Finding Your Identity Through Defining Moments with Ilan Muallem

Ilan Muallem

Ilan Muallem is an actor, director, martial artist, and entrepreneur. Some of his most well-known roles are Wesley from “The Walking Dead” and Noah from “The Big Short.” Muallem is also a free speech advocate and political activist who actively supports the military and police. Muallem is currently in a 13-year relationship and is a mentor to his girlfriend’s three children. 

During Muallem’s childhood, he recalls his father being hard but empathetic towards his horrendous behavior. When Ilan was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, he notes how his father was right by his side, caring for him. Ilan recalls how it’s defining moments like those that lead to your identity.

As a father, you realize that 90% of the battle is just being there for your kids. Muallem’s father was there for him during the difficult years and it made Ilan realize that although his father wasn’t perfect, he always showed up. According to Muallem, the definition of success means always showing up and being consistent, no matter what. Even if you’re not a perfect parent, you can still be successful and leave a legacy for your children by just being there for them.



What You’ll Learn: 

Ilan’s Relationship with His Father


Throughout his younger years, Ilan’s father supported him through difficult times. Ilan recalls being a very difficult child and the patience his father used when dealing with him.

Support Through Ilan’s Youth


There was tension in Ilan’s home among him and his brother. Although Ilan’s father wasn’t perfect, he was always there for him. 

Support Through Teenage Years


Ilan recalls testing the boundaries of what he could get away with as a teenager. He used drugs and fights as an outlet for his built-up energy. No matter how horrible he was to his father, he could always go to his father to talk to him.

Right of passage


There comes a point in your life when the consequences escalate and you have to be held accountable for your actions. The right of passage leads a boy to manhood.


Boys need a right of passage in which they are put in a situation where they are held accountable for their actions. Being a man when Ilan was younger meant being rough and doing drugs because there was no system in place to teach him or empower him


Success means being consistent. Encouragement is the most important virtue for a young man. There are many identifying moments in your life that will lead to your true identity.


Ilan taking care of his father was a defining moment in life and made him feel empowered. He became a more empathic person.

Health scare


Everything is fleeting and temporary. Every moment is a choice. Every person has a breaking point when the pain is continuous. No matter how bad things are today, doesn’t mean they’re going to be that bad tomorrow.

Worry Is Like a Down-Payment


Don’t get caught up in expectations


The people who are most empowered are people who can interface with reality the clearest. Their internal reality and actual reality itself are in line with each other.


When you worry about something, you pay for it twice. Worry is a down-payment on things that haven’t happened yet.

Current Relationships


Ilan always wanted to be around people and influence them. Young men need someone they can confide in and trust. 

What comes next?


Ilan tells us he’s excited about building his voice and putting out valuable content into the world. Our society needs to start humanizing masculinity and lift each other up, instead of tearing men down.


Emotional Intelligence Skills for Men with Dr. Nick Sotelo

How to Thrive in the Face of Uncertainty

Why Should I Forgive? with Derek Stone

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Ilan Muallem Links




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armor down daddy up

Armor Down/Daddy Up

We show up best when we are fully present in the moment, but we have a tendency to live in defense-mode based on fears from the past. It’s not that we’re not capable of being more open and mindful. It’s that we don’t know how. Today, Ben King gives us the skillset to armor down and daddy up.

Ben King is an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient who has helped hundreds of veterans “armor down” with mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practices. He tells us how he changed his perspective on what it means to be strong and how that has transformed him as a man and father. He explains how to get out of the stories we tell ourselves and get into our bodies to experience life more objectively. He also teaches us how to hone our skills of empathy and patience so that we can move with life instead of against it. Armor Down. Daddy Up!

Our greatest assets show up when we are fully present in the moment.–Ben King, Armor Down/Daddy Up

Armor Down/Daddy Up

The Armor Down/Daddy Up!™ (AD/DU!) program is designed to assist veterans and active-duty warriors with reentering their families in the most productive and rewarding ways possible. It is also designed to be of value to others who have been impacted by trauma-related experiences.

What You’ll Learn

  • Our skillset fails, not our patience.
  • Surviving on approval can create panic.
  • We often model parents’ triggering.
  • Down-regulate patterns that are built into your system.
  • Defeating meathead patterns.
  • Men are viewed as protectors, using physicality and violence in gesture.
  • How Ben King changed his idea of what it meant to be strong. It used to be a presentation. This had its limitations.
  • Identify the mindfulness tools that help you. What are the most efficient? Keep bringing them back.
  • Train every day to hone your skills on a regular basis.
  • As you become more mindful, the layers of being a father and a man become more nuanced and exciting.
  • Operating from the intellect and the culturally articulated idea of masculinity is ineffective.
  • Getting out of the way of our bodies.
  • The driver is the heart. Become heart-focused.
  • Ben discovered that the greatest version of himself was not the armored version, but the one that flowed.
  • Your story about yourself determines how you will act
  • If you’re operating from a place of threat, you cannot use your mind’s high-functioning processors.
  • Align your spine, straighten your shoulders to stimulate your parasympathetic system.
  • Love by its very nature conquers fear.
  • Trauma ruptures your relationship with what was a predictable normal life.
  • The rupture gets filled with maladaptive habits that are flawed.
  • Give your kid access to the information given them by their body when they are experiencing emotions. Tell them, “It’s okay to feel what your feeling. Let’s look at it.”
  • Press your kids to their edge and then let them take the next step on their own.
  • Ben’s simple but genius candy strategy to make sure “the walk home” after an event with your kids ends on a positive note.


The Challenges of Being a Military Veteran Dad

Staring Down the Wolf with ex-Navy SEAL Mark Divine

The Real, Transparent, Imperfect Dad with Tim Kennedy


Our biggest regrets in life happen
when we’ve lost our patience. 

Stop Reacting and Start Living

Do the work. Make a plan. Follow along with simple, yet powerful exercises and tap into the patience that is within you.

PLUS 1 Free Month in the Dad Edge Alliance

Create an action plan to help you thrive in life and build the legacy you want.


Ben King’s Links





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