How to Be Consciously and Authentically Masculine with Stef Sifandos

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Unbreakable Success Podcast, Episode 60 How to be Consciously and Authentically Masculine with Stef Sifandos.

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Stefanos Sifandos is an author, international speaker, and mentor who -- if you're willing, will help you transform your idea of relationships, quality of life, and modern masculinity.

In today's episode, our friend Stef shares his very personal story that led him on a journey of transformational growth through neuro-empowerment practices, and an integration of spiritual praxis and western psychology.

Stefanos has brilliantly integrated the best of eastern and western methodologies and philosophies, and used integrative techniques methods to create programs and systems to enhance the quality of your relationships and personal performance.

Add to that, Stef is one of the most easily likable people you'll ever meet. Please make sure you've bookmarked his below website, followed him on social, and reach out to him to learn more from his and thank him for his time today.

I'll say "you're welcome" ahead of time for this episode, because after this episode, there's no doubt you'll be grateful for the introduction to Stef. :)

Please listen, share and make sure you're subscribed to Unbreakable Success on iTunes and YouTube.

With love & respect - Aaron

Full Transcript:

Aaron: 00:00 All right, Stefanos, thank you so much for joining us today. Everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Unbreakable Success. I'm excited to have a conversation with somebody who I'm already beginning to think of as a friend is, you know, I have to apologize to you as you're listening, uh, all of you out there listening and watching because we kind of been chatting away and having some conversation. I'm thinking like we really need to be recording this because we're starting to get deep into the conversation, but I think we can pick it up with no problem anyway, for, for those that don't, you know, Stefanos Sifandos, and we were working on your name before we started. Obviously you've got a lot of accolades behind you. You're an author, you've been doing some speaking internationally. you're a phenomenal coach on, on masculinity and relationships. Can you tell us, just tell us a little bit about you, what your work is like today so people can get a good gauge on the things you're doing if they haven't met you already.

Stef Sifanos: 00:57 Thank you. Thank you for the kind introduction. It's a privilege to be here as well. I'm super excited. So for me, I blend the combination of neuro empowerment practices, a Western psychological frameworks and eastern mysticism in terms of assisting people in cultivating their brilliance, actualizing their potential or shifting from a place of pain that they may find themselves in or that they're attached to. And so my coaching or a massive fan of the word coach, but I don't think I have a better one at this moment, but the guiding, the coaching, whatever it may be, the friendship is, um, it comes from a place of really wanting to serve and serve in the sense of how do we liberate ourselves from the tension or the incessant tension that we at times experience. And so the tools and techniques and how I do that. A, again, a combination of what I've mentioned and also leveraging my own personal experiences and of course the amazing experiences of other people such as yourself, such as people that I come into contact with, family, friends, men, mentors of my own and other leaders of past and present as well.

Stef Sifanos: 02:08 And so I just really, I'm, I'm very excited about it. I'm crazy about sacred union. I'm crazy about human optimization in terms of how do we really develop this amazing grand version of self.

Aaron: 02:21 Yeah. And, and I love, what you're saying there. Especially about the term of whenever I hear the word coach and even though it's funny, it's one of those, we were talking about some quandaries that earlier and you know, from a business perspective when you're describing yourself, you have to put something contains it to describe what it is you do. And I think for, for many of us in the work that you do in the work that I do, coaches use the appropriate word, but I never really feel like it covers everything. You know, it's a little bit difficult. So I appreciate you sharing so much. Give us an idea of, you know, for you, you know, when you think of a, uh, a clients if there, if there is a, if there is that ideal person or, or, or, uh, someone who you meet and right away you're thinking, yeah, this is somebody I'd love to work with. What is that like for you? And obviously I'm not expecting you to have just one type of client you'd like, but know what are some of the things that that triggered you to recognize it somebody or group of somebody who are the right people for you to work with? What's that like for you?

Stef Sifanos: 03:28 I love that question. Willingness is the first thing that comes to mind and to be really honest as well, willingness is something that I look for in my intimate relationships as well. Like how willing are you to celebrate your joys? How willing are you to celebrate us as a, as a couple? How willing are you to traverse your own pain and your difficulty? How willing are you to look at as much of life as possible and really absorb it and then be discerning about what you allow in or what you continue to believe is to be true. For me, that willingness, like whether it be with clients, whether it be my friendships with any person that I'm interacting with, that willingness is so powerful for me and it's what, it's a magnet for me. It's like a, what I'm really, really attracted to and what I'm also looking for when I'm working with him.

Stef Sifanos: 04:13 Because if we don't have that willingness, we're closed. We're essentially, we're coming more from fear than we are from courage and theories. Uh, it's a constricted, restricted, tight, rigid place to come from. And so there's very little wiggle room and you know, speaking a little bit to your, your previous career and, and like it got me thinking because I've done a lot, a lot of work with special forces military and it's, I've learned so much from working with these people like so, so much and some of the rigidity that they have found themselves in like you would think, how do you even shift from that, whether it be physically, emotionally underway, willing, willing, you know, in adverse conditions, whether it be our physical environment, our internal landscape in our own spirituality and sense of self when we're, when we're faced with adverse conditions, it's our willingness that instigates our ability to be creative, to move and shift from that place. So if I'm with someone that has zero willingness, it makes it tough, it makes it really difficult.

