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Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Nine

Hi Everyone,

I hope your summer is off to a great start and you are finding your way to having tons of fun. I am starting to really enjoy further deconstructing the topic of fun. Seneca said, “we suffer more in imagination than in reality,” which is likely true. However, I believe we can make a case that we enjoy more contentment in imagination than in reality, too. So, if it is true that contentment is subjective (academics acknowledge this by measuring happiness through subjective well-being instruments), then a strong case can be made for the benefits of architecting a life through positional economics and taking measures to increase one’s prospects to engage in fun opportunities. In an attempt to practice what I preach, the family and I have made the decision to move from California to North Carolina — freeing up some resources for more life experience and (hopefully) more fun. Time will tell if we feel like the reward (opportunities for fun) outweighed the risk (loss of existing support systems).

More on that in future editions; for now, here are some more great interviews with two modern pioneers in digital health.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: This quarter, we look at the entrepreneurial side of digital health with Ryan Tarzy. Ryan is the current director of the Incubation Studio at CoverMyMeds. Before this position, he served as SVP of Business Development for PokitDok and has co-founded two companies, Medikeeper and Playful Bee. The interview with Ryan Tarzy about digital health can be found here.

Health and Wellness: This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with Daniel Freedman about virtual fitness. Daniel originally co-founded CyecureBox, a successful cyber security tool. He has since gone on to focus his efforts on the development of his new company BurnAlong — a virtual fitness startup that aims to help people find the time to exercise. The interview with Daniel Freedman about virtual fitness can be found here.

Life Experience: This quarter, I got to experience Lightning in a Bottle. It is an unbelievable festival with stunning art, good music, and lots of great educational sessions. I got to meet and learn from Dr. Jack Kreindler (@drjackUK) and Dr. Adam Gazzaley (@adamgazz) while partaking in some shenanigans with good friends and enjoying the scenic setting of California’s Central Coast.

Lighting in a Bottle | Bradley, CA

Contribution: I was able to donate time, as well as money, this quarter. Through TECHquality, I helped improve the gender gap in digital health by mentoring a co-founder of the company Cleanopy. I also donated to former interviewee Jeff Atkinson’s son during his Tour de Pier effort, as well as donated a car to the East Bay SPCA.

It is the anniversary of my brother’s passing. Brian left a legacy through amazing memories with quality friends — a testament to the value of making time to enjoy and experience life. I believe he would be proud of the direction I have taken this endeavor and the directive to focus on fun for a while. His life is certainly a reminder to make the most of the time we have. My hope is to honor him by making sure I maximize people’s ability to have fun with the short time we have been given. The next edition will mark 10 years of this project. It has been quite a journey so far, and I look forward to it being a lot more fun as we continue on. I’m grateful that you are a part of it.

In health,
Dr. Rucker

P.S. I was featured in the Wall Street Journal this month; good piece about fitness technology for those interested: Your Gym’s Tech Wants to Know You Better
P.S.S. I plan to be in Portland in July for the World Domination Summit. If you are going too, please let me know … I’d love to meet up.

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Eight

Hi Everyone,

Last quarter I mentioned I wanted to start exploring fun and play more deeply. Certainly I have mastered the art of work, but somehow I have found fun increasingly elusive. Being the nerd I am, simply observing the benefits of fun from my daughter’s delightful play was not enough. I had to dig into the science. As such, I wrote the post: Why You Need More Fun in Your Life, According to Science. It was a self-serving assignment — something to work on, because heaven forbid I spend the time having more fun. I discovered I am not alone in experiencing the elusiveness of fun, because it was my first post to truly go viral with 100s of likes and shares. Since then I have been digging into fun, and … well … it’s been fun. There is a lot to unpack: fun; play; happiness; autonomy; flow — science reveals to us these are not tangible puzzle pieces that each have their respective place. Instead, for each of us, they are unique parts of a complex quilt that when aptly patched together making our lives more fulfilling and helping us build resilience against the bad stuff.

