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Today’s guest is Ryan Michler.

We go deep talking about:

  • Making yourself obsolete as a framework for fatherhood
  • The importance of raising a child with both a mother and father in the home
  • How to stand up for what you believe in with conviction
  • The “20 F’s” mentality, versus the “0 F’s” mentality
  • How to develop your manliness by harnessing your masculinity
  • The truth about toxic masculinity
  • Martial arts as a litmus test for who you want in your corner
  • The techniques Ryan uses to combat impatience
  • Why fickle men don’t make good leaders
  • The realities of homeschooling, and why you need to consider it

Ryan Michler is a husband, father, Iraq Combat Veteran, and the founder of Order of Man. Ryan was raised without a permanent father figure and has seen first-hand how a lack of strong, ambitious, self-sufficient men has negatively impacted society. He believes many of the world’s most complicated and challenging problems could be resolved if men dedicated themselves to becoming more capable husbands, fathers, businessmen, and community leaders.

Mentioned on this episode:

The Order of Man Podcast

To connect online with Michler:

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad Work Podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad Work. This is episode number 82. Making yourself obsolete as a father with my guest, Ryan Michler. We go deep today talking about making yourself obsolete as a framework for fatherhood. The importance of raising a child with both a mother and a father in the home. How to stand up for what you believe in with conviction, the 20 F's mentality versus the zero F's mentality? How to Develop your manliness by harnessing your masculinity, the truth about toxic masculinity. Martial arts is a litmus test for who you want in your corner. The techniques Ryan uses to combat impatience why fickle men don't make good leaders, the realities of homeschooling and why you need to consider it and a whole lot more guys. Ryan Michler is a husband, father, Iraq combat veteran and founder of order of man, Ryan was raised without a permanent father figure and have seen firsthand how a lack of strong ambitious self sufficient men has negatively impacted society. He believes many of the world's most complicated and challenging problems can be resolved if men dedicated themselves to becoming more capable husbands, fathers, businessmen and community leaders. Alright guys, this is an intense episode, I'm gonna leave it that I want you to listen to this. I want you to listen all the way through. There's some good stuff in here, guys. Okay. Not everyone's going to agree with everything you hear. And that is fine. I happen to think that Ryan is right about a whole lot of stuff. And I agree with him in many ways. And if you don't, there's still going to be a lot for you to learn here. And might be a good opportunity to check what your triggers are and what your real beliefs and convictions are. Can you stand up for them like Ryan did. And just one more reminder, guys, before we get in the episode with Ryan, if you have been enjoying this, if you have not yet signed up for our free 14 day better man better dad email series, go to Dad.Work/Email, you can sign up and get that in your inbox for free. That's Dad.Work/Email. Alright guys, here is the episode number 82 of the downward podcast with Ryan Michler

Okay, man, welcome to another episode of The Dad Work Podcast. I'm very excited to have Ryan Michler with me today. And I'm just going to like to call myself out the very first thing we do, Ryan, because I want to publicly apologize for wasting your time about like seven years ago, I invited you on a podcast I was going to start and it never went anywhere. And you were the one and only man that I that I interviewed, and I feel bad for wasting your time. And so I just want to clear the air first right up front and just say sorry, man. And I appreciate that you just kept on going when I didn't. Because man, the fruits of your labor have certainly shown themselves. So just clearing myself of that right now. What so what why didn't you keep going with it? Yeah, how many interviews? Did you do? You just did me is that it? I literally just did you. So I was at this point, I was launching this beard company. I actually have a guest post on your site, by the way from like six years ago, about like beards and stuff like that. So I was like, Oh, what do I do with this? I'm gonna be like in the manosphere. And this was when you and Tanner and some of these other guys were just getting started. And I was like, oh, I want to get in on that. I wasn't ready. I wasn't yet a man myself. I still was a little boy in in sort of the deepest parts of myself. And I just went like, I don't know what I'm doing this for. So I just I stopped man and I felt guilty ever since. So let me just fess up and I don't feel guilty of base. But look, man, anytime we can apologize when an apology is necessary. By all means. Apology accepted. No worries at all. I'm glad we could do this now. Yeah, man, I'm really pumped. Like I have been watching your stuff, obviously, for like, literally the whole seven years we've been doing it or however long it's been now which is sweet. And man, one of the things I am most excited to follow you about is just how you are raising your young men. Because my oldest is now nine. I've got a seven year old and I've got a two year old, all boys. And so the thing that's real for me right now is I used to be the, the worst part of their lives. And I just sort myself out because I was mean I was angry. I was yelling, I sorted myself out. And now I'm going like, oh, I don't know what like what to actually do. It was all about fixing my responses and my reactions. And now that I need to go and actually do something to help them become the man I want them to be. I'm going like, Man, I gotta figure this out from the ground floor. And so you said something a while ago, he said wanted to render yourself obsolete. That was your job as a father. I wonder if you can start there. What do you mean by that?

Ryan Michler 4:23

Well, so you said something interesting. You said I don't know what to do. I don't either. Know, nobody knows. Because we've never been here. You know, my my oldest son is four. So I have a 14 year old boy. I've got a 10 year old boy who's who's going to be turning 11 I've got an eight year old girl and then I've got a six year old boy. And I don't know what to do with any of them.

And and, you know, you might think well okay, you have four kids. So like you've been through the 66 year old and seven year olds. Now

Three times you think you could figure it out with your youngest son? No, because he's completely different than the rest of them. So I don't know, I don't know what to do.

So I wish I could give you some great answer. But here's what I would say, is because I don't know what to do, what I have to do is I have to look for frameworks, and I have to look for foundational principles, that will be a litmus test for what I'm doing. So you, you alluded to that, that that quote that I had earlier about, my job as a father is to render myself obsolete. If I look at everything that I do through the lens of rendering myself obsolete, it gets me pointed in the right direction.