Aaron: 05:17 Sure. I think we can all relate to it. I mean, regardless of, you know, for those listening, regardless of where you are, we've all experienced that one way or another, whether it's a relationship like you alluded to earlier or you know, somebody is a manager or CEO or, or a team leader or in coaching relationships, we've all been in those situations where we're looking to inspire or influence change in someone, but when there's pushback it makes a lot more difficult. So I, I, I, I love that. And hopefully of course, if your listener of the show, I'm going to assume that you got some willingness to always be learning something new and, and get some new perspective because that's kind of our jam here. So yeah, yeah. I'm, I'm, I'm glad to have you here with, look, we catch people up because we were, like I mentioned earlier, we were having a conversation earlier about, um, about masculinity and I was really excited to have a discussion about the topic because we've never really touched on it, at least from my recollection in any of the episodes that I've had on a so far on the podcast here.

Aaron: 06:19 So if we can fast forward to, through to masculinity specifically as a topic, I'd love to get your take on that because that's become at least one of your areas, one of your targeted areas that you specialize in when you work with clients in groups of people. So give me idea of, of number one, what kind of sparks that as being something that felt important to you to kind of focus on and dive into and then help others with that process. And why do you think it's. Why do you feel like it's so, such an important conversation? I certainly have my perspective, but you're the man here. This is your show now here. I got to hear from you. Your take on it.

Stef Sifanos: 06:58 Yeah. That's great, Aaron. Thank you. Yeah. So for me, what really, what really sparked to things in retrospect to one singular experience and then an ongoing experience that really sparked me delving deep into the psychology of masculinity and uh, understanding what it means to be a healthy man in contemporary times. And so the first was my ongoing relationship with my father and the, the masculine archetype. The father archetype, it was a very unhealthy relationship. There was a, as I mentioned earlier, there was violence, emotional abuse, and that was really the norm, the aggression, the confrontational approach to problems or to, to live that was the, you know, the agitation of frustration, the fear mongering that was, that was the norm for me. And so when I was in that, that was the norm. But when I was out of that allowed me to reflect and say, is this really what it means to be a man to live with all this tension and fear and essentially bullshit.

Stef Sifanos: 08:02 Like it was just, it was just so much heaviness, heaviness. And so that was one of the catalysts for me to look deeper into my own manhood, my own sense of self as well. Uh, and, and of course, as a, as a, as a side note, I want to, I want to make mention that, you know, the old cliche hurt people hurt people. And so this isn't a blaming or an external shading to my father, you know, for whatever it's worth, he has an amazing heart when he's connected to that. And his ability to give and be present is quite phenomenal. It's unfortunate that he can't really didn't have the tools and the learning and the understanding to tap into that and the support. He didn't feel supported. He's on live. And so the second catalyst for me was a few years ago when I was in an intimate relationship with a woman.

Stef Sifanos: 08:53 We were girlfriend and moved together, um, and I was unfaithful in that relationship and I was commuting in fidelity at rampant rights. And so that all came undone. She found out. And that really that singular event or experience really it caused me to look. It allowed me to look deeper into is this the man I want to be in the world? Like, is this because my whole world was falling apart? It really was. And I couldn't say it. I'll just throw others is part of life because I was accustomed to that burn build that we'd spoken about. So when we we able to build and build and create as men, because men have amazing creative energy as well, just in a different way to women as women have a nurturing creative energy as well, or the feminine does rather. And I can go into masculine feminine, what that actually means in terms of gender dynamics as well as physical gender beyond bonner agenda feel so inclusive and binary gender as well.

Stef Sifanos: 09:49 And so, uh, having that, that creation, but then this habit and familiarity of our better it before it's taken away from me, at least the self control. We have control, greater control and autonomy, but it's a false sense of autonomy and telling the healthy autonomy because we're not really allowing ourselves to appreciate what we're creating. And so we're creating out of insecurity, out of hot the selfishness, out of fear and out of pine. And this is all suppressed and oppressed and within ourselves and unconscious. And so that, that opportunity, that breakup and that process gave me an opportunity to deep dive into me. And so I did that. I let go of my businesses. I went into debt because I stopped, I literally stopped working. Um, I, I just spent hours everyday. I took 15 hours a day on personal growth. Like on my own personal growth.

Stef Sifanos: 10:39 I sought counsel is spiritual healers. God's mentors. I'll put everything I had into that. I spend time in nature. I spent hours meditating, reading, being with a crying, breaking down, releasing like emotive Cathartic releases, uh, uh, you know, I immersed myself in physical activities or Kate, my buddy movie, and at least be able to change my state to flux as often as possible to have some, some level of reprieve Saran myself where I could with good people. I let go of a lot of friends. I completely, I just stripped down and stripped away everything. Or was that an ego self or the spiritual self? I was a rower. I was just an isolated most of the time. Um, and it also served me as well. I needed that. That was my journey into that. That was, that was made. And so the first part of your question was, you know, what was the catalyst for that?

