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It makes me feel a bit sick writing this.

If you’re a ‘bloke-y bloke’ and looking for exercises to pump up your arms – this one isnt for you. This is a different kind of post. So, for the rest of you, let’s get into some ‘deep’ stuff….

Yep, writing this blog makes me feel a little bit sick. Why? Because ‘getting real’ is one of the most confronting things we can do – and the thing is, we just don’t do it enough.

Firstly, I want to say that for me, happiness comes first, and health and fitness second. No exceptions.

With that in mind, I want to talk about three things that can drive happiness: Authenticity, Vulnerability and Connection. Over the past few weeks, these have caused confronting moments and conversations like no other time in my life.

I’ll be honest. I have a number of people really close to me that are struggling at the moment – really struggling – and it’s heartbreaking.

What also tears me apart is that I’m only finding out about this now, despite the fact it’s been going on for a long time. That’s partly because there wasn’t the level of connection where they felt comfortable telling me, or maybe there wasn’t enough vulnerability to allow these conversations to happen.

When you can be vulnerable, authentic and connect properly with people, that’s where the real magic happens.

Without being too hippy (though I think I’m becoming more hippy-ish by the day!), we were put here to ‘mate’ and connect .

If you turn to workouts to get a natural ‘high’, that’s great – no doubt about it. But it doesn’t compare to the happiness you can feel when you have an open, raw conversation. The kind where everything is laid out on the table. No BS.

I’ve always talked about the importance of being yourself, but my passion for connecting and being vulnerable has just gone up a notch, which tends to happen when someone close to you is struggling.

Brene Brown

It’s no surprise that the posts where I share my biggest challenges and hurdles are the ones I get the most messages about. People are interested. Why? Maybe they feel like they can relate to what I’m saying – or maybe can connect with me.

And then, on the weekend, I was (metaphorically) kicked in the guts, when one of those really struggling at the moment said: “Blake, look at your life. You have what you want, you know what you’re doing, you wouldnt understand.”

Wow.

Yeah, I’m quite happy with my life, but that comment brought up a couple of things, namely perception and social media. It’s filtered reality. It’s what people WANT you to see, and nothing else. It’s the top 0.5% of people’s lives. The part where they dont see the struggle. Where they dont share their insecurities. The part where their ‘filter’ their lives. The part that is perfect….

And that is the problem.

Being perfect (or pretending to be) can drive disconnection while the courage to be happy with imperfection drives connection.

And that is what makes some of the vulnerable chats I have with people so interesting and so real. We share our struggles and all of a sudden, we have a stronger bond that adds another layer to our relationship.

So here are my 3 wishes:

      • Be more vulnerable. Try going into a relationship wholeheartedly, despite not knowing where it is going to go. Be 100% honest about how you feel about someone, even if you don’t think you’ll get the same type of response back. Ask that girl or guy out without the fear of being knocked back. Damn, I asked the same girl out twice this year and got knocked back both times. At least I tried!
      • Connect. Just take the time to chat. To communicate. I’ve had some of the best and heaviest conversations with people in the past few weeks. At first, we both hesitated to share what was going on. It made me feel a bit sick, but now I’m SO happy I did.
      • Be authentic. I say it all the time: don’t change the foundation of who you are for anyone. The right people will dig you for you. Trust that process.

People are struggling everywhere. Fighting battles you may have no idea about. The more authentic and vulnerable you can be, and the better you connect, the stronger friendships and lifelong bonds you can create.

You might also save some lives along the way.