So when my oldest son who just turned 14, a couple of days ago, over the weekend, is looking at me, as a young man with fire in his eyes, like challenging me. And I've never experienced that before from my son.

I can think to myself, Okay, my job is to render myself obsolete, because normally what I might do, if I didn't think about that, is get all pissed off, and be confrontational, and try to beat him down maybe emotionally, mentally, or, in some cases, some fathers maybe even physically,

right. My job is to render myself obsolete. So I look at it. And I think that's actually a good thing.

That's healthy. Now, the way that he does, it is important. And so we had a real deep and meaningful conversation about him challenging me in front of the family, and in front of his mother, my wife. And so you, you darn well better believe that we had a conversation about that. But also, I looked at it and thought, no, that's healthy. That's a young man trying to figure it out his role in the world. That's a young man trying to figure out how to go from pre pubescent teenager to a young man. So how do I help him walk healthily through this process.

If I don't come at it from the mindset of rendering myself obsolete, I'm going to devalue him, I'm going to diminish him, I'm going to mock him, I might abuse him verbally, emotionally, physically. And that isn't going to help me accomplish my job of rendering myself obsolete. So we had a good, we had a heated exchange in that moment. But then afterwards, we had a good deep and meaningful conversation, because I know my role, and I helped him understand what his role was. So it's the litmus test. Nobody knows man. Like, that's the beauty. Nobody knows.

No podcast, or no guru, no, Insta celeb, nobody knows. But if you have a litmus test, then you can measure all your beer. And that's not to say you're gonna get it all right, either. Because I mess up every single day, even though I have a pretty good litmus test. And I'm surrounded by good men who helped me be on the path. And I still screw it up. But it gets me closer. Yeah, and that's probably the most honest take you could possibly give. When I heard that for the first time, like, why are you even caring, but you've never done this before? And I was like, oh, man, if I just knew that, because I was looking for templates for years. It's like, oh, how do you do it? I was like, I don't know. I've never done it before. And I was like, Oh, dude. Okay. I don't know your kids. I don't know your wife. I don't know your you that well, I don't know your your religion. I don't know what your political belief. I don't know what your family dynamic is. Like, I don't know what type of culture I like, I have no idea. So if I said do X, Y, and Z, what is there like a 1% chance that I might get some of that, right? I don't know. All I know, is that generally and broadly, we need to render ourselves obsolete as fathers. We're not raising kids. We're raising future adults. And then we can measure everything we're doing against that. And hopefully we get a little closer to doing it right then maybe our fathers did for us. Yeah, man. Okay, so what else do you use as a guiding principle, then? Because that's where I wanted to go with this, like, okay, render yourself obsolete. I get that. But what else do young men need? What are you seeing him need? Because I've been going, okay, they need support. Sure. They need a secure attachment. Sure. But they need to be challenged, I think, to be able to see what they're made of to eventually surpass me in some way, I suppose. But are there other principles? Are there other guiding guidelines or litmus tests that you use with your sons? Well, they need a mother and a father.

Yeah. And are you married? Do you mind if I asked? Yeah, we've been married 10 years as of two weeks ago. Cool. Congratulations. So mom's gonna take care. Yep. That's gonna give him a leg up more than the overwhelming and pathetic majority of his peers. I'm just telling you, like, he needs a mother and a father. So here's a great example when your kid is riding the bike, and he's, you know, three, four or five years old, and they're trying to learn how to ride a bike. And the kid falls because that's what we do. Right? So we fall we scrape our knees, we bump our elbows. What does mom do? Mom rushes over, picks them up, brushes off the dust kisses as booboos gets a little you know, transformer band

date or whatever slaps it on his elbow kisses it cuddles him cuddles him. And then the guy what does he do? The guy comes in and says, he gets stopped. You brush it off, I'm not gonna brush, you brush the gravel out of your, your, your scrapes and bruises and bumps, you brush it off and get your ass back on that bike.

And neither one are wrong.

You know, I used to mock my wife, and I still do, but I used to do it in in a,

not a constructive way we do it teasingly and joke, we mock each other, we tease each other jokingly, right, in a healthy way. But I used to be like, What are you doing? Like, this is not the way to do it? No, that's exactly what she should be doing as a woman exactly what she should be doing.

And I'm doing exactly what I should be doing as a man. And in culture, generally. What happens? I made a post on Twitter earlier today, I said, you know, the, one of the biggest missteps that we've made as a society is pulling men out of the family fields and pulling women out of the family kitchen.

And I know there's gonna be a lot of people who listen to that and be like, you know, that's archaic. That's caveman thinking. You're a misogynist, or whatever. No, you know what I am, I'm a realist.

I'm somebody who cares about my kids. I'm somebody who understands the value of masculinity, somebody who understands the value of femininity. I'm somebody who just sees life for what it is. And I'm telling you what if a young man or a young girl

has a mother and a father, even for girls, I know you'd have girls, I have one girl, my daughter needs to be able to have a relationship with a man me outside of it being sexual.

Because if she starts to wrap up her identity in her body, or what she can offer sexually to another man, and she thinks that's the only worth or that's how to get a man's attention. She's doomed.

And yet, she can tell me, Dad, I'd like to have a tea party with you. Dad, I would like to show you this dress that I just sewed for my Barbie. Dad, I'd like to show you how I made my room and I hung up my dresses, and I did this thing. And I need to be able to engage with her. And she needs to see that she can get and capture my attention, my admiration, without it being some sort of sexual activity.

And then when she goes out and she tries to find a man who can she she can partner with. It isn't about her spreading her legs.

