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Posts from the ‘health’ Category

Lance Armstrong: A Reasoned and Rational Personal Reflection

Note: As this commentary unfolds it will not be from a “…cast the first stone” perspective. I am far from an archetype of virtue. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve wished for Do-Overs, and, I would guess, so have you. This is not a judgment crusade.  After all — ultimately — who am I, who are we, to judge? I don’t know about you, but Final Judgment, when ALL is said and done, is way above my pay grade.

The Faces

Let’s just see where this takes me. Seriously, there is such a confluence of emotion that I need to simply put fingers to the keyboard and let it flow.

Disappointment, anger, concern, empathy, outrage, sympathy, confusion, and back again to disappointment. And, that’s just nicking the surface.

The accompanying photo is of a poster presented to me by The Lance Armstrong Foundation (now known as The LIVESTRONG Foundation), in 2001. Two years earlier, following a diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma, I had a modified radical mastectomy and my perspective on many things, all things, was forever changed. Since sharing the dais that afternoon in Austin with Lance and Lisa Bashore, I’ve delivered dozens of cancer survivorship talks throughout the nation including additional presentations at the request of LAF. I also participated in a Tour of Hope cycling event, a 50-mile ride into Washington, DC — led by Armstrong — to raise cancer awareness and funds for survivor support.  It was always my honor to contribute to this cause anytime, anywhere, anyway I could. Whenever LAF asked, whenever any cancer organization asked, the answer was/is always, without hesitation, yes.

Say it ain’t so…

For over ten years this poster has hung proudly and prominently in our home in Michigan, in the boardroom of the Health and Wellness Institute in Rhode Island, and, after retiring from HWI in 2010, once again in our home in Michigan. Following Lance’s chat with Oprah, my initial reaction was to remove the poster while dressing down the screened image of Armstrong with venom-sprayed expletives.  The lies, the arrogance, the vindictive trampling of good people whose only crime was telling the truth at the risk of clenched-jawed Armstrong wrath, sycophant lawyers serving papers, and mercurial public scorn.

Perhaps, most of all, the flood of emotion was because he pulled out an egotistical and hubris-coated needle and popped the balloon of trust. He also vaporized the poetic illusion that the fictitious Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy, born in Radioland, USA on July 31, 1933, a star athlete at Hudson High School, international super star, and universal role model was — in our world — Lance Armstrong, the Olympian, Cancer Survivor, and Tour de France Champion, born in Plano, Texas on September 18, 1971, a star athlete at Plano East Senior High School, international super star, and universal role model.

Yes! Yes! Yes! We want and need our heroes. Take a bow, Lance Armstrong, take a bow!

But, wait a minute, what’s that you say? This “mythic, perfect story” was “one big lie;” that you cheated during every one of your seven Tour de France victories; that you bullied, threatened, and intimidated those with the courage to speak the truth; that you simply didn’t believe that, in spite of all your admissions, you were cheating! Ah, say it ain’t so, Lance…please, say it ain’t so.

If it seems too good to be true…

No matter how much it served our personal yearning for real-world, honest-to-goodness caped crusaders, the Lance Armstrong story was simply too good to be true.  And, deep down, we knew it. As with the creeping credibility collapse of Three Cups of Tea author, Greg Mortenson (too good to be true), the heroic level of the cancer survivor turned seven-time Tour De France Conqueror defied reason. But favoring the comforting gauze of wished for miracles and Wheaties’ fanfare, the facts, logic, and preponderance of evidence were screened, pushed aside, and hushed by the desire, hope, and, yes, naiveté, of millions.  We were duped, but willingly so. Lance was not the only beneficiary of these self-serving actions.  Hubris cannot live without an adoring audience anxious to elevate those who defy the outer limitations decreed by the gods. Shame on you, Lance Armstrong, and, to a lesser, cautionary degree, shame on us, as well.  Together we created a parasitic symbiosis that only the bravest among us had the courage to acknowledge, separate, and expose for the toxic relationship it became.

Yes, Virginia, real heroes do exist…

Actually, maybe now is a good time to stop bestowing the rank of “Hero” on anyone who simply does the right thing; you know, the stuff our moms told us to do when we were little.  Precious few deserve the “Hero” badge, and even fewer can bear the burden and temptations that come with the label. That said, how about we just periodically stop spinning, recognize, and celebrate REALLY GOOD PEOPLE.

In a world of situational ethics (morality of convenience), it’s refreshing and reassuring to know that there are people — lots and lots of good folks — out there who are willing to take great risks, forego riches, and commit themselves to causes bigger than themselves. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO, Travis Tygart, under threat of personal harm, is one of the good guys. His mission is to protect clean athletes by exposing those, like Armstrong, who cheat.  Jeff Fager, Chairman, CBS News, also joins the club. He, admittedly, helped create the Armstrong myth, however, he and his producer, Michael Raduzky, also relentlessly stayed with the story and reported the myth as it began to unravel. As with Tygart, Raduzky reported on 60 Minutes that the Armstrong camp personally threatened him.  Another person who was threatened, disparaged, as well as economically harmed by Armstrong is Betsy Andreu, wife of Frankie, Lance Armstrong’s former cycling teammate. Her crime: She testified in a lawsuit that she and her husband heard Armstrong tell a doctor in the mid-1990s that he had used an array of performance enhancers. Frankie, she reports, was pushed off the Armstrong team, essentially ending his professional cycling career, for failing to fully step up to the recommended doping program.

