Why you (likely) have LOYALTY all wrong

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Mike: Most loyalty we currently have is more like longterm time-based obligation, and fear of letting others down / managing their feelings or trying to manage their feelings – not upset them – dressed up in this like virtuous looking dress. And that shit can’t work because the result is we abandon ourselves and that shit is not loyalty. That is disloyal to self.

You’re listening to the Everyday Legends podcast. The show that is dedicated to helping everyday men build legendary relationships with yourself, your partner and your world. I’m your host Mike Campbell. And the aim of this podcast is simple; to help you navigate life with more clarity, more confidence and purpose driven action with plenty of stories, a lot of lessons, and some loving straight [00:01:00] talk.

So let’s get started.


Welcome to the Everyday Legends podcast for another episode, I am your host, Mike Campbell, and today, well, look, I’m going to call basically, I’m going to call bullshit on you saying you’re loyal and that you value loyalty. And we’re actually going to look at that in a hell of a lot more depth. Um, we’re going to perhaps look at the ways in which we abandon ourselves in order to choose what I believe as an outdated version of loyalty.

This thing we often get caught under this kind of stifling oppression of an outdated and misguided loyalty that essentially sees people, a lot of time for men, and I’ll explore this more  why men, um, you know, because we’ve known each other or there’s been an association with something or someone for a long time, then we must stay close.


We’re going to redefine loyalty for ourselves and starting with ourselves. Now, before we dive into that, you know what we do around here, please make sure you give us some love wherever you find your podcasts. Give us a review, leave us some feedback wherever you get your podcasts. Those things are powerful for getting this in front of more men supporting them and supporting us.

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Alright, let’s have a look at loyalty. So if you go to the dictionary, you’re going to find a few different things.

There’s lots of, uh, origins, 15th century, different iterations, et cetera. Um, and there’s quite a bit of there, but I’m going to start with this: Loyalty – [00:03:00] faithful to one’s oath, commitments, or obligations. Loyal implies a firm resistance to any temptation to desert or betray. And faithful, in that context, implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing, or to the oath or promise by which a tie is contracted.

Now without what I’m going to get into and what I’ve perhaps already briefly touched on – alluded to, we tend to hit the first two parts of that final one there; adherent, unswerving adherence to a person or thing. So it becomes external to us. Even when we talk about an oath or promise, when we talk about commitments, oaths, obligations and firm resistance to desert or portray.

[00:04:00] The lens that we tend not to look at that through is ourselves. What we miss in there is the self. We place all of this onto others; on to other people, family, individuals, groups, companies for fuck sake. And in doing so we lose track of our foundation; ourselves. And so what we actually ended up doing a lot of the time is abandoning ourselves, who we are, what we really care about, what we value, our fundamental self, our authentic self, our truth.

And in that, therefore, we are being disloyal to ourselves. Now, I see this play out so much; guys come into my coaching program. You know, there’s three key pillars that we’re working on. Fundamentally, those are: Who are [00:05:00] you? How have you got to this point in your life? What are all the behaviors and beliefs and patterns that you have that make you up, want to make sense of you?

Then we want to explore who do you want to be? Who can you actually be? And who do you want to be? What do you want for your life? And then how do we become that? So this comes into this so much and that second pillar around who do you want to be with fundamentally looking at what you value. That’s kind of the foundation.

There’s so many guys, I hear this, you know, I value loyalty, and I certainly don’t roll my eyes, I certainly don’t scoff. I look at it and then invite a deeper exploration, some curiosity from them because my experience has showed me that for most men, we gravitate toward a form of loyalty and we gravitate towards valuing – that is putting it importance on it – but it’s [00:06:00] more often than not this misconstrued version where it’s actually nothing to do with me. It’s about others.

And the key cog in that is that in doing that version of loyalty to others, other than myself. Therefore disloyal to self. And so what I want to do right now is just kind of bring this back to something very, very basic. And that is understanding why this is so common and, and what’s going on for men in this, because as men, we are fiercely loyal.