It's about her being value for being feminine. And that's the problem we see in culture today. Women don't want to be women and men. Now that's not fair. Us a tiny subset of the population are telling women not to be women that you need to act like a man in order to be equivalent or equal or have worth. And they're telling men that you're misogynistic that you're an asshole, that you're part of the tyrannical patriarchy. And that isn't true, either.

Curt Storring 13:12

So I think your original question is, what is what else do they need masculinity and femininity in healthy situations? Dude, I'm personally going to go back and listen to this, because that fired me up. This was exactly where I wanted to go actually with conviction. But the question that I actually had you covered perfectly, I was gonna ask, as a father, we challenge but doesn't that mean, there needs to be the mother's care. And you just nailed it, man. And I think that is so important. And I'm trying to look at what else is around me going like, Okay, well, I need both sides of myself. You hear guys saying, Oh, well, you bet your feminine side. And it's like, you know, you should be a well rounded man. But that doesn't mean you're taking both responsibilities. Because I think that's unfair, both to you and to your wife, if she is supposed to be doing these certain things that she's getting errantly good at. And you're supposed to be doing these things that you are more likely to be inherently good at. That fits when there's two people. And I think it's interesting that it's ended up being at least in that, like you said, the minority, this small group of loud people saying, no, no, you got to be everything. And I think that's sort of underlines this perverseness in the society where like, we can't be men. We shouldn't have women being women, we shouldn't have homemakers. And I want to touch on the conviction aspect of this. Because I think there are a lot of guys who go along with this sort of cultural narrative, and they feel squeamish inside they know what's wrong. And the call out is well, like, man up. But I wonder if you have ever experienced any, like, discomfort in expressing things that are right, but that are hard in the societal narrative. I wonder how we can encourage men to stand for their convictions and not be such pushovers. When they know it's right to do the right hard thing as I was talking to my friend Scott Ramage about is there anything that you think about that or is it just natural that you're like, This is how it is and I don't care.

Ryan Michler 15:00

Yeah, I mean, I think it's a personality thing. Like I've never heard I had a hard time expressing my opinion, for better or worse. When I was a young boy, I was raised primarily by my mother. I think she would attest to that. I've always had strong convictions, I've always had beliefs, and I haven't shied away from sharing. And I actually like confrontation. I like it. Actually. You know, when people say things, or they want to debate or they want to fight, I'm like, Bring it on. Cool. I'm game. Let's do it. I like it. Not everybody's like that. And I get it. It's neither good nor bad. It's, at times it served me well, because I learned how to stand on my own two feet and debate. And other times, you know, I get sucked into arguments on Twitter that I probably should not be wasting my time on.

Maybe it's a personality thing. I don't know, I

I wish I could give you a better answer than that. I mean, you're asking me how do men stand on their own two feet, like, just open your mouth? Like, just share? And realize that not everybody's gonna agree with you? And it's okay. You know, that's what that's the realization I've come to is if if someone doesn't agree with me, cool.

That's it. Cool. Like, I don't care. I don't, it doesn't bother me. You know, if you want to call me an asshole, you want to call me misogynist, you want to call me this, you want to call me other names. Under the sun, you want to hide behind an anonymous Twitter Instagram account. And you know, and peck at me from the cheat sheet. Cheap Seats use me, I just don't care.

And I think it's funny. And I and I have pity, actually, for whoever those individuals are, that they care so much about what I'm doing in my life, at the expense of their own well being and their children's well being. And the well being of the clients they could otherwise serve. And the good they can actually do in life itself. And I actually want to go back to something you said earlier to you were talking about, you know, this man with a feminine side, look, just because I'm talking this way doesn't mean, I'm not saying I have a feminine side. But here's what I would say, it doesn't mean that I can't be empathetic.

But even through my empathy, I'm not being feminine. Right? So if I care about you, I may need to take you to task on some things.

But that's empathy.

Because I care about you.

If I didn't care about you, I'd be indifferent.

Right, but I care about you. So I'm gonna say hey, man, like I saw you like, we were out. We were out last weekend, and I saw you engaging in some behavior that man, I don't think it's good. You've been married for 10 years. And I'm just making something out here, right? But you've been married for 10 years, you've got three boys at home, like you shouldn't be acting that way with the waitress or the whoever the girl or like whatever, right? That's empathy. Because I care about you.

It reminds me of The Five Love Languages. My wife and I were talking about this. I don't know if you've ever read that book or know much about that work. But my wife and I were talking about it. My primary love language is words of affirmation.

You know, when my wife, it sounds strange, you know, but like, when my wife says, hey, you know what, I'm really proud of you. Man, that makes me feel so good. Or she's like, Hey, you know what, you're looking really good today. I'm like, Man, I feel good. You know, and her and her love language is physical touch. So I can go up, and I can, you know, give her a hug, come up behind her and wrap my arms around her and, you know, press up against her. And she likes that. Or in the morning, you know, maybe we wake up because we hear a noise. And it's, you know, 530 or 630. And I roll over, and I grab her, and I just like, pull her into me, and I just cuddle her. Like, is that my ideal thing? No. But that's how I'm exhibiting love. Because I know that what she's interested in what she feels, does that make me masculine, feminine, I don't know, it just means that I care about her, and I want to serve her. And so we get so tied up in these masculine and feminine things. And sometimes those labels just cause us to do some weird stuff, and keep us from doing what actually could serve us and ours. Yeah, man, I'm glad you went there. Because one of the judgments that I've had on some of the like, I hate calling it the manosphere it's, it's on it's the internet, it's not real, it doesn't matter. And part of my judgment is like, there's the one side of guys who are like, be better, be alpha, be masculine, I'm just gonna do whatever and kind of what she said, like, I don't give a shit if you don't like me, and that's good. And that's important. And then there's a bunch of guys who are like, Oh, just like feel and you know, you just gotta be like, super spiritual and calm and flowy. And what like, literally the whole point of this project, was I wanted to take the best of both worlds because I found personally like, yeah, I got to be a man and this is what that means. And being a man includes what you just said, which is empathy, compassion, care, all those things.

