Archives for wellness

Are You Getting the Optimal ROI on Your Wellness Plan? Checklist For You (Part 2)

 

Segmenting Health Factors

Many wellness programs segment health into only physical health, which defies modern science. The mind-body connection has been proven since 1985. Also, since the turn of the millennium neuroscientists have identified multiple parts of the brain that are activated during a spiritual experience, and since then the relationship between spirituality and our mental, emotional, and physical health has been further explored, tested, and understood. One 2001 study supported that “religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide.”

Kelly Turner, Ph.D. studied over 200+ radical remissions of all kinds worldwide and she found that there were 75 different efforts used in varying combinations and frequencies. They all had 9 in common, only 2 of which are physical. 7 are mental, emotional, and spiritual.

While programs may promote fitness, they fail to address other areas of behavior that will ultimately sabotage fitness, such as financial, emotional, or mental health.  Wellness programs that are purely or mostly focused on fitness and nutrition can often overlook what truly influences behavior patterns – beliefs. Many understand that employees often need to be educated on the health impacts of good and bad behavioral patterns, but continue in lack of self-awareness of the belief systems that influence choices on a daily basis.  Coaching and mindfulness are the best ways to support people in behavioral change and growth. If your wellness program neglects mindfulness, your ROI is taking a huge hit.

Companies have very compelling reasons not to ignore social health and community building as part of their wellness programs. The chances that an employee will turn down a competing offer goes up with each work friend. Many companies are still operating on trial and error, or just defaulting to whatever form of socialization the founder, executives, or person charged with culture prefer. However, people have very different socialization preferences, and options without obligation are the key to helping employees come together as friends. Offer intramural sports and book clubs or movie screening clubs. Offer a board game night as well as a video game night. Offer a happy hour and a yoga hour.

In order to achieve long-term, sustainable change, a person’s whole health picture has to be addressed and the underlying beliefs that drive behavior and motivation. To find out more about integrating mindfulness training (MT) and emotional intelligence training (EQ), get our report, How Mindfulness Training Quickly Transforms Organizations, here.

Tracking the Wrong Metrics

If companies are only evaluating one monetary measurement to determine a program’s success, such as participation, participant physical markers, such as weight and blood pressure or how many cigarettes smoked, and health care costs. However, when a wellness program is working, there are many other trickle-down impacts on the top and bottom line.

  • Presenteeism – Employees who come to work too sick, stressed, or burnt out are not productive
  • Absenteeism – Stress contributes to acute and chronic illnesses, necessitates additional doctors visits, and often justifies more “mental health” days
  • Engagement – Healthier, happier employees are more engaged and productive employees
  • Retention – See above how tending to social health improves retention
  • Lower cost of talent acquisition and higher quality of talent – a trickle-down impact of improved culture and wellness-friendly policies
  • Increased valuation and potential long-term stock price increases with improved P&L

Using the Wrong Incentives

A recent Kaiser Permanente survey indicates that workers are disenchanted with monetary incentives to participate or achieve certain levels of improvement in wellness plans. Gretchen Rubin, author and habit expert, promotes that incentives work better when they are related to the goal. For instance, if you reach your 20th-mile run, you get a new light-weight water bottle. At your 50th mile, you get a certificate for your local running company. Offering massages and cryogenic sessions as incentives can further enhance wellness.

There are a lot of moving parts to a robust and ROI-producing wellness program. While a lot of research supports that if implemented to incorporate what we know about optimal human performance and wellness, however, we are in need of additional case studies. We need companies truly committed to their workforce wellness, willing to make investments in science-backed programs.

If there is one thing that you can easily incorporate into your wellness program that will make the most impact on ROI and wellness, it is mindfulness and meditation.  Download our full report, How Mindfulness Training Quickly Transforms Organizations, here.

 

Katrina & The Waves – Walking On Sunshine (Official Video)

Official video of Katrina & The Waves performing Walking On Sunshine from the album Walking On Sunshine.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

5 Must Do’s for a Successful Job Search Week

Job Searching by NJLA of Flickr

Job Searching by NJLA of Flickr

 

I have received a lot of feedback and many of you found the sample schedule to be very helpful. As a result, I decided to outline five major components of a successful job search activity that you can integrate into your schedule every day or, at least, every week. This will help build competencies toward your expertise in job searching.

Why would you want to be an expert in job searching? I know most people find it rather dreadful. However, when job searching is done right you can feel as much like a rock star in the flow, or in a groove, as you did when you were on top of your game in your job. The major benefit of gaining this critical life skill is reclaiming power over your destiny.

 

1. Research

The research you will be conducting every day or every week will be to identify new target companies, find out what major initiatives, challenges, and potential setbacks your target companies are experiencing. Discover how you can add direct value, and identify people who can either be internal sponsors for you or be your next potential boss. If you are really adept at research, you can even find out some personal things about these people that will enable you to build rapport and hit their hot buttons.