And, and, the way that I see in the world, and certainly in my experience and my education, can you show me that in part, this is due to our DNA, this is due to our biology. And so what I want to do is invite you to go back to a large part of human evolution. And so for thousands, actually, hundreds of thousands, of [00:07:00] years, the human experience was essentially the hunter / gatherer.

Now that was not necessarily a gendered thing, but this is where we can start to look at the masculine and feminine and other terms that might actually help us switch out that are: hunter and gatherer. And so I’m just going to generalise here. This is conversation and topics for deeper explore exploration and other day and other podcasts, but we’re just gonna throw some blankets over your hair to help you understand.

Please don’t take this as gospel. Well, 100% is all or nothing. Right? Black and white. Most men would be more predominantly masculine or “hunter” by nature, but also have the feminine, the, gatherer and vice versa. But that’s not a blanket for everyone all the time. What this is actually saying to us is there is a large part of us as humans that are still animals. And so whilst [00:08:00] we are not an animal, there are instinctual things going on at a biological level that we benefit to understand and respect. So we can one, know what’s being generated at an instinctual level and in how we can actually take charge of that, how we can apply it with effectiveness and purpose, um, and consideration in our lives.

So what’s the hunter? Well, the hunter is a lot of things, but one of the things that is doing is going out to hunt, to provide and to protect those that are important to it. Its family. Uh, and so I’m going to use ‘he’ for the, for the simple sense of reference here – for his family and those, he is hunting for.

And so what that actually requires on some level is loyalty because he is loyal to them. And so there is purpose driven, um, aspect of his behaviour to provide for those people. [00:09:00] He has this instinctual loyalty to them. There’s also a real need for loyalty to his pack and his other hunters, because when they are going out to hunt, let’s say a beast or something,

it is kind of live or die, right. Get food for the family potentially kill or be killed. And so there has to be a loyalty between those brothers in order to bring home the kill to first execute it and then actually bring it home. Right. So there has to be a loyalty to the plan that we’ve, um, essentially set out, potentially set out and in executing on the, has to be a loyalty there.

And then also he needs that loyalty back from them, as other hunters, and from those he is providing for and protecting. So that he knows his work, and effort is wanted, is needed, is appreciated. This is in a sense heavily linked to purpose. So, I want you to just like ruminate on it for a moment, how from a very instinctual and animal level, all human [00:10:00] behaviour has a grounding in there, this instinctual aspect, but we cannot be a slave to them.

Our job is to actually use conscious choice. And how they need and want to be applied now. And as such, where this comes into loyalty as it is, uh, you know, to sum that up, there is an instinctual drive for men AKA the masculine, AKA, the hunter to have and need loyalty.

But how that has now played out, we have learnt to do it like many things, uh, kind of in a misguidance socially driven way through messaging and conditioning and kind of new societal and ineffective norms by, within this sense, by misplacing loyalty only to ‘the other’. And, what we don’t [00:11:00] have by and large is guidance, is elders, is community teaching us loyalty to self, because in order for us to fit into that first instinctual model that I spoke about, we have to have loyalty to self. Self makes up part of the community.

Part of the tribe. We have to know ourselves in order to know our place in there and how we can be most effective. But when we don’t really learn that; who we are, what we’re about and values. Shit, we don’t have guidance on how to truly figure out our own obligations or commitments to self, right? We can’t be loyal to it if we don’t know how to work at our major commitments in life to ourselves, what we value our authentic selves, we can’t be loyal to it.

And because we have this kind of loyalty driver on autopilot at this animal and instinctual level, we have to find something to be loyal to. [00:12:00] Right. We have to be loyal to something. For men it may be many things, their football team, right. All sorts of things. And so what tends to happen in my experience, what I see is.

Most loyalty we currently have is more of a longterm obligation and fear of letting others down / trying to manage others’ feelings and not upset them. Dressed up and kind of a fancy virtuous sounding, looking dress. And the result being that we abandoned, what we value and what has us living with integrity.