Stef Sifanos: 11:32 And then the second part, I believe, if I remember correctly, it was like how do we begin begin to define masculinity because it is such a complex conversation, it's about culture, it's one about environment, but it's also one about our physicality, how our biology, our neurobiology and physiology, men's physiology influences our behavior as well, coupled with what is the environment or the culture of that time say and, and the culture of the past and how that's permeated into contemporary times. And now we just sit there. And so, you know, scholars will argue like, is it, is it a biology that dictates our masculinity? What is masculinity? Is it purely culture? I believe it's a combination of both and I believe that every man needs to set out to define his own sense of masculinity. But I'm not going to leave people there and say, Hey, go to find your own mascot.

Stef Sifanos: 12:22 I teach this stuff. So like I'll be calling you back. You're not getting off that easy if you know. So there's a couple of things and I'm going to start with two major points. So I've developed a framework which has 12 principles and these principles, they feed into each other and there is a circular model and one is not dependent on the other, however, they are reliant on each other to some degree to, to create a harmony and balance with the expressive self. And so there's two elements of masculinity that I'm really, really excited about and they are inclusivity and sustainability. So let me elaborate. A Nice history has shown us as men generally generally speaking, so this is generalizing to be quite isolating, to be the lone rangers, to be also quite separating and segregating and we can see that in our cultural practices.

Stef Sifanos: 13:15 We can see that in our political systems and we can see that, that it wasn't until the seventies that women just started to get more rights, like some legitimate rights in terms of what they were able to do and be in society. So we've been quite controlling and oppressing as agenda. We haven't been inclusive in our decision making as individuals and as collectives. We've taken a superior ground and then there's sub groups within men as well that, uh, have caste systems of inferior and superior. That's not sustainable, but it's not. It's for, for our level of consciousness and awareness of society and where we're going and how technology is feeding into the rapidness of decision making and how we grow as a society. This is just not going to cut it anymore. This, this sense of exclusivity and short term gains, selfish, selfish, short term gain.

Stef Sifanos: 14:15 And so we begin by looking at ourselves as men and saying, how do we operate in the world? The actions that we take, the thoughts that we have, the belief systems and the decisions that we make and the emotions that we feel. Are they inclusive and are they sustainable? To me, if every man can start from that place, don't even worry about the 12 principles and that, and they have really deep as well. We're going to them. If you, if you lock, but I'm not even worry about them, just start with sustainability and inclusivity. I believe that will change the entire cultural paradigm and landscape of the way we interact at agenda level and it will begin open up the conversation and I'm not saying anything new yet, you know, like this has been going on for thousands of years, hundreds of years. This will open up the conversation for, um, what's the word I want to use?

Stef Sifanos: 15:05 I don't want to, I don't want to say cultural relativity. That's not quite the right term. I want to say it's going to open up a conversation for equity, equity, equity in our society, you know, like that. That to me, that's super powerful. Like, and hey, I get it. I'm coming from A. I'm coming from a place of I'm a, uh, I'm a young male, mid thirties. I'm a male, I'm Caucasian. I'm middle class like I get, I get, there's a complexity here with this, right? And however, we have to look at that. We have to, we, if we, if we want to create equity in our society, we have to take ownership and responsibility, which happens to be the first principle of conscious warrior, the framework ownership and responsibility of who we've been as a collective, who we are and where we're going and just get real, get real with who we are. That's, that's the simplicity of it.

Aaron: 15:57 Yeah. I love it. You and I are on the same page. It's funny because you tapped on the beginning points of talking about I'm taking ownership and responsibility and I have a framework elsewhere for something else. Not touching on that masculinity, but that's the starting point. But I think, you know, with it's pretty universal and it's certainly applicable, uh, in this topic of masculinity as we're discussing it today, that, you know, w we have to take ownership of our decision making and take ownership of the process and take ownership of, of what beliefs we're gonna perpetuate as, as men and, and if, if it doesn't start there, if it doesn't start with, okay, I'm choosing to then, then you're losing game because then you're either, you know, blaming somebody before you are blaming society for others just the way it is.

Aaron: 16:53 And it's when all the power is depleted from the decision making, which makes it kind of interesting for somebody to claim some masculinity or authority if you're passing the book in the first place. So, uh, I'm, I'm with you. I'm with you there. So we'll, we'll talk me through this then because I, I completely agree with the idea of inclusivity and you are certainly right if we look at it from any type of historical standpoint, whether we're talking about in, in business and corporate or just society in general, um, you know, economic status, all those things. There's, there's certainly been, especially from, uh, from the male historical male perspective, it's just a long history of, you know, US versus them on so many different levels. Uh, and it's certainly, it's certainly something fortunately I see in recent years. It's funny you touched on my, my, my career, um, that's ending now.