The resources that you will use to conduct this research include the obvious search engines like Google or Bing, as well as local business journals and newspapers, niche authority sites, business directories and databases such as leadferret.com and zoominfo.com, and your network.

If you are really bold and adventurous, you will try feet-on-the-street research. This means that you attend events or “stake out” the location of various popular breakfast, lunch or dinner spots in the vicinity with the intention of procuring intelligence from strangers.

2. Bold Action/Experimentation

The above can be considered bold action. I encourage you to experiment with this approach, if not for the adrenaline rush, for the fact that it can get you further faster than waiting for friends and acquaintances to take action on your behalf.

The activities that fall in this category very well might be outside your comfort zone, and thinking about them as experiments may help you detach from an investment in the outcome. I encourage you to celebrate everything that you try, whether it turns into an opportunity or not. Do keep track of your results so that you can repeat the experiments that produce great results such as pivotal introductions and interviews.

Everyone has a different comfort zone threshold. You know yourself best. If incremental progress works best for you, then take baby steps. A good example is trying out a new social media platform that you recognize some of your potential bosses are using and sending them a direct message. Some of you may thrive on taking a big leap and testing your limits. This could look like a creative gesture such as sending an unusual gift with a hidden meaning.

An example of a successful gift attempt that led to an interview and a job offer was a candidate who was demonstrating his attention to detail by creating and sending intricate origami eagles. I heard a story once about a candidate who sent a shoe with a note that he was hoping to get a “foot in the door.” I’m not sure how that went over, but the results of any of these attempts are going to vary from person to person. This is where it is critical to know your audience.

Being bold can also look like attending a keynote where an executive leader is speaking and asking the best question. The key, really, is to garner POSITIVE attention that you can use as an opening to create intrigue, build rapport, discover needs, and promote yourself as a solution.

3. Network Nurturing

I saw Ellen Weber of Robin Hood Ventures speak at a TedX event in Philadelphia and she forever changed the way I advise my clients to offer help to their networks. The eye-opening insight she shared was that when we ask someone generally, “How can I help you?” we put a burden on them to figure out how we can help them. She talked about a very personally challenging time in her life, and how her closest friends made that time easier simply by taking the initiative to find ways to help, as opposed to waiting for her to direct them, which felt uncomfortable. One friend would drop off meals, the other would help fold and put away laundry, and another even cleaned her bathroom while some friends whisked her away to get a pedicure.

Think of consultative sales, where you are not pushing a product, but asking really great questions and listening earnestly to what the client’s actual needs are so that the solution that you propose sells itself. In a podcast interview between Larry Benet, CEO of the Speakers and Authors Networking Group (SANG), and Vishen Lakhiani of MindValley, I learned some really great questions that are simple to ask and easily uncover some of these needs, such as, “What is the project you are working on right now that excites you the most?” followed up by “What would help you complete it sooner or better?” Another question, which can be quite personal, is “What keeps you up at night?” or “What wakes you up in the morning?” Vishen actually starts all of his interviews with this question, and, of course, he already has a good rapport with guests and relates to them on a personal level prior to the interview.

Once you know what you can do to help, the next thing to do is to follow through. If you cannot identify a need, the next best thing you can do is to share some relevant news, resources, or tools that you think may be of assistance. If you have ever wondered when and how to follow up, now you know.

 

4. Self Nurturing/Wellness

I considered putting this before network nurturing, as we have all heard the analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you assist others. What good are we unconscious? Well, similarly, as we have written before, science has proven that you are at your best when you are taking care of yourself. Do not skip the workout, but get at least a couple minutes in to increase your oxygen levels. You will actually work faster and more productively. What you produce will be better with fewer errors, meaning you won’t have to re-do that work. Have a cover letter to write? Go for a brisk 10-minute walk or do some jumping jacks. Eat a diet rich in the healthy fats your brain needs to be at its best. Cut out the carbs that cause brain fog and sluggishness. Once you start to treat yourself better, you will perceive yourself as more valuable and be better able to promote yourself as such.

 

5. FUN!

There is a lot more to these start-ups with their ping pong tables and video games than just hoping to attract elusive millennials. Fun is known for increasing creativity, building more cohesive teams, making employees more receptive to bad news or constructive criticism, and, if you believe in the law of attraction, it is apparently responsible for bringing good things into our lives.

You can leverage fun activities for your job search such as organizing a happy hour or bowling night with your friends so that you can catch them up on how they can help you. Moreover, you can also just have a good old-fashioned good time and still reap the benefits in your job search. As we wrote last week, happy people tend to achieve higher levels of success than people who simply work hard. Really! Harvard says so.

 

If you are in a full-time job search mode, I recommend doing each of these daily. If you are working full-time while searching, I recommend that you designate a day of the week for each of these activities.

