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Be present. Show up. #givefirst

Today is R U OK day, and I’m compelled to write. A lot.

A great friend once told me: “whatever you feel, say it”.

Short and simple. But it actually goes much deeper when you live it properly. What it really means is: “whatever you feel, be vulnerable and courageous enough to act on it.”

It’s amazing how most of us hold back what we really think. We don’t always call out bad behaviour when we see it. We don’t give someone that special gift, because we’re worried they won’t like it .We don’t reach out to that friend we think may be doing it tough because we’re worried we might be judged if we are wrong. We don’t admit our weaknesses and ask for help. We sit in meetings that dance around the real topic, because no one wants to have the deeper honest conversation.

And that’s just the small everyday stuff; when it’s a matter of love you can multiply that by infinity and take it to the depths of forever.

“Whatever you feel, say it” is a subset of living your truth. Something I’ve been writing a lot about recently: being vulnerable enough to admit and act out what is in your heart, your inner truth.

Pro tip: read everything by Brene Brown.

After observing hundreds of people through tens of Startup Catalyst missions and close to another 200 through Peak Persona, I’m starting to conclude that what holds of us back the most isn’t our view of our self as much as our view of what others expect us to do and be for them.

In other words, we conform our behaviour to match what others expect us to be for them.

We need to stop doing that. I encourage you to stop doing that and watch what happens to the people and world around you.

‘Live your truth’ can be mistaken for being selfish. But it isn’t at all. It’s actually the least selfish thing you can do. Because it is entirely about your super power being unleashed, enabling your real value and contribution to flow to fellow humans. Living your truth is actually the ultimate form of #givefirst.

So how do you truly live the full embodiment of #givefirst in every moment?

When your intuition tells you something, when you have an emotion or feeling, when you get a signal or sign, when you feel compelled to action, don’t hesitate, don’t doubt, just act.

  • Write the letter.
  • Leave the note.
  • Send the message.
  • Send the 12th message.
  • Give the gift.
  • Buy the flowers.
  • Go see them.
  • Stand with someone, even in silence.
  • Sit with them. For hours.
  • Stand with them even longer. Let them know you are there.
  • Walk beside them, not behind them, nor in front, but right beside them.
  • Ask them if they are ok.
  • Ask them out. Ask them over.
  • Ask them for the 3rd time.
  • Cook for them. Feed them.
  • Offer them a lift. Offer them your car.
  • Trust that feeling after you’ve left the room, and turn around and walk back to see them.
  • When someone is doing something new or for the first time, be the first to put your hand up to participate.
  • Ask the question.
  • Say “respectfully, no”.
  • Have the hard conversation.
  • Raise your hand. Even if it isn’t a question, simply say what you feel.
  • Buy their product.
  • Use their new service. However shitty it is right now.
  • Donate to whatever cause they are pushing this month.
  • Listen to their terrible music while they learn guitar.
  • Turn up. Whatever they are doing, turn up.
  • Say ‘me too’.
  • Be there. Front row, or back of the room.
  • Put your phone away and be present.
  • Connect with them. Eyes and body, but most importantly, hear them and see them.
  • Start the conversation.
  • Smile with them. Laugh with them. Cry with them.
  • Ask how you can help. And when they say there is nothing, help anyway.
  • Give your time. Often that is all that is required. Give your time, because it shows you gave thought.

The best gift is never the gift itself, it is always the thought that goes into it. The effort. The details. Make the effort in every moment with every person.

Let someone know you care.

Make the effort today especially.

Because whatever self-doubt or fear you feel is unwarranted. If you are acting on the basis of love for another human, it can not be wrong. Trust your gut and follow it and watch the magic that happens.


The above was inspired by recent writing by Baden U’Ren and a late night conversation with Eleanor Carey, who are two amazing humans that keep showing up for me. Thank you to both of you for your amazing friendship.

[A small group of us in Peak Persona recently started a writing challenge, where we have each committed to writing a very small amount every single day for the month of September. It’s been a fascinating experience. This is part of that.]


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