Do you look forward to do it or be with the people you are doing it with?

Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Owen Marcus. For more than 40 years, Owen Marcus has explored and developed programs that bring together mindfulness, somatic psychotherapy, and the science of emotional physiology.

Owen’s post-grad training began in the late 1970s when he completed Ron Kurtz’s, the founder of Hakomi Therapy’s first professional training. He went on to co-teach with Ron for companies such as IBM. Peter Levine, Ph.D., the developer of Somatic Experience, the first somatic-based therapy for PTSD, was Owen’s next teacher. His interest in how to use the unconscious mind to produce lasting change got him an invitation to apprentice with Milton Erickson, MD.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

Thank you for the interview opportunity.

During my teenage years, I faced constant ridicule, which ultimately led me to confront my bullies. The respect I gained from these confrontations wasn’t just from my peers but from myself. This newfound self-worth initiated my journey of self-assertion and self-discovery.

In 1995, despite overcoming various personal challenges and achieving significant success, I felt a void in my personal relationships. Recognizing that I was the common denominator in these unfulfilling connections, I sought out a men’s group. To my surprise, none existed, prompting me to start one. On our inaugural night, my vulnerability in front of strangers sparked a moment of shared understanding. We all felt not good enough, yet by the end of the night we, we felt connected and accepted. This experience paved the way for my current venture, where I assist other men in sharing their emotions.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

I once believed that knowledge equated to power. Battling dyslexia throughout my academic journey, I thought academic proficiency was the only way to succeed. I later discovered that, while some tasks were challenging, they unveiled my unique abilities.

Additionally, I equated success with materialism. A simple drive down Scottsdale Road, flanked by luxury cars, made me question this definition. My thought was, I want one. My feeling was repulsion. Not of the cars but of my desire against who I thought I was.

How has your definition of success changed?

While financial success remains a goal, my focus has shifted towards creating a meaningful impact. The gratification I derive from helping in improving someone’s life surpasses any material rewards.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

The pandemic highlighted our inherent need for connection, a concept many of us, including myself, took for granted. As a society, we must acknowledge this fundamental need, especially in cultures that pride themselves on independence.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Pain provokes action. We all were hurting. Many of us were willing to reach in ways we wouldn’t had before the pandemic. At EVRYMAN, which was a live trainings and community, we immediately switched to virtual. We started with weekly EVRYMAN live calls, where we had thought leaders Zoom calls with thought leaders. Near the end, we would put the men into breakout groups with men they never met. They would come out of their breakouts saying, “Can I get the contact information about these men? I connected more to them than I have anyone in years.”

Men who were the least likely to join a men’s group or come to a live training are doing it because being isolated as they had showed them how isolated they always are. More pain wakes us up to the pain that is always there. A businessman came to our training saying — “I don’t like men, and don’t touch me.” His parting words were, “If you ever need anything, call me.” Then, he proceeded to hug all the men around him.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

There are several ways that we can redefine success, but I would say that the most important ones are:

  1. Does what you are doing take or give you energy?

Detail-oriented tasks often drain me; they feel like they’re sapping my essence. Yet, when I’m immersed in creation, teaching, or training others, I find myself reinvigorated. There’s an unparalleled warmth I feel when I witness the transformation in men who embrace our foundational skills. Their growth, in turn, ignites my passion.

Witnessing men change from applying our basic methods lights me up.

2. Do you look forward to do it or be with the people you are doing it with?

After years of doing much of this work alone or with a small team, having a full team of committed men and women who want to serve men has me excited every day.

3. Are you learning and growing?

Many jest that I’m an eternal student, forever seeking healing and personal growth. My early passion discovery wasn’t a result of bold courage but rather the profound discomfort and pain that propelled me into exploration. My learning style, perhaps shaped by my dyslexia, often deviates from the traditional. Yet, it’s rewarding to witness practices I embraced and once overlooked, now gain widespread appreciation. Mindfulness stands as a testament to this.

Maybe because of my dyslexia, how and what I learn often differs from the norm — a decade or two later, what was dismissed is now revered. Mindfulness is one example.

4. If you didn’t need to work, would you still do it?

Absolutely. Why would I ever abandon a pursuit that allows me to immerse in what I love, surrounded by a community of individuals I deeply respect and trust?

5. What is your contribution, your legacy you are giving?

Once, I believed my legacy lay in pioneering a novel approach, intertwining physiology, and emotional release to foster deeper relationships. But as I move further down the path, I realize my footprint is broader. We’re spearheading a grassroots movement, empowering men to go deeper into their experience and then reach out, building genuine connections. Through this, we’re weaving a tapestry of understanding and empathy, countering the pervasive dissonance that affects us all.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

First, we need to realize what we think our definition is — it’s probably not ours. We grow in families and cultures that have strong implicit definitions that we accept because everyone around us accepts these assumptions. Like any herd or animal pack, we need connection to survive, if only psychologically, so it’s hard to challenge these systemic beliefs.

The more varied experiences we have with a bigger range of people, the more likely we are to step out of what our success should be. Additionally, the more we extricate ourselves from our past stress, trauma, and limitations, the more we are likely to develop our own definition.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

The biggest obstacle is what we don’t know. We all have accepted more than we realize. Living in an indigenous community teaches us that much of what we believe would nourish us is unnecessary and often comes with stress. Getting out of our internal and external boxes sets us up to discover a truer direction.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

People enjoying life naturally inspire me. They remind me that success is not necessarily what I process and often more a state of being that hopefully travels with me.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

I would say the U.S. Surgeon General — Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, to discuss how we can help men with their deadly loneliness.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you for this opportunity. I enjoyed sharing my journey. Readers can learn more about us at

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.