Today we’re looking at the UMAN framework and in particular stage 1 – Uniqueness.

The UMan Framework

There are whole libraries of books on self-help, but few of them give you a practical overarching framework or strategy about the entirety of life and becoming the best man you can be. So we came up with the UMAN framework.

The four pillars
We tried to keep it as simple as possible, but something that has a lot of depth to it as we explore each of the different pillars. So there’s four elements to the UMAN framework: Uniqueness, Mental game, Action plan and Nailing it.


Today we focus in on part 1 – UNIQUENESS


So just what is this uniqueness thing? Pricey loves all of this frame. As Greg was breaking open the whole of the framework Pricey was reflecting that there is a danger that people think that everyone’s got to fit into the same mould. But we want to begin by saying that you are a unique individual!

Our whole framework begins with you. What makes you you? What makes you that special, extraordinary human being? What makes you your own fingerprint? Your thumbprint is unique. No one on the whole planet has the same fingerprint as you.

So there’s this beautiful gift that you are, and everyone walks a unique journey, everyone has particular gifts and we want to celebrate you and what makes you you. There’s that beautiful line from the poem Desiderata,

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”

Later on in the same poem there are the beautiful words, “Be Yourself!” So that’s where we want to actually begin. Be yourself, but be your very, very finest self.

And uniqueness is at the very core of being a Universal Man because it gives you this solid foundation for understanding your behaviour, your reactions, your desires, your goals.

And without understanding those key things, it’s very, very hard to operate in the real world. You’ll surprise yourself. You’ll do things that might make you upset and you’ll do things that could be going down completely the wrong path and you won’t understand why certain things just piss you off or throw your right off track.

So knowing yourself through your beliefs and your values, things like your personality preferences, diving into your purpose or your principles for life, these are the things which make up you. So one of the key things is understanding who you are, right? And then understanding that the very best version of you, your uniqueness on a grand scale, is what the world wants to see.

Every person listening has their own particular personal story, your particular personality, your family and all of those things have shaped the person you actually are.

And you know, one of the things we’ve got to be careful of here is that, pretty well every human being has had a difficult time. We’ve all got parts of our story which have not been good, times when we’ve been hurt, times when there has been an influence which seems to be holding us back.

We are not victims of our story
There’s a rugby league coach, his name’s Wayne Bennett, and Bennett often argues that we’re not victims of our particular story. It would be so easy to live out of a victim mindset. And Wayne grew up in a very, very difficult home. His father treated the kids in a difficult way and Wayne always says we are not a victim of our story. We’ve got skeletons in the cupboard, we all do. We have faults and our feet of clay but we can choose to go beyond that. That skeleton, that difficult time is not actually me. I’m going to choose to go beyond that. I’m not a victim of it. I’m not limited. So let’s go back to who we are in a unique way. Let’s go beyond that.

This is great wisdom that all great people have known deeply within them. It is incredible wisdom because sometimes, as we go through our life and
we have the experiences, and some of them are great and some of them are really negative. Sometimes we let those negative things become baggage that we carry. They affect our personality, they affect our temperament and our response to the world. And a part of becoming you and understanding your uniqueness, is diving into how you can reframe some of those negative experiences, to find a way to help them bring out the best version of you. And instead of carrying heavy baggage, carry wise lessons, which are much lighter than baggage.

The goal here is to unleash the perfectly flawed version of yourself. And we’ve spoken previously about living on the edge and this idea of just living and being proud of who you are. That’s what we want more than anything in the world for you.

Power of Language
It’s just amazing with this being your kind of unique self. Simple words like I can’t or, I am only, I shouldn’t, can all limit us. One little exercise Pricey remembers and has done many times over the years is to get a journal and write down over and over again “I am …!” and write a response each time. If you repeat those two words over and over again your responses change.

At first your answers are to do with what you do and some aspect of family and of relationships. Then over time you might go to some physical aspect of your life and maybe even some spiritual aspect of who you are – your hobbies and your skills, your likes and dislikes come out. But then as you write down over and over again answers, what happens – you go deeper and deeper and you build a sense of the complete sense on you.

When you go back and you look at the responses you gain a sense of the complete you especially as you go beyond the surface and functional aspects of “I am!” You get to a beautiful space, to a beautiful picture of your unique self!

The Shadow
One other point we’d like to make about this journey to understanding you is that every now and then you’re going to come across things you don’t like, what Jung called your shadow self, all these thoughts about you that perhaps you don’t like. And that can be really challenging in those moments.

