Dave Stultz was once stymied by his fears, whether that meant giving up a reliable job for something he was passionate about, or simply boarding a commercial airplane. Now he’s helping other men find the courage to do the things that scare them most.
Stultz is executive director of The Fearless Man, a Marina del Rey-based coaching service that helps men develop the skills to be confident in talking to strangers, meeting women and overcoming bigger life challenges.
“We’re taking a lot of their fears, wants, needs, desires that are holding them back and working through them in a very therapeutic, almost meditative way to allow them to go out and achieve what they want,” he explains.
Stultz grew up in Washington D.C., where he started a coaching company that taught elites the ins and outs of the dating scene. Later he moved to New York City, where he engaged his artistic instincts as a photographer. But it wasn’t the career he’d hoped for, and an encounter with his future business partner set him on a course toward a more fulfilling life.
“I met my current business partner in Los Angeles through a model that I was dating here in L.A. long distance,” Stultz says. He and Fearless Man founder Brian Begin hit it off after putting on a seminar back in D.C., and Stultz slept on Begin’s couch as they got their coaching service up and running.
In their intimate seminars, Stultz and Begin teach men — and a few women — how to gain confidence in everyday interactions. Some of their tasks include telling a stranger a secret they’ve never shared, or striking up a conversation with a cashier as a line builds up. From there, clients work their way up to being emotionally open and vulnerable with women. Despite all the headlines and handwringing, Stultz says the #MeToo movement hasn’t affected the program at all.
“Respect, authenticity and emotional vulnerability mitigate what #MeToo was born from,” he says. “If someone’s being real and authentic with you, there’s no creepiness. There’s no weird energy that people misread and get themselves in trouble with.”
As for Stultz himself, his confidence-building tactics worked wonders. Instead of being afraid to get on a plane, now he jumps out of them — for fun.
— Brian Marks