Focus of World's Most Viral Human Interest Story | Mental Health and Belonging Researcher
Jordan Axani is a social researcher that helps employees and students share their unspoken fears, struggles and hopes with their peers – driving performance, engagement and happiness at work and school. He calls this building “cultures of belonging.” On-stage, Jordan helps people take off the “masks” they wear around others, leading them to accept themselves as they are, and enabling unprecedented peer support around the idea of living authentically.
From working on the revitalisation plan of an earthquake-ridden city in Chile, to contributing to the the Pan Am Athlete’s Village in Toronto, to presenting research on four continents, and consulting Fortune 500s, Jordan’s work over the past 10 years has focused on helping create teams, products, and places where people feel deeply united.
However, in late 2014 everything changed. On a dare, Jordan posted a message online, offering anyone who shared the same name as his previous girlfriend a leftover ticket for a trip around the world with him. The post earned a shocking four-billion media impressions, and made Jordan one of the biggest social media sensations, ever.
Under the weight of his viral fame, Jordan stumbled upon a stark truth that has since been fortified by thousands of interviews: We all live a big lie. That is, a dissonance between what we feel internally and what we project externally. And this gap leads to pronounced mental health challenges, lost productivity, and isolation. In response, we self-inflate or simply fake feeling well, fuelling a cycle of lies and cover-ups that are all consuming.
In “What’s Your Big Lie?”, a breakthrough mental health program, Jordan asks audiences to anonymously share what makes them hide who they are, projecting their responses in real-time and demonstrating that no one is ever alone. He uses similar approaches to open the eyes of corporate and organizational audiences to illustrate that the boldest, highest performing businesses are ones where extraordinary openness is an essential pillar of corporate culture and leadership.
Jordan is also the co-host of Impostercast, a top-rated podcast about faking it; the author of the forthcoming book and host of a TV series that unpacks his work on big lies; and he is the inspiration for the lead character of a forthcoming Hollywood drama based on his viral story.