Aaron: 17:46 I have, for those that don't know, I have a career in law enforcement five months away from retirement as a police captain. But it's just really interesting because I've been doing it since the 19, mid 19 nineties actually right in the middle of the 19 nineties. I got hired and I started that career in 1995. So even in that relatively short window, we're talking 20 some odd years from then till now. The whole, I did the whole masculinity. If I remember some of the, some of the people I was going to use the word dinosaurs, some of the people, some of the men that were there and that career when I started, uh, and just the behavioral norms and what things were accepted from everything from language, the way you carry yourself in, the demeanor, the way you spoke to people, what was accepted now versus what is acceptable now.

Aaron: 18:40 It is night and day. And, and I think it's, it's, it's an excellent thing because there's so much more self awareness, uh, there, there's so much more inclusivity and there's a lot less, you know, this is me and you are, you and I'm showing up here and there's not even any conversation. It's just orders, orders, orders that is not completely situationally dependent, but in large part on a day to day basis that just doesn't happen anymore. And like, and exactly what you said earlier, it wasn't sustainable. It certainly wasn't sustainable, especially in today's. And it's funny or you're, you're spot on when you, when you mentioned technology as being one of the reasons it's not sustainable. Um, because, you know, I, I started in an era before most people had cell phones. It's as crazy as that sounds, you know, I got hired, we were still using typewriters and I was dialing from the payphone on the corner if I had to call somebody, but just in that short span of a couple of decades, a lot of things have changed and a lot of things that we tolerate it as, as, as a society when it comes to masculinity, it doesn't fly anymore and it's certainly not a perfect scenario.

Aaron: 19:56 And obviously this social media and the way that the speed in which the speed and the scale in which news and information travels, uh, it's not all perfect, but I certainly do think it helps in terms of what, what we will no longer tolerate. And it's not a perfect system, but I think it is a system that is allowed for some progress as far as that goes. So from, um, from the stamp, from the jump off port as you were talking about from a inclusion in sustainability, where do you go next from there? Because I mentioned you had 12 steps, I don't know that we'll get to all of them today, but I want to at least continue this conversation so we can useful. And then obviously I'm definitely gonna invite people to follow up with you after, after we get off the call today. But what's what, where do you go from there? So we're going through the first principles, ownership and responsibility, so ownership

Stef Sifanos: 20:48 And responsibility in that elicits a sense of power and empowerment. And so we make the unconscious conscious. We, we bring, La is very far what for lack of a better term, metaphorically speaking very far away from us and we bring it close to us. So when it becomes conscious and becomes like Plato and it can become as malleable and so then we can begin to construct our lives as we want. And you know, we're, we're, we're really in a massive transition transitory period right now with respect to what it means to be a man. So I want to, I want to give my new definition, but my interpretation of masculinity and femininity as well because we, we, there's sometimes a misconception that when we're speaking to masculinity with speaking to mend the two terms are not interchangeable. So as human beings being in a physical world, we live in a jewel reality and that means that we live in, in a realm of opposites essentially.

Stef Sifanos: 21:40 So, you know, up, down, left, right, right, wrong ground scar we live in, we live in a relational construct, a construct of reference points. You can't know something without the other. In other words, that's basically what it means. And so we're in constant relationship with something that means we're in this jewel ism there in life. And so masculinity and femininity reside both were, they both resolved within every human being, within every sentient being. And all that really means is it's a state of expression. And so the dominant state of expression has been what we can see a masculine traits, masculine expressive traits, independence, um, dominance, um, this, this control, this possessiveness. And so what? But that they're not healthy control and possessiveness is not healthy. Mastery and inclusivity is healthy. The healthy masculine expressive tried. So we've come from, when we look back at history, we've come from a lot of fear and fear has driven our actions, our behaviors, our thoughts and ideologies and they've become the norm and therefore we've become very segregated.

Stef Sifanos: 22:48 And so we've used that power in an autocratic way, in an oppressive way as opposed to using our power to build rock. We've used our paths and build but selfish interest. And that's really important. So part of the ownership and personal power is one. Acknowledging that acknowledging the. This is a very complex, why don't even lock the site is because I was going to say the word patriarchy, but how patriarchy as a, as a system and understand what the definition of patriarchy mains, but what's happened is it's permeated as a, as a systemic influence in the way we geo politically do our do our lot and our economics, our businesses. And so these traits have become the norm. They become a hopper present. And so there's, there's less balance of the feminine, expressive rights and so ownership and personal power allows us to take responsibility for who we are as individuals.

Stef Sifanos: 23:47 It allows us to say, right, we don't need to tell lies anymore about ourselves. We can tell the truth and the truth lays a foundation for facts or the truth isn't exactly what sets us free. Our willingness and our tenacity and our resilience and our perseverance and our practice and our attention and our intention is what sets us free or liberates us from suffering. But the truth lays a foundation for all of those virtues to be expressed. Because if we're coming from lies, we're going to just perpetuate more lights. And so personal power and ownership is just a massive, a massive component. And it's the first. It's the first. It's the first lesson in a conscious warrior framework and it really allows us to be a healthier men. And so it's not just about ownership and personal power. It's about creating safety and stability in our own lives.

