get me on another plane right now, because I’m just going to be here at this time tonight?” Like, “Sorry, the next plane is in the morning.” And I’m just like, “You’re killing me now! I got to be somewhere in the morning.” So I am bending over at this point, breathing heavily, and I say to myself, “Okay, how fitting is this, that I just wrote a book about masculine vulnerability, and all I want to do right now is punch a wall and kick a trash can and scream?!”

So, I say, “Okay.” I just start smiling. I just start smiling. I’m like, “Okay, I get to continue to hold myself accountable. Great! This is making me more responsible. I can’t talk about this stuff and not try to practice it.” So it takes me about ten minutes before I say something. She continues to ask me questions, and I’m kind of passively aggressively standing there, not responding, because I don’t want to hurt anything in this situation.

So I finally breathe enough, which I think is a great practice for any human being. Not just men, but all humans, to just, okay, when you want to hurt something or someone or make a scene, breathe. Until you don’t feel like you need to any more. And so I practiced that, and I was breathing. And I finally looked her in the eyes and started talking to her with a little bit less anger and said, “Well, is there anything you can do for me tonight?”

She’s like, “No.” And I’m like, “Okay, what’s the best thing you can do for me?” And just continued to go through the process with her. And, listen, I wasn’t the most perfect. I was still a little passive aggressive, but I was very proud of myself that I walked out of the airport calmly, not screaming, making a scene, swearing at people, not kicking stuff along the way, like I might have done in the past. And for me that was a huge win.

It was like, “Okay, I know what I’m capable of now. When something doesn’t go my way, or  I’m triggered or I’m frustrated, I know that I can communicate in a better way. So I’m really proud of the conversations that everyone’s having on this topic. Yes, do I want to sell millions of books? Sure. But, for me, it’s not as much about the sales and the results, it’s more about the conversation and how we can come together as humanity, to really start to heal these wounds that a lot of men are faced with.

Now, listen, we men are faced with challenges as well. Women and gender non-conforming are faced with a lot of things as well. So, this isn’t really about who has it easier, who has it harder, any of these things. I’m not comparing who has it worse off in the world, but what I’m saying is, that men have been conditioned over time, to not open up and express themselves in healthier forms. From my perspective.

And it’s my mission to be an example, because I don’t see many white, jock men who are opening up about their insecurities, and talking about sexual abuse, talking about their fears and insecurities like I’ve been going through. So my goal is to continue to inspire other men to start opening up. It doesn’t even have to be publicly, but just with their family, with their friends, with the community.

To start opening up, so that humanity can come together. Because the media, for me, is really painful to watch. It hurts me to watch the media, and see all the things that men are doing, impacting the world in a negative way. And I would love for more stories to come out about men who are lifting others up, not trying to be dominant and win at all costs.

And, for me, I needed to win at all costs my entire life. I needed to win and I needed to be right at all times. Because that’s where I found my value in the world. People liked me when I won, I had value. So if I ever lost and was wrong, I felt like I didn’t have value. And I felt like people weren’t going to accept me, or like me.

And so, now, I try to come from a place of win-win at all costs. And how can you be right and I be right. Because if you’re wrong and you lose, then we’re isolating each other. And if I’m the only winner and I’m always right, then I’m the Champion on a freaking island by myself. That doesn’t feel good either, and that’s why I was always feeling alone, and always feeling like it wasn’t enough.

So my goal is to redefine how we can communicate, redefine how we can connect, as men, and kind of start taking off the masks a little bit. Pulling them back and revealing ourselves a little bit better with each other. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Yeah, thank you guys.

I’d love to do some Q&A, so I think we have a couple of mics. Do we have a couple of mics? Or no? Okay, so if we have a couple of mics, if you want to roam around and give them to people. If you got a question, we’re going to do questions for 10-30 minutes and then we’ll sign some books, hang out, take some photo’s, whatever you guys want to do.