The truth is, sometimes life is not fun. I was thrown another curve-ball recently. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and had to have corrective hip surgery. I was told until science catches up with my condition, I am no longer a runner. Even just typing that out — I am no longer a runner — creates internal cognitive dissonance (i.e. it’s sucky). I can choose to let this identity change get me down, or I can adjust to new forms of fun and play. To know if change is beneficial, it is important to understand how to make personal assessments and gauge whether new adaptations are working for you (or not). This quarter, I reached out to two thought leaders in the space of self-evaluation: one a best-selling author, the other one of the leading psychological researchers at Harvard.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The interview this quarter is with Cathy Presland about tracking progress. Cathy is considered an expert on leadership, drawing her knowledge from over 20 years of experience working with governments and international organizations. She is also an international bestseller and runs the World-Changers’ Circle program from her office in the UK. My interview with Cathy Presland is available here.

Health and Wellness: This quarter’s interview is with Matthew Nock, Ph.D., about assessing an intervention using only a single individual (i.e. n=1, self-experimentation). Matthew is a leading expert in single-case experimental design. He received the MacArthur “Genius” Award in 2011 and is currently a psychology professor at Harvard University, where he also runs the Nock Lab. My interview with Dr. Matthew Nock is available here.

Life Experience: This quarter, I traveled to Houston for Super Bowl LI. I also had hip surgery, which I alluded to earlier. Both significant life experiences — however, Houston was notably more fun than surgery, so it gets the photographic evidence.

Super Bowl LI | Houston, Texas
Super Bowl LI | Houston, Texas

Contribution: This quarter, I made donations to Tour de Cure again, as well as Little Kids Rock. More importantly, I made time to share the gift of contribution with my daughter. Sloane and I spend an afternoon at Crab Cove in Alameda, California, helping to clean up the beach there with a host of other local volunteers.

Crab Cove | Alameda, California
Crab Cove | Alameda, California

Lastly, this quarter Charlie Hoehn, author of the book “Play It Away,” found my website. When we were able to connect, it made my day. I am a fan of Charlie’s work so I wanted to finish this newsletter paying it forward and plugging a new book he is working on: Play for a Living. I am hopeful I will be able to coax him into an interview sometime in the future.

Until next time, wishing you all the fun you can handle!

In health,
Dr. Rucker

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Seven

Hi Everyone,

The year 2016 is almost ready for the history books. It seems like an especially remarkable year for many — for a variety of reasons — good and bad. Over the course of the year I have shared a lot of personal ups and downs, as well as made a commitment to improve the utility of this project. This quarter I have attempted to do that by learning and sharing the wisdom of two extraordinary individuals. One notable for his ability and passion to create experiences and habitats that create joy, and another for being the figurehead of one of the largest and most successful MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on creating happiness. I hope you enjoy the articles and the ideas from these thought leaders, and the information is able to help you create more joy and happiness in your own life, as well as the lives of those you care about.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: This quarter I sat down with the legendary Chip Conley to talk about creating and delivering joy (and a lot about festivals too). Chip has written several best sellers, is the founder of the Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel Group, and holds executive positions in strategy at both Airbnb and Everfest. My interview with Chip can be viewed here.

Health and Wellness: I was also fortunate enough to interview Dr. Raj Raghunathan, a world-renown expert on happiness. Raj wrote the book, If You Are So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? He also maintains the online course: A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment. It is one of the top courses offered by Coursera, and has had over 75,000 students. My interview with Raj  can be viewed here.

Life Experience: This quarter I made it to the East Coast to present my research on workplace wellness, but the more notable life experience this quarter happened closer to home. I got to expereince an escape room at EscapeSF in San Francisco. I also experienced my first “float” (i.e. sensory deprivation tank) at FLOAT in Oakland.

