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    October 2009

    Health is a Leadership Issue

    October 16, 2009 1580 Views

    Returning blogger Di Chapman, founder of Quotepourri.com writes on a topic top of many agendas, health care. Start your weekend off right with a motivating article from Di:

    "Who you are speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you're saying." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    DiChapman

    I'm reading through Mac Anderson's book Charging the Human Battery, nodding with approval at essay #37 about motivating himself through exercise: "I could never write a book on self-motivation without discussing the importance of regular exercise....Exercise is one of the best investments you can make to ensure a healthy body and a positive attitude." Mac's observation is substantiated by medical and scientific research day after day, year after year. Yet, in America, for at least half a century, this research has gone unheeded by the majority of our population. As a published health and fitness writer and speaker for nearly two decades, the topic of health, and how we can achieve it and care for it, is one of my passions. I have warily watched our American delusion that health "can be bought" with the right plastic surgery, or the right "magic" pill; and our misconception that we can "buy back" health that we squander by undergoing bypass surgery or stomach banding. Truthfully, I have wondered when our stubborn resistance to making healthy lifestyle choices would create the crisis in health care we see around us today.

    I have believed for many years that health is a leadership issue, and I maintain that our culture of ill health in this country drives the "health care" debacle. It's my belief that our leaders must seek to understand the origins of this cataclysmic event, and how it has been decades in the making. Leadership in this issue also requires the ability to move beyond our own biases while we look honestly at the health condition of most of America, and the business of health care in our country, fairly and squarely. The hysteria and vicious debate about health care is a two-sided maelstrom, and we have to be willing to see and hear each side.

    It's unfortunate that the health care "debate" leaves little to no room for logical discussion about the true meaning of "health" and why so many Americans are unable to view the word objectively. How did the meaning of a word that should be so full of positive connotation become a word that drives such a fury of hostility? The raging disaster I see around us totally dismisses the true notion of what "health care" is and always should be – and the reality surrounding the "state of health" in America.

    Honestly, you would think that each of us would wish ourselves, our families, our friends, and our neighbors "good health," and mean it. You'd think we would want to help everyone we know to be as healthy as possible. Health is a HUMAN issue. A lack of health and health care destroys the status of a culture, and the ability to sustain its standard of living. Throughout history, countries achieve stability by ensuring the health, education, and prosperity of their citizens. The hysteria surrounding the health care "issue" in America is doing a poor job of pointing out "the obvious" about the collective state of health in our country. There's a megaton gorilla in the middle of our living rooms: in general, we Americans have taken very little interest in, and are lousy at, taking care of our health. It was only a matter of time until our resistance to healthier living created the social eruption we see today.

    How We Got Here

    Those of us over 50 can remember when our doctors smoked cigarettes while they gave us our physical checkups, and blew smoke in our faces as they prescribed treatment plans for our Mumps, Measles or Flu. In 1965, we witnessed our government slapping warning labels on packs of cigarettes, telling us that tobacco could be dangerous to our health. Equally as many years ago, I remember competing against my classmates for the President's Council on Physical Fitness in Phys Ed, while clouds of cigarette smoke billowed out of the teachers' lounge every time the door opened. I vividly remember when, in 1987, I became a certified fitness instructor, and the biggest challenge and discussion among members of the fitness industry was what we called "exercise motivation and adherence." Statistically, only 15% of Americans engaged in ANY form of exercise, including taking a walk down the block and back. Fast forward to 2002, when the U.S. HHS reported that only 3 out of 10 Americans exercised regularly. Now, the government's Healthy People 2010 reports that less than 50% of our population meets the minimum guideline of 20 minutes of vigorous activity three days per week.