There’s some incredible people in the room, so once we’re done here I recommend connecting with other people in the room, but we’ll do some Q&A. So, say your name, and what you’re grateful for and the question.

Kaduce:                                    Okay, so my name is Kaduce, and I’m so grateful that you’re bringing this message to the world right now. I think it’s so important and I’m so proud of you. And my question is: What have been the biggest challenges in bringing this message to the world the way you’re bringing it?

Lewis Howes:                       For me, you know, the human condition is 99% of people have been so behind this, and they’re like, “Yes! It’s so great to be talking about this!” and “Yes! You’re such a good example, because there’s not, like, white men talking about this stuff much.” Yes, yes, yes. But there’s a group of women who are very against me. Very against me. And so the 1% is sometimes what we focus on.

The one negative comment or, like, “Ah! Why?!” you know, so, the challenge, for me, has been to not get defensive. And to say, “Awesome! I want to hear why you think I’m a scumbag,” or “I want to hear why you think I’m a dirt trash.” All these things they’re talking about me, “Okay, cool, let me hear. I’m here to listen.” When old me is like, “You don’t know who I am! You don’t know what I’ve been through!” you know, all this stuff.

So I’m coming from a place of more, like, “Cool! Tell me more of why you feel whatever it is you feel about me.” People are saying some really nasty stuff on Facebook groups and stuff, and publicly. My team is telling me not to say anything and not to join the conversation, but I’m coming from what I believe is a very neutral place, just saying I’d love to hear, and I’m open to having conversation, you know, just on Skype or Zoom or in person.

Because they’re just saying, like, “I will never read this book. I’ll never read anything from you. I’ll never buy anything from you,” any of this stuff, from whatever reason they have. So, I feel like they’re just judging me, when they’re writing stuff about equality and feminism and whatever it is, where I’m like, “I’m just saying the same thing.” Literally, if you read half of my book, you’d see it’s the same thing you just posted, and I’m speaking to men.

When I feel like sometimes, some of these groups of women are just screaming at me, and saying, “We need men to do this!” and kind of being judgemental. And I’m like, “Cool, let’s have a conversation together, before coming and just making me wrong, before you even read a sentence or have a conversation with me.” So I feel like there’s a lot of people who are just closed off, so I’m just wanting to talk.

So sometimes I feel like, well, isn’t that part of the problem? If we’re not willing to come together and just listen to each other? Who cares if you come from a completely different background? I’m going to listen. Maybe I wasn’t before, but I am now. So, if you want to hold something against me from my past, cool. But it’s not going to help humanity, unless we talk, so I can try to understand you, and you can understand me, and we can see how we can both come together.

So, that can be a challenge for me, because my conditioning is winning and being right, so to continue to be like, “Okay, don’t defend yourself. Just come from a place of love, and let’s see how we can talk. That’s what I’m trying to work on.

Audience Member:         First of all I want to thank you. I have three daughters, and the reason I’m sitting here tonight is because of them. With all due respect, I didn’t know who you were, and my sixteen-year-old daughter and my twenty-year-old twin daughters are huge fans.

Lewis Howes:                       Oh, awesome! Thanks for bringing her. Thanks for dragging her out.

Audience Member:         So, I want to say sincerely, deeply, thank you! Because my mission, as I’m sure a lot of women here hopefully share this, is that we’re here to empower each other and to raise resilient, strong women. And I know that we can better do that with men that are willing to be vulnerable and open. So, I thank you because I feel hopeful that the message will get out there and my daughters have a greater opportunity to find partners that will support them. So, that was my gratitude part.

My question is: and again, with all due respect, I appreciate that you’re sharing your message and creating a space for the conversation. What have you committed to doing on a regular basis, daily, weekly, to stay in that space where you remain open and vulnerable to being yourself.