Stef Sifanos: 24:45 So creating a more secure sense of self by looking at ourselves in a whole. Because when we take ownership and responsibility and power for who we take stayed for who we are, we're not moving through life in a fractured way. We're not moving through life in a broken way or disconnected why or in parts wide because we're looking at the whole of us and say, you know what? I spend a lot of years being aggressive. I spent a lot of years being really selfish. I actually expressed narcissistic traits. Um, I, I was a violent person. I was very passive. I didn't stand up for myself. And so when we start taking ownership of all that we've been, we become safe Ross. So, so we begin become safe to other people because other people see a whole version of ourselves that they're not guessing about who are we? And so this becomes like we hold that a conscious decision for ourselves and that's these more authentic masculinity and moves away from, from oppression and domination and dominion over anything that we consider less. Then we begin to look at life in a more equitable way and there's less division. And so that, that becomes very powerful for me in terms of, uh, a principal.

Aaron: 25:55 Yeah. You know, you just said a word. And um, when you, when you said the word authenticity, I think that's a big piece of this, at least in my experience when it comes to the idea and the expression of masculinity, um, because, you know, from most of the time, um, from what I've seen when people, when people try to express that, that old school version of masculinity, if you will, with the, you know, expressing dominance. But you can tell it's just such a facade. It's like this mask at a house with Lewis Howes wrote the book mask if the mask of masculinity a little bit ago, uh, and always thinking that because I just thought it was a great a title because it's so, it's, it's, you see it all the time, you know, the person that's acting overly tough for or wants to let everybody know how strong he is or dominant they are.

Aaron: 26:52 But most of the time it's a facade. Once you break right through it, you see that there's, there's pain behind it, there's fear behind it, and it's, and it's really not an expression of bravery. We talked about this earlier. I'll get to it. It's not an expression of bravery when they're trying to act overly powerful and dominant. It's actually, it's actually an attempt to hide the fear and the hurt that's behind us. I mentioned, uh, we, we were saying earlier before we started recording today, I brought up the idea that a lot of times I think people make the mistake of trying to express or trying to compare masculinity with bravery as if they're the same exact thing. So people feel that if they, they, if they are going to be masculine, if they want to attempt to be more masculine and have people look at them as like, oh, look at this, this strong person is masculine, dominant, fearless person, then that means they just have to act brave all the time.

Aaron: 27:50 But to your point, to the point of authenticity, that's just a massive mistake, you know, because the, the, the, the, the, the lack of, you know, that the, the, the need, it's just when you think about it, it's kind of insane the, this idea that someone would need to constantly act or behave as if they are the strongest, most fearless being in the room in order to be considered masculine. And they are just always brave. It's nonsense. You know, I can't tell you how many times I went to, talked about earlier. I spent 15 years on the swat team. I can't tell you how many times I was scared as hell going to job because you know, we had Intel on the people that are with air. So there, there, there was fear there. But that fear was turned into awareness and focus and remembrance.

Aaron: 28:36 And in there there's the breathing techniques. There's a visualization. But if there was no willingness to be authentic and say, okay, this is a scary scenario, and because this is a scary scenario that could be potentially dangerous. I'm jumping into an example that I didn't realize I was jumping into the fact that there was fear there and the fact that we as a team, we're honest about having that fear and it allowed for us to access our tools. They almost created a necessity for us to access other resources, whether it be breathing skills, visualization, all these things, but if you know, in that kind of scenario, fi only clung to I just have to be brave. Then it almost shuts out everything else. It almost shuts the doors on, on the easy access to all those tools and those things. And I think in day to day life I'm putting that example aside and day to day life, I think when we're willing to just be authentic as opposed to attempting to be something that we think we're supposed to be a case in point in masculinity, I think they're all fantastic.

Aaron: 29:42 It allows us to open the doors and be willing to open the doors to, okay, um, you know, there's all these other resources that I can access because I may need them, you know, because I am fearful. I am a little bit, uh, I don't have much confidence in this scenario. What can I, what can I use? I think it creates an avenue for, um, better performance, which is from not mistaken behind the work that you do is really about performance. Uh, and I think that word, the words you used, authenticity is, is a, is a perfect word in this, uh, in this case.

Stef Sifanos: 30:17 Yeah. Massive, very much about performance. Like, I mean we can perform poorly or we can perform an excellence that's a. I think that's a massive, that's a massive part of what we, you know, we, we let, we let that go a lock. We have, uh, an opportunity to, to move in excellence in every area of our life. Like whether it'd be excellent like devotion and excellence, like a really for me, they, they, they human traits like they're healthy human traits, devotion. Excellent. But when we're speaking to men and changing the paradigm and switching around the paradigm of how the healthy masculinity to healthy masculinity know we're talking about deep devotion in self and to a purpose and to causal purposes and, and having, encountering healthy pride in, in, in, in what we do and how we move through the world, excellence in treating ourselves and others and in every way that we show up. And this isn't to put immense pressure on us because we don't want to be attached to this excellence, but we want to strive and embody excellence. We choose that over, hey, this is too much for me, so I'm going to either revert to being oppressive and subjugating or I'm going to disappear and be passive and make that old paradigm is just, it's not, it's not gonna work anymore. Not, not for the level of connectedness in globalization that we're experiencing as a society now. Yeah.