In order to uphold this misconstrued loyalty. It’s basically people pleasing without considering the consequence to yourself. And then to others, it’s a very shortsighted, short term approach to loyalty. So then if we think for a moment, well, [00:13:00] what are things that we can mistakenly be loyal to, or maybe misrepresent and our weighting of loyalty.

i.e. Where we give our fucks out. And, you know, I mentioned before a sports team and I want to be clear actually, before I go into this, I’m not saying loyalty to any of these things as bad. That judgemental good or bad language doesn’t serve us. What we want to do is I want to look at the intention and the driver behind it so we can see it if it is serving us or if it’s not serving us, if it is effective for it’s not effective.

So, when we don’t have a true connection to self understanding of self, a true loyalty to self to then apply that externally. We often mis-weight giving our fucks and loyalty to things that actually don’t really serve us. It’s kind of like a stop gap, something to keep the monkey brain and us distracted and busy.

And we wonder why we have a lack of purpose – because our purpose is being [00:14:00] applied to things external to us that can’t bring us true meaning. So that is where we have intense holy shit, intense loyalty to, you know, our sports teams and so on. Again, have loyalty to that, but make sure you don’t abandon yourself in the process or you don’t have something purposeful for you in the process.

Right? If you, if your life has made by loyalty to a sports team, then I would say that’s kind of flimsy. What’s your grounding and your foundation. Obvious other ones are family, individual people, groups, a job, a company, or a job, really a man like that wouldn’t necessarily have your back. Um, friends, old friends, even new friendship, someone you just spoke to for five minutes.

And now you feel like you owe them something that’s misguided loyalty. Well, here’s a great one. A restaurant or a cafe you know, you still go to, even though the coffee is shit house or the food quality is shit, uh, slipped, or maybe owner is definitely way too racist for [00:15:00] anyone’s comfort. Right? But we stay loyal to it because I’ve been there for a long time.

They smile and treat me well every time, but actually I want to enjoy a good coffee and I really valued the experience of having a good coffee. Now, this isn’t to say you should, or shouldn’t. If you value that conversation with Steve, the barista versus the quality of the coffee, then go for it. Whatever is going to be a higher value to you.

But that’s the point. And what about this one? Because this one will fuck with your entire life. Loyalty to our fears and stories that keep us safe. They keep us from facing uncomfortable and growth based things; challenges, invitations to our potential invitations, to new opportunities, to new levels, oh we love being loyal to those things.

And so [00:16:00] most of these have some element of time base to it the more time. And the problem with that is most time-based, you know, I’ve been in a relationship for a long time, therefore I have to be loyal. And by a relationship that could be, you know, sort of work, right – a relationship to a company, et cetera.

Most of those examples that we have are actually contracts that we feel obliged to keep because, you know, that’s the thing to do. But the thing is the longer, the time goes on, they are contracts that we made when we were different people, because the human experience is to change. And so the further back they started actually, the more different we are.

And that doesn’t mean we just abandoned them. It means we need to explore them. They need updating. So with that, think about that as how can you be loyal to the beliefs of a friend or friendship you knew 20 years ago, if those beliefs you want shared and are wildly against who you are and what you stand for? [00:17:00] And again to the previous point, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have shared values and a loyalty to that person, but it needs to be upgraded and needs to be updated.

And that’s the point we can’t be running on a 20 year old contract today, if we have changed and grown. And I suspect you have because you’re a human. So here’s a really quick example to perhaps reinforce that point. I grew up in the Catholic church. I went to Catholic schools and my family and me went to church most of the time, but I no longer believe in any religion.

However, if I lived in this time based obligation loyalty, then I would need to be loyal to the church and to my parents, one time religious affiliations, all decisions that I never made as a child and I certainly can’t make as a child for my adult self. So how could my 38 year old self stand by that if I don’t believe in it?

