Our latest Mark Maker made a stand and started a movement. Meet Ryan Michler, founder of Order of Man, a community of men dedicated to becoming the best they can be. The Order provides the tools needed to become better husbands, fathers, businessmen, and community leaders: men.
Learn more about Ryan and how he’s leaving his mark in our one-on-one interview.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Yes, we just moved to Maine about ten months ago. My wife and four kids decided to go on a little bit of an adventure. We’ve been out here through spring, summer, and the middle of winter. It’s been an exciting change. It’s been good, we’ve had a good adventure and some challenges along the way. It’s been really good for all of us. For fun, and I don’t have a whole lot of spare time, but I do try to make time for myself. I participate in jiu-jitsu, which I’ve been doing for about eight months. I’ve also really gotten involved in archery over the past two-and-a-half years. Between archery, hunting, and jiu-jitsu, that seems to take up any amount of spare time I designate for myself.
For those who aren’t familiar with Order of Man, can you tell us a bit about it and why you started it?
Order of Man is a movement to equip men with the tools, conversations, guidance, resources, and direction they need to become more capable fathers, husbands, business owners, and leaders in the community. Just better men in general. I started it in March of 2015, so we’ve just had our five-year anniversary. Quite honestly, it was selfish when I started. It was an opportunity for me to have conversations with highly successful men and then incorporate some of their lessons, teachings, and strategies into my own life as I was trying to improve within my business, family life, and every other facet of life. I decided to record the conversations I was having with these guys and launch the podcast and, from day one, it just really blew up. That’s why we started it. To see how far it has come in a period of five years is pretty incredible and it’s a testament to the fact that what we’re sharing is much needed and a lot of guys resonate with what we’re doing.
What is the Iron Council and how does it help men?
The best way to describe it would be that it’s a digital brotherhood. There are roughly 540 men now. The idea is that we’re getting together on a weekly basis. A lot of these guys operate within teams within the Iron Council, which is anywhere from 12-15 members. There’s structure, guidance, and resources available to help cover subjects anywhere from owning a business, becoming a better hunter, martial arts, self-defense, and being a more capable father and husband. Any conversation that a man would be interested in, we have the resources and the conversations around it. Inside of what we call their “Battle Teams,” which is the 12-15 men teams, there’s the comradery and the accountability that goes with that as well. So, ultimately, we’re all working on our “Battle Plans.” We use these as our framework to produce results for these guys and then hold them accountable for doing what they’ve identified as being important. It’s really just coming up with strategies and structures that will help them succeed.
What is the difference between males and men?
A male is simply a biological male. All it takes to be a male is to be born biologically male, but to be a man is something different. It’s a higher calling, a higher caliber. It’s taking those masculine virtues and then applying them to produce effective results for you and for the people that you have an obligation and a responsibility to serve; whether that’s your family, your wife, your kids, your coworkers, your employees, clients, neighbors, friends, etc. It’s a higher calling; something that is earned through your effort, work, and results you produce for yourself and others.
Can you tell us a bit about your book Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men? What inspired you to write it?
I really feel like there’s an undermining of masculinity and I really think there’s a wrestle for control of how we think, how we feel, act, and behave. It’s a man’s responsibility to be sovereign. Physically sovereign through his diet and exercise, not subjecting himself to illness and disease. Also, financial freedom is important. There are so many elements of sovereignty where you’re not under the thumb of any external circumstance or group of people or person, including the government and other areas as well. I really wrote the book, not as a way to necessarily combat external threats, but the internal threats that we face as men and why we give away control and responsibility of our own success and why we think that another person or group of people, a company, or government, can provide for us better than we can provide for ourselves. In the book, I outlined strategies, virtues, principles (including the 12-week Battle Plan) that really help men thrive, succeed, stand on their own two feet, reclaim their sovereignty and responsibility, and also the benefits that come with it.
What do you consider success?
Success is autonomy. That’s as easy as I can say it. I can’t define success for another person. I can only define it for myself. When you’re asking generally what success is, it’s autonomy. It’s the ability to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, why you want to do it, and not have anything else dictate. For me, personally, it’s my ability to have the financial freedom to raise my family in a way that I see fit; to be in a position within my company and organization where I can leave, take vacation, coach my kids’ teams, or wrestle with them in the middle of the day. Those are the things that are important to me. If I can do that, then I feel like I am successful. Fortunately, we’ve been able to create an opportunity to be able to do that with my family. But, again, I don’t want to define success for anybody else. If they have success in their business acumen or making ten million dollars—whatever it is—that’s great. But, ultimately, I think it’s autonomy. It’s sovereignty. Being able to control your own destiny.