Aaron: 31:41 Where are you seeing the most, um, obviously you've been doing this for a bit. Where are you seeing the most tangible changes? If we can, if we can put this in a setting for, for the day to day mail, um, let's just go through life and, and up upcoming this conversation of masculinity and they think to themselves, okay, is this or is just not applicable for me? I'm just the average Joe. I'm not, I'm not some tough guy. I'm not a, I'm not any, you know, someone who doesn't feel like they are at either extreme. How do you think, how do you see this as a tangible asset on a regular basis? Because I think it'd be valuable for people to, to, to understand and, and, and really talk about how having this discussion and getting real about it and being authentic about it really does make a difference in a different context of their lifestyle.

Stef Sifanos: 32:33 Yeah. If I'm understanding the question you're asking, where am I seeing, what am I saying this prominent in terms of this, this ability to potentially like what area of our, of our society where men are active is this, is a transition from unhealthy to healthy masculinity more likely to take place initially? Is that what you're asking?

Aaron: 32:54 Yeah. Well, and I apologize, I should reframe that. Where are you seeing the benefits for people to engage with, with you and are willing to have this conversation and be willing to open to new ideas about masculinity in and of itself when people are willing to, to, to operate a mine in and engaged in just income shift from what may be an old perspective to a, a more inclusive perspective, the masculinity as a, as you teach it, and obviously you're very in depth with, with, with the work that you do in what areas of those people's lives who are willing to engage a and challenged their, their ideas and their thoughts about masculinity. Where are you seeing? In what way are you seeing those people benefit from that shift from the old to a more progressive idea?

Stef Sifanos: 33:45 Yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost in them, in themselves, in their own sense of self. So they, so to put in something tangible vayd conference is rising and it's rising. And, and what I mean by common is I don't mean egoic pride. I don't mean an arrogance. Uh, I'm, I'm very, very specific about this sense of self, the way they view themselves that self talk is more compassionate and less rigid and less judgmental the way they've seen how they've behaved. This more forgiveness, there's more empathy. In other words, the, the, the, the mark or have social and emotional intelligence is rising within the individual, within the med. Yeah. Then from there, he, once he gets on a deep a hold of that and he's, he's more connected with it. He feels

Stef Sifanos: 34:39 more open to be that person in his intimate relationships, the relationships where he feels most safe in generally not the men that he's been mixing within the past, unless they happen to be a healthy conduit of masculine expression, which the chances are it's not. And so to give you an example, many of the ex military guys that I've worked with, the special forces guys that I've worked with is a reason why they. We've worked together and so they've lit they, they come to me. It's like I can't relate to the boys anymore. I can't relate to the guys anymore. I wouldn't change my life. I don't want to keep drinking. I don't want to keep suppressing. I want to keep taking drugs. I don't want to keep forgetting. I just, I want to be different. I want to be healthier. I can't relate to these guys anymore and I feel like I'm losing everyone around me and so because you know you'd know better than than most our in that, that sense of camaraderie that you develop, that you cultivate a new bond under deep on the life and death circumstances I'm in.

Stef Sifanos: 35:39 Their sheets are replaceable like you, but then what happens when your values change? Wrought block. What happens when your values change and the values of your peer groups heaven and show. The reason that I went into a side note there is that men don't then really go to their peer group because for the majority of the time they haven't shifted and they have as individuals and so they go to maybe they wives their sisters, they'll go, they'll go to women more than anything else. Now again, healthy women. Now this doesn't mean so for some men that are listening to this, because I get this all the time, oh, but then with becoming feminized and will not be coming, man, and we're losing our sense of masculine, you know, losing sense of masculinity because that's not going anywhere. It's only going to go somewhere moving in extreme, so extreme in one end, and then you go into the other end, then yes, you will lose that and you lose a lot more than that.

Stef Sifanos: 36:33 However, if you retain that sense of sovereignty. So I've developed a model around what I call sovereign leadership in this 14 principals in that. And so you, you, you hold yourself in discerning confident way and your sense of, of, um, sovereignty and who you are as a person, you won't lose yourself. We have this fallacy that if we're spending time with women, we're big. We're going to become hyper feminine, right? What about the opportunity of complementing that femininity and using that femininity as a, as a reference point, as an opposite to strengthen your healthy masculinity and you're in a sound frame of mind and an open, willing frame of mind. That's what generally happens. Yeah,

Aaron: 37:15 I love it. That's a great answer. And it, and it's, I, I love the fact that you talk about how the result of this, one of the first results of this is an increase in confidence and that emotional and social intelligence and that I don't think you can put a price tag on that because that's, that can be for many people and I just from as, as coaches use the air quotes, you know, we, we, I think we understand more than most how, how powerful that can be and how much of, how much of a secret that is for most people. Meaning the lack of personal confidence and the lack of the lack of emotional mastery and emotional intelligence and social intelligence. Um, I think people, I think people underestimate how many people struggle with is how many people struggle with and they overestimate how hard it would be for them to improve it in, in themselves.

