If you read the previous article on 10 Questions Every Man Must Ask Himself About His Life, you already know our community’s greatest fear is living out the definition of hell:
“At the end of your life
The man that you became
meets the man
you could have become.”
– Author Unknown
The man you “could have become” is your best self – your Great Man Within.
While it may take time to step fully into your best self, the pursuit of your best self pays immediate and ongoing dividends.
This article outlines 10 of those benefits, as experienced by the men in the Great Man Within community.
“There’s no greater ROI in life than investing in yourself.
After all, in every situation you show up, YOU are the common denominator.”
What is Inner Work?
Shout out to Bethany Butzer for this definition of inner work. She’s a University of New York at Prague Professor and speaker of the Stop Trying So Hard. Achieve More by Doing Less TEDx Talk which has nearly 2 million views.
Inner Work has two components:
- Feelings How do you want to FEEL in your inner world?
- Values: What are the VALUES that guide your life?
Every single thing you do – every action you take, every relationship you enter, every goal you set – is because you believe it will provide a feeling you desire.
However, if you’ve never invested the crucial time or energy in identifying the feelings you want, with absolute precision and painstaking nuance…you will spend most of your life underwhelmed and disappointed by what you get.
That’s because you end up taking actions, entering relationships and setting goals that take you in the opposite direction of what you want to feel.
Examples of How Men Get It Wrong
- The man who wants freedom in his career ends up becoming an entrepreneur…and now works 14 hours a day 7 days a week, has no hobbies and has nothing left in his tank for his family. He’s imprisoned by his own life.
- The man who wants to be loved enters a relationship where he ignores the red flags and allows himself to be walked on because he’s afraid of being alone. Now he’s physically with someone yet emotionally alone.
- The man who wants to feel accomplished assumes ungodly amounts of responsibilities and crushes goal after goal…only to feel a fleeting sense of satisfaction and a growing resentment for how unfulfilling and overwhelming his life is.
These common experiences happen because men have it backwards:
We define the actions, relationships and goals we want before defining, with meticulous precision, the feelings we want.
The feelings are what you’re after, so 100% of the time you need to start there.
Inner work is where you develop the precision around what you want to feel. Then you move with warrior-like awareness in taking the actions, entering the relationships and setting the goals that align with the attainment of those feelings.
A man without well-defined values is like a sailboat without a rudder – he’s pushed in whatever direction the wind blows.
- Values drive your behaviors.
- Values determine the people you surround yourself with.
- Values provide direction when you’ve lost your footing.
- Values provide clarity and stability in the eye of the storm.
- Values provide the boundaries that allow you to engage safely and confidently with the world.
In my experience, however, not many men have done a searching and fearless inventory of the values they hold.
As a result, they’re operating from values that they themselves never consciously chose. Rather, they’ve absorbed values that others imposed upon them.
No wonder their lives don’t feel as meaningful or fulfilling as they would hope.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Present-Day Values
- When was the last time you formally inspected your values (if ever)?
- Which of your values have you consciously chosen, and which did you absorb unconsciously (from parents, society, friends etc?)
- How often do you find yourself doing things you don’t want to because you believe you “should?”
Examples of shared values in our Great Man Within community are:
- I create environments where I and those I care about can thrive.
- I will lean out over my edge, constantly, in everything I do.
- I master the art of leading myself first, so I can inspire and impact others.
10 Benefits of Pursuing Your Best Self
The quotes below are sourced from men in The Great Man Masterminds.
#1. You elevate every area of your life.
“I’ve increased my income.
I’ve become a better father and husband.
My relationships have improved.
I have increased emotional stability and empathy.
I have greater self-esteem and confidence.
I now have the ability to clearly communicate what I’m feeling and what I want.”
– Kevin S
There’s no greater ROI in life than investing in yourself.
After all, YOU are the common denominator in every situation you show up in.
Inner work elevates your:
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Follow through
These are super skills that elevate every situation from the boardroom to the bedroom and everything in between.
#2. Your pain becomes your power.
“Inner work has helped me transmute pain into power, release the armor around my heart, find my purpose, and fully feel and express the emotions I’ve bottled up for so long.”
– Robert P.
Here are some examples of men in our community who’ve taken their pain and turned it into their power:
- A man who hit rock bottom through alcohol abuse now teaches mindfulness, yoga and self-awareness
- A man who suffered sexual abuse as a child now runs a men’s group where men confront their deepest wounds
- A man who’s battled life-long body shame now coaches others on body acceptance
- A man who was exposed for infidelity now teaches others how to restore trust in relationships after indiscretions
- A man who secretly battled sex addiction now creates spaces for men to talk openly and judgment free about sex (that’s me!)
Your pain is not your enemy.
It’s your superpower in waiting.
#3. You stop comparing yourself to others.
“I have become less judgmental of others.
I have also become less envious of other people’s successes.
I no longer compare my wins and losses to those of others.”
– JJ M.
You compare yourself to others because that’s how you’ve been taught to measure your success and self-worth.
Your measuring stick is broken.
Inner work gives you the new measuring stick.
Remember, inner work helps you define:
- The feelings you desire to feel.
- The values that drive your life.
These become the measurements to assess the quality of your life.
So, no matter what anyone else does, you are free from the need to compare or judge.
Imagine how liberating THAT must feel.
#4. Confidence to go after the things you truly want in life.
“Inner work has given me the courage and confidence to go after the things I truly want in life.”
– Ehren C.
When was the last time you went for 100% of what you want?
How many times have you gone for 85% of what you want?
- Settling for a safe but unsatisfying relationship…
- Making less money than you know you’re worth…
- Choosing a reputable but unfulfilling career…
…because you were too afraid to go after the thing you truly wanted?