What do you hope to instill in the community that follows Order of Man?
I keep going back to the same thing, but that is ultimately what I want. I want men to take care of themselves. I want them to outgrow the need for what we’re doing. If I put myself out of work, that would be awesome. I want men to be able to stand on their own two feet, have financial freedom, be in shape, have the skillsets they need—whether that be for growing a business, being able to communicate effectively, express ideas, rally people toward a cause that’s important to them. If I can do that, then I feel like men get what it is they need. That’s what I’m all about.
Knowing what you know, what advice do you have for the novice looking to start a podcast?
Just start. So many people want everything to be perfect. They want the best guests, the best audio, and the best equipment they can buy. I certainly appreciate that and you should be working toward that. If you’re waiting for those things to start a podcast, you’ll never start because things go wrong and nothing is going to be perfect. You can start a podcast with a computer, which everybody has, and an $80 microphone, and that’s legitimately all that you need. So, just start and I would also say commit to the process. If you say, I’m going to start a podcast for a month and see how it goes, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s just not long enough of a time to really determine if what you’re doing works. When I started the Order of Man podcast in 2015, I committed to doing the podcast for two years before I even made a decision on whether or not I was going to continue to do it or throw in the towel. For two years. So, since March of 2015, we have not missed a single podcast since that first episode we released. Now we do three episodes a week. We’ve done close to 600 podcasts at this point and I’ve never missed one. It’s that type of consistency and dedication toward what you’re doing that’s going to produce the results. You can’t just do it randomly and haphazardly and hope that something works out. Start where you can and where you are and then be super, super consistent and then improve. Invest in the equipment, invest in training and in the ability to communicate and host a conversation. You can learn all that stuff along the way—you’ve just got to launch.
What advice do you have for someone looking to impact their community and leave their mark?
Make a stand. There are too many people who are waffling on what’s important and they don’t really have a clear moral compass or even principles they adhere to. The thing is, when you’re trying to build a movement in an organization, not everyone is going to believe in what you believe. Not everyone is going to, of course, see it the same way. You’re going to get ridiculed and mocked and belittled. All of that is just bound to happen if you make a stand. If you don’t take a stand and you try to appease people, especially those who don’t like what you’re doing or will never understand what you’re doing, then you’ll never grow a movement. I hear from people every day who despise what we’re doing or have a hard time with what we’re doing. But if I let people dictate what I do, I’m letting down my community and the people who would be served by me taking that hardline stance toward something meaningful and significant. It’s tough and it’s challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before and you’re not accustomed to criticism, negative feedback, and a little bit of hate; but it is necessary if you want to build a movement like we’ve been able to do.
What upcoming projects are you looking forward to that you can tell us about?
We’ve got a couple of different events that we run. We run about 3-4 events per year. Most of our events are centered on doing things that are physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. That’s the whole goal and idea. We’ve got one coming up called the Maine Event. We’ll have 100 guys here on our property here in Maine. In September, we’ve got our Legacy event, which is a father-son event. We have 20 fathers with their sons (ages 8-15) come out. We’ve got another event that we will probably be doing next year which is going to be a much larger event, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 people. We’re going to bring in guest speakers and presenters to talk about all these subjects we’ve been covering for the last five years.
Within the Iron Council, we’re working on an achievement and advancement course. So, as guys progress in certain aspects from physical fitness to career and financial goals to just about anything you can think of, there will be benchmarks, achievements, and advancements they can unlock so they can start to codify the growth they are experiencing. So that’ll be fun as well.
That’s a great-looking beard. What’s your secret to maintaining it?
The secret to maintaining the beard: trim it. Obviously, you want to trim it so it looks nice, so that’s one thing, and then I use beard oil. You just rub the beard oil in every day, have a comb and a good boar’s hairbrush, and you’re good to go. That’s all you need. It’s funny, people talk about my beard a lot and ask what I do to grow a great beard. It’s actually like the laziest thing a person can do. You do nothing. It just grows out of your face and you don’t have to do anything.
We’d like to thank Ryan for taking the time to discuss this unique movement with us. Order of Man is an abundant resource, so be sure to check out the website, blog, and podcast.
Do you have a Mark Maker in mind? We’d love to hear how they’re making an impact in their community. Let us know here.