Curt Storring 20:00

things, and it's perhaps expressed in a different way than obviously the woman would do. And so I'm very, I'm almost glad to hear that you think about that stuff, too. Because the judgment that I've had is like, I wonder, like, does Ryan think about this kind of stuff? Like, does he? Does he worry about that stuff? Or is he just wrapped up about like, you got to do this? You got to do this. You got to do this. So thank you for going there, man. And maybe the answer this question, and I would love your your answer to this is like, maybe your work is doing the the answer to the question I had, which is like, how do we get guys to stand up for their conviction? Maybe your work, encouraging guys to be excellent in all these ways that you talk about? Maybe that's what we need is just meant to be men. I wonder if that rings true or not for you?

Ryan Michler 20:47

Well, yeah, let's talk about masculinity. And manliness. I'm going to hit that in a second. But you said something about? I'm just taking some notes here. You said, worried? Is that something Ryan's worried with? Like, what is that? Like? Why would I be worried about that? You know why? Because I'm concerned with what other people think of me who don't actually have any relevance in my life. With all due respect for to you? I've never once in my life thought, man, what would Curt think about me loving my wife right now?

Unknown Speaker 21:20

You haven't know, surprisingly, because it's irrelevant. It doesn't matter.

Ryan Michler 21:28

What would all my followers think

about me, you know, getting a little teary eyed, having a conversation with my son or him blowing out the candles for his 40th birthday. When people think of me, I don't care. I don't I don't care. Because everybody who might judge me negatively, for having those watery eyes is irrelevant in my life.

You know, who counts my wife, my kids, a close circle of friends. and to a lesser degree, but still, my clients, people who believe in me, people who follow me, but I don't do things to appease you.

I don't do things so I can get your approval. Because a I don't care. And B, your approval doesn't help me pay the mortgage.

It doesn't help me grow my business. It doesn't help me stay more connected to my kids. It means nothing.

So I do get tired of hearing this concept of, well, it's the zero F's mentality, right? Like, I don't give zero F's between me things me. Okay, well,

I get it. And maybe you interpret it not you personally. But maybe somebody listening interpreted what I just said about like, I don't care what you think of me as the zero F's mentality. It isn't.

It's like, like the 20% F's mentality. There's like 20% of the people I interact with on a daily basis, who I actually care about what they think, like my wife, I care about what she thinks of me.

I care about what my kids think of me. I care about what my friends think of me. And therefore I change my behaviors, not to appease them, but to lead them more effectively. Because I want to garnish their influence, and credibility and authority. I want that so that I can lead them effectively. Now, what you're talking about is manliness and masculinity. And there's a difference. So, masculinity is just, it's just birthright like you were born with a dick. And so you're a dude. Right? Are the chromosomes I know, we can get into all the differences and all that stuff. But let's just say for the sake of argument that we all know what masculine we all know what a male is, I shouldn't say that. We all know what a male is. You don't get to identify as one. Your doctor didn't assign you a male at birth, like you are a male or a female and people say, well, but intersex Yeah, a medical anomaly. Okay, that doesn't have it's not its own sex is not its own gender class. Okay, that would be like somebody who's born without their arm, let's say, Well, you know, humans can have anywhere between one and zero or two and zero arms. No human beings have two arms. And anything outside of that is a medical anomaly. Not its own class of human. Okay.

So we have male, a male, which is biological. That's the prerequisite to being a man you cannot be a man unless you're a male.

But manliness is around.

Manliness is what you do with the masculinity that is coursing through your veins and that's biologically hardwired to it

is not socially constructed.

I am by nature, more physical, more aggressive, more dominant, more vigilant, more potentially violent than the average female counterpart 100%.

Because not because society told me to be that way, but because I have testosterone. And I've been exposed not only to testosterone, but other hormones in utero, even before I was born, I had this distinction

that's scientifically factual.

And it's how I utilize that. So when people say to me, like, oh, well, toxic masculinity, has they're not entirely wrong.

Okay, now, I don't like that term. Because

it's, I don't I don't believe the overwhelming majority of people who use it.

Because what they're trying to do is they're trying to equate all masculinity with toxicity.

That's not everybody. There are some people who are saying, well, you're using masculinity, if your violent nature for example, to subjugate people, okay.

valid, valid, that's a valid point. You know, we hear a lot about toxic masculinity with with men about you know, inhibiting or utilizing this, you know, violent nature, for example, or a competitive nature. And that's toxic. Well, you know, women experienced the same thing. They can be toxic, just the same way as men, but they do it differently, like women are conniving.

Right? So men will confront, and women will backstab.

So, if we're going to talk about toxic masculinity, then I think it's only fair we talk about toxic femininity, but we don't we only talk about toxic masculinity, which leads me to believe that the agenda is to paint all masculinity is toxic. So I look at masculinity and that's the that's the characteristics that we generally

inhibit as men. So violence, strength, aggression, dominance, vigilance, stoicism, competitiveness, as a moral, they're neither good nor bad. So let's take violence.

If I want something that somebody has, as I'm walking down the road, and I decided to go up them and stab them 17 times and steal their, their possessions, I think we would all agree that that use of violence is inappropriate to put it mildly.