So, that would [00:18:00] be self-abandonment. Now for someone who values, faith and religion, highly it’s a different situation. Although it might warrant updating the contract, um, relative to 20 or whatever years ago, maybe more. And then here is the point that for me would be self abandonment. And this is one of the central things that we see playing out for men in this misconstrued time-based obligation based loyalty is that I feel obliged because of an amount of time or some other measure.

So, I have to be loyal to that, but in doing so, I abandon myself. I abandon my integrity. I abandon what I value and, and, and the thing about that is self-abandonment in order to fulfill an obligation,

it doesn’t feel nice. And that is telling you, you are abandoning yourself. You are [00:19:00] stepping out of integrity. Obligation is not pleasant. It’s not from a place of love and purpose. And so when we are. Loyal through obligation it weakens everyone, and that might be worth exploring by the way; where do you have obligations that don’t feel nice that pull you out of your power out of your integrity? Your values, living them through your thoughts, words and actions is what keeps you IN integrity.

The moment I abandoned them, the moment there’s the moment I stepped out of integrity. And the moment I’m out of integrity, I weaken myself for myself and weaken myself for others. And so if I self abandoned in order to quote unquote, “be loyal” for someone else, I’ve actually weakened myself for them.

So it starts with who you are and your values. And if you don’t know these, what they are, what integrity is for you [00:20:00] then quite simply, and this is very common and I see this in men all the time. And again, loyalty is “oh I value loyalty” well, we’ve got to explore it, right. So we have to explore our values because yeah.

Otherwise we end up living someone else’s values or someone else’s version of what we think we value, hence this entire podcast, living someone else’s outdated, misconstrued definition of what loyalty is. And so by default, we can only be loyal to the definition that’s been set for us or that we’ve inherited or taken on.

And that kind of forms the baseline. But when I do this, I abandon myself, my values, my integrity, just to kind of be in your corner, right? I weaken myself for you. That’s not loyalty. That’s not being driven from a place of love, but it’s being driven by a place of fear. That’s conflict, avoidance, it’s people pleasing.

It’s trying to manage someone else’s feelings or prevent possible hurt or upsetting someone. That’s all [00:21:00] driven from a place of fear and pain avoidance, as opposed to love, love, and respect for self. Love, true love and respect for someone else. But the problem there is it’s kind of got this weird, like dressed up as respect for someone else, but it’s not.

Abandoning myself for you is not respecting me or you it’s disrespecting both of us. And that shit can’t last, that is out of integrity. And that will not get us to a place where we value ourselves. So another example, I have copious examples, I suppose, when it comes to, um, you know, where I’ve been challenged around this myself, and when it comes to a choice between being loyal, uh, and abandoning myself and all of us, but

here’s a common one. Cause I actually see this a lot and I’ve used perhaps as context a bit here in my coaching program, you know, a big work in the second pillar is understanding your values and who you want to [00:22:00] be. And this speaks to this. The third pillar is really about how do you become that? And that’s kind of the action of living self-respect living your values and living loyalty, bringing together the first two pillars.

And so when guys come into the program, when they come into the, the world of the School of Personal Mastery and the program, the Everyday Legends Academy, they commit. It’s a big commitment and asks of you a lot.

There’s a lot to that, but the simple premise is, it asked you to to make a big commitment. Now, one of the fundamental things that comes with that commitment is that then asks of you. What comes next – we have to step across the threshold into the unknown – what comes next is very powerful. But on the other side of that, I commit to them.

I commit to support, to challenge, to hold them accountable, to hold into a standard, to see them in call them into who they can become. [00:23:00] And sometimes ithat means very much loving, straight talk. That means honesty from a place of love and respect. And so I’ve seen this kind of thing play out quite a few times where someone will be running a bit of a story as to why something can or can’t happen or justifying something.

And, I am not being loyal to my own commitment to them. And therefore my, being loyal to them if I just kind of see that and let them away with it and basically be a yes, man. Good work. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. How I am in integrity, how I am loyal to them and to myself is by challenging them on that. Inviting them to see it.

