We’re excited to announce that our Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Justin Baldoni, has written a new book called, Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity. A bold and transparent personal story, Man Enough’s key message encourages men to unpack the expectations of traditionally defined masculinity, and dive deeper into who they are at their core, while encouraging all of us to be brave enough to believe that who we are, as we are, is enough.
Partnered with Los Angeles Black-owned independent bookshop, Eso Won Books, the book invites us to move beyond the scripts we’ve learned since childhood and the roles we are expected to play. Justin challenges men to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to be strong enough to be sensitive, to be confident enough to listen. Encouraging men to dig deep within themselves, Justin helps us reimagine what it means to be man enough and in the process what it means to be human.
Justin Baldoni is a devoted husband, father of two, and Bahá’í. He is an actor, director, producer, and the co-founder and co-chair of both Wayfarer Studios and the Wayfarer Foundation. Over the last ten years, Justin has been on a journey to explore masculinity and reimagine what it means to be a man—what it means to be a human—in the world today. He has spoken about his journey with masculinity in his wildly popular TED talk, and his digital series “Man Enough”, as well as on college campuses across America.
This month — OK, year — has been an embarrassment of humanity, but that should not stop us from focusing on improving ourselves. In fact, it seems like the best parts of 2020 are yet to come, and it starts with you. Most of us aren’t great at being “man enough” to show our flaws, admit our wrongs or surrender our opinions. No, we’d much rather cram them down deep, let them fester and manifest into toxic little balls we can regurgitate and spit in each other’s faces. But it’d be much better, although not as easy, to own our embarrassments, especially in light of everything happening now.
If perception is reality, then the flaws, flops and failures are what we hide in pursuit of perfection. But the reality therein is a fake, which is why we encourage you to embrace the bad with the good, be comfortable in your faults and use all parts of the buffalo by showing off that you’re man enough to look like an idiot every once in a strawberry full moon wolf eclipse.
Maybe you cross-dressed as Cruella DeVille one Halloween and made your cocker spaniel into a Dalmatian and you’ve spent every moment since then shredding the evidence. But maybe hiding isn’t the answer. Maybe we need to take a good look at our ridiculous attempts to wear fake eyelashes, appreciate what women do in service of their bodies, then have a good laugh at our regrettable decisions, shake it off and move forward.
Our Man Enough challenge to you this week is to own your biggest embarrassments. It doesn’t have to be the biggest skeleton in your walk-in closet of personal horrors, but it should be something outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to go deep, as long as it’s not too offensive or destructive to anyone but yourself (or anything that’ll get you fired or your dog surrendered).
Just be man enough to say, “Hey, this is me when I screwed the pooch. I’m better now.”
The more of us who are willing to come forward in this sharing circle and blow off some steam is not only going to make us feel better about ourselves, we’ll lift each other up and stop sweating the small stuff that weighs us down.
If we are to move forward together as a community, we’re going to have to get our hands dirty by digging up our past. And while we support our women in our collective march for equality both in race and gender, we have to remember that condemning one another will not be a lasting forgiveness. We have to let it go, learn from it and grow together, and there is no better place to start than with DIY haircuts, uncomfortable short jean shorts and that time at the water park when you didn’t realize you had on see-through shorts.
Let the purge of embarrassing riches ensue, we’re right there next to you.
Welcome to a new Man Enough segment that focuses on small shifts to your daily tiny habits that, in time, can result in massively positive changes. Whether you struggle to regularly work out or feel your vocabulary is lacking, or if there seems to be a tire around your waist from stress eating, or even if you’re just not overly excited about yourself at the moment, all it takes is the tiniest tweak of your daily routine to redirect yourself towards a more positive trajectory.
We begin with negativity, the all-consuming hate monster that follows us around like a shadow throughout the day (maybe even while we sleep). But while negativity can feel like a dark, weighty page in your story, it can actually be a good thing to have around if it’s processed in a positive way. Kind of like pasta.
Picture this: Negativity is your shadow. You know it’s there, which is good because you can easily spot it, but instead of looking at it as though it’s evil, maybe consider its potential.
If you’re busy guilting yourself for gaming or watching porn too much during quarantine — you know, the kind of where you max out your fingers and stumble out of it deathly dehydrated like you’ve been on a carnival ride all day — or if you’ve exhausting yourself with emotional eating (your muffin top has a muffin top) followed by the weighty dessert of body-shaming, you need to ask yourself: Does any of this really make me happy?
Perhaps, negativity is just what you need to refuel your fire.
After eight hours of gaming, do you feel good about yourself? You hate yourself a little, don’t you? It can create inner anger towards yourself. But that’s not all bad if that negativity is used as the spark to make a positive change, and it starts with tiny habits.
Our recent Man Enough guest, Jay Shetty, is a purpose coach and meditation master, but even he admits to gaming like a guilty guru during his stay at home. We’re all guilty of doing things we know we shouldn’t; that’s half the fun. But that doesn’t mean we should hate ourselves for it. Sometimes we do things purely because they’ve become part of our routine or a detail in the story we tell ourselves, but that can always be erased and replaced or just lightly edited.
Anger and other intense emotions bring with them an energy, even if it feels dirty, but you can channel that dirty energy and transform it by redirecting that anger towards making a positive change. Maybe instead of gaming eight hours, you game for one and then switch to something healthy. Again, tiny habits. Baby steps.
Make a game out of it. For every minute you game, do a pushup. So much of gaming is stereotyped as lazy, out-of-shape sloths, but some of the greatest minds game. If by the end of the game, you’re feeling a bit ripped, you will have used something that once created negative energy in you to make a positive impact. It’s all about discipline. Rewrite the stereotype. Look at Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, he played head games with himself to take himself to another level. You can, too.
While everything is quiet in quarantine, we challenge you to reevaluate how you spend your time, a Marie Kondo of the soul if you will. Ask yourself if the activity — gaming, porn, midnight ice cream pints — is bringing you any actual joy or if you do it because there’s nothing else to do or it’s what you’ve always done.
Even healthy things are up for this debate.
If your hobbies, workout routines or even the people you were spending time with three months ago don’t make you feel good anymore, it’s time for a tweak. This is not to say you shouldn’t work out but do it in a way that’s exciting to you, something that stirs your enthusiasm. And don’t be afraid to pull from your past and do something that makes you look ridiculous if it tickles your brain or your heart inside.
Freshen things up, follow your curiosity and get excited about your life again. Rewrite the stereotype. There’s no better time than this very moment. And switch to dark chocolate; it’s healthy, dirty goodness in small doses.