Lewis Howes:                       I think, you know, I surround myself with pretty good people, you know, my team, who, I’m constantly asking them, “Give me feedback, if I’m saying things on the podcast or online or with you guys that doesn’t resonate with this message. If you feel like I’ve closed off, if I’m leading with my ego, if I’m defensive, let me know.” So I ask my team to do that to me, and I ask them to be honest with me about it. Because I don’t want… I want to be sure I’m living up to this as well.

Because I can easily go back. I can be the most negative person in the world if I want to be. so I could easily go back. Like I said before, I try to, in the morning, already preface my day and say, “Okay, when certain things are going to come up for me,” because they are, I focus on all the good things that are going to happen, and I’m like, “Okay, if something happens today where I face adversity, how do I want to respond? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Mad? Or from a place of listening, love, calm, or just not responding at all. So I try to do that in the morning, and at night, this is just how I work, I rate myself, how did I do? And then I evaluate that. Okay? So I have some awareness around it at night. Did I perform to the level I wanted to as a human being, not just a man, as a human? Or did I let myself down? And I think that practice is what works for me now. Having these conversations, writing a book, was probably the biggest thing for me, because it makes me be more accountable.

Because I can’t talk about this, and then just be an asshole. You know what I mean? I mean, sometimes I’m going to be an asshole, still, it’s going to happen, inevitably. But, it needs to be a lot less. And meditation, for me, is really powerful, because it allows me to come back to a place of inner peace, and I think, as a man, I was frustrated a lot and so I didn’t know how to get to a place of inner peace, and so I always felt pressure and stress.

I think that built up pressure and stress manifests in some form. It used to be through my body, just feeling overwhelmed and then I would say things to people, I’d react, so I just try to find a place of inner peace whenever I feel stressed. So, meditation really helps, but, those things help, yeah.

Skye:                                          Hi Lewis! My name is Skye. I’m grateful for my three younger brothers. So this question is for them. I have a seventeen-year-old brother, who I connect with a lot. I’m really close with him, and I think he’s struggling right now to express himself authentically, especially coming from a sports background and being a hockey player. And he is really enjoying his expressing himself through music, but he’s struggling. What would you say to your seventeen-year-old self?

Lewis Howes:                       I would tell him to talk to Brookes, who is the hockey player in the NHL… Oh! My seventeen-year-old self? Man, I would just say, “Let it go.” Because all the things I was carrying and holding onto were hurting me, they weren’t helping me. And all the resentment, the frustration, the anger towards people and my experiences in the past, holding onto that wasn’t supporting me in achieving my goals.

Here’s the crazy thing, is that negative fuel, that drive to prove people wrong, is some of the most powerful fuel in the world, and it drove me! I was so committed to doing whatever it took to prove people wrong for a long time. And so, it works! It got me the results I was looking for, but I was constantly suffering inside. So, the outer world worked, but the inner world was suffering.

So, I would say to myself, “Let that stuff go, and come from a place of lifting others up as opposed to putting others down. And come from a place of inspiring others as opposed to making others wrong.” And that fuel is just as powerful and so much more rewarding to my heart. And so that’s what I would say to myself. I don’t know if I would have listened, because I thought I had all the answers, but that’s what I would say.

Sasha:                      Thank you for being here. My name is Sasha. I’m grateful, to be honest, for everything in life. From the trees, from the ground, from the roof, to you. My question is going to be little questions and then I’ll come to a core question. I think this is going to resonate with everyone over here, because it resonates with me, and I can see that you flipped some switch in your mind, that you started acting the way that you weren’t acting, as in fighting. Because I used my fists a lot when I was a kid. I was in martial arts since I was two to fourteen, so instead of expressing myself and talking, I would punch walls and kick anything. Just fighting. For no reason.

But I’m grateful for a time when I have mentors around me, like you, who went through that and shared it and I say, “Okay, they’re going through that, then I’ll keep on going through that. They can fix it, then I can fix it myself.” So, do you believe that the quality of your questions internally, determines the quality of your life?

Lewis Howes:                       What do you believe?