Inner work allows you to build a solid internal foundation that can withstand disappointment and see “failure” what it truly is: temporary defeat.
When you are no longer afraid of disappointment or fear of failure, you start to play bigger games:
You have the confidence to go after 100% of what you truly want.
#5. You say goodbye to the boy and step fully into the man.
“My old self died.
I’ve re-emerged as a new person.
I know who I am now.
I’ve become more human.
I feel fully alive.”
– Mark M.
Have you ever noticed that the world is full of little boys running around in grown men’s bodies?
Throughout much of history, boys were ceremonially guided into manhood through a formal rite of passage.
These rituals oftentimes involved a “death” of the boy so that the man could emerge.
This often meant the boy went through an “ordeal” of sorts, proving that he was ready for grabbing the mantle of manhood.
These ceremonies were centuries old and administered by respected elders and wisdom keepers of the community.
Today, we have a bunch of little boys running around in grown men’s bodies because we’ve forgotten these crucial rites of passage.
For those of us who never went through such an initiation, which is most of us, there are immature (boyish) parts of ourselves that never claimed the mantle of manhood.
Inner work allows us to illuminate these immature parts of ourselves, give them the farewell that they need, and to step bravely and fully into the responsibilities of manhood.
#6. Emotions are no longer a liability, but a compass.
“Inner work has given me an ability to understand my own emotions better.
It’s also given me the ability to be comfortable when others are emotional.”
– Michael C.
Don’t get too high.
Don’t get too low.
Emotions are a liability.
These are emotional doctrines men are taught from a young age.
There are certain payoffs to adopting these doctrines:
- Finding a calm while under pressure
- Capacity to handle stress
- Ability to take on Herculean workloads
But there are also great costs to adopting these doctrines:
You wake up one day and realize you feel numb, apathetic and uninspired.
You weren’t meant to become robotic and unfeeling.
Emotions are NOT the enemy.
They are a compass.
When you learn how to navigate emotions – and not be controlled by them – they begin to bring back a spark in your life that you’ve been missing.
You learn to trust your emotions.
You learn to identify your triggers.
You learn to love embracing the spectrum of emotions of others.
#7. You become better at navigating conflict and anger.
“Inner work has helped me approach conflict with a level head and brought greater awareness to my triggers.”
– Joshua K.
Anger is one of the biggest energies that sabotage most men.
Here are the 3 most common ways men deal with anger:
- Suppress it. Swallow the shit sandwich, stuff it down, and smile like nothing’s bothering you. Keeping that anger inside requires an extraordinary amount of energy. You become exhausted from carrying the burden that accumulates over time.
- Leak it. You suppress some of the anger emotion, but release some of it in the form of sarcasm, cynicism, passive aggressive behavior. It’s your way of regulating how much anger you carry and how much you offload.
- Detonate it. You explode. You rage. You say things you can’t take back and do things you can’t undo. You’re afraid of the man you become when you’re this way, and yet feel an intoxicating sense of power when you’re in those moments.
None of these 3 strategies are fit for the long term, nor do they contribute to you becoming a trustworthy man.
Inner work allows you to step into the arena with your anger and develop an intimate relationship with it.
Often times you’ll learn that your anger carries invaluable information with it. Such as:
- One of your boundaries has been crossed
- One of your values has been impeded
- An old wound of yours has been triggered that needs resolving
When you learn how to handle the big energy of anger, conflict becomes one of your greatest sources of growth, connection and vitality.
#8. You break the old patterns that sabotage you.
“Inner work is the process of assessing aspects of yourself that leads you to understand the “why” behind what you do.
Once you understand the root cause of your why, you can make decisions to drop old habits and have the tools to right the ship when you veer off course.”
– Tony K.
Every man is battling an old pattern that sabotages him:
- Addicted to Achievement
- Need for Validation
- Imposter Syndrome
- Fear of Commitment
- Substance Abuse
- Body Shame
- Porn Addiction
Whatever pattern is sabotaging you, it will maintain its power in your life until you have the tools and the support to uproot it.
Inner work illuminates the “why” behind these patterns of behavior and how they formed.
This gives you the insight necessary to break that pattern once and for all, liberate yourself from those shackles and chart am empowering new course of your own design.
#9. You stop lone wolfing your life.
“I’m putting the lone wolf out to pasture.”
– Jay W.
The lone wolf is the man who goes through life mentally, emotionally and spiritually alone.
Inner work on your own – as a lone wolf – is slow, shallow and incomplete.
When you embark on the inner work journey, you find yourself on a collision course with other men who are walking that same path.
When you get to know these men, you finally feel like you’ve found your home.
You now have a community of like-minded men who inspire you to be your best self.
You’ll never want to lone wolf again.
#10. You discover your best self and your purpose.
“Inner work has given me the gift of being the man I always aspired to be but could not seem to become.
It’s allowed me to find my why, my true purpose in life.
It has given me motivation to be my very best.”
Every man has two lives:
- The life you currently live
- The unlived life of The Great Man Within You
The Great Man Within is your best self.
He is who you become when you realize your fullest potential.
Remember, the two components of inner work are defining your:
- Feelings How do you want to FEEL in your inner world?
- Values: What are the VALUES that guide your life?
When you get crystal clear on those two arenas of life, your best self emerges.
Your purpose becomes clear.
Who might you become a year from now…
…a decade from now…
…at the end of your life…
…if you lived every single day as your best self?
Where Do I Go from Here?
Hungry for more? Here are your 3 options:
Read the final article in this 3-part series: 7 Benefits Men in Masterminds Reap That Lone Wolves Don’t
- Subscribe to The Great Man Within Podcast: “New Listeners Start Here Playlist” on Spotify
- Learn more about our communities of men – The Great Man Masterminds – in pursuit of their best selves.