But if on the other hand, I'm walking with my wife, and somebody confronts us, because they want to steal my things, or,

or have their way with my wife,

and I stabbed them 17 times,

or shoot them in the face, and put them down. I think the overwhelming majority of us would agree that's a righteous use of violence. So it isn't about violence. It isn't about the action. It's about how we utilize it, in what context. And so that's why I say, masculinity is a moral. So we have male we have that biological male, we have masculinity, the characteristics exhibited by males. And then we have manliness the ability to harness our masculine energy towards productive outcomes for ourselves and other people.

Curt Storring 28:39

Okay, okay. So how are you seeing this be played out then in your communities? Like, yes, we got the masculine sort of aspects, but it seems like the issue is harnessing that. And I mean, my experience just within the last few minutes, like you've you've harnessed this quite well, it seems like from my limited experience, you show that and in everything you share, and you lead a community, presumably to help men get the manliness aspect, which is to I don't want to say tame, but use discerningly the right you know, tool for the job, aren't ya harness? Yeah. So what are you seeing as being effective ways for men to do this? Because I think this is one of the biggest issues and I'm sure this is why you're doing the work is we need more manly men, not fewer. So what types of things are you seeing? Is it just brotherhood community? Is it practicing? Is it doing hard shit, all of the above? Is there. Again, I don't want to say a template. But what have you seen been effective in guiding or shepherding men towards the sort of the better, more more manly insofar as we're using the word version of themselves? You know, one of the things that I've been really, really engaged with over three years now is, excuse me, martial arts jujitsu, specifically,

Ryan Michler 29:58

you want to surround yourself

for good men go to jujitsu

because all the weak men, all the losers, all the cowards, although the weaklings, they don't come back.

And look, let me be clear, I'm not saying you have to go to jujitsu to be strong and capable and bold and a man, that's not what I'm saying. But I'm saying weak, weak males don't last a jujitsu at jujitsu, they don't. They run, they get scared, their egos are in the way. And so I've got a solid crew of guys that I train with three to four days a week, and we go physically assault each other.

And it couldn't controlled environment, where, hey, if you get the best of me, I'm going to tap and you're going to be a gentleman enough to let go of my neck or my arm, and reset.

And then I'm going to do the same for you. And then hopefully, the goal is you don't let that happen to you next time by learning and growing and expanding and getting better. And that's a pretty good litmus test for who I want to my corner. Like if you came to jujitsu, if you came to our class one night, and we rolled, and you got your ass handed to you, because you're new, and that's what happens. I'm not new, and I still get my ass attitude. And then you didn't come back. The next training, my thought is good.

That's, that's good. Because I don't want you to come back.

If you're going to be weak, if you're going to let your ego get in the way, if you're going to if you're going to be so fragile that you can't handle the physical beat down and make yourself better.

And I can't honestly think of a better way to do it than to go to jujitsu. Because where else you're gonna do it on the golf course.

Like at a barbecue and your, you know, your dad jeans with your white new balances on with your tucked in plaid, you know, t shirt, like, where else are you going to really understand the nature of that other man.

You're just not. So

I'm an advocate for that, you know, outside of that there's gonna be people in your corner, but there's got to be some sort of physicality to it, there's got to be some sort of competitive nature to it. And there's got to be some sort of agreement that we can say and do the things that need to be said and done.

If we're here to exchange pleasantries and make each other feel good, and proverbially Jack each other off, like now that I'm gonna cut it, it's really not what it's about. So, yeah, physical, competitive, and then the agreement that we can say and do the things that need to be said and done. Right? And how does that work into your community, the iron Council, what of those principles are able to do and sort of the online thing? And what do you do in place of those? Because it is online? How do you challenge the guys? Well, it's online for me, but we have teams within the, we've got about 1200. Guys in our council, we have teams, these guys are getting together face to face, they're going to jujitsu to train together, they're getting together, even if it's every six months, and they're going to do a three day hike in the Appalachian Mountains. Or they're going you know, surfing for the first time, or they're gonna go to the event to the bar, like an axe throwing bar, and they're going to compete, right, I just said compete. They're going to compete, and they're going to talk but there's always the framework of, hey, we're here to learn, we're here to grow. We're here to hold each other accountable. And so if I were to go in and report my activity numbers for the week, and they were low, everybody has my permission to say, Ryan, why are your numbers low? And then I would have to explain myself to them. And you know, what, one of two things happens? Number one guys leave?

Because they're like, I don't want I don't need to answer. I don't need to answer you. Right? You don't. But if you did submit yourself to that, what could life look like? So they either leave or two, they get better? Those are the only two options. Because how many times are you going to stand in front of 10 of your peers and say I didn't do what I said I was going to do? How many times are you going to do that before you retreat? or improve? Not very many, I can assure you that.

Curt Storring 34:06

Yeah, man. Okay, thank you for that. I'm curious, as I see you, I'm feeling a lot of intensity. And I'm really appreciative of that, because I haven't got the level of intensity that you're bringing from very many men. And that's good for me, because I know that I need to bring more intensity in many ways. But I'm curious on the flip side of that, what is now or what has been the hardest part for you on this journey? Because as you know, people are listening you you've been doing this for a long time. I know you shared your story a lot. But is there something just to give sort of an element of how about how you go through problems, how you problem solve in your own life? Is there something that's coming up for you right now? Or has there been something recently that's been challenging that you failed that maybe and that felt crappy that you've got through? I'm interested in like how your mind works on on bettering yourself when you come up against a channel

was like that.

