Compassion and Understanding: Not just for women

With Featured Guest

Charles Matheus

Vulnerability • Unleashes • Leadership

Blog divider

Compassion and Understanding: Not just for women

With Featured Guest

Charles Matheus

Vulnerability • Unleashes • Leadership

Blog divider

Top Takeaways From This Episode

  • Admitting failure is not a weakness. In fact, it gains respect and more people who want to engage.
  • Man box masculinity (Toxic Masculinity) is characterized by takedown culture
  • Soft skills should be called relational skills
  • We can maintain our privilege and use it responsibly while remaining vulnerable and creating spaces that are safe for more people. 
  • Everyone can be a leader. Lead from where we stand.

Breaking Out of the “Man Box”

(A.K.A. Toxic Masculanity)

There are different layers to “privilege.” While there is a hierarchy of privilege with straight, white, cisgender, Christian, men at the top of the food chain, each and every one of us have a privilege of some kind. With this privilege, society has placed a set of rules upon us. 

For Charles Matheus, a straight white cisgender man these rules are called the man box. Charles chooses “Man Box” over the term toxic masculinity because of the negativity association with toxic masculinity. Sometimes, Charles says, we have to find a clever way into a conversation, and using polarizing words (even if they are accurate) won’t help us break through to the group who most needs it. 

Charles freely admits that despite all his personal work and growth, he sometimes still finds himself “inside the Man Box.” He tries his best to recognize his behavior, take responsibility for it, and do better.  

Unintentional Generational Trauma

Growing up, Charles looked up to an unconventional set of gender norms. His mother was a strong female figure in his life and his father was always emotionally available. Somehow he still found himself facing the man box. Eventually, Charles found strength in vulnerability and recognized the power he activated within himself when he leaned into that personal strength. 

Sharing These Lessons

With this newfound strength and power, Charles felt called to share this new approach with the men across the world. He currently works with young men and boys teaching them to break out of the man box themselves. Charles is breaking down toxic masculinity and making the future generation of men more vulnerable which is a benefit to everyone on the planet.

Connect with Charles

Charles helps men, in particular, find meaning, purpose, strength, and compassion by combining ancient wisdom with modern approaches. He is on a mission to help other men feel powerful and confident as they step away from old, unsound leadership models and toward more inclusive, flexible, and sustainable modes. You can find his podcast with Mark Greene, The Remaking Manhood Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. You can find a special offer just for listeners of The Brave Files on his Website.

Giving is Good

World Wildlife Fund

The charity that is near and dear to Charles is one you have probably heard of. It is the World Wildlife Fund. They are doing critical work around the planet to protect massive areas of habitat. They market the pandas and big cats but when we preserve space for those charismatic big animals we are preserving space for all kinds of biodiversity. He wants to do whatever he can to recognize and come to grips with the fact that we are in the midst of this massive extinction event, he doesn’t want that to include us. 


For 60 years, WWF has worked to help people and nature thrive. As the world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in nearly 100 countries. At every level, we collaborate with people around the world to develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect communities, wildlife, and the places in which they live. Their mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

"I realized that every time I expressed vulnerability I felt more powerful. The truth is when we can be vulnerable and admit mistakes, we normalize it and others want to engage."

- Charles Matheus

Meet your Host, <em style="color:teal">Heather Vickery<em>

Meet your Host, Heather Vickery

Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.

The Brave Files Podcast is supported by....

libro.fm audiobooks

By choosing Libro.fm over other audiobook services, you support a local bookstore of your choice—and invest in your local community. They offer over 150,000 audiobooks via their premium platform (which was built with love from scratch) and give you bookseller recommendations for great audiobooks.

Proceeds from audiobooks purchased through Libro.fm are shared with your local bookstore. Your community sees 25% more money when you shop locally rather than at a national chain. More of your tax dollars are also reinvested into your community and you help create more local jobs because local businesses, bookstores included, are better at creating higher-paying jobs within the community.

Buying local is also better for the environment because it means less packaging and less transportation. Plus, digital audiobooks have an even smaller carbon footprint.

Purchasing your audiobooks from Libro.fm helps you nurture your community’s uniqueness! Local bookstores curate their selection based on what they know their community members are interested in. When you buy from local booksellers, you are participating in the conversation that shapes your local culture.

Grab your Free Trial and FREE Audio Book Now!

For you, the listeners of The Brave Files podcast, Libro.fm is offering a free audiobook with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service.