Taking Off My Mask.
I was born on Halloween. I know something about masks. I also spent much of my adolescence and early adulthood trying to don the mask of masculinity.
Recently, Ashanti Branch invited me onto his "Taking Off the Mask" podcast dedicated to men getting real. He asked me to do an exercise before coming onto the show. Draw a picture of myself as the world sees me and add a few adjectives or descriptors that define my identity. He said he’d do the same and, then, on camera, we’d do the big reveal looking at the backside of the piece of paper that shows who we really are.
That podcast and associated Zoom video just went live. It’s 50 minutes long but go to minutes 10 through 30 on the video (20 minutes of watching time) and you’ll capture how magical this exercise can be for creating vulnerability and trust amongst friends, family, or even team members at work. It’s an exercise that’s valuable at any age, but particularly in midlife when we’re finding our mask to feel like an ill-fitting pair of shoes.