Sasha:                                        I believe, yes, the quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. I see something that you changed, internally. Do you believe, that, before expressing yourself to your mom or to your dad, or your brother or your sister or your spouse or your wife, your brother, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, expressing yourself, do you believe you have to have some kind of conversation within before expressing it?

Lewis Howes:                       I think so. Do you?

Sasha:                                        I do believe it. So, my core question is: What are some of the questions that you ask yourself before expressing yourself externally? What’s the internal questions you ask yourself?

Lewis Howes:                       I think it depends on the situation and what I’m focussed on, but it’s become clearer and clearer to me, the questions that I ask myself is: “Does this move my vision and move humanity forward, and bring me inner peace?” And if it doesn’t, then why am I doing it? If it’s not helping my vision, or helping humanity and lifting it up, or giving me inner peace, then it’s doing something that’s hurting my vision, or not helping it at all, and not bringing me a sense of peace inside. So that’s just what I’m focussed on. Is this conversation, is this experience going to help both of those things.

Sasha:                                        I love you.

Lewis Howes:                       I love you too. Thank you.

Carmina:                                  I’m Carmina, and I’m grateful for this conversation, for sure! And for you, having the courage to, even though you’re still trying to figure stuff out, like we all are, that you’re anyway writing a book and leading in this conversation, so, a lot of courage. Thank you.

I often feel for men, because I feel like there is a lot of pressure of, like, this new conversation of, “Okay, now. Vulnerability now. Cry now.” All of this stuff and then there’s a lot of men doing yoga and being vulnerable and opening up. And then the other part of men that I think is very necessary, that aggressive part of you, there could be a misconception that, now, let’s leave that aside and some men can now fear that aggression maybe in bed, maybe outside of bed, because now all of a sudden, they’re meant to be this…

Lewis Howes:                       They’re not taking charge, they’re not…

Carmina:                                  Yeah, so what’s a good balance, and what are practices for…

Lewis Howes:                       It’s like a dance. I think it’s… Here’s another critique that I’m getting from a lot of men who are attacking me, like, “This is the pussification of men, right?” You know? So I think I’m just trying to focus on continuing to step into who I fully am. And I am competitive, I am an athlete, I like to lift, I like to bro-talk, you know, I like to do these things.

And so, for me, it’s just trying to create a context and a setting where I can still express myself in certain times, in healthy ways. So, with my girlfriend, Jen, it’s like, finding a time at night where, maybe it’s not to the world, but it’s just to her, where I’m like, “G**, I’m just struggling right now. I’m going through this, I’m going through this.” But on other nights, she’s… You know, other things are happening, where I’m taking charge and, you know, other recreational things are happening where I step into my masculinity. So, I think it’s just constantly figuring it out and dancing with it. Yeah, right? Because, it’s just a dance. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers, that’s for sure.

Audience Member:         How you doing, everybody? First of all I’m thankful that I’m taking therapy sessions with Jen. This is how I got to know you.

Lewis Howes:                       Oh! Jen’s great!

Audience Member:         She’s amazing, man! Okay, so I have just a little thing to express, and then I need advice on it.

Lewis Howes:                       Quick question.

Audience Member:         Yeah. So, partly Middle Eastern, everybody knows it’s a very masculine society, growing up, and being kind of like put down for not being good enough, both mentally and physically, I think I reflect this to everybody around me, and I do the same without even noticing that I do it. And it pisses me off, after ten minutes when I realise, “Oh, s**t, I did what used to happen to me.” How do I stop that before it happens? That’s it.

Lewis Howes:                       You know, again, I don’t know if I have all the answers for you, specifically. But I think, what I’m practicing myself is, in the morning, being very intentional about how I want to show up that day. How do I want to show up today? When I see someone who I typically criticise or judge, or compare myself to, or whatever it may be, how do I want to respond? As opposed to going back into my old ways of being.

