The latest episode in our Resilience Unravelled series has now been released, Resilience Unravelled – Emotional reconnection. Learn to SOAR.
In this episode Dr Russell Thackeray talks to Mike Cameron, a Canadian writer, speaker, philanthropist, ultramarathoner and advocate against Gender Based Violence. As a sales and leadership authority, Mike has spoken on the impact of emotion on human behaviour for over twenty years. He has also worked with non-profits and charities to pave the way for a violence free future. Today, he designs programmes that help men tap into their emotions in a real and authentic way using his Emotional Reconnection Practice.
Mike’s first job was bagging steer manure in a garden supplier’s but he always felt he was destined for more! He moved into the finance sector and his career really took off. When he was 28, he moved from Vancouver to open a new office in Edmonton. One month later the financial regulator shut the whole company down leaving him starting from scratch in a new city. He then worked for major bank for 5 years but really wanted to be his own boss so set up his own firm in 2003.
To many people Mike was ‘living the life’ in his 20’s and 30’s but he feels that as we get older our life experiences change our mindset and reset our priorities. The major change in Mike’s life came in 2015 when his girlfriend was murdered by a previous boyfriend who then himself committed suicide. This was when Mike realised that he wanted to move from material success to significance. By using money made from his business he founded some non-profits in the housing sector and helped people get into home ownership. His friends had encouraged him look into the system that had seemingly failed his girlfriend but Mike knew that she had had the correct restraining orders in place so he decided to go to the root of the problem – how do we prevent men like this from existing in the first place.
Mike started creating programmes that looked at the burden that male white privilege creates. He feels this is something that many men can’t deal with. Men everywhere are hurting which can lead to depression, anxiety and suicide. We all make decisions based on emotion but how do we make an emotional connection? A decision based on a temporary emotion can have very long-term effects. Men are taught to suppress or bury emotion so there is emotional disconnection. Mike feels that generally men aren’t in touch with their emotions and that there are specific pressures on them. They are taught to be the provider and to be strong but sometimes strength becomes confused with avoiding or suppressing emotions, stoicism and crushed feelings. True strength is having the courage to sit with, feel, observe and learn from emotions. Mike has developed a technique called SOAR to help men reconnect:
S Slow Down. Take a breath, become attuned to the present.
O Open up. Allow what is coming up for you in the moment to surface. Share it.
A Accept what you are feeling. Don’t try to change it. Practise not judging it.
R Reconnect with your emotional self. We weren’t born disconnected, we have been conditioned to become disconnected.
Mike feels it’s important to prepare in the calm for the coming of the storm. We may not know when something will come and turn our life upside down so practicing in advance can help us prepare. The daily commute is a good example. We can get frustrated and annoyed with other road users or conditions but we can take the opportunity to reframe it from an annoyance to an opportunity. It’s important to disconnect the feeling from the behaviour.
We may not have an option on how we feel but we do about our behaviour. Mike likes to ask ‘what would the man I want to be do in this situation?’ There are physiological and health benefits in controlling strong emotions like fear and anger. Physical things like insomnia happen when we suppress or avoid anger. We can’t avoid it but if we open up to ourselves and to other people it dissipates. We also need to get over idea of being judged all the time as our external view of ourselves gets in the way of acceptance. By living our life against someone else’s standard it makes it hard to get back to ourselves. We need to know ourselves and our emotions so we know when they are making us ill or making it difficult to do the right thing.
We need to remember the difference between expectation and agreement. Resentment is the result when we hold someone accountable for an expectation we haven’t agreed on. We need to realise that expectations, and accountabilities change over time so we need to update on these regularly. We need to be intentional, to live life by design rather than default so we take the time to sit down and reflect on what we want our lives to actually look like.You can find out more about Mike at:
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