In “The Mask of Zorro,” Anthony Hopkins tells Antonio Banderas, “Zorro was a servant of the people. He was not a seeker of fame like you. Zorro did what was needed.”

A real man does what’s needed, whatever that might be. Whether the need of the moment is to kick the ass of someone who’s trying to hurt your family, or to change a light bulb… or a diaper. To provide money for your family or to satisfy your wife in bed. Or maybe the greatest need of the moment is to have a drink with your buds. But beware. It could also be having “the talk” with your son or admitting that you were wrong. A real man is the one who makes things happen.

Yesterday, the greatest need of the moment was for me to confront an uncomfortable situation and repair a friendship that was damaged by the crazy behavior of my soon-to-be-ex. I was not looking forward to swallowing my pride and saying what needed to be said. In fact, it kinda scared the crap out of me. Real men feel fear on a regular basis, but they do what’s right in spite of their fear. And I’m glad to say, that’s exactly what I did.

It turned out well. My friendship is repaired and it feels good to have said the things that needed to be said and to have listened to the things that needed to be listened to. And, as usual, it turns out that the situation wasn’t quite as bad as I had imagined it to be. And, yes, it felt good to get some things off my chest, which brings me to another point – real men have courage. This includes the courage to bare your soul once in a while. Sure, men may not be talkers to the degree that most women are (that’s just how we’re made), but bottling up your feelings all the time is not a sign of manliness… or intelligence. It is, in my opinion, one of the reasons that women tend to live longer than us. According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 70% of ALL ILLNESS is caused, either wholly or partially, by stress. Sometimes the greatest need of the moment is to open up and let out what’s stressing you (in a positive way). Only a wussy little boy would give in to his fear and be more concerned about what his buddies might think than about his manly duty to do what needs to be done. And you’re not a wussy little boy, you’re a mature secure man, so act like it. If anyone looks at you funny for opening up like this, look him straight in the eye and dare him to have the guts to spill his!

Here’s an interesting tidbit from master hypnotist Igor Ledochowski (though he’s certainly not the only one saying it) – people who are relaxed and confident and unconcerned with what others are thinking of them in the moment are perceived as more dominant in social settings. Those who are worried about what others might think of them (and therefore appear timid or hesitant) are subconsciously perceived as having lower social status, regardless of what they look like physically.

So if anyone gets on your case for being a girly man because you’re helping with the dishes, just realize that you’re more of a man than they are because you have the courage to get your hands dirty and do what’s needed (and you’ll probably be “gettin’ some” more often than the guy who doesn’t help out around the house). Being a man is not about fitting a social stereotype (those change more often than presidents anyway – who could possibly keep up?) It’s about being who you are without apology. Wusses follow what everyone else thinks they should be, because they don’t have the guts to stand out from the rest of the sheep. Men do what they know is right/best/needed and don’t even look to see if anyone’s watching. Want to be perceived as a “badass?” Here’s what it comes down to – be different from the crowd and proud of it, and always willing to share (in a friendly way) a sentence or two about why you chose to be that particular thing. A lot of teenage guys overdo this (and, if you look, they’re usually “different” in the same way that their friends are “different.” Hmmmmmm… Just find out who you are and be it without apology or timidity. Just realize that there’s a difference between “being” different and throwing your differences in others faces. ‘Nuff said.

Here’s your homework. Find what NEEDS doing in your life right now and follow Nike’s advice, Just Do It, then post a comment about it below to let us all see how you’re expressing your manly ability to get things done. Disclaimer: Please make sure it’s legal 🙂

Need some inspiration, go watch a movie where someone (preferably a male, though I do admire can-do women) does something difficult that needs to be done. You shouldn’t have much difficulty finding one since this is the theme of almost every great story out there. And remember what John Wayne said at the beginning of the movie “The Cowboys,” “It’s time to separate the men from the boys… I’m a man, and you’re boys!” In fact, don’t just remember it, make it your theme song.

Update, March 5: Nothing in this post should in any way be taken to mean that a man must do everything himself. On the contrary, I highly endorse the manly arts of delegation and outsourcing. If you’re new to these, read The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.

Just keep in mind that, even when you’re getting someone else to do something for you, you’re still the man, it’s still your responsibility to make sure it gets done. Don’t waste time babysitting your outsourcers, but do ask for progress reports and make sure they alert you if they can’t do something. This applies whether you are outsourcing order fulfillment to a dropshipping service or outsourcing cleaning the garage to your 10 year old.

Good luck!