Pointing it out with love with sometimes real strength and challenge. And also in that moment in order to do it, I am challenged. Right. Do I just pander? [00:24:00] Do I let them slide on that? Well, my integrity says, no, I have to step into that. That’s loyalty, loyalty to me, that’s loyalty to them. Now, you know, part of the, the container for this is that it’s a safe, nonjudgmental environment where they get to be seen, where they get to be supported.

There is no judgment. There is only support. There is empathy. There is compassion and there is strength. You’re going to be held and held accountable. You’re going to be held to account and you get held to a standard. And so. You know, I would hope in most coaching relationships, that’s the nature of it, but this is a very common way in which this plays out where I’m presented with this myself, inviting them to a new loyalty, but also for myself being tested on it a lot.

And so if I didn’t well, I would be out of integrity, I would be disloyal to myself and I’d be disloyal to them and my original commitment to them as well. Now, want to be clear here? All of this. Doesn’t mean, especially if we think about like an, a one on one situation, like with a mate, all of this doesn’t mean you abandon others, you [00:25:00] abandon your family, because you’ve grown past them.

It’s not black or white. That’s the challenge with so many guys when it comes to this work. And we see this all the time in my program is that we, we’re doing one thing, and we think the alternative is the other end of the spectrum. You know, nice guys think, well, the answer is I had to be an asshole. No, of course not.

That’s the other end of the spectrum, bro. There’s this big middle ground that you need to step into the gray area. But when you do that, life can become more colourful. If you want to add a bit of cheese to that. Um, and so it’s not all or nothing, you don’t just abandon others in order to be true to yourself.

You can get and be in someone’s corner, you get to be for them, but not necessarily with them in the sense that it might first appear perhaps how we have run it for a long time. Because if being with them means you’re out of integrity and you’re out of loyalty, then that’s not going to work. So here’s an example,

and I see this a lot and we had this [00:26:00] recently in my coaching program. You get a mate who has, you know, asking you to cover for you, for him. Sorry. Maybe he’s just acting in ways that you disagree with. Or as one of my coaching guys, see as my mate, as being a fuck head, and I don’t agree with it, but I’m loyal to him.

So I don’t know what to do. Well, reflect back on everything we’ve just discussed and think about what do you value right now and what would being loyal to yourself and therefore being an integrity look like? And how can I support him from that standpoint? Because being a yes man, to him might feel like it’s the option in the moment, but it won’t serve either of you in the longterm.

And so that doesn’t mean you get to say, bro, you’re being a dick. Although it might, but he is, he’s a, he’s a model, perhaps a template for what you can say. And this might be to your mate. It might be to a family member. It might be to, you know, uh, the representation [00:27:00] of your company in a different form. Bro, I have got your back, but right now you have done something that is not on.

And if you want my loyalty, what that looks like is me being willing to call you on that and tell you that that shit is normal and hold you to a higher standard. If you want my friendship, it doesn’t look like that shit right there. If you want my loyalty, it looks like me not pandering to you as a yes man, but actually holding you to a standard while also meeting and maintaining my own. That’s loyalty, bro.

And so what that looks like for you. It can look like any number of things. The context and the specifics of the situation will come in there as to potentially what exactly is said or added to that. That’s [00:28:00] loyalty gentlemen. That’s what I want for you. So loyalty, like so much of this work starts with self.

That’s what we work on for any guy who feels that loyalty is a value of his, but perhaps hasn’t explored it with any real depth or curiosity. Because when we do, when we work out loyalty to self, we become stronger, more capable. We can support others, we can tap into purpose. We can actually live to a standard and support others in living to theirs.

We can invite others to a standard. Of course, caveat to that as they may not want to come. Just like, we often don’t want to come to our own standard because it invites us to let go of some old shit that’s keeping us comfortable and small. And sometimes we do that kicking and dragging and we don’t do it.

