Up Close and Personal with Mike Cameron
That is a fantastic question and one I explore every single day. I am not sure I have a perfect answer for “Who am I?” yet I am having a lot of fun exploring. When we start to define ourselves by the roles that we play, we can really limit ourselves. I honestly do my best to stay curious about who I am and continually challenge myself to explore deeper.
I know that is a bit of an evasive answer, but I truly believe that. An artist friend of mine once said to me, “The artist who has found himself is lost.” I don’t know if that is a famous quote or his original, but it certainly has stuck with me.
Who has made a difference in your life?
There have been so many different mentors in my life I would be hard-pressed to name them all. Certainly, my parents, Dave and Marianne Cameron, can be credited with the values that I hold today, and I will be forever grateful for the way they raised me. In my teenage years, I went a little off the rails, and mom and Dad shipped me off to Australia to live with my Uncle John. Uncle Johnny made a significant impact on me and would forever alter the course of my life.
For me, the exploration of this word started in earnest in 2015. After my 15-year marriage dissolved in 2012, I really started to focus on who I wanted to become. That meant a lot of mental, emotional, and physical fitness self-work. Endurance sport, like Ironman, ultra-marathons tempered with meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. In 2015 I fell for a woman that would really open my eyes to what it meant to be a badass. She used to tease me about how ‘badass’ I was. As a guy who has always been more geek than jock, I can tell you that it would absolutely make my heart swell with pride.
In October of 2015, she had her life taken by an ex-boyfriend who likely fancied himself a badass. He killed her and subsequently took his own life. Those events really had me evaluate what it meant to be a badass in the context of masculinity and what it means to be a man.
At that moment, I decided that we really needed to redefine what it meant to be a badass as men. That being a badass wasn’t about putting on the tough guy mask. That true badassery was finding that perfect combination of tough and tender. I vowed that I would do what I could to turn my pain into purpose. I would do my best to ensure that more men would learn how to feel – that they would learn how to channel all of their emotions in a manner befitting the men they wanted to become.
Since then, I have gotten involved with a variety of organizations that work to prevent violence against women, organizations that work to help men become better versions of themselves. In 2019 I founded an organization called Connect’d Men to create spaces to allow men to practice emotional mastery. I believe that emotional disconnection is the number one threat facing humanity right now. You see:
Mike’s Fundraising Tips
When it comes to what fundraisers can do to better work with philanthropists when seeking financial support, I can only speak for what I look for. I am looking at organizations looking to address the root causes of the challenges that they are trying to overcome. I want to feel like my contribution will be used in a meaningful way and that my contribution matters. Like any human being, I want to feel appreciated and seen. I don’t think it is difficult to do, but I believe many need to execute better.
What do you think makes an outstanding leader?
I am a big fan of Kouzes and Posner’s model of leadership. They talk of the five exemplary practices of leadership as follows:
Model the way
Inspire a shared vision
Challenge the process
Encourage the heart
Enable others to act
Get Mike’s book on Amazon or at mikecameron.ca
I published my first book in 2019. It was an incredible journey, and certainly, the final product evolved from what I first envisioned it to be. For those looking to write their book, I would highly encourage it. Your story matters. As far as the “how” to do it, I would say simply this. Sit down and write. Get out of your way. Stop telling yourself that no one would be interested in what you have to say. Stop telling yourself that you don’t have time. My book was written in 20-minute increments. Everyone can find 20 minutes in their day. It is also very helpful to get some support. Queue sales pitch; as you know, I facilitate a 16-week writing workshop designed to guide people through the entire process. I am a big fan of coaching and support.
What tips do you have for men wanting to make changes in their life?
Again, most of this is fairly simple. However, it is not easy.
- Take responsibility for your life. Stop trying to change the world around you and start trying to change yourself. Success comes when we stop trying to prove to the world how good we are and start trying to prove to ourselves how much better we can be.
- Slow Down, Man!! Practice the pause. Take a breath.
- Get intentional about how you show up. Stop living by default and start living by design.
I offer a variety of programs, from one-on-one executive coaching to corporate wellness group packages. Best bet is to find me online at mikecameron.ca. Or better yet, if we haven’t met, let’s book a coffee!! mikecameron.ca.
Currently, I am a member of the Strathcona Shelter Society board, so most of my current fundraising efforts are focused there. In 2017 my current partner Michelle De Bruin and I founded the Ignore No More Run for Respect (ignorenomore.ca) to raise funds for organizations in the violence prevention space and start the conversation with men and their roles in the fight against gender-based violence.