Stand strong


“Stand strong, stand tall for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.” – John Hipwell OAM

I only met John Hipwell once or twice – a handshake, a brief introduction, and a couple of words. But I have trained and run a marathon with his daughter Sarah-Jane, and out of a deep care and respect for her and her family, I attended a memorial service for John Hipwell today.

Turns out he was one of Australia’s all-time best Rugby Union players and captains, and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to Rugby. Also turns out he was a humble, brilliant man, who was so loved and respected by so many people that memorial services have been held in at least four cities over the past month since his passing.

I sat at the back of the service today, alternately crying into my hands and laughing at the ceiling, as I listened to stories of his life and character, relayed by those who knew him best. I barely knew the man, but I learned so much today from his dedication to his family, his sport, his craft as a fitter and turner, and his desire to share his knowledge and skills with younger generations, across a lifetime of hard work.

I believe the value of a person’s life is shown in the amount of good they bring to the world, and the impact they make on those left behind.

That John Hipwell was taken too soon from the world at age 65 is both obvious and tragic. He passed away before meeting his first grandchild (due later this year) and before retiring to travel the country in a caravan with his wife Colleen. (He was due to retire at the end of this year.)

Regardless, it is abundantly clear to me from today’s memorial service that John Hipwell lived a full life of achievement, service, and love for his family and his friends.

My admiration for the man grew deeper when this quote was mentioned during one of today’s speeches. I immediately wrote it into my phone so I could remember it and use it in this IQ.

It is a strikingly simple, insightful and powerful guide for a meaningful life. I encourage you to reflect on what you believe in, and what you would be prepared to stand tall for, even if you stood alone. Once you’ve figured it out, drop me a line and lemme know. I’d love to hear from you.

With love,
Israel. xo


4 thoughts on “Stand strong”

  1. Great article, beautiful words and very true. I’ve been a friend of the Hipwell family for over 20 years and your words about John couldn’t say it better. A wonderful man and great friend who will be greatly missed by many.

    1. Hi Allison,
      Thanks so very much for your comment. It’s reassuring to know that my brief insight into John’s personality and nature were true. It’s also true that he will be greatly missed – the outpouring of love and admiration on Friday, as well as comments like yours have shown me that. My thoughts with you too.
      With love,
      Israel. xo

  2. Hey man, love the site! Amazing; I receive it around 4 pm which is a perfect time while finishing the workday:)
    I stand (maybe not alone, but definitely with a few) as an enemy of all convention, even myself struggles with this.
    I’ve written on how hypocrites can be good and selfishness is a virtue; The goal, though, would be to stop labeling people and reflect on their intentions. If you are interested you can read both here:

    Keep it up. You rock and you are full of awesomeness:)

    1. Wow, thanks so much Diego! I’ll read your posts later today. Thanks heaps for commenting, for being here, and for your lovely words :)
      With love,
      Is. xo

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