To ‘man up’ is to act like a man. But what does ‘acting like a man’ mean? Well, a real man is a rock. He’s a leader. He’s the foundation that supports his family and friends. When others lose hope, have fear, or quit, he continues forward, bringing them with him in the process.
Real men are few and far between. Often because we don’t know how to act like one. Or the responsibilities that come along with the title.
25 Ways to Man Up is written for all of us as a reminder. Many of us will have a number of the steps on the list covered, but none have all of them, all the time.
Keep this list close. Print it out. Use it as a reference point. If you like it, pass it on here. If you have a tip I missed, tell me about it in the comments section. This isn’t me pointing a finger and telling, it’s what I’ve learned and am learning. So contribute your perspective below.
25 Ways to Man Up
1. The mirror is the only place a man should look to place blame.
We are responsible for our failures, no one else. Often, our successes are due to a lot of hard, smart work and talent, but also a lot of help. So we can look to others to blame for part of our success, but never for our failures.
This isn’t a ‘tearing ourself down’ blame. It’s a responsibility blame. It’s an “I know I have the power to turn things around” blame. Give yourself the respect of keeping your success and failures under your control. If YOU work hard enough, sacrifice, and risk. YOU’LL see success. If you don’t, you won’t.
2. Focus on a goal. Not on people or things.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Albert Einstein
By tying our life to a goal, we’re always going to have a focus. We’ll forever be moving forward. If we look to things and people to fill a void, we’ll always have a void.
Of course, relationships are arguably the most important thing we can cultivate in life. People make life worth living. They make it enjoyable. But a man with a goal is a leader. He has a purpose. Even if that goal is to be a great father or husband, it’s a goal. A man who’s always looking to things or people for purpose is always going to be looking to things or people for a purpose.
3. Always move forward.
“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” Abraham Lincoln
The words “You will have tribulation” grace the inside of my left arm. It’s a fact, so accept it. It happens to all of us, so don’t act like you’re the only guy in the world going through a tough time. When it comes, don’t take a single step backward. Even if it’s at a snails pace, always move forward.
That’s what a man does. A boy quits. He complains and let’s life push him around. A man knows that tribulation is a part of life and that in our trials are where we grow. They’re where we prove to ourselves that we’re strong. Always move forward, no matter the tragedy, setback, or loss.
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4. Behind every great man is a great woman.
“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilde
I look at my Mom and Dad for this example. My Dad’s a great man. My Mom’s a great woman. If my Dad needs to man up, my Mom will tell him. We won’t always recognize when it’s time for us to man up. If we don’t have a great lady behind us, telling us, “it’s time to man-up, to take charge”, we often won’t.
Find a great woman. Make sure she’s strong enough to call you out when you need it. Because you will need it. And abide by the two quotes in this point. Make her happy by not treating her like a perfectly normal human being. Treat her like a princess.
“And girls? You’re too young for them now, but when the time comes, treat them like princesses because that’s what they are.” John Q
5. Build a strong body.
Men are protectors. Most often this means emotional as well as financial support (the latter often not as important as the former, especially in today’s households), but physical support is a must as well. We need to be able to PHYSICALLY protect our family and friends.
The best reason for a man to workout isn’t for confidence (although that’s HUGE), it’s for those “what if” moments. What if you have to come to the rescue of a loved one – or even a stranger – and you’re not in the physical condition to successfully save them? You’ll lose them.
Now do you see the importance of being in great shape? Of being strong and athletic? Take action on this one (click here). Don’t belittle it’s significant importance. You may one day need to physically man-up and take control of a dicy situation. Be prepared.
6. Don’t be a rat.
“When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.” Louis Nizer
Much like a man doesn’t look elsewhere to place blame for his own faults, he also doesn’t jump at the chance to tell on another. This is going to be a hotly contested point, but how are you going to man-up if you’re always telling one friend what another said about them? If you’re always spreading rumors?
A man doesn’t gossip. He doesn’t “sing” when he’s cornered. His word is his bond. It’s time more of us realize this.
7. Surround yourself with the right people.
You are an accumulation of the 5 people you hang around with most. Think about these 5 people. Are they ambitious? Do they complain? Do they gossip? Are they lazy?
Sometimes we can’t choose who we grow up with, but we can choose who we spend our time with. Start weening out the negative people in your life, and replace them with people that inspire you.
Here’s the catch, you also have to inspire them. You’re not going to have “successful friends” if you, yourself, aren’t already well on your path to success.
8. Never hold a grudge.
To man-up is to take responsibility. A man isn’t bitter. He doesn’t envy and he doesn’t hold a grudge. Let it go. It’s useless to hold on to something you most likely have no control over.
9. Have gratitude.
Be grateful for where you are. Even if you’re in despair, there’s something good here. There’s a lesson to learn that is shaping the man you are becoming and who you CAN BE. A man doesn’t complain. A big part of this is having gratitude for where he is in life, no matter where this is. But also having gratitude for all those around him.
10. Believe in something. Stand for something.
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln
A man has values, morals, beliefs, and expectations. He stands for something. That’s what man-ing up is. It’s standing firm when you’re the only one standing. It’s being a rock. You need to have a foundation if you’re going to be able to stand strong.
“Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot.” Oscar Wilde
11. Be annoyingly positive.
“Today is just a good day in disguise.” Paul Venghaus
Things get better, eventually. They always do. Know that if you work hard, smart, and use your talent, you will succeed. Then brings others up with you.
12. Have discipline.
Discipline is an unpopular word these days. Everyone want what’s in the present. We want to spend the money we have on fast times and experiences. We want no responsibility. We don’t want to think about the future. But that’s not life. The future comes a lot faster than we realize.
Focus on a goal, then have the discipline to see it through. There’s no greater feeling than accomplishing something you feel is great.
13. Make big promises. Then follow through.
Don’t be a talker. Be a doer. The more you cry wolf, the less people will believe what you say. Don’t make promises if you don’t intend to keep them.
That being said, promise the world, then deliver it. Promise yourself that you’re going to be wildly successful (be specific), then make it happen. If you’re the kind of guy that doesn’t want to lie or fail, do this. If you’re the kind of guy that loves giving others hope with words but never actions, don’t do this.
14. Fake it.
Act like you are where you want to be. Fake it until you make it. Act like a man, even if deep down all you want to do is whine and complain, act like you have it all under control.
The funny thing is, that by faking like we DO have it all under control, we GET IT under control. This is a very powerful thing to do. It should be number 1 or 2 on the list.
15. Seek out and face your fears.
“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”
Being strong takes practice. What are you afraid of? If it’s something physical like getting in a fight, then join a boxing club and get in the ring. Facing this fear will transfer over to many, many other areas, trust me.
Practice facing your fears daily. The more you practice the little one’s, the better you’ll be prepared for the big ones.
Be a fighter. Like I just mentioned, getting in a literal, physical fight is a good thing. It’s a fear many of us never face. Take that “never taking a step backwards” attitude to life.
Life, the greatest fight of them all. Fight to stay positive. Fight to be a success. Fight to win each battle, no matter how big, small, personal, or public. Fight.
If you want something, or believe in something, risk to get it. Risk it all to get it. If every man is attempting to be a hero, he must posses the a hero’s most important characteristic: sacrifice. Sacrifice and risk go hand in hand. Have the balls to take risks when you need to take them, for life’s sake.
18. Actively motivate.
If you’re going to bring home the bacon, man-up, reach your true potential, and always move forward, you’re going to have to constantly motivate yourself. You can’t leave your success to chance. It just doesn’t work like that.
Resource: The Art of Being Actively Motivated
19. Have killer instinct.
This is why I think every guy should be involved in sports and competition. At a very young age it teaches us the value of hard work. It also teaches us how to win.
In boxing, when you have a guy against the ropes, you don’t back off. It’s not that you’re an ass hole, it’s just that if the positions were switched, he’d go for the jugular as well. It’s how sports work. And in many cases, it’s how life works.
Don’t be afraid to win. Don’t be afraid to go for the jugular. The greatest athletes of all time may have been nice guys, but they were (are) also killers. Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and Wayne Gretzky were all killers. They might have been great guys out of the sports arena, but come game time, they played for keeps.
A man doesn’t tear others down to see success. Man-ing up isn’t being a prick. But a man does try to win. He does ‘go for the kill’. You owe it to yourself, the work you’ve done, and your abilities to give it your all. Don’t sell yourself short. Man-up and have a killer instinct.
Life is a competition where you’re trying to be your best. More often than not, you’re competing against no one but the man in the mirror.
Competition is about doing and being your best in every area of life. It’ll help you be a better father, husband, boyfriend, and a better overall man.
21. Know your priorities.
Your #1 priority might be your girlfriend, your kids, or whatever. But understand that in taking care of the former, you need to have your own shit together. You need to sacrifice. You need to WORK.
Don’t think of priorities like they’re a list. Think of them like a circle. If your family is in the middle, the circle outside of it should be your work. In taking care of your business, you’re benefitting your family. Spending time with friends is important, but if that’s all we do. We’re not man-ing up. We’re on a fast-track to a purposeless, unsuccessful life.
22. Work. Hard.
“Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle.” Abraham Lincoln
A man knows the value of hard work. If we’re very going to be a role model for anyone, we need to work hard. We need to lead by example. If we truly work hard and understand its benefits, we’re less likely to complain, envy, or wish we were in someone else’s shoes.
23. Take charge.
Fortune favors the bold. So be bold. Have the confidence to take life by the reigns and take charge, not only of your own situation, but take the lead in life’s many different roles. The world needs more confident and competent leaders. Be a leader amongst your friends, and have the balls to be one in your own life and in your relationships.
More is lost due to inaction, than wrong action. Keep that statement close to heart.
24. Put others first. Yourself second.
Part of man-ing up is acknowledging that our actions effect more than just ourselves. A man understands this. A boy does not.
25. Learn to enjoy the crap.
When Lance Armstrong was going through chemotherapy he said he learned to enjoy pain.
This is the greatest benefit, in his mind, to the cancer he went through and survived. If he didn’t learn to enjoy pain, he’d pity his situation. He’d complain and look for a way out. He’d give up. If we’re going to man up we have to understand that our lows are never as bad as they appear to be, and our highs never as great.
When it comes down to it, the ability to man-up is the ability to be strong when others need you to be. When others can’t be. Being strong isn’t easy, but what’s the alternative? To quit? To back down? There is no alternative.