    At the same time, our consumption of alcohol created an additional 3.8 million alcoholics between 1992 and 2002; our food consumption has catapulted the number of fast food restaurants to 222,000 locations with revenues of $125 billion; our obesity rate is now 31% of our population, and 63% of Americans are clinically overweight, using the CDC's Body Mass Index measurement standard. FastCompany.com reported in August that "The average American eats 16 pounds of French fries, 23 pounds of pizza, and 26 pounds of candy every year." Childhood obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled in the past 20 years. The CDC reported in 2000 that adult onset diabetes rose 33% between 1990 and 1998 in every category, including men and women of all races and ethnic groups, with Type 2 diabetes accounting for over 90% of the cases. Our tanning booth and sun exposure have produced an increase in melanoma from 1 in 1500 Americans in 1960 to 1 in 70 Americans in 2000. Our adult cigarette consumption hovers at 20%, but 28% of American teens now smoke, on track to produce 6.4 million premature deaths from smoking-related disease.

    The truth about health care in America is that we are, as a population, so unhealthy, we have accepted ill health as a norm, and our rampant proliferation of mostly-preventable health conditions has also created the second half of the health care debacle – the issue of "health care as big business." As American lifestyle habits produced more and more ill health, our markets responded by creating businesses whose profits are derived from treating, or not treating, illness and injuries. Today, the dollars we spend on health "care" represent 1/6 of our economy, a whopping $7000 per citizen, per year. The "business" of health care has a HUGE amount of profit at stake on the supply side of the health care debate, fed by the equally huge amount of demand our bad habits create. The result has been an escalation of prices to a point where many of us are terrified that the cost of health care services are no longer affordable.

    To top it off, for all of the dollars we pile into the health care industry, the World Health Organization ranks the quality of our medical outcomes at 37th in the world, behind France, Malta, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. The March of Dimes reports that the USA ranks just above Latvia in newborn infant mortality rates. Twenty-six countries have better newborn health than the U.S., including Japan, Canada, France, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Poland, especially in light of the billions of dollars we spend in health care.

    What We Can Do

    It is easy to feel overwhelmed by these facts and statistics. However, if we keep a few principles in mind, we can improve the state of health in America. First, create a plan: without vision, the people will perish (Churchill famously quoted Proverbs 29:18). The same is true for your workout plan: without a clear, measurable, realistic goal and a way of tracking your progress, you will never succeed. However, with a complete plan, you have a good start to living a healthier life. Second, make holistic changes: eating right, using exercises that work for your personal goals, and keeping a positive mental attitude are essential components to make any changes stick. You must meet all aspects to ensure sustainable healthiness. Third, be patient: changes will not happen overnight, we must wait months or even years before seeing improvement in our health. Also, some conditions will never change regardless of your health habits. Be patient with those, and work your health plan around those conditions. Fourth, be the change you want to see in the world: as voters get to weigh in on the health debate, we can consider how to make an informed decision based on the facts. I believe that we will be in a much better place to participate in the debate if we value health as a high priority. By taking care of our bodies and minds, we automatically place health as a high priority.

    Teamwork Lessons from "Old Warwick"

    October 12, 2009 20043 Views

    Warwick"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to obtain uncommon results."

    -Successories® Print

    Who do you have on your "team" in life? I know that I would be a mess without certain people: my wife, my family, my coworkers, just to name a few. Of course I need them for practical, everyday things: I would not be able to maintain a website without the expert advice from the technical department, as much as I would not be able to maintain a household without my wife. But, I also need them for emotional support. When I have a bad day or I feel frustrated with how things are going, they are there to pull me out of the slump. When I feel good and life is going my way, they are there to celebrate with me. Today, I would like to share a fun story from Change is Good... You Go First about the power of teamwork. I hope you enjoy it:

    A man was lost while driving through the country. As he tried to reach for the map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Though he wasn't injured, his car was stuck deep into the mud. So the man walked to a nearby farm to ask for help. "Warwick can get you out of that ditch," said the farmer, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the decrepit old mule and looked at the farmer who just stood there repeating, "Yep, old Warwick can do the job." the man figured he had nothing to lose. The two men and the mule made their way back to the ditch. The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the reins, he shouted, "Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull Warwick!" And the mule pulled that car right out of the ditch. The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule, and asked, "Why did you call all of those names before you called Warwick?" The farmer grinned and said, "Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he's part of a team, he doesn't mind pulling."