Greg had a client just the other day say that they found it really hard to learn every single day or all the time. And they were talking about excellence and then they beat themselves up because they didn’t stay the path all the time. And when you think about that at a deeper level, it actually doesn’t make any sense. They’re being way too hard on themselves.

In the course of our every day, sometimes we can come across hard on ourselves and maybe too aspirational. You’ve got to be kind to yourself and gentle to yourself when understanding who you are because you’re going to have weeks where you’re low on energy and you can’t start to beat yourself up about things like that.

You’re going to find something about yourself that you don’t like – that’s life. Maybe you don’t like that you’re a details person, maybe you don’t like that you’re someone who’s more out there in the clouds. Maybe there’s just these parts of your history you don’t like. Maybe you regret actions.B

We want to give you all a bit of a challenge. This might be something you want to do over the weekend or when you find some quiet time because going a bit deeper and understanding more about yourself can take time. It’s sort of best done in silence and contemplation. What we want you to do is spend a bit of time in doing a bit of a study into who you are.

And this might be reading some books. You might want to read things like some stuff about Carl Jung, any sort of psychological book or book on human psychology or personalities. Maybe you want to do a bit of work on your core values, and we’ve just released an episode on that. That was a last episode on determining your core values. Maybe you want to do some research into your purpose, maybe look at your personal history and your story and review that. Whatever, but spend some time alone – just reflecting on your unique you! Spend some time over the next couple of weeks trying to get to know you just a little bit better.

One example of a challenge you might take on is to look into personality types. There is fantastic stuff there. So you’ve got the Myer-Briggs, you’ve got the Enneagram and many, many other sorts of things. But remember that – in the case of Pricey, he’s not just a two (on the Ennegram), he’s not just an I-N-F-P (on Myer Briggs). Each of us is our unique self! Personality types is simply a tool to grow in awareness of your unique gift of you.

Spend a bit of time. Engage with what we have said here and become more aware of your own unique self and then ultimately say, “I am more than that – I am this unique, deep me and that is gift!”

We want to conclude with the Marianne Williamson quote that Nelson Mandela used at his inauguration as President of South Africa.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.
Marianne Williamson

The beautiful thing about that quote is that when we let our own light shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same – and when you are a Universal Man, by claiming your own light, you’re encouraging the men around you to claim their own light too.

Grego and Pricey

G’day legends,

At the start of the movie Dead Poet’s Society Mr. Keating says, “Carpe Diem, lads. Seize the day, make your lives extraordinary.” The scene is set in front of photos of men who died in the First World War, and he’s saying to them, “Don’t be boring. Don’t just waste your life, make your life extraordinary. Live on the edge.

But the truth is in life these days we get into the day-to-day grind of raising families or a busy job or something. One of the things that can creep in is this comfort zone, which acts like a bubble. It can be hard to break out of, because it’s just so easy to stay just where you are and not really ever do something a little bit on the edge.

What we mean by living on the edge though, is not necessarily doing something crazy or dangerous. What it really means is to do things that give you significant energy, that break you from the normal bubble and put you into a space that I just kicks you out of the comfort zone.

And it’s not all the time, but it’s just things that put adrenaline back in the bloodstream.

There’s something in is all of us that’s calling us not to stay in our comfort zone constantly, to keep on going to the edge, whether in being the physical sense in our fitness, in our relationships.

It says, “I’m happy with being me, but I want to get out of the grand stand every now and then and get onto the playing field. I want to be stretching the boundary.” Because we know we don’t grow as a person in our own comfort zone. Edge work is where we actually grow. It’s when you run that extra kilometre, where you do that extra session at the gym, when you go into a difficult conversation. It’s those edge times when we actually grow.

There’s a great questions we should all ask ourselves:

“what does it mean to really live?”

Only you know when you’re living, when there’s excitement in your veins leading up to an event. When you maybe get a bit nervous about something, and you know that something means a lot to you.

It might be a big game of football or a big presentation. You know that you’re being challenged, and you can feel the energy. That’s what we’re talking about here. When was the last time you had real excitement, you had adrenaline running through your body? You were thinking, “Wow, this is going to be tough, it means a lot to me.”

If you haven’t had any excitement in your life, had anything that’s pumped adrenaline into your bloodstream for a while, you haven’t been to the gym and hit the boxing bag for another five minutes beyond what you’re capable of, and really felt like at the end of the session you fell onto the floor dead with tiredness, then you haven’t lived in a while.

The edge is different for every particular kind of person. So one person’s edge may be someone else’s comfort zone, while someone else’s comfort zone might be that particular person’s edge. And it doesn’t actually matter, what actually matters is you go to your edge, whatever it is which is going to give you that quote adrenaline rush. Whatever it is that’s going to fire you up, whatever it is that’s going to make you have that sense of, “Wow.” That’s what we’re talking about here.

