5 min with Starting Five’s Co-Founder Paul Elderkin covering his ‘why’, his hope for Starting Five and more.


Starting his career as a professional basketball player and coach, studying sport and health as an undergrad and then a masters in management, Starting Five Co-Founder Paul moved into project management and currently works at a digital tech company. But it’s his work with Starting Five where we find the more interesting insights…


Growing up in the UK but moving to Melbourne six years ago, mental health has always been something on Paul’s radar. “My goal is to help connect us as humans in sharing our vulnerabilities and challenges. To find simple tools that can complement other types of therapy that suits each individual. I’m excited to keep building my knowledge and awareness of mental health, the impacts, and human behaviour.”


Spend 5 mins getting to know more about Starting Five’s Co-Founder Paul…


What’s your ‘why’ for building Starting Five?

After losing my partner to suicide I had to go back to basics as my mental health was hugely impacted and I hit rock bottom. I created the structure of using the starting five checklist to help find focus and motivation to get me through some of the hardest days of my life. 


The reward I felt when ticking off an activity gave me hope, and the hope is what kept me moving forwards in my healing journey, with the added bonus of building new healthy habits that are now automatics as part of my daily routine. 

I want to help support people whilst they face their particular challenges in life with a tool that uses simple actions to help them feel rewarded and experience growth


What’s your hope for Starting Five? What do you want it to provide to people?

My hope for Starting Five is to build a simple and structured platform that takes people on a journey of building 5 simple activities that leave you feeling rewarded after you tick off each one, connected to their physical and mental health, and the creation of healthy habits and routines. 


The idea is simple, in a game of basketball each person is defined and nurtured by the team members around them. By using Starting Five, we believe you’re building a team around you of 5 activities that support you, help you grow, and become the best version of yourself. 


Life throws so many curve balls at us. By staying on top of our self care, mental and physical health, we are able to build resilience in facing daily life challenges. 


What’s the one thing you’re super excited about people discovering on the app?

The ease of use in building structure and habits into a daily routine. To be able to turn up, get hit with some dopamine when ticking off an activity (even the small activities like making your bed that we don’t consciously reward ourselves for) and being left feeling energised and motivated to smash each day, or  helping to shift a negative mindset into feeling a bit more positive about yourself, even if you can only complete the simplest of activities on a hard day. 


I’m also excited about the flexibility to adapt your checklist each day depending on how you’re feeling. 


What’s your top 5 healthy daily habits?

  1. Make my bed
  2. Gratitude Journal
  3. Meditation
  4. Exercise (Gym, run, Yoga)
  5. Read 10 pages

What’s the quote you live by or that has changed your life?


The level of thinking that got you to where you are now 

will not get you to where you dream of being

 – Albert Einstein 


What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up?

Focusing on my self care – my Starting Five checklist when I need a pick me up includes: 

  • Making my bed
  • Cold shower
  • Yoga
  • Connecting to friends/family
  • Listening to music


What’s the advice you’d give to your teenage self? In five words…or close enough

Make failure your teacher & friend.


What’s your party trick and/or something specific you’re known for?

My dance moves are so bad that they are known as being my party trick, always getting the group talking and laughing.


What are you most proud of about yourself?

I think that would be taking such a painful and devastating experience in losing a loved one to suicide, that impacted myself and so many others, and finding a way to turn that heartbreak and grief into an idea that can hopefully help others, even if it’s only a small amount of people.