    Think of those people with whom you are most effective. I mean the people that, when you work together, you accomplish more than you would have if both of you had worked alone. Take some time to tell us about them, and, most importantly, take some time to thank them for what they help you do in life.

    You Are About to Make a Decision of a Lifetime...

    October 8, 2009 1547 Views

    "Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right." -Henry Ford

    Kyle Maynard was born differently than other children: he had nor arms or legs. His parents, Anita and Scott, chose to raise him like all the other children. Kyle learned to use his short, sensitive biceps the same way other children use their fingers. As he grew older, he started to wrestle for his school. How did he do in his first 35 matches? He lost every single one. However, he and his family believed in him, and he kept training... all the way to the state championship! In his senior year Kyle won 35 times on the varsity squad and won his first three matches in the state championship. He attributes his success to a choice he made. A choice to overcome his fear and doubt and win.

    We all fail. But, if we have the belief that we are going to win right out the gate, our goals will be so much more possible. That is why, I am happy to share a very special video with you today. Todd Duncan, author of The Simple Truths of Selling, shares some unique insights on what he calls, "The Decision of a Lifetime":

    The Decision of a Lifetime from Todd Duncan on Vimeo.

    What must you decide? What success do you have planned?

    The Amazing Power of Optimistic Thought

    October 3, 2009 1952 Views

    Depending on where you live, you may be happy or sad about the recent decision of the IOC about the host city. I know that we, in the Chicago area, are feeling a little disappointed at this turn of events. However, I can say from experience that we, as a city, put our best foot forward as a city and gave a good effort! Congratulations to Rio de Janeiro on winning the bid for the 2016 Olympics.

    Regardless of current events, I believe we all have reasons to be optimistic, and that is why I would like to share with you a blog post by Dorothy Sander I read on Revive Your Life. In fact, the most important reason to be optimistic might be just be for the sake of it. Read on, and tell me if you agree:

    Half full, or half empty? ...Photo by jespisThe concept of positive thinking has been around for centuries and there is a good reason for this. It works! If you are a person who has a habitual "glass half empty" thought pattern, your glass probably is half empty. The good news is, you can change your thinking and it will change your life. It's not as difficult as you might think, but, first, you must be willing to try.

    Here's what we know. Researchers have spent a lot of time looking into the effects of our thought patterns on our physical and mental well-being. They know that we all have a steady stream of thoughts going through our head every day, many of which we may not even be aware. These automatic response thoughts can be positive or they can be negative and most are learned and created when we are children.

    Research shows that these thoughts play a major role in how we live our lives and how we feel. If your stream of self-talk is negative, you will undoubtedly find yourself depressed and/or anxious.
    You may have high blood pressure, a lowered resistance to colds and illness, or an increased risk of heart disease or cancer. In addition, your negative thought patterns can often create the very things you fear. For example: John grew up in a home with parents who chose to live a frugal lifestyle but they were not particularly happy about it. They did not do many of the things they enjoyed doing because they focused on keeping track of every penny. John adopted their negative thought pattern with regard to money and now has a deep belief that there will never be enough. Consequently, he has avoided taking risks with his career. He stays in a job he doesn't really like because it is secure, even though he is not being paid what he believes he is worth. John's self-talk is keeping him from making a change and looking for a new job that could provide not only monetary rewards but be one in which he would feel more fulfilled. In addition, he has just been diagnosed with high blood pressure due to stress.

    The truth is, John can change his thoughts and he can change his life, and in the process, quite possibly lower his blood pressure.

    When we are in a pattern of negative self talk we often filter out positive messages as well. We do not hear compliments as compliments and are more likely to doubt the sincerity of the person delivering them, wondering instead what their motives might be. Negative thought patterns also lead us to blame ourselves for things that occur and to assume that the worst is going to happen.

