About Darren

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Your difference is your uniqueness and your insight

I’m Darren, and in case you don’t know, my last name, “Stehle” is pronounced, “steel”. My father emigrated with his parents from Germany in 1956 to Toronto and they were advised to “Anglicize” the pronunciation of the family name.

As you read the articles on my blog and listen to the Think Queerly Podcast, you’ll discover my approach and strategies to knowing thyself that will help you to explore your creative genius and create the changes you want to see in the world.

I love being a queer person

As a gay man, and someone who also identifies as queer, I know I have unique insights that my heterosexual counterparts do not possess. Most of my adult life has been an exploration of the unique and vital role that LGBTQ people play in society.

By trying to fit in and not draw attention to myself as a gay man, I had to hide away parts of myself. Gay shame reared its ugly head later in life when I realized I was afraid of my own success β€” I was afraid of being visible.

For much of my early life, I struggled to different degrees with being a completely self-accepting gay man. Speaking to that specific experience, we are conditioned as gay men to fit in, act normal, and be just like everyone else. That affects how we perceive the world, and as a result, how we feel about ourselves. 

The problem with trying to fit in is that that we will have to lock away parts of who we authentically are – our mannerisms, character traits, things we like to talk about, and so on. Holding back parts of yourself is not living out the best of who you are – it’s a denial of who you truly are. If you identify as queer in any way, I’m sure you can relate to my story through your own life experience.

My life experience, work history, and activism led me to this work as a Coach for Queer Leadership: to help LGBTQ people use their difference to create a more evolved and humane world. You can listen to an interview I did on Rainbow Country Radio to hear about how I became a coach, the reason for my publication Th-Ink Queerly, and why I started the Think Queerly Podcast.

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A Brief Biography

At a young age, I was diagnosed as dyslexic and having ADHD. I believe these early learning challenges led me to pursue higher education, to prove to myself that I was smart enough, starting with Chef School and then University where I pursued a Master’s in German Language and Linguistics, spending several summers and a year abroad in Germany.

After university, I worked at Pink Triangle Press, a Canadian Gay & Lesbian print media non-profit, moving quickly into a top leadership position. I left the Press to work as a Fitness & Nutrition Coach for 15 years. In 2018, I shifted my focus to LGBTQ advocacy, leadership coaching, podcasting and writing. Since university, I have invested countless hours in independent study, studied with various business and life coaches, and have become an expert in well-being, mindset, productivity, personal growth, and queer leadership. I am currently working toward a certification in MindMap Mastery: the integration of neuroscience with coaching.

In 2019, I took a seat on the Board of Directors of INSPIRE Awards, a not-for-profit organization with the mission of honouring the most inspiring people, youth, businesses and organizations in the LGBTQ community in the Greater Toronto Area.

I live in Toronto, Canada, with my partner of nine years, Christiaan. 

My life purpose informs everything I do:

You have within you the knowledge and wisdom to overcome personal struggles and inequality. Love and accept yourself without conditions and you will be loved and appreciated by others.

Darren is a leadership coach in Toronto, Canada who helps his clients to connect and embrace their uniqueness and freely create the life they want. He writes and podcasts regularly about Queer Leadership.