So, I think in the morning it’s very critical to spend this time, to focus on how you want to show up that day. At the end of the day, re-evaluate what happened. How did I respond in these situations? What could I improve for tomorrow? And constantly just checking yourself, and being mindful, you know, writing down the situation and seeing if there’s any patterns that you’re constantly reactive to. But I think that when we’re focussed in the morning, of like, “Okay, I’m going to show up this way today,” then we’re just setting ourselves up to win, as opposed to being on autopilot. So, that’s what I would suggest to getting started.

Audience Member:         Hi everybody! I’m grateful for this amazing space and the amazing people in this space, and I wanted to ask you, Lewis, I listen to your shows and we’ve had conversations. I’d love to hear about your father, while we’re talking about masculinity. If you’re willing to go there. The greatest gift, or the greatest lesson that he gave to you?

Lewis Howes:                       The greatest gift. You know, my father got in an accident about twelve years ago, which was devastating for me. He was in New Zealand, on a trip with his fiance at the time. After he got divorced from my mom, he’d met someone else. And it was my senior year at college. He’d never missed a football game of mine, all through college. Flown all around the world. And he decided to leave my senior year to New Zealand for a couple of weeks, because it was the only time that he could go somewhere for his business and other things that were happening.

So, we had a by-week, we had a week off, then we had a game, and he was going to miss one game, and then the other week he wasn’t going to miss because we had a by-week. And the night before the game, it was 11h30 at night, I got a ‘phone call from my sister, at around 11h30, and right away I was just, like, “Something happened to my dad.” Because my family knows not to call me the night before, like after a certain time, because I’m just visualising. And I see her name, Heidi, on the ‘phone, and I pick it up and I just say, “What’s happened to Dad?” And she couldn’t even speak, she was just crying and I couldn’t even tell what was happening, but I knew something happened right then because she wasn’t reacting in a positive way.

And he had gotten in a car accident in New Zealand, where he was driving around a curvy kind of mountain area, and a car came the opposite way, and they drive on the other side of the road there, and I guess he didn’t turn to the right, which we normally do here in America. He turned the other way, and the car came up on top of his car and the bumper went through the windshield and hit him in his head.

So, they cut the car in half, they had to airlift him. His fiance is holding his head together, because it’s cut open, so she’s holding his head together for hours, while they cut open the car. And they airlift him off to some hospital, so I get the call, and we don’t know if he’s going to live or not, because he’s on life support at this time.

So, the night before a game. And I’m already thinking, “Man, my Dad is missing this game and now is he even going to make it?” And so, I’m just kind of in shock. I have no idea if my dad’s alive or what happened. I have no idea. He could have been dead at that point. My family was like, “You know, he would want you to play, anyways. You should play tomorrow because he would want you to. Just sitting around and doing nothing, that’s not what he would want.”

So, I decided to play the next day, and the second to the last play of the game, we’re losing to our across town rivals, the second to last play of the game, I catch a ball and try to turn to go upfield to score, if we score, we win. And I get speared by a helmet right in the ribs and break three ribs. I hear them pop.

And so I’m getting carted off the field, the next play is the last play of the game, we lose, I’ve broken three ribs, my senior year, I don’t even know if my dad’s still alive at this point, and I’m just thinking, “Holy s**t, what is this? You know, what is my life right now? What is this world trying to tell me right now?”

He wakes up a couple of months later, on Thanksgiving day. So, he was on life support the whole time in this hospital, he wakes up on Thanksgiving day, he comes back about a month later, back to the U.S. when he was actually able to transport him. And he’s never been the same. He’s never been the same still after… you know, since I was twenty-two.

It’s pretty much like I lost my Dad. It was really sad for a few years, because he couldn’t speak, he couldn’t write and he just became kind of like a shell of himself. He has really bad amnesia, so he just forgets everything. He’s still around today and I see him a couple of times a year, but he used to just love his family and his kids so much and would do anything for us.