Ryan Michler 35:01

Man, I fail every single day. Like if you guys only knew how many times I got rejected, and ignored and mocked and laughed at and scoffed at every day, today, I'm sure there was 1000 people were like, This guy's an idiot, this guy's a loser. Some of them vocalized it, some of them didn't, you know, or, or maybe they declined a podcast pitch or whatever, like, there's so many different things. But admittedly, I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder. And, in fact, it just pisses me off. You know, it pisses me off when somebody declines to come on the podcast, or ignores us or this or that. And that can be good, and it can be bad, it's a moral, if it pisses me off, it drives me to improve, then it's good. If it pisses me off, and causes me to throw in the towel or think I'm a loser, then it's bad. You know, it's how I respond to the way that I'm feeling. And we live in this really overly feminized culture, where, from the time that we're little boys are school teachers who are predominantly women, are literally telling us to sit down to shut up to color within the lines to act like the girls. And if you don't, we're gonna drug you until you do.

And then what do you do on the weekends while you go to church, and some feminized pastor, or maybe even a woman gets up there and preaches to you a man about how you should show up as a man. This is an overly feminized society that we live in. And it's no wonder to me that men are fat and broke and miserable, and pathetic, and they feel horrible about themselves. Horrible. So you asked me, Where do I struggle? I really,

I don't want to say a struggle. But the the thing that is hard for me is patience is very, very hard for me to be patient, I want the result like yesterday,

if I want to do something, or I want something to happen, it can't happen soon enough. And and sometimes, quite often, actually, I ended up leaving awake of collateral damage in my path, you said intensity, the intensity that I have intimidates some people sometimes, and it turns them off.

I can even do that to my wife and kids at times.

Like, just the other day, I was talking with my son, because he was teasing his brother. And I said, Hey, very calmly, by the way, hey, come downstairs, meet me at the stairs. They all know what that means. Meet me at the stairs, meet me at the stairs. And, and we talked about it. And my son said, Well, Dad, just sometimes you lose your temper. And I said, Am I losing it right now? He said, No, he says, but I'm worried that you will like that's valid.

Because that's my patients. I want everybody to do what they're supposed to be doing. And I want all the pieces to fall online, immediately. That's always been not only my Achilles heel, but also my strength. That's why I produced the results I do. Because I'm not going to dance around the issues. I'm not going to play soft, I'm not going to just hope things happen. Like I'm going all in 100 miles an hour balls to the wall. And if it works great, and if it doesn't, then I'm gonna go 100 miles an hour the other direction until I figured out a way to make it work. So it's a blessing and a curse is the way that I would frame that. Right. Okay, so do you do like actively work on that to change for your family at least like maybe not in business or anything else? And business and business? Okay, so what does that look like? Because I know, like I talked to a lot of guys on this podcast, mostly we're trying to get guys from being like rageful, angry, miserable, like I used to. And I had to sit, I had to learn to like breathe. And I had to learn to like, meditate for a few minutes. Do you do anything like that to chill those like rocket blasters that otherwise would just have you going 100 miles per hour all the time. I mean, you said breathing, that's actually a very good strategy. It's so simple. It's often overlooked. I use Box breathing. So essentially, it's I learned this from Mark Devine, a Navy SEAL commander. It's a four second breath in, it's a hold at four. It's a four second lead out, it's hold at the bottom for four seconds. And you repeat that, you know 10 times or however often you need to. The other thing that I often do that I've learned for practice for me, I'm not big into the meditation thing, like we could talk about the definition of what meditation is, but like, I'm not going to sit with my legs, Indian style and like, hold my fingers and,

you know, pray to the gods or whatever. Like, I'm not going to do that. I don't think that's really what most people think of as meditation anyways,

but for me, it's just disengaging. Like, I can feel my blood boiling. And I'm like Kip. I had a text earlier today that I was frustrated about because of course I

wasn't getting what I wanted. So I'm like,

get on the thing and like figure it out. I'm like, just stop for a second. And I grabbed my phone and I put it down. And I went outside, and I walked around for a minute. I'm like, Just priests, bro, like, give it five minutes. And I came back five minutes later, I'm like, Okay, what's the issue? All right, well, that's the issue. Okay, here's, you know, one or two ways to solve this, send out a text, very respectful text, problem, solve no issue, I would have made that normally 1000 times worse, by just punching away at that keyboard, and just telling people what they needed to do. Instead, you just breathe, hawks breathing, you disengage temporarily. That's important, because a lot of guys, they have the disengagement part, right? They don't have the reengagement part of that. So totally disengaged, but you have to reengage. So for example, if

you're upset about, you know, I gotta have a conversation. I'm not going to get into details, but I had to have a conversation about something that I was upset about with my wife about a week ago. And I was very, very upset.

And rather than just dump that, and a load that on her as like, just breathe, like she's not going anywhere. So you can obviously have this conversation later. And so breathe, and I went to her and I said, hon, this is very frustrating to me. And I would like to talk about it. I'm not mad. But I do need to bring some things up. Can we talk about it tonight? And she's like, Yeah, sure. I said, again, I'm not mad. I don't want to beat you up. There's just some things that I need to bring up to you that I think will help us. So yeah, cool, no problem. And so I disengaged, I went about my work, I went about my day, I was productive. It was a good day. And then, you know, that evening, actually, it was less relevant than I thought it was. But I still brought it up. Because I figured if it's an issue, then I should bring it up. It's fair to me and her. And we had a really good conversation about it. And like it was addressed. She's like, Oh, cool. Yeah, no problem. I didn't realize that. Holy cow, I could have made it so much worse. So just breathe, disengage, and then re engage. And you'll, you'll find yourself in so much better positions. The other thing too, I was thinking about this the other day, with leadership. So many men are so fickle.

