I didn’t know how to describe this event to my friends before attending.
“I’m heading to Melbourne for an event with lululemon called ‘The Huddle’. They’re bringing together 30 men from all around Australia and New Zealand. Some of the guys are associated with lululemon, others aren’t.” These were the three sentences I delivered when trying to explain The Huddle.
Now that the event has happened, I’ll try to unravel a little bit of the magic that happened. Explaining the event now, I’d say that lululemon brought together 30 men because they can. There was no hidden agenda. The team had lululemon had created a safe space for men to talk and to be themselves. I felt incredibly privileged to be chosen for the event, especially amongst the other people there. There was a special collection of brilliant minds, souls and community figures.
At lululemon, there are three words that have hold great importance. These words are sweat, grow and connect. That’s exactly what we did.
The 30 of us were driven down to the brilliant Michelton winery about 90 minutes out of Melbourne. It wasn’t any ol’ ride, rather they took us down in a stretched hummer. It was noisy in there as everyone was pinging questions in all directions.
We immediately jumped into a workout upon arrival to tick off that first ‘sweat’ of the session. Shortly after, we headed for dinner which is where the stories started to unravel and we began to learn more from each other.
I was lucky enough to speak to a man named Jimi Hunt on the first night. Jimi will tell you himself, he was the odd one of the group. He said that because he wasn’t particularly sporty, wore colours that men ‘don’t typically wear’ and also didn’t really like being around men. Jimi had an energy about him that I connected to instantly, I was deeply intrigued.
We spoke for a while – I was engrossed by Jimi’s wild stories. However, amongst it all, I snuck in a question to Jimi.
“What does a typical day look like for you/ what do you do for work?”
His reply stuck with me for the rest of the event:
He said to me: “A lot of people in this room have 6 pack abs, go to the gym every day and make sure they eat all the right macros. I have a 6-pack on my mind. I go to the gym every day for my mind.”
He proceeded to tell me about his daily routine and how he is always looking to challenge his own thought processes and ask questions of himself that are hard to answer. Coming to The Huddle was hard for Jimi but that’s exactly why he came, so he could learn and unravel more of his own inner workings.
As the next two days developed, there was an initial focus on personal development but it soon shifted to mental health. Particularly mental health in men. We are in a time now where mental health is nearly (if not already) an epidemic. It is taking way too many lives and effecting even more.
Being apart of these discussions was eye-opening and also inspiring. To be apart of a group of men who were looking to change the perception of mental health was powerful.
I am struggling to sum up such a powerful event, so I thought I’d share the caption from my Instagram post.
Men cry. Fact.
Men are vulnerable. Period.
This week I was chosen to be part of an event hosted by @lululemonausnz called “The Huddle”. The days that unravelled were far from ordinary as together we created a safe space to share, expand and open up.
The men beside me had endured and overcome, they had been beaten down over and over again yet they had conquered. The men I spent these days with were change-makers who weren’t afraid to be vulnerable or to ask hard questions of themselves and others.
They weren’t scared to stand up talk about uncomfortable topics like suicide, heartbreak, anxiety or overcoming substance abuse. They were bold with their passions and understood the enormous value of genuine human connection.
There was no ego in the room, and it wasn’t uncommon to tell the man beside you why he inspired you or how he had made a difference to your day.
We talked about world record size waterslides, going to space or a world where being a father of a daughter felt safe.
One of my favorite conversations was not about having ‘6-pack abs’ but having a ‘6-pack mind’ from doing the inner work on your soul and mind every. single. day. (Thanks @thejimihunt)
I am proud to know these men, the difference we will make and the conversations we will have.
If you ask someone today “How they are going?”, please stop and genuinely listen about how they are GENUINELY doing.
Be raw, be vulnerable and look out for those around you.