The Well-Being Journal

The Power of Purpose: Lessons From a Legend

Jennifer Rudloff

When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, how often do you hear IRS Auditor or factory worker? More likely they dream big or chase adventure and hope to become our future firemen, sports stars, ballerinas, or zoologist (my personal favorite). Childhood is a time of innocence where any dream is a possible dream and there are no preconceptions, practical notions and pressures creeping in to cause doubt. If a person could approach their entire life with this mentality, it would help to free them from both the real and imaginary constraints that guide their paths and allow them to experience the wonder of what might be. However, more often as we age and learn life’s lessons the pure pursuit of purpose and passion get lost amidst expectations and responsibility.

Blue Zones researchers have found that people who have a clear sense of purpose in life tend to live about seven years longer than those who do not. Yet 46% of men and 40% of women say they’re still trying to figure out the meaning and purpose of their life. Another survey found that 50% of Americans say they’d make a different choice today then they did when they first entered the job market. Perhaps pressures or expectations on them caused them to settle for something they knew they were good at rather than discovering and pursuing how they could be great.

While his life was tragically cut short by cancer, Steve Jobs understood the power of individual purpose. He stood tall in the face of adversity and settled for nothing -- always asking ‘What’s next’. This simple question is what led him to become a cultural icon that shaped the lives of millions. While he stood apart from others in so many ways, his desire to ‘put a dent in the universe’ is innate within us all. He had a firm grasp on his gifts and let them guide his passions and curiosities. And in doing so he uncovered his unique purpose and he had the courage to own it. The way he lived and experienced his life is a wonderful example to us all.

So how can this apply to your organization? Think about the engagement level you’d see if all of your employees understood their purpose and felt that they were working towards it when they stepped through your doors each day. Lincoln Industries is attempting to bridge the gap through helping their people discover their strengths and cultivate energy around individual and collective purpose. They offer life planning classes to their people which helps them develop a personalized, living, evolving plan that guides thoughts behaviors and actions toward their defined purpose.

I’ll leave you with this advice from the late Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Topics: Healthy Living Workplace Well-Being Community Steve Jobs Purpose Well-Being

Healthways Garden: Planting Seeds for Well-Being

Jennifer Rudloff

After spending months talking and dreaming of putting together an edible garden at Healthways Headquarters we finally pulled the trigger. In February we gathered landscapers and gardeners together with colleagues from our facilities department, our property management company, and the onsite café to talk about what we wanted out of the garden. (I am Wendi Micheletto, Healthways colleague and Davidson County Master Gardener.)

Once the landscaper came up with a design for the garden, we took it to the property owner for her sign off. Once we got her approval it didn’t take us very long to get excited about the garden! In early May, the landscape team cut out the garden and created a border out of heavy pavers. Knowing that everyone doesn’t have the space to create his or her own in ground garden at home, we wanted to provide another option. To show colleagues what they can grow in a container, we added a large pot to our courtyard for vegetables. In Mid-May I went with our Chef and another colleague to area stores and nursery’s to pick out plants. We choose a wide variety of herbs and a few summer vegetables. Shortly after purchasing the plants, we announced to the building we were planting and invited colleagues to come out and help. We had a few colleagues come and help us get everything in the ground. Though to be honest, with the hot summer sun and steamy Tennessee weather it has been a bit of a challenge to get help, though I expect this will change for our fall season. Once the plants were in the ground we mulched in an effort to avoid the weeds and keep in the moisture. (As an aside, it took us a few weeks to get the mulch in the garden, and during that time it got very weedy).

Then came the maintenance. Since colleagues are encouraged to wear workout attire and do something active on Wednesdays (dubbed "Workout Wednesdays"), we scheduled time in the garden every Wednesday morning. It’s nice to begin the day with fresh air and good company and seeing what has happened throughout the week with both our plant and people friends. While we work, it gives us a chance to chat about what’s going both personally and professionally, providing ample opportunities to build community and increase collaboration.

It has been a very good season for our inaugural garden. Though we grew mostly herbs along side just a few vegetable, we have harvested and delivered more than 210lbs of produce that our chef has been able to use daily in meals prepared in the café. While there are only a couple ‘regulars’ at the weekly weeding and harvesting, there are others that drop in when they have time. Even some of our remote colleagues from out of town have dropped in to help while in town.

Since we’re based in the south, we are able to have three full garden seasons. We’re beginning to plan for the fall season, some greens, beets and turnips perhaps. We also plan on doing some additional outreach to colleagues and offering some of those brown thumbed folks some classes so they can begin to reap the benefits gardening has to offer. In months to come, we hope to get a commitment from each department to adopt and care for the garden for a month. It’s a great way to plant the seeds of teamwork, see the rewards, be active, and build a tighter sense of community between colleagues.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Workplace Well-Being Engagement Health Community Healthways Garden

Keys to Longevity: Environment & Community

Jennifer Rudloff

Internationally recognized explorer and New York Times best selling author Dan Buettner has traveled the world in search of the worlds best practices in health, longevity, and happiness. In this video series, Dan Buettner shares bits of wisdom that provide the keys to living happier and healthier longer.

Dan is putting his findings to work. Since January 2009, Buettner has led a successful project in Albert Lea, Minnesota which has helped to implement environmental and social changes that improve quality of life and life expectancy. In March 2010, Healthways entered into a strategic partnership with Buettner's Blue Zones to ignite and lead a broad scale, city-by-city movement to create healthier, happier, and more productive citizens. We immediately got to work, and in December we launched the Healthways | Blue Zones Vitality City initiative in The South Bay Beach Cities of Los Angeles. And today, Iowa Governor Terry Branstand announced the Blue Zones Project as a significant part of Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative.

How does your community contribute to your well-being?

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Dan Buettner Health Community Vitality City Longevity Wellness Healthways Happiness Blue Zones Project

Cooking & Company: Creating Heroes at Home

Jennifer Rudloff

When you think about corporate wellness programs, it's unlikely that the first thing that comes to mind is cooking. However, there are others who advocate that cooking should be a cornerstone to your workplace wellness programs. Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution team partnered with IDEO and came up with Cooking & Company -- a revolution for the workplace which aims to keep cooking alive and change the way people eat where they spend the most time - at work. In this short video series, Chris Waugh, Practice Lead at IDEO, talks with us about the hows and whys of cooking at work. You'll learn more about how cooking can improve engagement in workplace wellness programs, build stronger sense of community, foster creativity, and help employers make employees heroes at home.

To see Chris's full presentation, Designing Workplace Wellness, from the Healthways Well-Being Summit click here.

Interested in learning more and joining the food revolution? Click here to download the toolkit.

Topics: Well-Being HERO Cooking & Company Workplace Well-Being Jamie Oliver Engagement IDEO Community Cook at Work Food Revolution