Float | Oakland, California
Float | Oakland, California

Contribution: It was exciting to be a small part of a big win for my friend, Chris Tsakalakis. Chris had open-heart surgery in 2009, at which time he wasn’t sure how much time he had left here. Fortunately, he’s now thriving and this year set the American Heart Association’s all-time Heart Walk donation record, bringing in over $100,000 for the charity.

A few weeks ago I was working at the dining room table, which is flanked by our playroom and a makeshift art studio for the kids. My daughter sat next to me as I typed away and said, “papa, you’re always practicing your work; you are a really good worker; I wish I could be a good worker like you.” Being the psychology nerd I am, I talk to her a lot about the importance of deliberate practice, so the idea of practice is a familiar concept around our house. When she shared her observation I felt a little piece of me begin to die inside, but I saved it from peril by uttering these words, “Sloane, you’re always practicing your play; you are really good at playing; I wish I could be as good at play as you.”

We agreed after this exchange to teach each other our respective trades. As such, you might see her popping up more in the life experience section as I get educated in the coming year.

Wishing you and yours an abundance of joy, happiness and play in 2017.

In health,
Dr. Rucker

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Six

Hi Everyone,

So this was not the way I wanted to start the next chapter. As many of you know — and I regretfully inform those who do not — my brother Brian passed away sometime within 24 hours of my hitting send on the previous Live Life Love newsletter. A surreal coincidence to know that as I reported to you how much I enjoyed the experience that he and I had shared, there would never be an opportunity to share another experience with him again. As you might expect, Brian’s death has led to some pretty deep introspection the past few months. As a result, this is a difficult newsletter to write this quarter. The words are not flowing. I could try to end with some catchy quote about life and/or death, but that would be the easy route. The experience has opened an uninvited path to some deep work on my thoughts about the meaning of contribution and legacy. I hope to evolve this “project” into something much bigger than a personal platform. However, for this particular installment I have to go back to basics, which is just remembering to breathe.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: This quarter’s interview is a compilation about “big data” analytics with four exceptional thought leaders: Jafar Adibi, Ph.D., the President, Co-founder, and CTO of re|unify; Jeffrey Cooper, the Senior Manager of Business Development at Samsung; Mark Newman, the President of Heads Up Analytics; and Keith Catanzano, a Partner at 2River Consulting Group. My collaborative interview focusing on business issues involving “big data” can be read here.

Health and Wellness: My health and wellness interview this quarter is with Dr. Henry DePhillips, who is the Chief Medical Officer of Teladoc. Prior to Teladoc, Dr. DePhillips was the Chief Medical Officer at MEDecision. He also previously served as the Head of Business Development for McKinsey’s international Health Systems Institute, as well as served as Sr. Medical Director at Independence Blue Cross of Pennsylvania. My interview with Dr. DePhillips about telemedicine and telehealth can be read by clicking here.

Life Experience: This quarter I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, and checked out the American Visionary Art Museum. The museum showcases art from artists who are primarily self-taught. As such, much of the art and installations revealed the personal vision of the artist, rather than following standard conventions.

American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, Maryland
American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, Maryland

Contribution: My friend Alex lost his wife Samantha to cancer on November 1, 2013. She was a free spirit and certainly would be at home at the American Visionary Art Museum. When she passed, she left behind an unfinished album of songs, and it was bittersweet to be part of a Kickstarter campaign to get it finished. If you would like to learn more about it, or potentially contribute yourself, you can do so by clicking here.

I would like to conclude by simply saying thank you to the many of you that reached out to me and/or my family these past few months. The warmth that was bestowed upon us was overwhelming and helped us tremendously navigate through this difficult time. I love my brother very much, and take solace that his spirit will be interwoven into this effort as I continue forward. Borrowing from his humility and sense of adventure, I will do my best to increase the utility of information this project provides, as well as seek out new experiences that are worthy of sharing — carrying his memory with me.

In health,
Dr. Rucker

P.S. Again, for those of you that knew Brian, my hope is that this is not the medium you are finding out about his passing. Brian’s obituary is available online here.