After the accident, it’s just like his mentality wasn’t there. Something happened to his brain where he just doesn’t function the same way, he’s just kind of like a big kid that just doesn’t care about his health, doesn’t care about his life, I think it’s just something off in his brain from the trauma that he faced. And I can’t really have an emotional connection with him. We just kind of talk about the same things that he can remember from the past, and it’s been like that for the last twelve years.

So, it’s been really devastating for me because he was such a close friend of mine, and really believed in me and stood for me. But the greatest lesson he taught me was, he just constantly instilled this sense of belief that anything is possible. And he also taught me a lesson about time which I love today. If my friends and family hate me because I forget their birthdays all the time. I don’t celebrate birthdays, because my dad didn’t celebrate my birthday. And when I was younger, I didn’t understand, you know, I would go to all my friends’ birthday parties, but, you know, March 16th rolled around, no cake, no presents, nothing for me. And I was like, “Dad, how come you don’t celebrate me? Do you not love me? Why do we not celebrate my birthday, when everyone else celebrates birthdays?

And he said something that I’ll never forget. He said, “Because so many people that I come around say that they’re too old or too young to chase their dreams, and they always use age as a limiting belief,” and so he said, “I never want you to feel like your age can hold you back from achieving anything you want.” It was really powerful, yeah!

So, for me, I think he just instilled something that was like, it doesn’t matter if I don’t have the education, the experience, how young I was, how old I am, I’m just going to go after what I want. And I think that was something I really appreciate of him, because I think some people I come across don’t have a sense of belief in themselves. Whereas he just instilled the power of belief, because it doesn’t matter if the world believes that you’re capable of doing something, if you have billions of people that say, “You’ve got this!” If I don’t believe it inside, then I don’t got it. And so, how can we bottle up belief in ourselves and continue to cultivate that? I thinks it’s the most powerful asset in the world. And so I’m just very grateful of that lesson that he taught me.

Audience Member:         Thanks for tonight, mate. I’m Australian, if you can’t tell, but thank you. You talked about a lot that I related to, but how did you take the first step to get the confidence to really go to a therapist and go, “I need to lift the deepest stuff,” how’d you get the confidence to talk about it?

Lewis Howes:                       I didn’t have the confidence, I had, again, the perfect storm of events, I had catalysts. These experiences like a toxic relationship and a break-up, almost beating up my business partner in the middle of Times Square, literally hitting someone on a basketball court, and just being constantly aggressive. All those events kept happening and people were like, “Okay, something’s not working,” and I started to say, “Okay, wow. Something’s not working.”

Here’s the challenge: I think a lot of men, and humans, we don’t start to wake up until something drastic happens. A near-death experience, a death in the family or friends, a cancer scare, a divorce, a career ending, injury, getting fired from a career. Until we have some sort of a catalyst that’s drastic, that’s usually when we look within and say, “Okay, let me re-evaluate what I’m doing.” So, it’s really hard for men in general, I think, to look within just when things seem to be doing okay, or you don’t have one of those scares.

That’s the challenge. That’s why I’m trying to have these conversations, you know, I feel like if men are just willing to have these conversations, or willing to listen to a little bit… whether it’s me… It doesn’t matter if it’s me, or just someone that they can relate to. And I’m hopeful that some men will be able to relate to me and my experience.

Obviously not all men are going to, but I think the more guys that talk about this, there’ll be different examples of people sharing that people can relate to. So, I’m hopeful that this book gets people to open up, gets people to just look within a little bit deeper, all these things. I’m just trying to do my best, you know?

But having these conversations, again, my friends stood for me. More and more, but, hey, I was challenging, because I was very resistant, and I was like, “No, I have the answers. I’m right. Look at my results.” So, it’s challenging, but the more bad things happened, they continued to stand for me and that allowed me to start the process. But even through the process of therapists and coaches and workshops it was still tough. I was still resistant.

Audience Member:         Thank you.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah.

Audience Member:         I think this is the most important topic you’ve ever talked about in your entire career, and I acknowledge you, man. This is really beautiful, and this book. My question is related to the question that the woman in the back asked about the way that she can sort of create space for the men in her life to open up, and specifically, my question is from my relationship with my dad.