Stef Sifanos: 38:19 So that's a historian. I continue. Sorry to interrupt you. I just had a thought, but.

Aaron: 38:23 No, no, no, that, that, that, that was it. I'm just saying, I think people underestimate how many people deal with that as a day to day issue. That lack of confidence and emotional and stability. I think people have so many more people in then the list you, the listener or viewer realize are dealing with those same struggles. And I think it's important for, for anyone listening to understand that if they are one of those people who aren't in those honest moments when they're not masking and when they're not suppressing. Yep. They're not overdrinking and they're not just deluding themselves by just numbing themselves, whether it's tv or just, you know, the friends from high school and just hiding the reality when they're in that moment of clarity a and they realize, you know, what, this, this is a struggle for me, which is why I'm always trying to distract myself. Uh, it's not uncommon and I think I think people should have more people who I'm hoping that people as they're listening to you, um, feel some permission to take a step towards, you know, making a shift in, in their. I, he had it.

Stef Sifanos: 39:24 Yeah. Yeah. I know. Aaron, I completely agree with you and I'd love to give some context because I don't want to just just say, hey, social emotional intelligence and then let people ask what does that actually mean? Let me give some. I mean, let me give some context that an emotional intelligence again, is not a complex notion. It's just a very laid notion. But let me, let me express what that means in context. Like in actual real tangible terms. And so when men begin to develop this sense of a greater sense of emotional intelligence and social intelligence, there are a couple of characteristics that that come with that. And so when, when we don't have that emotional, we don't carry that emotional social intelligence, that ability to interact in a group with people and so forth. We isolate ourselves. So our sense of self worth is low self esteem is low, self value is low, and when we act from that place, it's detrimental to society, but also to us like it hurts us and where we live in this constant pain and loneliness.

Stef Sifanos: 40:21 And so the moment you begin to raise your sense of emotional intelligence in this case, let me just give two examples or two characteristics, compassion and empathy. And so when you become become more emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent, you're able to relate to people at deeper levels and you're able to gauge the situation so you have more environmental or situational awareness as well. And so you act from that place and you act from a greater sense of confidence because you have a greater sense of knowing, knowledge, wisdom, gnosis, and so that compassion and empathy, you can relate and you can feel people and so you communicate from that place as opposed to communicate from a place, I've got no idea what's going on. I'm just going to attract because I don't want to embarrass myself because men are men to know everything and if I don't know everything and in the right way, then I'm going to be deemed as stupid that I'm going to be putting the out group and then the brainstem is going to act, act up and far up and I'm going to feel like I'm about to be annihilated and all of a sudden I'm 70,000 years ago and I'm in the out group and I'm cold and I'm alone.

Stef Sifanos: 41:16 And there's a world basis, Canadian long story, right? So beyond that, what happens is we all want to belong. This is a very primal thing. We all want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of union and a sense of inclusion. And so we raise our sense of emotional intelligence and social intelligence. We may fade into that primal, biological need to belong, and so it may become less isolated. They come less from fear that don't leverage their physical prowess and strength in a negative way that is excluding exclusion and isolating, but rather they leverage their strength in a healthy way that allows people that build people up as well. It allows people to be part of the tribe that my friend is what I get excited about when I see men become more confident in carrying levels of emotional intelligence. And that is just one component. That link I've just made that is just one component of what happens. That's excellent.

Aaron: 42:13 Yeah. And, and I, I love that. And that for, for, for you as you're listening, that is, that is like the diving board into improve leadership ability, improved relationship ability improved, whether it's intimate relationships at home with your children, with your peers. It allows for the capacity to improve those connections either from in the workplace or in a personal environment. Um, that, that sense of inclusion. It's, it's funny, I, I, my brain keeps going back to the old styles of leadership, the old carrot and stick, you know, the old way of doing things, the old way of dealing with social problems there. There's an old um, there used to be an old bumper sticker in the, the old locker room got, I don't even know what decade it was from. I'm going to guess the fifties or sixties, but you probably heard that phrase before. The beatings will continue until morale improves that archaic idea of leadership. You know, where you just keep pounding, just pounding the problem until you wrote pound you until you tear up.

Stef Sifanos: 43:26 I assume that my father, like I'll give you something to cry about. Still cry.

