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Posts tagged ‘purpose’

Goodbye “Workplace Wellness,” Hello WORK


A few years ago (2010), I read a book put out by Gallup called Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. It outlines Gallup’s Wellbeing Finder tool, which is designed to help people assess how “well” they are in five categories: Career, Social, Financial, Physical, and Community. The book and the model underscore that these five elements aren’t independent entities, but rather intensely interwoven categories. In order to assess one’s wellbeing, each of the elements — as well as the interaction between all five of them — must be evaluated.  Hmmm…strinkingly similar to the concept of a wellfesto!

The book is straightforward…not rocket science…but it illuminated one thing for me that has really stuck with me since then and continues to influence my work.  Career — in the home, out of the home, however you define it — drives well-being.  In fact, Gallup’s data shows that people with high Career Wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall than those who have low Career Wellbeing. This isn’t new news — a 1958 Gallup study found that while the standard retirement age for men in the 1950s was closer to 65, men who lived to be 95 or older did not retire until they were an average of 80 years old.

So what does this mean?  To me, it means that the idea of “workplace wellness” is dead.  Yes, I love working on the treadmill and eating salad in the cafeteria as much as the next person does, but what matters more is how I FEEL when I’m at work.  The well-being conversation should start with WORK — why you work, how you work, when you work, what you do, who you work with (once that’s all set, then the treadmills and salads are icing on the cake).  I’d argue that getting to a place of loving the weekdays as much as the weekends is much better for our overall health than a 3-miler on the treadmill at lunch (which of course, until we reach this utopia, doesn’t hurt).  And to be clear, I’m not talking about working all the time…I’m talking about creating an ecosystem of work that feels additive, not sucking.  One that feels whole, not fragmented.

Our society trains us to think of work as, well, work — something undesirable, something we’re forced to do, something we would avoid if we could.  In this paradigm, workplace wellness makes sense (add on the “wellness” to make up for the work).  I can’t wait until this model goes away, and we enter a world where the focus is on finding joy in the everyday, being the same person at work and outside of work, meeting on bikes and treadmills, and measuring impact instead of hours.  A world where workplace wellness doesn’t need to exist…because work itself keeps us well.

What do you think?  This is a personal quest for me, and I’d love to write a longer post/article about this topic, so if you have ideas/thoughts/examples/skepticism, please comment or send me a note!

Less Dissatisfaction, More Desire

A short video entitled “What If Money Was No Object?” re-emerged in my Facebook feed last week.  During the past few months, I’ve noticed it sporadically gain momentum, die down, and come back again a few times.  I watch it every single time, and albeit a bit “self-helpy,” I find it grounding and compelling in its simplicity.  And lot of other people do too — I’m amazed by the range of people (ages, vocations, lifestyle) who post and/or comment on it.  If you haven’t watched it, consider taking three minutes and nine seconds to watch it now… Read more

Draw Your Life in Five Years

Slide1During my first work experience after college – an internship at the Women’s Sports Foundation in New York – an art therapist came to talk with the intern cohort about personal and professional development.  She gave us all blank sheets of paper and crayons and asked us to “draw our lives in five years.” There was no other direction – she didn’t ask us specifically to draw our work or our families or our houses…just “our lives.” Read more

Blog #13: Some Meta Thinking About Purpose

photo by maria reyes-mcdavies, via flickr creative commons

photo by maria reyes-mcdavies, via flickr creative commons

In the “purpose” section of my wellfesto, I share my belief that we become what we do all day long.  If you agree with this, you’ll likely also agree that it’s damn important to shift our time balance away from things that feel misaligned with who we are and what we care about and toward things that feel well-aligned.  As I shared when I launched it, that’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog – to spend more time each day thinking and writing about what matters to me (health + wellness).  And since purpose is foundational to health, I’m both experimenting with it and creating/reinforcing my own purpose as I write (super deep, huh). Read more

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