With his New York Times best seller The School of Greatness and his Top 50 podcast of the same name, there is no question that Lewis Howes has had a major impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.
However, it is his brand new book, The Mask of Masculinity, that I believe to be his most important piece of work yet.
In The Mask of Masculinity, he urges men to release the one, or many, of numerous masks that they may be wearing. As he points out, embracing vulnerability is critical to creating strong relationships and to living a fulfilling life.
I recently caught up with my friend and had many questions for him about the book.
On your podcast and in your NYT best-selling book The School of Greatness, the main themes are success, achievement and excellence. How does The Mask of Masculinity fit into those themes?
I was always motivated to chase success through my achievements. But I kept coming up feeling empty when I would accomplish something big, like getting on the NYT best-seller list. I realized it was because I was not at peace with who I was and how I was showing up as a man in my relationships. That’s what motivated me to dive into this topic and to understand what I had locked up inside of me, and it’s been one of my most powerful achievements to date.
What was the event or moment when you realized that The Mask of Masculinity was going to be your next book? Why was this book needed, particularly in the world we live in today?
About 5 years ago, I was playing a pickup game of basketball with some guys in West Hollywood, and one of the guys started trash-talking me and shoving me. I had a bad temper back then, got triggered, and just lost it. I beat him up really bad and when I left and went home, I was confused and scared why I had been so triggered and reactive. I realized I needed to get support in figuring out why I had so much anger, so I started in the journey of unpacking all this, which eventually led to the book.
One of my favorite stories from the book was when you were interviewing Mike Rowe on your podcast, and he seemed to be telling you to “be a guest on your own show.” What does this mean and how did this impact you?
Mike was telling me that the most important skill to develop is listening. It’s really hard to understand ourselves and others if we’re not willing to listen to them – and he meant really listen. This has been a really helpful piece of advice in the process of learning about a topic I thought I already knew about.
A big portion of your audience is women, yet the title gives the impression that the book is meant for men. What can women get from reading this book and was it a concern that women would see the title and think it wasn’t applicable to them?
Honestly, I think more women will read and buy this book than men (I hope so!). While the book focuses on the male point of view, it’s written to uncover the masks that we all wear and how they affect our relationships. Each chapter has a section talking to women about how they can support the men in their lives in taking off these masks – but that often means that the women will need to take off their masks as well.
By exploring all of these different masks that you write about in the book, which mask were you wearing that was the biggest hindrance to your personal growth and how did you address it?
I’ve definitely worn each of the masks covered in the book, but the one that is the most obvious is the Athlete Mask.
I put my whole self-worth into how I performed in sports for years, so by the time I was an adult and couldn’t play football due to injury, I was devastated. I put my body through so much pain to prove that I was strong and a man, and in the end, it didn’t matter. I was empty and crushed.
Learning to love all parts of myself and realize I have worth and talents beyond athletics have been really challenging but rewarding.
Make sure to get your copy of Lewis Howes’s excellent book The Mask of Masculinity,
There is no question that it will have a powerful impact on your life, and this book is validating Lewis’ role as one of our generation’s leading personal transformation experts.
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