MY ENTIRE LIFE, I GREW UP AS AN ATHLETE.
I was a two-sport All-American, played pretty much every sport in high school, and went on to play arena football professionally.
My entire childhood was built on beliefs about what "masculinity" is, from being in the locker rooms, to what coaches would say to me over and over, to society, and what the media showed.
I was raped when I was five by a man that I didn't know, the babysitter's son. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I remember having all this resentment, anger, frustration and defensiveness built up inside of me.
I became so driven to prove everyone wrong, so driven to be number one and to never lose.
I was driven to be the best athlete I could be.
A lot of it came from feeling like I wasn't good enough for who I was.
People questioned my masculinity, my value, so I was very driven to achieve. And I did.
I achieved everything I wanted. I seemed to have it all: a New York Times bestselling book, a world-famous podcast, a multi-million dollar business.
At 32-years-old, I had reached the pinnacle of success by anyone’s measure.
But deep down, I felt utterly unfulfilled.
Night after night on my book tour for The School of Greatness, I would lay down only to feel deep and profound loneliness in an impersonal hotel room.
I may have reached the pinnacle of success, but I had no one to share it with.
I had no intimacy or deep connection with anyone else.
In the past, I would have ignored these emotions. "Man up," I would have told myself. "Quit being so soft." But as the book tour came to a close, I decided it was time to do things differently. It was time to take massive action.
So I went on a personal journey to find inner peace and uncover the many masks that men - like myself - wear.
I had life-changing conversations with some of the world’s best psychologists, researchers, and household names, such as Tony Robbins, Alanis Morissette, and Ray Lewis. And through it all, I discovered what it really takes to remove the mask of masculinity.
I realized there are so many men out there struggling because of these ideas of "masculinity."
The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives is the result of this transformational journey.
I know there are a lot of people talking about vulnerability, opening up, and similar topics, but as a jock growing up in America, none of my peers would've ever listened to any of those messages from those people.
I want to connect with the men who are not open to hearing this message, in a way that will resonate with them.
I want women to understand the men in their lives better.
Through entertaining stories, honest reflection, and incredible interviews, I uncovered the 9 masks of masculinity: the hidden psychological and emotional barriers that hold men back from true fulfillment. In each chapter, we explore the depths of a different mask.
For many, The Mask of Masculinity will be the start of a life-changing journey.
Many men have worn their masks for so long that they forget who they are underneath. Removing the masks, then, will not be easy.
It will be terrifying. It will be painful. But it’s in the most difficult and challenging journeys that we find the most meaning. Stripped of the masks of masculinity, men can find true fulfillment. They can love. They can connect. They can find the freedom to be themselves again.
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