And we can also figure out in relationships, certainly at a [00:29:00] particular closeness or intimacy, um, that have gone their distance, we can start to figure out, maybe we need to separate for a while or shift for a time what the relationship is, you know, are we tight friends or are we bros or are we kind of mates and acquaintance, acquaintances for a while?

Cause often we have to separate in order to come back together. But as you can see, the theme of this is exploration, is curiosity, is investigation. And I would add to that – conversation. A lot of this stuff we can’t just work out ourselves. Uh, it requires and, and really benefits from conversation, brain storming, spitballing this stuff with others.

And because it’s, for men it’s often a conversation around loyalty to friends and maybe family you then go and speak to them about it, having this conversation, see if they are willing to meet you where you want to be. And so with that I’ve got some, [00:30:00] I’ve got some questions for you to ponder. I suggest you write these down, reflect on them this week.

And if you want, please, I’d love you to come message me on social media. Tag me, let me know how you’re going with these questions. Um, and any other questions that you have?

So question number one, where have I abandoned myself? Now, the extension to that might be, you know, Under the guise of loyalty to others, to family, to friends, to partner, to a company, to a sports team, something. Where have I abandoned myself?

What do I stand for? Who I am. Now, in the way of that might be well, I don’t even know really who I am so it’s hard to know where I’ve abandoned myself. And that would be a great thing to notice and really start to explore. I’ll also call a little bit of bullshit on that because we know this stuff deep down, but sometimes we have to stop being fucking busy in our lives in order [00:31:00] to really get all the information and voice that’s in their come up.

Sit, create silence, great space for yourself. Maybe 30 minutes a day. See what comes up there, you’ll soon fucken see. That’s the first question; where have I abandoned myself?

Second question is what do I value most in life? What do I value? And extension for that, despite what others think or may think about me or how I am influenced by others, this is me.

What do I value? And what you have to do their gentlemen is you have to then explore what those values mean to you, just as we’ve done here with loyalty. If you said I value freedom and what the fuck is freedom, everyone values freedom. So what does it look like? How do you define it? Right? How does it manifest or do you want it to manifest in your life?

Third question is what major commitments do I have in my life or myself, or do I want a need to have in my life? [00:32:00] You know, do you have a commitment to personal growth? Do you have a commitment to your health? Do you have a commitment to adventure and exploration and who knows? Go for it.

What commitments do you have? Those are the things you get to be loyal to because then the next question is how can I remain loyal to them? How can I be loyal, remain loyal, to my commitments, but not attached to how they evolve or how opportunity might arise to follow through on them. Right? Because if we get attached to how something needs to be, we often missed underlying and baseline commitment.

So how can I mind remain loyal to those commitments? What will that require of me? Next question, you might, some of the, now some of they might pop up in the moment, how uh, what will that require of me? And then next one is what quote, unquote “old loyalties” do I have to let go of, or perhaps reshape, or maybe, you know, [00:33:00] kind of create new contracts as we spoke about earlier.

And then the final question is this: What would true loyalty to myself look like? Detail it, explain it, in  full depth. Whatever that looks like. Remember what the stuff there’s no right or wrong. Don’t try and get the answer perfect first time. You get to explore this, you get to refine it. It gets to be flexible and flow.

And that is our download or my download for the day, I hope you enjoyed this perspective. And that you’ll be taking something away from it. And please remember, do not just listen to this podcast and kind of stoke the fire of, I feel motivated for a moment. Do something with this information, ask yourself how you’re going to apply it, share it with [00:34:00] someone, both this podcast and what you’re learning from it.

Let me know on social media, how it landed for you and what are you going to do with it? Because just listening to this stuff without doing anything with it. That’s masturbation bro.

Masturbation ain’t bad, but it’s not the real thing. You got to do something. You got to put the shit into action. Reading, listening, collecting information. Won’t do shit. If you don’t do something with it. Until next time, keep working on building that legendary integrity. This has been the Everyday Legends podcast with Mike Campbell, again, like subscribe, all the things, let us know how you’re enjoying this stuff.

How are you consuming it? What you’re doing with it? We’ll see you next time.


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