Welcome to Week 40 of The 52 Week Love Project – Acts of Kindness. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
Introducing Christian Schwaerzler the creator of ‘Bloke School’ that supports men’s health through action, lifestyle choices and health -empowering men to embrace being men again.
BLOKE SCHOOL was born out of personal frustration with the health system of dealing with men’s mental health issues, or more to the point, not really dealing with them. We are failing men! Suicide is the leading cause of unnatural death in men under 50 in many countries, including Australia.
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I needed help, I needed support and I was lost. All my vain attempts to seek help and resolution fundamentally did not address the cause or open me up to acceptance of my current situation to enable me to move forward. I was 54 years old and washed up, with nowhere to turn.
Initially planning on launching a health, lifestyle and fitness platform through the entity ALTILIFE to address the problems we all face in our busy schedules and social pressures, my partner in life and in business decided to go her own way.
After attempting to rebuild my life and launch my book, as well as my speaking career on my return to Melbourne, I was blessed to fall in love with an incredible woman. Alas, with so much still unresolved surrounding my separation, this amazing relationship ended as well.
Being completely and utterly lost, devoid of any self-confidence, I planned and contemplated the worse, Option B. My psychologist felt he could not help me, the psychiatrist wanted me on strong anti-depressants that would affect my health and everyone talked at me and did not engage me at all. Until I met a counsellor that drove me to action and encouraged me to focus on my passion to help others.
BLOKE SCHOOL was born out of my personal frustration with the system of dealing with men’s mental health issues, or more to the point, not really dealing with them. The system is failing men, with suicide being the leading cause of unnatural death in men under 50 in many countries, including Australia.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Bloke School is not a celebration of toxic masculinity, but rather empowering men to embrace being men again. Strong men, compassionate and loving men, men that take joy in family and friends, as well as the simple things in life. By building confidence, honour and chivalry back into our masculine culture, we can address and overcome so many issues the plague men’s health.
Men are fathers, husbands, partners, sons, brothers, friends and colleagues. Helping them will help all the ones they love and by whom they are loved in return.
But talk is cheap and ineffective with most men. We need action, involvement and goals to move us in a direction that boosts our confidence, improves our health, lowers our stress levels, improves our libido and helps us to refocus on our relationships. So through action, positive lifestyle choices, exercise and healthy living, my focus is to create a brotherhood for men that can rely on each other, work together and make the small part of the world they live in a better place.
We want to help men coping with issues of low self-esteem, sexual confidence, poor body image, erectile dysfunction, stress at home and in the workplace, poor mindset, being de-gendered, poor health choices and destructive lifestyle choices.
We reinforce positivity, acceptance of the present and encourage men to be active. Through the buddy system men can be active in a supportive environment. Mental health improvements through physical health gains.
We are developing health, lifestyle and fitness programmes, both online and face to face, seminars to open up ideas to all men, retreats to realistically change outcomes in a peaceful and healthy environment. Above all, we are developing a buddy/support network that everyone is welcome to join.
I love what I do and I really want to make a difference to the lives of as many people as I can through Bloke School.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
When women find themselves in trouble, emotionally or physically, they turn to their sisterhood. Men have mates, but rarely does a man in today’s society have a brotherhood. The concept of building a buddy system or brotherhood for men to help them overcome difficulties together, rather than isolated and disenfranchised was my main inspiration. The Motto “United me Stand” is the basis of that inspiration. My vision is to create a worldwide brotherhood that supports men’s mental health.
The chivalry, honour and style of my father’s generation was also a big influence. My mother is a strong empowered woman, instilling the wonders of gender equality into me at an early age. Without diminishing her, my father celebrates her femininity and brings her flowers every week to honour his love for her, even at 81.
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
Self-doubt is ever present and in the right circumstances, can be a motivator. I am a triathlete, an Ironman specifically. But 10 years ago, I was 65 kilograms heavier and drank, as well as smoked. Through losing all that weight, suffering a little and achieving the seemly impossible, that doubt is something you have to accept is present when you are out of your comfort zone, but don’t give into it.
I was new to public speaking and you could hear my knees knocking over the microphone during my first speech. Starting to write my book was harder that having teeth pulled at the dentist. Setting up a business of this kind to help my brothers in need is all new to me and scary, but my passion to make a difference drives me every day. Especially when I doubt myself. But if we waited for the perfect moment, waited until we got something exactly right, we would never live. But living, laughing and loving, while making mistakes, is what we are here to do. Accept that and self-doubt losses its power over you. It’s just another emotion you experience, accept it is sometimes present and that it then moves on.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
Your passion and your belief system should fundamentally drive everything you do. If your passion is your beautiful wife and children, you are blessed and should strive to make their world a better place.
If you have a passion to share your voice, your thoughts and your actions with the world as you contribute, take a deep breath. Your passion should be like a fire that burns within you. Look to others that inspire you and use the examples they set to give you direction and information about it can be done.
Surround yourself with likeminded people that share your mindset, thought leaders that are speaking your language and believe in yourself to make a difference. Commit to a planned course, one step at a time and act fearlessly.
The longest journey begins with one step. As you are the sum of your actions and not your words, be a person of action by setting an example. You are what you preach.
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
“This is who I am. This is what I do”.
It is tattooed in French on the underside of my left arm and reminds me that life is tough, but by acting with conviction, I show my true self.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I am a writer (“Believe, Commit, Act. Be the real you without compromise”), Public Speaker, Nationally accredited and internationally accredited multi-sport coach
HOW CAN OTHERS HELP/GET INVOLVED?
My facebook page for my book is…https://www.facebook.com/believecommitactbook/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/blokeskool and @altilife_lf
People can message me directly if they would like to purchase a physical copy of my book.