STAND spoke with Dave Stultz about FEARLESS and how he helps men live more fulfilled and courageous lives.
Dave, what is FEARLESS and how did it get started?
I began coaching men casually in the D.C. area. At first it was something I did for guys I knew in the personal development realm mostly for free-I just asked them to take care of travel expenses and some meals. I didn’t like what I’d seen other coaches teaching, and I just liked helping the guys become confident with women and all people. But as word spread and the guys were so enthusiastic about my help, I realized this could become something I could help guys with full time. Then I was introduced to Brian, who’d been a men’s coach for years already. In 2013, we launched our first collaborative workshop that planted the seeds of FEARLESS. We help men push through fear, live courageously, and get high impact results in all areas of their lives.
Men’s Lifestyle Design and relationships with women are our focuses. We’re really committed – especially when clients do come to us specifically for help with relationships with women – to looking at the man as a whole and who he’s being in every aspect of his life. Brian and I guide men (and occasionally women, too) in bringing out their natural confidence and connection skills from their core so they can succeed at elite levels and build their total dream life.
You’ve spent time managing nightclubs and working as a fashion and commercial photographer in New York. How did your background prepare you for your work at FEARLESS and what motivated you to start helping other men lead more confident lives?
My time as a nightclub manager meant a lot of dealing with people and leading others. Men and women of all types…often in some of their most difficult-to-deal-with states: drunk, loud, and in the animalistic atmosphere that nightlife brings out of people, both individually and as crowds. In short, I saw a lot of things, met a lot of people, experienced a multitude of different situations that I had to deal with confidently, decisively, and thoughtfully, and learned a ton about people. As a NYC photographer, I spent a lot of time around women (models) that most men are terrified of, forged relationships there, and learned tons about the female psyche, along with my own and other men’s psyches.
In terms of what motivated me to start coaching, it was just seeing my friends and other men struggle with stuff that came so easily for me, wanting to help them, and seeing a lot of crap teaching and guidance in the dating coaching realm and, even worse, the so-called “pickup artist” community. I knew it could be done better than what I was finding out there, and I’d already enjoyed coaching in the extreme sports space. And I hated my corporate rat race life.
What are some of the factors preventing men from living more confidently and how do you go about supporting men to embrace their fears, take risks, and become more confident?
A lot of men these days don’t have strong male role-models in their lives. That’s really important. There’s also a ton of sexual shame in our society, codependence (desperately needing others to validate our existence, and resulting fears of rocking the boat, standing out, and going for what we want), and encouragement to live safely and not take risks (get a safe/secure job, find a safe girl to hang on to for dear life, etc) that makes men play small and live scared.
Men also tend to be stuck in their heads, over analyzing things, and not connected to people – women especially – emotionally. Brian and I work on restructuring guys’ beliefs about themselves, other men, women, sex, success, and what’s possible for their lives. We take them through lots of exercises in getting out of their heads and getting truly present to connect with themselves and others deeper than they ever have before.
We have them connect with us, with fellow students, with models that we bring in, and with people out on the street and in bars and clubs. The coaching every group and every client gets varies a lot because they come to us for different reasons with different strengths and weaknesses, and we’re always learning more from them too. We go deeper than anything else I’ve seen out there, so cookie cutter approaches don’t fly at FEARLESS.
You train men to “bust through the nice guy and become the authentic you”. What is a “nice guy” and what does it mean for a man to become more authentic?
A “nice guy” is that guy who women say things like “he’s just too nice,” or “he’s nice, but I just don’t see him that way.” He’s the guy who people walk all over at the office. The thing is, he’s not actually being nice. He may not consciously know it, but his “niceness” is coming from a place of expecting something in return: i.e., sex, in the case of women, or a “smooth, worry-free” relationship … and for people to like him and be nice to him in other situations. That’s not nice or giving – that’s a covert contract. Manipulation, basically.
Women especially are emotionally intelligent and can sense something’s off with “nice guys” whether they’re conscious of what’s going on or not. Becoming more authentic means being forward – not being afraid to let a woman see and hear a man’s sexual attraction for her, for example – and being emotionally open and available. Not hiding things from people, and not trying to make them like you, trying to please them for validation, or trying to avoid pissing them off. Being bold and saying and doing the things that many people filter themselves on because of their fear of rejection.
What role does character play in building a healthy view of masculinity, and becoming an authentic and more confident man?
I think character comes down to being authentic and internally validated. What’s underneath your actions and words? Are you buying her that drink because you’re truly feeling giving, or do you feel obligated at some level and/or expect something in return? If you’re being assertive with a woman – or anyone, really – are you doing it in a conscious, connected, honest way? Or is there resentment and insecurity there? Resentment is a big one, especially when it comes to men getting better with women.
And again, are you being emotionally open and vulnerable (NOT needy) with people? Are you in the present moment with people and really paying attention to them and their emotions? Are you being really honest with yourself and everyone around you?
You have to become really conscious of and honest about who you’re being down deep and where your words, actions, and even surface-level thinking is coming from. These are the things that build character, confidence, and healthy masculinity.
How can men learn more about FEARLESS and get in contact with you?
Check out The FEARLESS Man and our YouTube channel. For guys in the LA area, you should take advantage of our free class-sign up for “The Gathering” on the website. For guys elsewhere, you can find a free preview of our online school, “The Brotherhood” and soak up the YouTube channel … and I’d love to meet you at one of our weekend intensive workshops. You can email me at [email protected]
Photo credit: STAND Magazine