Living on the edge has a tiny little bit of risk in it. You’ve got to take that risk, dare a bit. It’s got adventure. It’s when someone says, “Hey Damien, do you want to go on this 85K hike?” And then they say there’s a couple of places on that hike where it’s going to be really, really… It’s a difficult kind of turf.

And a part of you is going, “Oh, I’m not sure.” Another part of you says, “Risk it, do it, risk it, do it.”

We’re not talking here about big hairy audacious goals it might take a couple of years achieve. This is just these things that you have in your life regularly. So maybe you don’t have anything at the moment, right? Pick something, either new or something you’ve done before. Make sure it’s got you thinking, “Oh, that’s going to get me a bit excited.”

Make it competitive or have some stakes to it. Then…Just do it.

Don’t think about it. Book the flight, arrange the meeting, commit publicly. Go to whatever event it is. Get out there and just do it. This isn’t complex.

Greg’s Kung Fu Story:

In 2007 I made a decision that I would try and learn a martial art. I’d never done any before, and so I studied a little bit of Shaolin Kung Fu, right? In Brisbane at a place in Paddington. And I remember before going thinking, “Oh man, I’m going to look like such a tool. I know nothing about this. This is just going to be terrible.”

But one of the wonderful things about martial arts is it constantly keeps you on the edge, for two reasons. There’s always another belt in the distance that you are trying get to. So not only are you turning up to practise towards an outcome, to get graded you’ve got to do normally a fist form, but then you’ve got to normally do some sparring or a fight. And it’s that thing that’s on the horizon which keeps the energy flowing, keeps you moving. And if you’ve ever done anything like that before, you’ll know what it means to step into a ring and to be tested to your best ability.

And it just gives you life. You’re excited for days and days and even weeks after, it’s just brilliant.

A year later I was training in remote China in a Shaolin academy. My master came up to me one day and he said, “You’re about to leave the academy. We want you to have a fight. We want you to actually have a fight in the ring, no holds barred, there’s no padding, there’s no head gear, it’s a proper fight.” And I tell you what, when he said that to me I was pretty certain I didn’t want to do it, but the public pressure of saying no was too much so I agreed to it.

Now the fight, for the week leading into it, it was hair raising because I could see the guy across the training ground that I was going to have to fight and he was fearsome. Anyway, I won’t go into the details of the fight. Needless to say it was a bloody old affair, and at the end of it I stood there, I shook hands with this other guy and we both looked at each other and I think you could probably say we both failed. Don’t know if that’s possible. Nobody won the fight. It was just one of those things.

But I remember getting to the end and going, “God, I’m so proud of the fact that I stood in that ring, and stood up to someone and had a crack.” Now regardless of the fact that I got smashed in the nose and there’s blood everywhere, it doesn’t matter. That physical pain just didn’t matter because I put myself on the line, I had a go at something. And that’s just a metaphor too, for doing a difficult presentation as well in front of a bunch of people you wouldn’t do, or offering yourself up for a keynote, or starting your own podcast or something. All these things are living on the edge.

An important thing on this, is you can’t half commit to things that are on the edge. You’ve got to really have a crack because that what makes them nerve racking. That’s what makes them exciting and adventurous, so to speak.

And part of the whole thing too is whether you succeed or not, in one way that doesn’t actually matter. If I set myself a goal, it’s the setting of the goal, the walking of the path, that’s what’s the important thing. And you may not achieve exactly what you set out to, but you’re going to achieve something really, really good. Just get out there.

And once you commit, once you say, “I’m just going to actually do it.” Once you, whether it was book the flight, join the actual class, you’ll find gifts and strengths within you you did not know you actually had. When you trust your own self, gifts and strengths and abilities that have been dormant within you are going to come to the actual fore. And all of a sudden you’re going to look back on the path you’ve walked, and go, “Wow, I did a fantastic job there.”

A challenge for all the Universal Men. And this is what we want you to do, is do a bit of an audit of your life and ask yourself, “Do I have something right now, or on the horizon that’s going to give me a real pulse of adrenaline? Something that’s adventurous, that’s difficult.”

It could be any one of the things we’ve mentioned. Pick one thing, right? And put it in your calendar, and before the end of the next 48 hours make sure it’s going to happen. Lock it in, right? Maybe it’s a public speaking gig, joining a martial art, or playing competitive football or golf, or joining a course you don’t think you should do. Do it.

Remember, “The pain of regret far exceeds the pain of failure.”

Stay legendary

Grego and Pricey