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Five

Hi Everyone,

Roy Amara, a systems engineer who worked at the Stanford Research Institute, is credited for establishing Amara’s Law: We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run, and underestimate the effect in the long run. This sentiment has now been repackaged by many in motivational and coaching occupations and repurposed to serve as a testament of our inability to accurately estimate human effort. Back in March 2011, I indicated it was the beginning of a new chapter. Today, six years later, I am grateful to share that chapter is closed. The starting line was no job, no kids and an ambitious goal. The finish line is a Ph.D., two healthy kids and recently being honored as one of the top 50 influencers in digital health. Unfortunately, there is no secret sauce to share. Advice from Gary V. and Grant Cardone failed me. Instead, I found diligently and constantly working smarter was better (for me, at least) than trying to work harder. I truly respect those that hustle, but in the final analysis of this “chapter,” when I gunned it looking for short-term wins I consistently fell flat (maybe why I have always been terrible at sales). This long play, though — pretty happy with the end result.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: This quarter’s interview is with John Gengarella. John is a Harvard graduate, well-known for customer-centric design and application development. In 2015, John was appointed the CEO of Netpulse, one of the market leaders in mobile technology for the fitness industry. My interview with John focusing on the business of fitness technology can be read here.

Health and Wellness: My interview around health and wellness this quarter is with Jill Gilbert. Jill is a lifelong entrepreneur. She created the first comprehensive online directory and resource for senior care, Gilbert Guide. Jill also produces the Digital Health Summit at CES, as well as several other prominent digital health events year round. My interview with Jill about health technology can be read by clicking here.

Life Experience: I traveled to Jackson, New Jersey, to log this quarter’s life experience, which was to ride the largest roller coaster in the world, the Kingda Ka. Reaching a height of 456 feet, there is not a taller roller coaster in existence. I got to enjoy the experience with my brother, which made it even better.

Kingda Ka roller coaster

Contribution: Some great opportunities to log contribution this quarter, which is always gratifying. I was a benefactor for the following charities: Dare to Bare, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and March for Babies.

If you feel like contributing this week, here is a good deed that will not cost you a thing. One of my neighbors here in Alameda, Dan Goldfield, is extremely passionate and selfless about helping others. He teaches at-risk youth and is trying to get a small grant from Farmers Insurance to take his students to the Point Reyes National Seashore. If this is something you can get behind, please think about supporting him with a vote by clicking here (you need to search Alameda, CA, for his name to come up). You can vote once every day for the next week.

Wishing you a very prosperous summer. Reach out if you are up for a burrito and/or a beer. I have a little more time for either/both than I have had the past few years and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter. Hope to see you in it.

In health,
Dr. Rucker

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Four

Hi Everyone,

I hope 2016 has been amazing for you so far. If you wanted to make a change this year, New Year’s resolution or otherwise, and your motivation has slipped to the point that progress has stalled, remember this: when we engage in any behavior, motivation is only half of it. The other half is ability. Motivation is easy to stimulate, but — unfortunately for many — hard to maintain. Ability is our capacity to engage in a particular behavior. Ability is not simply skill, but the overall ease at which the behavior can be performed. So if you are feeling stuck, and motivation is not doing it for you, try making your path to success easier. We all have a limited capacity to pump ourselves up, but through a host of creative strategies we can almost always increase our ability to perform a desired behavior. This can be done through environmental changes. For instance, if I want to eat healthier meals I can stock my house with only healthy foods (thereby increasing my ability to eat healthy). Or, if I want to run a marathon I can start with achieving a 5 or 10 kilometer race until I build up the needed skill/mastery to achieve a marathon (reengineering the goal to match my current ability). Toying with the ability variable (in the Fogg Behavior Model) is often overlooked because it is goal/behavior specific and motivation is sexier and easier to sell. The good news is when motivation begins to fail us we still have other tools to stack the deck in our favor.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The interview this quarter is with Dr. Edgar Schein who is one of the most prominent organizational development figureheads alive. He earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University and later went on to teach at MIT. Dr. Schein is considered one of the godfathers of organizational culture. My interview with Dr. Edgar Schein centered around organizational culture is available by clicking here.

