A personal article submission by Nigel Stapleton
Over four years ago, I attended a men’s training weekend run by the Mankind Project. The Mankind Project is a global not for profit organisation with centres across the world. They run a 48hr “life changing” intense training weekend for men, called the New Warrior Training Adventure here in Queensland.
What does it mean to be a ‘man’?
I always thought I knew what it meant to be a ‘man’. Men are tough right? They keep it together. They take a spoonful of cement, they don’t cry or share their deepest feelings. They bury stuff right down in their depths and are often told to suck it up. She’ll be right! How wrong I was. I have since learnt, that it simply does not serve to be like this, and often causes isolation, misery, mental health issues and stress, as well as a whole heap of other unhelpful issues and behaviours. In addition to this, I was stuck in my life, was not connecting well with people, including my partner and children and it all felt like life was a bit of an uphill battle.
A Rite of Passage
We live in a western culture where initiation into manhood only happens in tribal/indigenous cultures. I was fortunate to have a good upbringing, but it didn’t necessarily set me up fully for later life or help me to understand what it really meant to be man. Something was missing in my life… I heard about this “men’s training” and was told that it would challenge me mentally, physically and spiritually. My sceptic was high up. What could they possibly teach me in 2 days that would change my life and make me more of a man?
The Mankind Project
I learnt so much that it is difficult to summarise it in a short article. Through this weekend it allowed me to look at myself and gain some self-awareness. I realised what my “stuff” was that was holding me back. I started to learn what it meant to be a “New Warrior”. I created a life mission and purpose, and got everything out of the way that was preventing me from achieving that. I learnt what integrity and accountability really meant and the “shadows” that hold me back from living that. I also learnt a great number of tools to help me communicate and deal with life challenges.
The key learnings for me were:
- Emotional Authenticity – As a man I need to share how I feel, in a healthy and clean way. Not bottle things up and shove things down deeper.
- Leadership Mastery– I am a leader, a role model and I am enough. I just didn’t realise it, or could not access those parts of me due to the masks, shields and barriers that I had put up.
- Personal Responsibility– I learnt the real value of integrity and accountability and that I am 100% responsible for my feelings and I own the impacts – both positive and negative – of my choices and actions.
A Weekend of Growth and Change
This weekend experience literally changed my life. I am not perfect by any means, I still have work to do and still face challenges every month. I am just better equipped to deal with it, and I think that I show up as a better person and as a better Man. I learnt life lessons that will serve me and help me with raising my son too. I truly believe that these learning’s will stay with me for life.
We often have many life learning’s though our parents, and I think that sometimes they don’t show us everything that we need, because they only know what they know. I think sometimes that some additional support is needed to provide us with these life learning’s. I also think that men need support, often more than we know or admit. Mine came through the Mankind Project and I’m very grateful for it.
Are you a man that would like to take a deeper look at themselves? Do you have a man in your life that would welcome some additional support? The next New Warrior Training Adventure training is being held from the 30th October-1st November in the Gold Coast hinterland. For more information ring 1300 948 947.
Nigel Stapleton is a Brisbane father and a passionate leader and role model for other Brisbane men.