Tag Archives: inspiration

A Clean Slate, Or Is It?

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I’m always fascinated about trends, especially in the health and wellness industry. Coming from a background in public health and working in various sectors, including managing an employee wellness program, there were always conversations about the new “it” thing that’s “life changing.” But, at its core, most things are just that, trends. The underlying motivations to improve or change one’s life is what’s really important to understand. Brands such as hims and Russell Wilson’s Good Man Brand provide a platforms for education and engagement on relevant health issues. The search for understanding human behaviors is what ultimately piques my interest.

A few of Well + Good’s top 18 of 2018 fitness and wellness trends that caught my eye:

Self-care is not an indulgence

High-tech sleep science in the bedroom

Analog destinations to unplug are the new “it” spots

The examples above fall under lifestyle changes, specifically on the ever elusive work-life balance sweet spot working professionals are always striving to achieve. While work-life balance is highly personalized, the fundamental question is true for everyone: how should I prioritize my time to maximize my productivity in professional and personal fulfillment? And what better time to ask this fundamental question than on the first few days of the new year.

Lindsay Jean Thomson, a regular contributor on Medium, offered an alternative to the annual resolution-setting ritual. In her piece, she encourages her readers to set a theme for the year rather than a goal-oriented resolution. This strategy empowers readers to focus on an improvement in lifestyle over singular goals.

New year’s resolutions such as losing weight or training for a marathon are admirable. Ms. Thomson also points out that only 8% of people actually keep them. By focusing on a theme or vision of how each of us wants to live in 2018 (and beyond), it provides a road map that can be a source of constant feedback and adjustment. It forces us to pay more attention to our behaviors, and maybe, just maybe, it forces us to examine the underlying motivations for said behaviors.

Unfortunately, no one really has a silver bullet answer or life hack that translates to conquering work-life balance. That answer lies within each of us and is a moving target. It is an evolving process of self-awareness, reflection, and readjustment. For that reason, the best advice I can pass on is from Ms. Thomson:

“Whether you choose a resolution, a vision, a theme, or something else, be kind to yourself — because it’s not just about what you do, but how you do it.”

Here’s wishing each of you an introspective, intentional, and personally fulfilling 2018. And remember, nothing worth doing is ever easy.

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Reflections of 2017 – We’re Only A Millimeter Away from Success in Public Health

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2017 was an interesting, and remarkable year, to say the least. I have no doubt each of you will read your share of best and worst stories of 2017. Before writing this, I did a quick Google search of top stories in healthcare, health, and public health, and as expected, my recollection of this year’s top news stories were completely different, which I’ve listed below.

One of the best decisions I made this year was to incorporate Medium into my daily routine. Every morning, I read a handful of thought-provoking articles to jump start my brain. If you haven’t read any articles on Medium, please do. It’s a curated source of original content from our country’s thought leaders on various topics such as entrepreneurship, healthcare, technology, culture, media, productivity, and design, among others. Learning from thought leaders in sectors outside of public health and healthcare continually challenges me to view the world from an unfamiliar lens – and it’s made all the difference in my personal and professional growth.

Tim Denning is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur.com and several publications on Medium. A recent article he wrote, “11 Ideas that will Rewire your Brain,” caused me to stop, reflect, and later inspired this year end post. His first idea was quite impactful:

You’re only a millimeter away from success

While attending a seminar, I heard a fascinating idea; according to a well-known cosmetic surgeon, the difference between you being butt ugly and a super model is a millimeter in a few spots of your face. That’s it!

Tiger Woods also explains that the difference between getting the ball close to the hole on the first shot, and hitting the ball in the water, is a millimeter either side of your swing.

There are times when you might think you are a million miles away from your desired goal. Remember next time that this is false, and you are only a millimeter away from success.

While I could spend thousands of words describing how frustrated, angry, and drained I was throughout the year, my optimism remains unshaken for what we can still achieve. And my optimism, inspiration, and motivation comes from thought leaders like Tim, Steve Downs, Naveen Rao, and Jordan Shlain, among so many others. It comes from social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders in North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and all the various places I visited this past year. Lastly, my optimism is fueled by the passionate, compassionate, and proud residents of communities across the country who volunteer their time to make their communities a better place. Their empathy and altruism is why I love this country so much – and it’s the very reason I won’t waste my time complaining about our country’s struggles. For those aforementioned reasons,  I’m excited about 2018 and beyond because we have a lot of work to do. But remember, nothing ever worth doing comes easy.

 

My Top 17 of ‘17

 

Innovation

Lyft and Uber step in to assist healthcare

Dear Silicon Valley, It Pays to Care About Public Health

Food as Medicine – 5 Good Ideas

Prescriptions for Fresh Produce

 

Application (Best Practices)

Kansas City Physician Takes on Community Health at the YMCA

Stamford, Connecticut Health and Wellness District

New Type of Food Pantry is Sprouting in Yards Across America

Hope – and Healing – Go into Massive Redevelopment Effort

 

Sustainability (Financial Sustainability)

Military Investing for a Less Costly, Fit & Healthy Force

Dreaming Big on Sustainable Financing

Health Insurers Try Paying More Upfront to Pay Less Later

 

Research

Outcomes of Digital Health Program to Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Address Health Behaviors

Amazon’s Latest Grocery Experiment Involves Accepting Food Stamps

 

Policy

Berkeley Approves Tiny Houses for the Homeless

Bike Lanes May Be the Most Cost-Effective Way to Improve Public Health

L.A. County’s Latest Solution is a Test of Compassion

Daily Choices

stuscottI woke up at 5:30 am this morning with a little more energy and a lot more gratitude.  Before I fell asleep last night, I saw ESPN analyst Stuart Scott’s speech from the ESPYs.  And he had me, and possibly many others, sobbing.  Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor emanating with wit and charisma, in one of the most vulnerable struggles in his life, delivers one of the most inspiring speeches I’ve ever seen.  Full of respect, gratitude and love, he is a living inspiration to anyone, myself included.

There are so many things I can complain about on a daily basis.  But Stuart has that many more things he could complain about.  He is an inspiration because he refuses to let cancer impact the way he lives his life.  He continues to do his job and boy does he do it well.  More importantly, however, is Stuart’s unwavering dedication to his two daughters.  Poignantly illustrated at the end of his speech, he announced that his oldest daughter couldn’t be at the ESPYs because she’s taking summer classes as a college sophomore, and he understood completely and encouraged her to “do you.”  Without a doubt he cherishes the relationships he has with both of them and understands that they need to develop into independent women.  And he remains as supportive and doting as ever.

Deborah Kotz of the Boston Globe also saw Stuart’s speech and expressed the same sentiments as the masses, but her piece this morning points out one point that should also be injected into this conversation – what if there’s nothing left in one’s tank?.  End of life discussions have been a sensitive issue, most recently when the myth of “death panels” were in the forefront of political discourse in 2012.  I agree with Ms. Kotz that those conversations are crucial at any stage in life and many resources exist to facilitate the conversation.  Accepting one’s mortality, in my opinion, is the only way to truly live a life with courage.  The risks are real – unhealthy lifestyles can lead to all types of chronic and infectious diseases; natural and man-made accidents happen; and sometimes we can only explain it as “bad luck.”

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer,” he said. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

At the end of the day, it is what we make of each day.  Like Jimmy Valvano before him, Stuart reminds us that living is a choice.  And we have that choice every day.