Health and Wellness: This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with Dr. Mitesh Patel who is well known for his research on behavioral economics, where he and his colleagues are discovering innovative ways to elicit and improve healthy behavior. Dr. Patel has been featured on NPR, CNN and in The New York Times. Click here to read my interview with Dr. Mitesh Patel about using rewards and incentives to elicit behavior change and improve health.

Life Experience: Orlando, Florida, was the stage for this quarter’s life experience(s). I spent several days exploring International Drive, which is full of interesting things to see and do. I made my way to the Orlando Eye and WonderWorks (pictured) which is an exploratory museum where the exterior has been built to look like the entire building is upside-down.

WonderWorks | Orlando, Florida

Contribution: For contribution this quarter, it was my pleasure to start the year’s philanthropic efforts by donating to AIDS/LifeCycle 2016 on behalf of Justin, as well as making another donation to Augie’s Quest in support of ALS research.

This newsletter marks entry into the second third of the Live Life Love Project. Moving into next quarter, I find myself on mile 25 of my doctoral marathon. By the time I publish next quarter’s edition I’ll have a doctorate. If a 43-year-old hack like myself can get a Ph.D. then I assure you, anything you want is within reach. May you find the finish line for every worthy pursuit you embark on.

In health,
Michael

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Three

Hi Everyone,

It has been an intense, yet immensely rewarding year. I’m looking forward to 2016 where a lot of the work I’ve done on employee well-being, discussed often through these quarterly newsletters, will begin to expand. In the spirit of increasing productivity and well-being — and helping you make 2016 the best year yet — I have asked readers to leave their best productivity tip (in the comment section below). The last time I asked for good tips, the best suggestion I got (in my opinion) was to modify your email signature in a way to give the appearance that all outgoing email sent from you is via your mobile device — making it more socially acceptable to reply with brief messages. A bit sneaky, but extremely effective.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: This quarter’s business interview is with Kate Matsudaira. Kate has held leadership positions in companies such as Decide (acquired by eBay), Moz and Amazon.com. In 2013, Kate started her own company Popforms, which was acquired by O’Reilly Media in June 2014. My interview with Kate Matsudaira about productivity and work is available here.  

Health and Wellness: This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with Laura Putnam. Laura is a well-respected consultant, trainer and speaker on the topic of workplace wellness. She also writes on the topic for publications such as The New York Times and Entrepreneur, as well as authoring the book “Workplace Wellness That Works.” My interview with Laura Putnam about the topic of employee well-being is available here.

Life Experience: This quarter I went to the Rise Festival in Nevada. The Rise Festival is an artistic gathering attracting over 10,000 people from all over to send lanterns into the sky in unison. Words do not do it justice; got to see the video.

Contribution: My social contribution this quarter was to You Are Super Duper, whose aim is to help kids with serious illnesses and long-term afflictions have some fun through creating amazing and rewarding experiences.

I wish you limitless joy and prosperity throughout 2016. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I would like to thank you again for taking a look at this newsletter each quarter. It’s been really fun so far, and I feel fortunate that it has coalesced into something more meaningful and rewarding than its original design. If I can ever give back, please let me know.

In health,
Michael

P.S. For those of you going to IHRSA next year, please consider attending my session on workplace wellness. I’d love to see you there.