My dad’s never been somebody that openly shares his feelings. He’s always had the macho, bravado way of thinking about being a man, but I can be vulnerable with him all day long, but it doesn’t change the way that he is with me. And I don’t necessarily need to be more vulnerable for me, I know that he’ll feel more free. So, my question is: How can I create a space where he wants that for himself? If I can do anything at all, I know that he’s got to want it, but how can I position it so that he can open up?

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah. You know, I think it’s something you’re really going to have to read his energy, and I don’t know if I’m going to have the right answer, because it’s all based on how he shows up, but I would say, you not shutting down yourself, but you continually opening up in a way that you think will resonate with him, will be supportive, I believe.

And I think having a conversation with him every now and then and saying, “Hey, Dad, for me, it would be really awesome if we could really talk about stuff once every six months.” I don’t know, it’s like you say, “For this hour, could we just go to a place that we’ve never gone before, or could we talk about things? I’d really like to hear things that you’re feeling or things that you’ve been through in your past,” and kind of creating a container. I mean it only has to happen once a year, you know, just to kind of get it started.

Or once every few months. For thirty minutes, let’s just talk about everything we’re afraid of. Something like that. Create a game around it. Some of these things may or may not work, I’m not sure, because I don’t know your dad, but creating a context where it works for him is what’s going to, I think, help. And then you continue to open up and just comfortable with yourself when you talk about these things, I think, will give him more permission as well. But that’s, like, sixty years of conditioning is hard to break, I think.

Audience Member:         Well, I don’t think I’ve ever directly asked him, either.

Lewis Howes:                       Well, there you go. So, ask him.

Audience Member:         I mean, that’s just genius.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah. Simple, simple.

Muhammed:                        My name is Muhammed. And I’m grateful for my brother for bringing me here, and I’m grateful to meet you in person before I heard your voice, so thank you, and thank you.

My question is about the morning. You mentioned it quite a few times throughout your talk, and to set intention. Because when I wake up, I’m on autopilot. I have a routine, I just do my bed, go to the shower, and then, I never make that intention. So, if you could just briefly explain your intention setting in the morning, and your recap at night. I would appreciate it.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah. I think there’s different forms of setting intention. Some people like to journal, saying, “Here’s my intention for the day, I’m going to be generous. I’m going to smile at people while I’m walking down the street. I’m going to respond from love.” So, if that works better for you, to write something down of how you want to show up that day, then you can write it down.

You can talk to a friend, your intimate partner, and say, “Here’s how I’m going to show up today.” You know, with me and my girlfriend, at the end of every night, we say three things we’re most grateful for and conclude the night with gratitude. In the morning I typically meditate for about 12-15 minutes, and in my meditation process.

At the end of the meditation process, I set a clear intention, and I think about the different things that could happen to me that day. You know, whether it’s from family, friends, my girlfriend, whatever happens online, like, something happens where I’m triggered, I say, “Okay, how do I want to respond?”

And at night, I try to just personally evaluate, how did I show up? You know, my girlfriend will tell you that a lot of times I don’t show up as a 10. Right? Like it’s usually a little bit less, and I could always be better. But I’m constantly trying to just rate myself and say, “Okay, I need to be better. I need to be better.”

I think just having that mindset makes me feel like I’m progressing, and sometimes I take steps back, and I’m not the way I want to be, but I feel like, since I’m aware of it every day, and mindful of it, I’m practicing improving as much as I can, and that’s… You know, I’m a human being like the rest of us, and I’m going to be out of integrity you know, my whole life, probably, as long as I’m breathing. But if I’m constantly mindful of it then hopefully I’ll do okay.

Audience Member:         Thank you!

Lewis Howes:                       Thank you guys so much for being here. I appreciate it, thank you. Thank you, thank you.

Music Credits:

Music Credit:

Escape by Hang Over
Lost Signal by R&Wl

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