2017 is the perfect time for you to become the man you’ve always wanted to be…yourself. We’re not all fitness buffs, confident salesmen or any one of the prehistoric stereotypes Clint Eastwood has played in one of a hundred different westerns. We’re not perfect. We have flaws and there are things about ourselves we’d like to improve. Mike Campbell, a professional Man Coach, wants to have a serious conversation about this and he’s not shying away from sharing a few beers at the same time.
Mike created the website chat show Beyond the Beers as a place to inspire, educate and challenge men to find the purpose, courage, compassion and strength to disrupt current stereotypes. He’s encouraging us to connect with who we really are and not who we think we’re supposed to be.
Mike’s Beyond the Beers is hitting the road in March for two live events described as Conversations & Cool Shit for Men. There’s going to be talk on health and tech, partnered with craft beer and gin. “You’ll leave with a new perspective on being a strong, well balanced masculine man, understanding true vulnerability as strength and be able to determine personal success. You’ll have a stronger connection to yourself, while connecting with other men on the path to getting more out of life”.
It’s interactive, educational, powerful and fun. Beyond the Beers hits Sydney on March 4th and Melbourne March 11th. We met up with Mike for a chat about what it means to be a modern man and to find out more about his favourite craft beers.
What is the male stereotype in 2017?
It’s changing for the better, but we still see a very narrow picture of what it means to be a man; the strong, macho, tough, essentially hyper-masculine version, that says men shouldn’t show emotion, ask for help or be seen as weak. This can be the dark, brooding, ‘hero’ from TV/movies, or the fat, useless bloke we see in beer/betting commercials and sitcoms. The messaging that says “Man up, sort everything out yourself, don’t show weakness” – stoicism gone wrong, basically.
This basically sums up the pressures men I’ve spoken to over the years feel.
Why shouldn’t men aspire to that image?
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing qualities, but they often get lost or misconstrued amongst the mess and confusion. The main issue is we feel the pressure to ‘be a man’, to be a certain version of ourselves in order to fit in and be accepted. It leads to us wearing a mask, projecting a front, which means we lose a sense of ourselves, and it becomes exhausting living up to this ridiculous standard – stuffing down our emotions, never talking about the meaningful things in life due to judgement of being weak or less than. We withdraw into our heads and stay in a place of constant comparison to others. It’s not healthy.
What is the ideal modern man?
In short, there is none. That’s exactly the point; when we’ve painted men to never show weakness and to be tough at all costs, we’re promoting immense pressure to be something we’re most likely not. Instead, to me, ‘to be a man’ is to be your own man; ownership of who you are, being content and confident in your own skin.
In addition, to borrow a term of from the Ancient Greeks, “Zeus Energy” – they described it as intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will and generous leadership. This is something I think every man can make his own, no matter how different they may be.
Trump. Good or bad for that image?
Ha, yeah, well strangely I think both. Obviously (I would hope), he’s a terrible human; a truly racist, sexist, narrow-minded, inconsiderate, entitled, buck-passing, dishonest, narcissistic and completely self-centred megalomaniac who will say anything in order to try and win over whoever will provide him with the most benefit. That said, I believe he’s forcing a conversation about what it means to be a man on a very public stage due to being such an anti-example, which can be hugely powerful.
What’s the first piece of advice you offer to men who come to you seeking guidance?
Working out what and who are important to you in life, stop caring so much about what other people think of you and focus on what you think of you (and the people closest to you). It can sound a bit ‘woowoo’ and fluffy, but it’s working out who you actually are. Drop the mask of what you feel you’re supposed to be, and work out you; what you stand for, your values and what drives you. What does success and happiness mean to you personally? Start ensuring you’re living that.
Who’s your role model?
I have many. I believe it’s important to have a wide range of perspectives on being a good human, both men and women. My father was a huge initial male role model, my mother and sisters more on the emotional front. Beyond that, some friends, mentors and characters I admire, and, to some degree, model off.
I also believe that every man should include himself in that. I hold myself to a standard and know what I’m capable of, so this comes into the picture.
However, I also talk about becoming the perfect mix of James Bond, Nelson Mandela and Batman.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
“One day is when you die” – This is something I learnt from my mum at a young age. The context being – we all die ‘one day’, so when we put things off until ‘one day’, we’re essentially saying we’re not going to do it, because that day is the day you die. If that makes sense? Basically, don’t put off what you want to do, you could die tomorrow.
What’s your fitness routine?
For me movement is the goal. That means lifting, bodyweight/gymnastic/animal flow, sprinting, running, and incidental walking, etc. So currently while I have a lot on my plate, a regular fitness program isn’t realistic. So I aim to hit something under ‘movement’ everyday, prioritised in that order.
Advice for men trying to balance work and fitness/health?
For many guys finding time is the struggle with this stuff, so it requires sitting down and working out how important health and fitness is to you and what you require as a basic standard to meet in your life. When you have this, you might need to have some conversations (with your boss, say) around ensuring you can get the time for your health that you require in order to perform your best in work and life.
What’s your advice for men who are self-conscious about their appearance, losing hair for instance?
I’m with you brother! Definitely thinning on top, and I hate it. I’d much rather have my full thick head of hair back. With that said, the approach, as it is with anything, is to own it. Whatever it is, acceptance needs to come from self, so really at the end of the day – who cares what others think? A man who owns all of him, including his so called ‘flaws’, is a man who garners respect. This breads more confidence.
Can you tell us a little more about what goes on at the Beyond the Beers events?
Sure. We have some speakers – men sharing stories of their own lives, going beneath the surface into the meaningful stuff in their lives. We have “Cool Shit” – craft beer, spirits, tech, heath, wealth and stuff we like and fill our lives with, but under the context of connecting beyond the surface level chat we so easily stick to.
We create space for men to connect, laugh, learn and grow via talks, experiences and sharing a beer.
What’s your favourite beer at the moment?
I’m not really that fussy on beer. Sometimes I like a good craft beer, sometimes I find the pale ale trend to hoppy. However, right now my fridge hols some cold natural lager from Young Henrys.
What do you say to the men who stand by their opinion that talking about their feelings is weak?
Why? Why do you think it’s weak? What do you fear will happen? Judgement? Rejection? What’s weak about it? You know what weakness is – fearing being seen as weak – that’s weakness. Talking about what’s actually going on for you is actually courageous, it takes balls to be seen and heard. Doesn’t mean you can’t still be strong and masculine; equal parts heart and backbone.
If you’ve resonated with the above, and like the idea of connecting with Mike and other like-minded guys all seeking more out of life, see below for details. Best be quick, seats are limited to 50 per city.
Tickets – just $147 (+gst).
VIP – $247 (+gst) – only 12 per city! Experience an exclusive dinner the evening of with Mike and one of our speakers. More than dinner, a deep dive follow on for each guy present.
Visit the site for more and to get your tickets: www.beyondthebeers.tv/event
Or straight to Eventbrite to grab tickets:
SYDNEY – https://btb-sydney.eventbrite.com
– 8:30am – 3:30pm
– 4th March 2017
– Sydney, CBD (Exact location TBC)
MELBOURNE – https://btb-melbourne.eventbrite.com
– 8:30am – 3:30pm
– 11th March 2017
– Melbourne central, (Exact location TBC)