How To Be A Man: The 5 Pillars of Manhood

Picture 3A lot of men ask me where the model for manhood is. Guess what?

There isn’t one.

But why there is no formal model for being a man?

There are plenty of informal models of how to be a man on TV, Hollywood and famous sports figures. In other words, because there is no formal model, we are left to observing other men in our day-to-day routines.

Therefore, we end up observing whomever we see the most: Our Dads and famous people who we see on TV and our computer on a regular basis.

As you already know, I’m not into ho-hum manhood exemplified by Homer Simpson, Jimmy Kimmel or even Lance Armstrong.

As much as I respect pro-athletes work ethic, their manhood modeling is far from badass.

And, while my Dad was amazing in many respects, he had his own limitations.

Remember that due to our lack of formal initiation into manhood in this culture, there is no template for young boys to become a man. It is all very vague.

In taking a risk, I am providing one formal model for manhood. It’s quite simple.

But as with any system or model, it must be tested against your own experience. And, the essential point is how I live it every day.

I call it the 5 Pillars of being a Man.

If you want to be the best man you can be, it is going to require that you go beyond status quo manhood.

I don’t claim to be “the” man. Ha, hardly. I am growing every day. Each day I am met with new challenges and the Universe reminds me of how I am not living into my potential.

Therefore, I strive to be a man who inspires others into their greatness.

I get one shot at this life and I want to die having given everything I could.

This model is not dogma. It is here for you to work from and explore. Consider it a blueprint from which to measure yourself as a Man

You might want to consider taking a life inventory in these categories.

I am just going to skim the surface on these. If you want to go into greater detail, cruise my website for these themes, download a much longer description of each here, or apply for my Men’s Leadership Training for 2010.

The 5 Pillars of Manhood

Picture 2

Pillar 1–Self-knowledge/ Self Mastery

This is represented by the central pillar (from top to bottom) in the logo above.

The foundational key to being a man in our current time in history means that you know yourself inside and out.  How well do you know yourself?

Do you understand your strengths and weaknesses? How much time do you spend self-reflecting?

You must be willing to be yourself fully without apology and without reservation. This requires to know all of you.

Our capacity to love others is dependent upon our capacity to love ourselves.

If you don’t know your foundational pillar and what makes you tick, chances are you will easily be thrown off in life.

Read more on self knowledge here.

Pillar 2 — Relationships

The next pillar is all about you in relationship to others. Life is about relating to other people.

If that’s true, how are your relationship skills? Intimacy? Sexually? Co-workers? Family?

There must be a feedback loop in life. If I just go it alone, I never know how others experience me and I never have anyone to love me, learn from me, or call bullshit on me.

Have you fully explored the unlimited possibilities of human connection and relationship?

Are you a judger? An enabler? A co-dependent person? How do you do relationship?

How are your relationships with men different than your relationships with women?

What tools do you employ to help you grow in this area? Do you have a mentor or coach? Are you in a men’s group?

In my father’s generation, men sucked it up and did everything on their own. But this leaves us very isolated and this approach to manhood is bankrupt.

Can you still be self-reliant AND be in relationship in a deep way?

Pillar 3—Leadership

Lee IaCocca recently wrote a great book “where have all the leaders gone?

Ask yourself if you are living into your leadership potential?

Some men are naturally leaders, yes, but we all have the ability to lead.

This involves four main points:

  • You have a willingness to take charge and be a leader.
  • You are the leader of your own life. You take 100% responsibility for yourself and your life.
  • You step up and speak out against social injustices
  • You commit to non-violence and social justice as a primary leadership model

Pillar 4-Service (Compassion)

We are on this earth to serve, to help one another. A man dedicates his life to helping others.

He moves from “what can I get” out of life, to “what can I give life.”

You choose a life purpose that has something to do with helping others.

But your service does not come from “I should” serve because then I will get validation etc.  Service is just a part of who you are.

If you are not service oriented, you acknowledge this and begin to work on developing compassion and service toward others.

Pillar 5 Celebration

Life can get serious, challenging and difficult. We also need to smile and have a good time.

You make having fun a priority in your life.

Read more on celebration here.

The Empty Space around the logo.

You could call this the 6th pillar, but empty space is just that—empty space. It represents the space within which we live our lives and cosmic LOVE.

This can also be seen as a man’s spirituality or spiritual connection.

To find out more about this more esoteric aspect of the logo, it is best explained and experienced in person at one of my live events.

Action Step:

Feel free to use this model as an outline for your life and the kind of man you are.

Evaluate your life in these areas using the life inventory.

I’ll leave you with a question I often ask:

“What kind of Man will you be?”

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