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-Two

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had an amazing, healthy summer. It was a whirlwind for me — working hard and playing hard — and I am always grateful that this project forces me to pause and reflect. It serves as a reminder that experiencing fulfillment is sometimes better served by remembering to relax and relish in moments, rather than trying to race to the next goal. Although the rewards of delayed gratification are undeniable, it is a myth that this approach is mutually exclusive with immediate gratification (note: in psychology there is a distinction between gratification and “easy pleasures”). I struggle personally with the inherent tension between the merits of a “Well-Planned Life” in contrast to a “Summoned Life” — although as I move along in life I find myself more aligned with the latter. The research around flow certainly suggests that happiness and well-being favor those who find engagement in the present.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: This quarter’s business interview is with Al Lewis. Al is an outspoken voice in health care and workplace wellness. He is the author of several books and held several senior positions at different health-related organizations. Al’s latest endeavor Quizzify guarantees health-care savings for the organizations it serves. My interview with Al Lewis about the return on investment of corporate wellness programs is available here.

Health and Wellness: This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with Drew Schiller. Drew is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Validic, a health and wellness technology company that operates as digital health’s Rosetta Stone for disparate health data. He is a true digital-health thought leader. My interview with Drew Schiller about the future of digital health is available here.

Life Experience: As I referenced earlier, a lot of life experience took place this summer. One of the highlights, and an experience I recommend, was a visit to Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Boston is a beautiful city, so this is only one of many reasons to visit.

Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art

Contribution: To give back this quarter, I contributed (as part of a group) to get a friend a new wheelchair. I also donated to Team Rubicon, which is an organization that matches the skills of military veterans with emergency first responders to enhance the capabilities of response teams, and I donated a pair of eyeglasses to the Lions Clubs International.

I really appreciate all the positive feedback regarding the new format, and as always I appreciate you allowing me to share with you this quarter. My hope is you find the rest of your year prosperous.

In health,
Michael

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty-One

Hello Everyone,

As I indicated last quarter, I am trying out a new format that respects brevity and is more in line with the way most people consume communication nowadays. Both interviewees this quarter are remarkable in their own right, but also quite special to me personally and have been extremely influential in my personal development. One as a mentor, and the other as a father. I am honored to share their wisdom with you, which is available by way of the links below.

Health and Wellness Interview
This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with (my dad) Dr. Robert Rucker. Dr. Rucker is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Nutrition and the School of Medicine at the University of California at Davis. My interview with Dr. Robert Rucker about nutrition and academics can be found here.

Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Interview
This quarter’s business interview is with Bill McBride. Bill is a long-time health and wellness industry veteran and has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for IHRSA, a Board Member on ACE’s Industry Advisory Panel, and currently serves as a Medical Wellness Advisor for the Medical Wellness Association. My interview with Bill McBride about the future of the fitness delivery business can be found here.

Life Experience
This quarter’s life experience was attending Dark Lord Day in Indiana with my brother.

Dark Lord Beer Festival 2015

This massive craft beer event is the only day one can buy Three Floyds’ Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. It is a beer festival where a massive amount of brew enthusiasts from around the world bring their best bottles to share with one another for free. If you go you can expect to meet other beer lovers, enjoy good food, listen to great live music and drink way too many awesome craft beers from all over the globe.

Contribution
For contribution this quarter, I made a donation to assist Free the Slaves and Lotus Circle International in an effort to complete restoration work needed at a human trafficking shelter in India.

Wishing you all a fantastic summer ahead! In the spirit of Father’s Day my summer is off to a great start, as my wife and I welcomed our second child, Archer, into the world last month.

Archer Rucker

Also, I am proud to announce I have become the health technology correspondent for About.com. As always, grateful you made it to the end. See you in the fall.

In health,
Michael

Live Life Love | Volume Thirty

Hello Everyone,

Starting next quarter I am going to fundamentally change the format of this newsletter, but before I do that I wanted to write one last traditional post. I also want to make sure for those that do not have time to read this entire post, I at least have a chance to express my gratitude for sticking with me through these seven plus years. I usually leave life experience for the end of this newsletter, but in the context of this one I feel having it up front is appropriate. This month I made the cover of Club Solutions with the rest of the Active Sports Clubs leadership team.

