The idea is a resource, support, coaching and mentoring connection platform that helps and develops people. It’s about enabling men in particular to look at how to express themselves in a good, safe way, learning about themselves, their flaws and potential, becoming more whole as men, more balanced and influential and to develop and nurture high impact servant leadership in our world.
My intention has always been to use my expertise, gifts, and abilities to create and lead a concept that’s much bigger than myself and is absolutely grounded in what I’ve experienced and learnt. My hope is that this will manifest itself as a hub where people can share their own insights and help many others create a new way of life – we’re looking at developing an application around a concept we think is very cool, and we have a few exciting add on services and functions that are being considered for development as we speak. All will be revealed in good time and in a good way.
I feel like it’s important for me to tell my story for identification purposes. Although my default setting and instinct is to keep myself to myself and isolate, intellectually I know this is of no use to the world and the service I offer. By highlighting some of the experiences and the challenges I’ve faced as a straight white male growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, my hope is that I can help men and leaders see that it’s OK to start a journey that challenges norms and the status quo, where they can learn how to be better versions of themselves.
Not everybody’s experience is going to be the same. There’s a need and call for men and women from all backgrounds to become more aware of themselves and the impact they have on their world and those around them. And that also feeds right into the co-gender leadership side, because I think that the world needs something better than the old style of authoritarian command and control and the current leadership model we see in most politicians and business leaders.
So the big idea, actually, is to help people understand their true value and transform themselves from old habits and beliefs that hold back their personal and professional lives – working realistically towards a collaborative, balanced world, one human at a time.
I think of James Brown singing It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World. At the time, it seemed, he was right. Men and women knew what their roles were in the social set-up, supposedly. Hand-in-hand with the accepted belief that it was the man’s role to work, earn money and support his family, was the idea that he could get away with not expressing any feelings other than anger and, worse, that it was totally unacceptable for him to be seen as having any vulnerability.
Today, things are different of course. We have more diverse ideas about equality of the sexes, sexuality and different models for masculinity. But something that has barely changed for men is the question of whether we allow ourselves to identify and express what we’re feeling in a confident, secure manner - and especially our comfort around expressing vulnerability. A lot of the time it’s for fear that we will get chopped down by those we care about the most.
What has developed over the years is a rise in the rates of suicide, depression and addiction amongst men. These are all symptoms of hiding or running away from something. Something emotional, I would say from personal experience. And that is confusion about what it means to be a man in today's world, maybe struggling with boyhood traumas, with fears and inadequacies over manhood, success, confidence, self-esteem... Wearing masks to pretend we’re OK, which only adds to communication breakdown with family and loved ones.
Of course, what James Brown actually sings is that the man’s world would be nothing without a woman or a girl. He has to be comfortable in his masculinity, but without the feminine perspective for balance, he’s lost in the wilderness, lost in bitterness. It’s up to us to break down the barriers keeping us back mentally and emotionally and defy the social stereotypes of yesteryear for our own sakes.
XYC-Life uses a framework that helped me, based on archetypes that guide our behaviour as humans. These are the forms and patterns imprinted to our subconscious, the ‘different parts’ of ourselves. We find that understanding the archetypes operating within you – the King, the Lover, the Magician and the Warrior – can help empower men towards personal growth. And, in fact, understanding how this helps men can help anyone become a better leader.
As a hub or a resource, as I’ve said. As a route to get information, and to sign up for a consultation. If somebody comes to the website, looks at a few things, maybe has a few realisations they haven’t had before – and even branches off somewhere else for assistance or advice – then as far as I’m concerned, that’s the beginnings of a job well done.
In the future, there will be more resources available here, and the whole platform will evolve. I know what I start with is not what I’m going to finish with. That’s kind of what this is all about. Keeping the intention of helping people and putting people first at the front of everything we do, the only option is forward one step at a time.