The Gifts of the Quest

Have you ever thought about addressing all the imperfections in your life?

Well, I have.  I’ve been on a journey of mind, body and soul.  It all began when I finally realized that I needed to take time, for the first time in my life, to be alone to contemplate and decide where I need to be bold and when I need to rely on someone else to help support me.  I recently took that time and am just now realizing some of the implications that personal and professional changes will bring to me.  They are true gifts.  Part of my journey is related to taking huge risks and challenges on professionally and those are well underway.  Part of the journey is addressing personal issues of health, wellness and family.  All the changes will take time, but I am feeling positive about them all.eatpraylove

Tonight as I prepared a much healthier dinner than normal as part of changing my health, I saw that Eat, Pray, Love was on television.  It had been several years since I last watched this movie and since I remember being inspired by it the first time around, I watched again.  The last time, I was inspired to write about it here on the blog when I discussed seeking a soulmate.  If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a woman on a journey to find herself and redefine who she is and what she thinks is important and possible.  I won’t give any spoilers, but thought I’d share a quote from the end of the movie that speaks to any of you reading this post who are on a journey of rebirth in your own career or personal life.

“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love

So, if you’re on a journey, I applaud you.  It’s not pretty, nor is it easy.  Kudos for taking the first steps…

Wellness You Need for the Modern Workplace- HR Happy Hour #181

Guest: Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Co-founder and CEO of ShapeUp

This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and I talked with Dr. Rajiv Kumar MD, Co-founder and CEO of ShapeUp, an online wellness platform for companies and health plans that leverages the power of a trusted social network to improve the health of large populations.

ShapeUp is the leading global provider of clinically-proven, social networking-based employee wellness programs that help people exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight. Founded in 2006 by two medical doctors, ShapeUp has pioneered an innovative approach to behavior change that leverages the power of social networking, gaming, coaching, and financial rewards to improve the health of large populations and reduce healthcare costs. ShapeUp’s social wellness platform covers two million lives across 128 countries and is used by more than 200 employers and health plans.

On the show, Dr. Kumar shared an update on the state of wellness and corporate wellness programs today as well as ShapeUp’s approach and vision of wellness as a very social activity at its core. Additionally, we talked about the role of technology in the support of corporate and individual wellness goals. Mobile, gamification, wearables, and social concepts have transformed both the activities and the design of wellness programs in the last few years.

You can listen to the show on the show page here or using the widget player below:

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Additionally, you can subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or for Android device users, from a free app called Stitcher Radio. In both cases just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ and add the show to your podcast subscription list.

This was a fun and interesting show, and I hope you check it out. Many thanks to Rajiv and everyone at ShapeUp for joining us this week.

Is Your Job Killing You?

We’ve all heard the employees that say their job is killing them.  Well, some of them may be right.

In a study released yesterday, researchers from the University of London stated findings that, “working more than 11 hours a day increased the risk of heart disease by 67 percent, compared with working a standard 7 to 8 hours a day.” Their findings show that your time at work in addition to other heart disease risk factors like smoking or high blood pressure can all play a role in your vulnerability for heart disease.

Here in the U.S. where we’ve cut jobs due to economic factors, we have more employees working longer hours.  Over time, we could certainly see an increase in heart disease and other stress-related health complaints.  I spent the majority of my career in an environment where there was “expected overtime” for all exempt employees.  We tended to work as much as 500- 600 hours over the typical 2,080 hours per year.  That was our “normal”.  Luckily, I do not work in that environment now.  I have always put in more than 40 hours a week  (on average) though.

How are things where you work?  Are you finding yourself working more hours than several years ago?  Do you find it makes a difference if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee?  What health effects has it had?

Employees who work long hours are often a result of the organization’s culture.  The real issue becomes how to push back and not work those hours if that is the norm for the company or the department.