Who is Darren Stehle?
I am a gay man.
Being gay is not all that I am, but for most of my life I’ve struggled to different degrees with being a fully out, completely self-accepting gay man.
Why is that? Well, for one thing the closet is/was a very powerful container. I was trapped inside until I was 18 and came out to my closest friends after the last year of high school.
But I’ve never stopped coming out. No matter how far out I am, I seem to always carry a bit of the closet around with me. I may not realize that I’m actually standing within the doorway, albeit with the door fully open. It may be that I say something in such a way that’s generic or gender neutral. Being complicit and purposefully vague provide shadows.
Our language forms our reality.
Our language lives in the closet to the advantage of those who are not gay.
When I say, “This is my boyfriend, Christiaan,” it sound like we’re in high school. As of 2017 I’ve been with my “partner,” Christiaan for six years. But the word, partner, is neutral. It could mean, “business partner” or “life partner.” It can be used by a straight couple as easily as a gay, lesbian, or trans couple. I could say my “same-sex partner” or I guess I could say, “My partner, Christiaan.” The later at least is clear and honours him by his name and my respect for myself as an “out” gay man.
￼But why do I have to be in or out? Why do we need this dichotomy? These are rhetorical questions which may, hopefully, be observed by historians as a dark time when not everyone was allowed to fully express their true nature and authenticity.
Let’s go back in time.
A short story of who I am and how I got to this point will help you understand my approach to helping people exercise their minds to eat, move, and be well.
I was born a very sickly, hyper-allergenic child. I can only imagine how difficult it was on my parents wondering why this baby was screaming all the time. As a child I had severe ADHD (on Ritalin) as well dyslexic when reading and spelling. In my early teens when I was learning how to take care of my health and better manage it, my mother’s health started to decline.
At an early age I learned how to cook and two years after high school went to cooking school. I started working out at 19, excited to finally find a sport I could do for myself and my self-esteem. I never enjoyed team sports, too afraid that other boys might discover I was gay.
Well-being fascinate me.
After 10+ years of lifting weights, people would come up to me at the gym and ask for help and advice. They wanted me to train them, complimenting me on my physique and that I spread to know what I was doing. Wanting to change careers, I studied personal training, took courses, and hired a coach. At the same time I was working to improve my mindset through personal development. I realized, through some lost opportunities, that I need to make some big changes to become a better, happier person.
When I ventured out into health and fitness as my “business” in 2003, I explored being the “gay voice of Toronto fitness” and then the “gay voice of a positive mindset.” Unfortunately those aspirations came before I was skilled enough to deliver a powerful and inspiring message that would resonate with people.
As my coaching skills have evolved over the years, people close to me asked why I wasn’t doing work with gay men. Each time I was stumped to answer. It’s as if I’m hiding behind transparent glass. My life experiences benefit my coaching awareness, my empathy, and ability to simply sit with people and help them transcend their limitations.
The simple answer is that just because I’m gay, why assume I should work with gay men? Should I only work with white men because I’m white? Of course not.
I love understanding how the mind works. In my coaching I help deep thinkers and creatives exercise their mind to uncover their obstacles, and take action to get out of their own way.
Do you know where you’re going?
As we move along the path of life we change and grow, or the people around us change, or the business in which we work changes. Those things may throw us off course.
Knowing where you’re going takes a courage of belief. Even more courage is required to move forward when you don’t have a detailed map or a plan for how to get there.
It’s kind of like driving a car without GPS navigation. You’re on a busy highway and reading a map while driving is too difficult. So you ask your copilot to read the map and offer direction. They become your guide, even though you are still the one in the driver’s seat.
I know how much of a struggle it can be to become who you want be. To do the work you love, to eat healthy and stay in shape, to have the clarity and energy to create something meaningful, or perhaps you have a grander goal of impacting the world.
You can be whoever you want to be, but sometimes it’s really freaking hard to get there on your own. This is what I’m here for and this is what I love about coaching – that I get to help people transform their mind and body to improve their well-being.
If any of this resonates with you and you’d like to book a consultation, click the button below to book in my calendar.