In many countries around the world, there has been, and I am sure still are, campaigns that are called Be Seen, Be Safe. It is a safety slogan for potentially dangerous worksites, for road users, for people who are out alone at night, and it’s an important message for all of us. I have just found another application of this saying, and I believe it’s the most important of all. For every one of us, to be safe, we want to be seen. I mean, really be seen by others, as a valuable and important member of society.

I live in a fabulous area of Melbourne. It’s close to the beach, has lots of cool cafes and bars, and a wonderfully diverse population of people. I was walking home recently and passed a man who seemed to want to chat. He was looking a little dishevelled and so I wasn’t sure if he was homeless or just a little lost. Either way, when he started walking with me, if I am being really honest, I was a little nervous. When he asked me where I live, I got a little more anxious. I pointed in the direction of my home and asked him where he lived. He pointed in the opposite direction and kept walking with me.

I was in a little bit of a hurry as I was trying to get home for a Zoom meeting, but he just wanted to chat. He asked me what I did for work, so I told him I did many things to help people, including writing books. He asked me what type of books I write, and so I explained they were in the self-help and personal development genre. He then said, ‘Wow, that’s great. I really need to read one of your books’. When I stopped and asked him why, he said, ‘Well, I am in my mid-fifties, and have a dead-end job, no life, and I am a loser’. At that moment, I thought I knew why I had met this man. His name was Mark, so I said, ‘Mark, can you just wait here for a few minutes?’ He agreed and I went home to get him a copy of my book T.E.A.R.S. of Joy.

About 5 minutes later, I walked back towards him with a copy of my book, thinking about how grateful he would be to receive this gift, and how it could help him in his life. As I got close to him, I noticed he wasn’t looking at the book, he was looking at me and what he said next will impact me for the rest of my life. He said, with surprise and relief in his voice, ‘You actually came back’. He didn’t care about the book. All that mattered to him was that I came back. All he cared about was that finally someone actually saw him and did something that helped him believe that maybe he wasn’t a loser after all.

I am sure this man was used to people trying to get away from him when he started to talk to them, just reinforcing to him that he was worthless. I said to him as I handed him the book, ‘Mark, I am sure you have had some challenges in your life to this point, but it can all change. You are good enough and you can do anything you want. I hope this book can help you’. I shook his hand and left, changed forever. Will he read the book? I don’t know. What I do know is that it was never about the book in the first place, it was always about Mark feeling seen. I haven’t bumped into him since, so I am not sure what has happened. Has he still got the book? Did he read any of it? Has he started changing his belief system? I hope so, but let me tell you who was changed most by that interaction. It was me.

It is now my mission to make every person I walk past, meet, and interact with feel seen and feel important. In fact, I have more stories to share since meeting Mark, and I will talk more about them in a blog or on a podcast soon. My question to you is twofold. How seen do you feel? How are you at helping other people feel seen? You will know, if you struggle to feel seen – and we have all experienced this at some point in our life – it doesn’t feel safe, does it? When we are seen, we feel safe. If you are feeling unseen, please speak up to the people who need to hear this. If you tend to rush through life, as I have for many years, focused on achievement, and focussed on myself, then slow down and take notice of people, all people. The people I have been exposed to recently are the people who are marginalised: homeless, aged, and untidy. They are people, and they are important, and they need to feel seen. Just one gesture, or word, or acknowledgement, or act on your part could change their life. It is such a simple thing, yet leaves an incredible feeling, and I wish it for you.

In this week’s blog called The daily check-in, I speak with couples coach Krista Yaskiw. Whilst her work is primarily targeted towards couples, her message is for everyone, and it’s about the little things we can do, every day to help another person feel seen, and feel safe. If you would be willing to try one thing this week as a result of reading this blog, and that would be to help one person each day feel seen and safe, trust me, you will be the one who most benefits. A new campaign begins, and that campaign is just like the one you have heard about for years, but this ‘be seen, be safe’ campaign will impact more lives that all of the others put together. Use your power this week and enjoy the amazingness you will experience as a result.