Active Sports Clubs Dream Team | Club Solutions | 2015

For those of you that have been with me since the start, you will remember I began Live Life Love back in 2007 to ensure I did not lose sight of my passion for wellness as my career was pulling me in another direction. In 2011, I unabashedly asked for help to stay the course as my position at SBT Group was moved offshore to France. In 2015, through a long road of grinding and hustling, humbling experiences, and late nights, I have now arrived at my proverbial 10,000 hours. I am a sought out expert in the area of workplace wellness and proud of where I sit today.  

One thing I have realized along the way is I do not make a good Napolean Hill, Jim Rohn… or even a Matt Foley for that matter. While I have a pretty solid track record as a marketer, in sales I bat about average. As my good friend and past interviewee Jeff Atkinson put it, “you are living an extraordinary life, and you can talk circles around bull$h!t, but I still don’t know what you DO… or WHY?” Funny Jeff, and fair play. I have gotten this far basically mumbling to myself and taking you all along for the ride. It is time to take this project to a different level. Serendipitously the three things I know best are clearly tenets of successful employee wellness programs: strategic communication, foundational physical & psychological well-being, and technology. The “why” is easy for me to answer: I get off on seeing people thrive and flourish and want to spend the rest of my life finding ways to do this that scale. The “do” is still a work in progress but I am heading in the right direction and moving quicker each year — in large part from the opportunity you have given me to check-in with you once every three months.

I committed back in 2007 to seeing this through to the end, and I am a man of my word; however I don’t have much more to share in the line of general anecdotes. In this area you are better served by someone else. Although spirituality is clearly a key part of wellness, it is also sacred and personal so as a practice guideline I shy away from open discourse in this area. However, in developing my own concept of spirituality, one thing that is clear for my personal growth is that the pursuit of maximizing meaningful experience has continued to give me greater context. Similar to an artist broadening their palette to create, I have benefited from having an expanding repertoire of concepts to pull from while innovating new ideas. This quarter is no exception and I was quite fortunate to learn from the following two brilliant individuals.

This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with James Pshock who is the president and founder of Bravo Wellness. James is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner, a committee member of HERO, and a thought leader in the area of workplace wellness. My interview with James Pshock on the topic of workplace wellness can be found here.

This quarter’s entrepreneurial interview is with Dr. Chris Bingham who is an award-winning professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flager Business School at the University of North Carolina. He received his PhD in strategy, organizations and entrepreneurship from Stanford University. My interview with Dr. Chris Bingham about fostering innovation can be found here.

Contribution this quarter came in the form of a couple random acts of kindness. Someone I do not really know reached out to a general audience asking for support in his effort to Spin4Kids …exercise for a good cause …I obliged; it made his day. I was also moved deeply by the story of Kayla Mueller. I’m not going to go too deep into her story here, you can read about her by using the link I’ve provided. I will simply say the world needs more people like Kayla, and we need to talk more about people like Kayla, and consume less manufactured news. The world already has more Kaylas than most of us believe, yet these exceptional people are only heralded during tragedy, in contrast to hooligans whose actions seem to be promulgated constantly through every media channel confusing eager minds that notoriety is somehow on par with legacy. In honor of Kayla I donated to Kayla’s Hands.

When I switch to the new format any personal updates will likely be few and far between, so in closing I’d like to vaunt that over the next 12 months Anna and I will be proudly welcoming a new son into this world, and I will also finally finish my PhD. I owe so much to the people that read this: my friends, my family, my colleagues. I am not delusional. I am at where I am today because I asked for and received help. A special thanks to those that have hung around this far but have little personal interest in wellness and/or entrepreneurship. Thanks so much for being a part of the ride up until now. For those of you that stay with me I stay committed to bringing you awesome content from remarkable thought leaders and will continue to keep my blog updated regarding contribution and life experience for those of you who might want to check-in from time to time to see how that is still going (or better yet, who want to join along on an adventure or two).

I hope your 2015 is off to an epic start and that you continue to flourish throughout the year.

In health,
Michael
@PerformBetter