How to embrace your masculinity, without being toxic

About once a week, I here my co-workers say something along the lines of “Men are the worst.” Feeling the awkwardness in the room as the only full-time male staff member, I tend to reply with a simple “I agree.” Now tell us how you really feel, Rhys…you might be saying. And well, it’s true. This is how I really feel. Most of the men in my life have massively let me down, and the majority of my scars in life come from the insufficient care of men with far more fragility than they’ve ever been willing to admit. The vast majority of opportunities I had to establish positive male role models in my life involved heavy handholding from my own father, who couldn’t allow me to participate in anything without being front and centre as a part of it himself. I love supposedly feminine things like fashion, cooking and dance, and I hate supposedly masculine things like fighting, violence, and the culture around sports like American football and hockey where “manliness” is projected by how hard you can hit or how long you can play through a concussion. I prefer to interact with and befriend females, out of the exact same reasons why I often hear the women in my life proclaim “men are the worst.” This is all to say that those bro-ey type of guys…the “Chads and Brads” as my co-workers would call them, just aren’t for me. And yet, I’m completely masculine.

Becoming the best you (Part 3 – Improving your work life)

If you aren’t willing to work hard, you’ll never get anywhere in life. But at the same time, you cannot work yourself sick. Everything needs to achieve equilibrium, and be able to balance on one leg with your eyes closed in tree pose. So with that, this is Part 3 to our Becoming the Best You Series, in which I give you all the tips and tricks you need to become the very best version of yourself. Today, is about all work.

Developing a growth mindset…

Our abilities are not fixed in time, and can change with practice and help. So it’s important to approach any challenges or perceived inabilities with a growth mindset, and positive self-talk. That’s why in this article I’m going to be giving you some tips and tricks to establishing a growth mindset.

Tips for establishing yourself in new environments…

This week, I started a new job in a brand new city. I was instantly blown away by the positive work culture of the organization, and how quickly I belonged. But I also impressed myself with how quickly I was able to feel comfortable with my co-workers, and how I was able to be assertive in establishing myself as a person of importance within the first week. So today, I bring you some tips that will help you instantly establish yourself in new environments, and help you feel confident in being assertive right away.

Creating positive work cultures…

This week, I began a brand new journey, with a brand new job in a brand new city (the city has been around for some time but it’s new to me!). Instantly, I felt welcomed, important, and like I belonged. This isn’t always the case when you start a new job, so today, I wish to talk about what my new employers did so very well in my first week in creating such a positive work culture.

Why being fun is an underrated aspect of leadership…

Leadership, a word comprising many characteristics and traits, is likely one of the broadest words in the English language. People have been studying the concept of leadership for quite some time, and it would be near impossible to come up with a definitive definition of what leadership truly comprises. What the word means to each individual may differ and include aspects like teamwork, culture building, management, communication, motivation, guidance, authority, control, and likely hundreds of other blanketed terms. Recently I have been thinking about leadership characteristics more and more in my everyday life, constantly reflecting as to how I can be better within my professional role as a Technical Leader of a soccer club. In my reflections, I have come to the realization that just about everything, every aspect of being a good leader, centers around inspiring others to have fun. Simultaneously, I think this has likely been under-appreciated in the research and literature surrounding the concept of leadership, in favour of other buzzwords like “guidance”, “influence” and “power” that are also too broad. Here is why fun is so important to leadership, and likely an underrated aspect when considering what makes someone a “good leader.”

A word on taking chances…

A year ago this month, I took a chance on fourteen 12-year-old soccer players, creating a brand new competitive team from scratch. Many of the players were in our recreational programs at NorWest, but I saw the potential they had to take their game to the next level. Now, after just one year of training together as a competitive team, the girls are unbeaten this summer, winning three and drawing the other in their first four matches. Tomorrow night we play what is likely our biggest game of the season to this point. But after the start to the season we’ve had, the girls enter the match full of confidence, and uber aware of how to grind out a result when things get tough.