Right, like, we get worked up over crazy things, things that don't matter. We get pissed off, we get frustrated, we get emotionally charged. And then we're, we're like all over the place. It's like Trump syndrome, okay, you're like all over the place. Kate, one day, you're, you know, God's gift to America. And the next day, it's like, you're about to start a nuclear war. It's like, whoa,

like, hold up here a second, maybe we shouldn't be so fickle. And we should just learn to be more stable. So people can rely on us. So when my kid says, Dad, you always get so frustrated with me, kid that's typical. That's a problem, because he can't anticipate my leadership style. Followers need to be able to anticipate that my child for now is a follower, my wife should be following me. I should be worthy of following. My clients should be following me. The people who listen to the podcasts are subscribed to our programs or events should be following me. But if I'm fickle with my emotions, and I'm all over the place, and I'm a roller coaster, and I'm asking them to come along on the ride, like they're not interested.

They want stability, and actually taken to the extreme. This is why women will stay with men who have who have abused them physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually, for years. Because the fear of going out on their own is greater than the fear of being abused. At least they know what's going to happen.

Curt Storring 44:08

It's the uncertainty that undermines leadership. So if you want people to lead you, you better be pretty, pretty consistent. In your approach, come hell or high water, about how you handle different situations good, bad, or indifferent. I do want to ask you about homeschooling because you mentioned teachers. And this is something that I'm currently looking into. I just had a guest on the podcast who has homeschooled his four kids. And I would like to hear a little bit more about this because I think it's the right choice. I mean, obviously you do as well, I saw you post something about that recently. And I wonder if there's just the basic argument for it because I think that people need to take this more seriously and take their children's, their role as leaders in their children's lives more seriously, and I want this for myself to basically you know, make the decision.

To be quite honest, but also for more people to take better responsibility for how they are raising their children. And the impact that leaving them in what can only be described as a sick broken system might have?

Ryan Michler 45:14

Well, let me be really clear, though, with the first thing you said about teachers, if you were to go back and pull up all of my posts and conversations about the school system, government school system,

you'd be hard pressed to find any personal attack or, or criticism of an individual school teacher, of course, yeah. Like, I want to be very clear about that. Because I know, dozens if not hundreds, of government, school teachers, who I have a lot of respect for. It's a thankless task, they don't get paid as well as they should.

There's 1000 Other things, they can do that or less stressful, more financially rewarding.

And yet they do it. And so there's, there's a place in their heart for teaching. And I and I commend that I respect that, I honor that. But also simultaneously, if the tree is bad than the fruit is going to be rotten.

And I'm not saying that teachers are rotten. I'm saying that the natural and inevitable outcome is rotten fruit.

And the tree of the government school system is corrupt, and it's rotten. And it's only going to produce rotten results. Now, some people might say, well, you know, not my school system gets good. I'm not willing to gamble on that with my kids.

Like, if you are, I pray, literally, I pray for our children. And I hope that you're right.

And if you are congratulations, but it's only getting worse, it's only becoming more corrupt. And you might actually not even be fully aware of the problem with the new school districts. We're seeing that.

Okay, you asked me what was the case for homeschool?

Well, number one, you know your kids better than anybody else.

My daughter is dyslexic. But she's also fairly intelligent. And so she could have faked her way in a classroom of 30. Through reading, like, I'll say, read that book to me. And she'll grab the book, and she'll read it. I'm like, Oh, she can read. And if I look at her eyes, no, she memorized the pages. She's reading it, She memorized it, she looks at the pictures and then reads it.

Okay, that but she's dyslexic.

Now in a classroom of 30, she's gonna get lost.

But in a classroom of four, because that's how many kids we have. We got it. And so what did we do? We changed the curriculum. Okay, I can change the curriculum. I'm not bound by any red tape that says your kids have to learn X, Y, and Z and know this and that. That's an issue. The other thing is, this is going to rub people the wrong way. But it's true. And everybody knows that my smart kids are not throttled by the dumb kids.

Hate, like, I went into my oldest, my oldest son, he was probably in I would say, fifth or sixth grade, I went to his class because the teacher asked, and she was a great teacher. By the way, she asked if I'd come in and do like an hour long presentation on podcasting is what we did. So I brought in my equipment, I let the kids podcast and stuff like that was cool. And, and then I just observed for a little bit, she said, Why don't you stick around, you can help the kids with whatever. And I said, great, you know, I'll do that. Because I want to be involved. When my kids were in public school. They're not anymore. But when they were and, and I watched the teacher, she had like, four or five kids with her. And then the rest of the kids were kind of on their own to do their thing. And I asked my son, I'm like, what? Like, how can the teachers with those kids? And and he said, Well, it's because they need extra help.

Because they don't get it?

Look, I get it. I get it. And I look to commend the teacher, like we can't leave those kids behind. Sure, of course. But why does my kid have to suffer because that kid doesn't get it?

And what is that teaching us about accepting and embracing mediocrity and complacency in a world that just celebrates showing up?

I don't want that for my kids. The other thing is that we can tailor our schooling to them. So my oldest son, very involved in what I'm doing here, he started with the store by fulfilling orders, hats, hoodies, things like that. While he's like Dad, I want to start a podcast. Cool. Let's start a podcast. So he's got his own podcast. He's been going for about three or four months now called man in the making. He's got as many downloads as it took me probably two years to get in, you know, the first three or four months because he's got somebody who knows how to podcast mentored him, his father. And so we have conversate

shins about sex and drugs and pornography, and girls and growing up and turning from a young man into a boy I should say into young man. And it's awesome. My second kid, he loves engineering, he loves figuring out things. He loves breaking them down. He likes

coding. He likes graphic design. And so cool. Let's do some logos. Let's get Photoshop. So we've got Photoshop, and I'm teaching in photoshop skills. Like each one of my kids has different things that they're interested in. And there's no curriculum for me to follow.

