What’s Your Big Lie?
An interactive keynote speech or pop-up exhibit that allows anyone to share their innermost pain anonymously.
What’s Your Big Lie? (WYBL) is a breakthrough mental health program created by Jordan Axani based on the premise that each of us is living a big lie — and that it’s okay.
We define a ‘big lie’ as, “something immense that we hide from the world, even though it defines us.” Often it’s the source of the anxiety, worthlessness, hopelessness and pain that we carry around every day.
Extensive research shows that when we feel like we are living a lie, we are far more prone to clinical depression, less able to exercise rational thought and have a much harder time paying attention. Our brains go into a sustained state of panic as we wear masks on social media, at home, at work, and within our relationships.
So, what if we shared these lies with those around us? Well, it might change our lives.
In this 60-90 minute session, we lead audiences of up to 500 people at schools, companies and organizations to their own powerful realizations.
Using phones and an anonymous platform, audiences submit their ‘big lies’ and other insecurities secretly. Their responses are filtered immediately and projected at the front of the room in massive letters.
In that moment, you can feel a gasp of recognition as everyone realizes that they aren’t alone. Participants then respond back to the submissions verbally – not knowing who in the room it came from – offering messages of affirmation and hope, leading into a discussion about how we can build resilience and better support each other.
This program was developed in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and a team of mental health experts in 2016, and it has been hailed as life-changing countless times. WYBL has been presented to over 150,000 students, teachers, parents, entrepreneurs and professionals across North America. Hundreds of institutions have used WYBL as a catalyst to build stigma-free cultures of openness, empathy and belonging.
To meet the needs of organizations, especially campuses, where it can be difficult to gather people into an auditorium, we created a version of WYBL that’s a pop-up exhibit.
Set up in common areas, we collect lies or answers to thought provoking questions about mental health and other issues with our anonymous technology. Using a series of projectors the responses are filtered and displayed in like a large art-like exhibit for all to see. Often, a keynote speech will follow an exhibit on the same day to increase engagement.
By the end of the event, attendees will have:
A deep understanding of the of the pain and fears that their peers are experiencing
A normalization and acceptance of their own struggles
An inspired belief that sharing their struggles does not lead to shame
A toolkit to encourage peer support and awareness of local mental health resources
A newfound realization that none of us are ever alone
Definition of a Big Lie
“Something we believe is pivotal about ourselves, but we hide from the world.”
“What’s Your Big Lie was one of the best events that I’ve ever booked! It was an incredible way to learn about the hopes, fears, concerns, and realities in the hearts and minds of our students. Because students share anonymously, the level of honesty is remarkable. The comments were inspiring, revealing, heartwarming, and heartbreaking.
The comments are also helpful as an informal survey, and give us a better sense of what future events, programs, and resources are needed to support the mental/emotional health of our student population.
Additionally, the anonymous student responses were incredibly eye-opening for campus faculty, staff, and administrators in terms of understanding the scope and complexity of what our students are really dealing with in their lives. Amazing event – we will be booking this again for next year!.”Jonathan Crockett
What’s Your Big Lie encourages kids to look deeply within themselves in order to recognize and understand the persona they are presenting to others. Doing so enables them to tackle the issues they are facing and emerge with a truer sense of self.Greg Reid
His strength in discussing mental health issues, a very taboo subject, was formidable. Everything about him radiates honesty and in a high school, kids can sniff out a fraud in less than 1 minute. He was phenomenal.Melanie Reid
I think many people realized they are not the person they sell themselves as and sharing that anonymously gave them a sense of self worth.Al Nutini