Aaron: 43:33 Uh, and I think, and it's funny because I think most of us in this, I love this conversation because in, in, in this particular error, this, this, this time that we're in it, it seems to me that people that are, that are in our age group in thirties and forties, we are old enough where we, most of us had parents who have said those types of things. Not because they were bad parents, it was just, it was just a way parenting was done. And again, I'm completely generalizing here, but we've at least heard of those comments, you know, if the child is crying, you say, I'll give you some decline out. Um, but I think in large part because of that, the social awareness and the information exchange that we have and people like you, um, staff that are willing to, to, to be the leaders in it, the forefront of these things to say, okay, what are we actually doing and creating here by perpetuating these old, archaic versions of, um, leadership for a better word.

Aaron: 44:34 We're dominance in, in where does that lead, you know, when, when, when we, like you said, when we just, when we blocked someone out or we make them feel like they're on the outs instead of including them because they're doing something we don't particularly agree with. What does that create? And is there something we can, is there a choice, a different choice that we can make that, that's going to lead us to more of the results that we're looking for? I, I love that conversation and it's, it's crazy. I'm looking at the clock here for 46 minutes in and I could easily go for another couple of hours because I got like eight more different topics and I think we have 11 more pieces of your wheel that we can get to. I think we could probably do a good 12 hour marathon here if you wanted to, but I want to get to, to, to something really important because this is something for those that are still listening right now.

Aaron: 45:27 This is a conversation that I think a man or a woman, I think it's a conversation that is really needs to be, um, we need to dive deeper into it. So can you please let people know how they can reach out to you and continue this conversation, work with you and get more. Um, and I can tell you already I'm a fan. I love this conversation because it's so relevant. It's so relevant to me and in the life I came up with in, in the career came up with up in and I definitely, you know, I'm happy to learn from you. And I'm appreciative. So how can we continue this conversation, my friend? Let us know.

Stef Sifanos: 46:02 Thank you and thanks for your call. Has been an amazing conversation. I might share the same sentiment or we could keep going for hours. I love that. I'm glad I've made. I've made a friend on the east coast of the US after a few short months ago, um, where you can find me on any of my social media handles. Stef, not so fancy a s, t e f a n o s s I s a n d o s it's, I don't think anyone else will come up that night. I'm pretty sure no one else has that name. Um, so yeah, you'll, you'll find me on social media if you want to join. If you're a man you want to join my conscious warrior facebook group, I'm the conscious warrior. Please feel free to do that. Um, reclaimyourkingdom.com Is a three is a three month online immersive for men. And that begins the end of February, February 26th, I believe. Um, so we've already started taking intakes for that. It's an amazing opportunity to get real support from other men, healthy men connect, learn the principles of the conscious warrior, deep dog into self and just make some massive changes behaviorally, neurologically, relationally, every area of your life. And so that's a very exciting. It's a program very close to my journey, very close to my heart and you'll be able to find me. It's um, yeah, I, I'm a website as well and it sounds my social media channels. Yeah.

Aaron: 47:19 Nice. Beautiful Man. I appreciate it. Listen to everybody listening to who didn't grab a pen and write down the spelling of his full name. Uh, if you just go to Aaron Keith Dot com, type in a search bar. You'll see on the top right of this screen. Just type S, t, e, f Stef, nobody can mess that up. Type stuff into the search bar and hit enter and you'll find this episode. And then I'll have, I'll link up all your connections to social media, your websites for, for those that are sort of a writing implement impaired at the moment. Type stuff on Aaron Keith Hawkins Dot Com. We'll make sure we get, get you connected stuff. I'm going to call it right now. We are going to need at least have a part two to this conversation or at least a continued conversation because I'd love to get into a chat about relationships as well, you know, a husband, wife, the, the, those, those types of relationships and how we can maybe share some nuggets of wisdom to give some support there.

Aaron: 48:19 Those are things that, that's the coaching I love to do is, you know, with relationships and influence. So I went to the jam on with you on that. I, I got to take a minute just to, just to honor you, I got so much respect and appreciation for the work you're doing. It is, it is needed. Um, there needs to be another 100 of you out there sharing this to men in this world. I mean it, I'll just say it from, you know, I'm not just blowing steam because your guest. I, I say that because I've came up, I've come up in a very masculine career. Um, I've seen some of the changes that have taken, taken place, good changes, but there, there's a lot more work to do and I'm glad that there are people like you leading the charge. So thank you so much and we're going to talk again soon. So everybody, if you're mad that Stef's leaving for now, don't worry, we'll have him back. I promise he doesn't know yet, but he's coming back on the show. Until next time everyone, we'll see you next time on Unbreakable Success. Thanks for joining us. Thanks again. Stef. I appreciate you my friend. Thank you. Alright, take care.

Stef Sifanos: 49:17 Thank you so much.

Resources from Unbreakable Success Podcast Episode 60: Stef Sifandos' website: StefSifandos.com Facebook: fb.com/StefanosSifandosAlchemist YouTube: Click Here Instagram: @StefanosSifandos LinkedIn: @StefanosSifandos Twitter: @StefSifandos The Most Comprehensive Mens Transformation Program: ReclaimYourKingdom.com

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