As an experiment, try these activities for four weeks. Then share with us how intentionally integrating these critical components into your transition helps you build momentum and opens new doors of opportunity.

 

Biohack Your Job Search: A 2-Week Challenge to Test the Link Between Wellness and Performance

It's Never Too Late to Create Healthy Habits by Army Medicine of Flickr

It’s Never Too Late to Create Healthy Habits by Army Medicine of Flickr

I’m coming clean – I have been a slacker this summer when it comes to my health. After spending a year committed to forming positive habits around fitness and nutrition, I let one setback cascade into another. Now I’m seeing the scale creep up and the smaller clothes that I was so proud to buy and flaunt look worse and worse. I have not been compelled to commit to returning to what I know worked – portion control, discipline in gluten-free dieting, and continually challenging myself physically.

As Gretchen Rubin repeats in Better Than Before, it is easier to start than to restart. She also talks about habit clusters. Good habits seem to come in clusters, so in other words, once you tackle acquiring a healthful habit, you will tend to feel good (an important component to habit formation) and tackle other habits, like getting better organized or flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily. You may even notice, just as a byproduct, that you watch less television or read more. On the other hand, when we break a good habit, other good habits seem to also break. My initiative to get rid of clutter has also slowed down.

Have you observed this in your own life?

If you can say any of the following are true for you, I urge you to make a commitment to developing one new good habit.

  • Getting out of bed is hard (I recommend The Miracle Morning)
  • Procrastination keeps you from doing what you know you can do to change your circumstances
  • Energy dips prevent you from completing what you set out to do on a daily basis
  • You do not want to go out and do as much, because you do not feel good about yourself
  • A lack of focus prevents you from being fully present and contributing at your highest level
  • There is a sense of chaos that makes you feel scattered and unproductive

Since the 1980s when Deepak Chopra started to raise awareness and/or eyebrows about the connection between mind and body (and vice versa), a paradigm shift in how the brain has been studied and how we can apply it to better our lives started. Much like technology, the pace of discovery has only continued to accelerate. You may be up late watching PBS one night to find a slew of doctors such as Daniel Amen promoting systems, products, and programs that help you use nutrition and supplements to heal dis-ease, curtail aging, and improve mental clarity and focus.

That sounds great, right? But…

Is being able to remember where I put my keys really (realistically) worth making a 3-4 figure investment?

When I read Gretchen’s book, she, a self-proclaimed habit enthusiast, said something that made me very intrigued about willpower. Many of us see willpower as the key to forming good habits, but what Gretchen purported was that the key to forming good habits is actually to do as much as possible to eliminate the need for willpower, because willpower will inevitably fail you.

I consider myself to be someone with a good amount of willpower when I commit. However, I am a questioner and I need to understand the logic and science behind how something works before I can completely buy in.

Rubin discussed how some people need to form good habits over time, but sometimes it is like a lightening strike. She shared how reading a science-based book on how carbs impact the body influenced her to instantly drop carbs from her diet. (She also admits she is not what you would consider to be a “foodie” and has an unadventurous palate to start.) I had the same experience in 2005 when I read The South Beach Diet and lost 25 pounds the year of my wedding, and when I read JJ Virgin’s The Virgin Diet and lost 30 pounds in 2012. This was also how I finally discovered that the culprit of my inflammation and IBSD was gluten, and that I was also sensitive to soy and dairy. As relieved as I was after years of visits to specialists who could not give me answers to the causes and just prescribed medications for the symptoms to finally know why I felt bad so often, sustaining a gluten-free and dairy/soy reduced diet is extremely challenging and does not feel practical. Still, I know it works.

Friday, in an effort to catalyze my desire to commit to a new program (what I have found to be successful for me in the past), I listened to a podcast interview with Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, and Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, a global personal development publisher.  Dr. Hyman promotes healthy fat as a way to eliminate cravings and therefore, reduce how much you have to rely on your will power to live a healthy lifestyle.  Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee, certainly promotes this as they key to how he turned his health around at 300 lbs and upgraded his life. (As well as his coffee, obviously.)

Here is what I know from experience and from countless testimonials from my clients:

Performing at your highest level in your job search is constantly interrupted by self-limiting beliefs, confidence-breaking rejections, dread and depression.

So, while I cannot speak from experience about the 10-Day Detox Diet, nor Bulletproof Coffee, I am publicly stating my own intention to reverse my backslide. Also, I am challenging you, especially if you answered yes to any of the questions above, to take on a new healthful habit. Be it getting and staying tidy, waking up earlier and in a more positive, productive mindframe, meditating, taking your vitamins every day, exercising, or eliminating or adding things to your diet.

 

I predict that the sense of accomplishment and endorphins you create as a result of this newly acquired habit will cascade into not just a higher level of performance, but greater results and good fortune in your job search and in your life. If I’m wrong, tell me so by commenting, and if I’m right, share your experience and results to inspire others to upgrade their job search results, and therefore their career status and income.