    If you are in a habit of negative self talk, begin to make changes today. You are in control of your mind and your thoughts; they are not in control of you. Remember, what you think, you will become. Therefore, when you are developing a new thought pattern, make sure it is stated in a positive fashion and is something you want to bring about in your life.

    Example: You are overweight. You are not happy about it. Your negative self-talk may sound something like this: "I'm fat, ugly and unhealthy. I hate myself. I wish I were different." If you keep thinking these thoughts you will remain "fat, ugly and unhealthy" and you will continue to "hate" yourself. These words are not motivation to change. Do not say "I don't want to be fat", say instead, "I love being slender and healthy", "I enjoy eating fruits and vegetables and healthy foods", "My body feels great when I'm exercising". It doesn't even matter if you think today that these thoughts are not true. Say them, and if you want them to be true they will become so.

    To start, pick one or two negative thought patterns that you are aware of and that you want to change. Write down the positive thought you wish to master. Write this positive affirmation on paper ten times each morning. Also, write it on a 3 x 5 card and place it on your bathroom mirror. Repeat the thought while looking in the mirror several times throughout the day. Change takes time and practice. Your thought patterns are like a river and the bed is worn deep. You are creating a new route for the river and every once in a while the stream may wander off course. Just acknowledge this and move it back to the river bed you are creating. In time, the new one will become well worn and the river of thought less likely to stray.

    If you are struggling with this concept or would like more information and assistance in making changes to your thought patterns, you might want to pick up one of Louise L. Hay's books. A particularly good one to begin with is You Can Heal Your Life. It is also available on podcast as are her "Feeling Fine Affirmations". Listening to these everyday can greatly improve the speed at which you are able to change your thoughts. Listening to them before you go to bed each night will help you sleep better and wake up in a more positive frame of mind. Her books are available in most major books stores and the podcasts can be purchased through iTunes.

    As you begin to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, you will see your life improve.
    You will become what you are thinking and your glass will start to fill. Your stress level will decrease and your blood pressure will lower. You will be a happier, more productive person. That is the power of positive thinking.

    What are some things that you are optimistic about?

    Say "Yes" to saying "No"!

    October 1, 2009 1951 Views

    I recently saw the movie Yes Man starring Jim Carrey. Without giving away too much, I would like to say that I found the movie very entertaining and, actually, quite thought provoking. I included the trailer to give you the premise of the movie, watch it here:

    As you just saw, Jim Carrey's character, Carl Allen, is a chronic "no man". Almost every request that he gets- whether it is for a bank loan, an invitation out with his friends, a sales opportunity- he turns down. He almost seems to enjoy saying no, and he therefore feels disappointed with where he is at in life. However, at a conference Carl accepts the challenge to become a "yes man". Every request that comes his way he must respond, "yes". You can imagine all of the situations, good and bad, he gets himself into with that promise!

    I think that, for some, we get into that mindset when everything is "no", and we need something to shake us out of that complacency. On the other hand, some of us have a chronic "yes man/woman" attitude... when someone asks us to do something, we cannot help but say "yes". As I am sure you can agree, sometimes that attitude can really take away from the things that we are supposed to do. Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog, has this to say about that special word:

    One of the most powerful of all words in time management is the word no! Say it politely. Say it clearly so that there are no misunderstandings. Say it regularly as a normal part of your time management vocabulary.Say no to anything that is not a high-value use of your time and your life. Say no graciously but firmly to avoid disagreeing to something against your will. Say it early and say it often. Remember that you have no spare time. As we say, "Your dance card is full."For you to do something new, you must complete or stop doing something old. Getting in requires getting out. Picking up means putting down. Creative procrastination is the act of thoughtfully and deliberately deciding upon the exact things you are not going to do right now, if ever.

    So, I think what we can take away is to say "yes" to new and exciting experiences that will stretch you... and "no" to those tasks that take away from your priorities. What should you be saying "no" to today?


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