There are curriculums, I use the good and the beautiful that people are going to ask because they always do. That's our base curriculum. Or I say our base because as my daughter is dyslexic, we bring in something else. As my old my second son wants to learn how to code, we bring in something else. As my youngest son surpasses what the curriculum is, then we move them up to the next thing. And so we bring you these ancillary curriculums in. But I mean that, not to mention,

like I don't, I don't need to compete with these dangerous ideologies. Like I'm teaching my kids a foundation of success. And there's another side of this and people will say it. Well, you know, they're not being exposed to different ideas, who said that?

We expose them to different ideas, but we talk about those ideas in the framework of a healthy discussion.


children are literally incapable of discerning fact and fiction. Last night, we've got some cousins over, and my two oldest boys, they're up in the attic and all the cousins were up there and they're watching a movie The night before they watched the movie signs. You've seen signs, right? I think we're moving. I'm just not even horror, it's just suspenseful about. About aliens is what it is. Okay. Yeah. Right.

And so my oldest son is teasing his, you know, his younger brother about chupacabra? chupacabra is what he's saying. This is last night. And my son's like, yes, no, but he's crying. And I said, come down here. Come meet me at the stairs, like I just said earlier. So he meets me down there. And I'm like, What are you crying about? He's trying to scare me. I'm like, with what? What was he saying? He's talking about chupacabra? I'm like, is that real? He's like, No, well, maybe it could be? No, it's not real. But you know what? Kids can't discern fact from fiction. So if you implant in their mind, critical race theory, and gender ideology, they don't know they're dumb. That's not right. They're ignorant. That's a better way to say they're ignorant, they don't know. And their brains aren't fully developed in order to take on these things. So when a parent says, Well, I want my kids to be exposed to new ideas. Really, what you're actually saying by throwing them in a government schooling system is I want my kids to be exposed to ideas that they can't actually differentiate between being good and wholesome, and being degenerate, and dangerous.

So what we do is we expose our kids to new ideas in a controlled environment. So they know how to combat the dangerous ideologies, like gender ideology, and critical race theory

Curt Storring 53:27

in a healthy environment, and teach them how to combat against these dangerous narratives that are being promulgated through most of the school system. Man, thank you very much for sharing that. And the thing that comes up for me is like, you can have those conversations within the context that you're just saying, whereas the opposite is not true at all. They are not going into the school system and going like here's our wacko ideology. Oh, and here's sort of, and here's a counter to that. Yeah, exactly. Like, no, no, here's, here's the only thing. And that's it. So their critical thinking is actually way worse on that side of things. Man, I'm, I'm overwhelmed with what might come from this homeschooling thing because it sounds like a lot of work. And it sounds like the right thing to do. So that's my work. And I appreciate you sharing that with me, because that feels right for me. And I don't want to take up any more of your time, even though I chat with you for hours, man. Where can people know where to find you? Where can people find you? And any last thoughts before we sign off here? I was just gonna say one more thing about homeschooling you said? It's it's a lot of work. It's actually not as much as you would think, the first day that we homeschooled our kids. And when I say we what I'm really saying is my wife case, she's the teacher. And so the first day that my home, my wife homeschooled our kids. She got done at about like 10 or 11 o'clock, and I went downstairs to grab something. She's like, Hey, we're done. Oh, cool. You're done for the morning. And she's like, No, we're done for the day. And I'm like, well, it's only 11 You guys started at 9am

Ryan Michler 55:00

And she's like, Yeah, that's all the curriculum setup said, Well, does it get harder? She doesn't know it just, this is what it is. It just takes two hours.

And I was like, how can that be? Well come to find out. They're not. They're not throttled by

announcements and transferring from class to class, and doing a bunch of wasted time and keeping up with the dumb kids and going to assemblies and going to recess and all this stuff. It's literally a fourth of the time. And in the second day,

my kids and my wife went out for a walk while I was doing work. And they came back in and when they came in, they had this bucket. It was like a five gallon bucket of ice cream, but it was empty. And inside of it, they had found a frog.

And I said, Oh, that's, that's a cool frog. Like, where did you find that? And they're, like, dead. They're all joking. There's like laughing. I mean, that's not a frog. That's a toad, duh. And I said, What's the difference? And they said, Well, here's the difference. And they got their two sheets that they had pulled up after they went for a walk, and found this what I thought was a frog. And they felt like research the difference between a toad and a frog. And they said, that's not a frog. That's a toad because XY and Z and they list all the things. And that's when it hit me. I'm like, got it. I got it. It was like day two, I understand how powerful this can be. Because they're able to have a class mascot. They're able to learn about animal biology. They're able to learn about, you know, my wife left, I remember this is early in our homeschooling thing. My wife left for vacation or went on a trip with one of her girlfriends. And she's like, well, here's what we do on Wednesdays free day. I'm like, Okay, on Wednesday, we're doing firearm safety then. So I got my ARS out. I taught them the firearm safety rules, we actually broke down the weapon system down to its smallest components. And then I timed them with putting it back together, how fast they could put it together, and tell me which of the different parts were different parts. This is the power of homeschool, like you can't do that in public school. But you can do it at home school. And it's infinitely more valuable than the precalculus. And they're gonna learn that too, by the way. But you're qualified if you're if you're a parent who's interested in doing it, you are uniquely qualified to be able to teach your kids anyways, where to find me order man podcasts. That's the best place. Dude, man. I'm fired up. I'm sold. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you so much, man. I really really appreciate your time and your intensity and the care that you bring to this work. And I'm inspired by you every time I see you online so I'm glad to put the face to the to the name thank you. Awesome. Thanks Curt. Appreciate the opportunity man.

Curt Storring 57:48

That's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including shownotes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to That's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL Dad.Work/Pod to find everything there. You need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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