Yes! Yes! Yes! We want and need REALLY GOOD PEOPLE. Take a bow Travis Tygart, take a bow Jeff Fager, take a bow Michael Raduzky, take a bow Betsy Andreu!  You’ve all earned it.

It’s Not About the Bike…

There is another good guy, really good guy, and dear friend for over ten years, that I would ask to step forward, be recognized, and take a bow. He is Doug Ulman, President and CEO of LIVESTRONG. But, asking Doug to take a bow would be a useless request. Doug would — nicely, politely, self-deprecatingly — smile, look away, shrug his shoulders, defer to the entire organization, and scoff at the suggestion.  I know he would. That’s who he is.

Since their inception in 1997, the LIVESTRONG Foundation has raised more than $470 million to support their mission to inspire and empower people affected by cancer. They have provided financial resources to more than 550 organizations that conduct cancer survivorship research or offer services to people affected by cancer, and 81 cents of every dollar raised has gone directly to support their programs and services for survivors. Remarkable. Please consider making a contribution.

So, as I look closely at the poster on the wall in our recreation room I am reminded of that day long ago in Austin, and I think about what this all means, today.  That day was a dynamic celebration of hope, determination, inspiration, and common cause. IT was about surviving and thriving with, during, and beyond your cancer diagnosis, or the diagnosis of a loved one. It was about collective caring, unity of spirit, and the power of the possible. It was about tears, laughter, hugs, and goodwill. It was about the visceral knowledge that life is lived in moments…not years.

Yes, Lance and his journey symbolized the theme and galvanized the crowd, but it wasn’t and isn’t about the bike.  On that score, he got it right, he told the truth.

The poster stays…

Caution: Grandma & Grandpa are Killing Our Children!

Caution: Grandma & Grandpa are Killing Our Children!

Fat Kids Grow Up to Be Fat Adults

 Updated from Earlier Posting…

Before you go off on the title of this reflection, take a deep breath and read on. If childhood obesity doesn’t scare the hell out of you, you’re choosing to sleep through a crisis. Shame on you…

I hear you say that protecting and advancing the good health of our children is a moral, ethical and economic imperative. I hear you say that you are concerned about the research that shows that fat kids become fat adults. By the way, I’m sorry if you’re offended by the word “fat” but that’s the right word to use, “fat.” It—FAT—causes much more of a visceral reaction than does “heavy,” “large,” “overweight” or “metabolically-challenged.” Fat is the word.  And, if unchecked, fat kids face a lifetime of health risks and social pain that come with diabetes, heart disease, poor self-esteem, ridicule and discrimination. Don’t agree? Just check with an adult who is currently fat or was a fat kid. Ask them if they bear any scars or carry painful memories from growing up fat. There’s no more time for political correctness. I’ve been in the health and wellness field for over thirty-five years and, when it comes to creating healthy cultures, I hear considerably more than I see. Just look around you, there’s way more saying than doing.

When it comes to health and health advocacy most of us are living a life of contradiction. What we do and what we allow—our actions and acceptance—are contrary to what we say. Just look at the data. No, on second thought, scratch that. We don’t need any more data, just look at our kids. Look at what we feed them. Look at what we allow in our school cafeterias and vending machines. Look at the empty playgrounds. Look at the commercial messages our children see and hear hour after hour, day after day and year after year. And, while we’re at it, look in the mirror. Like what you see? Look at what you eat. Look at what we allow in our workplace vending machines and cafeterias. Also, how’s that exercise program of yours working out?

Now, tell me, are we making progress with obesity? Are we taking any meaningful action to help our children avoid the physical, psychological and social pain that comes with being a fat kid who morphs into a fat adult? No? Why do you suppose that’s the case?

No judgment here, no finger wagging, just honest observation. I’m not here to moralize. Judgment and finger wagging just sends us off in the wrong direction. Time to face and accept facts. When it comes to health, we care more about talking than we do about doing. We would rather not offend someone than help someone. We’d rather blame someone else than accept responsibility. We’d rather deny than accept. It’s easier. No pain. Okay, I get it.

Of course, perhaps I have it wrong. Maybe you do care. Maybe you are ready to take action to remove unhealthy snacks from your homes and schools. Maybe you’ll encourage and support fitness education and activities. Maybe you are angry enough to demand that your elected officials watch over our kids by passing protective legislation. Maybe you truly get the fact that you have a responsibility to be a positive role model for children and that behavior is reflective.

Then again, perhaps you just like the sound of it.

And, finally, maybe, just maybe, Grandma and Grandpa, in all of their various guises, can find ways to say, “I love you” that don’t include pies, cakes, ice cream, sugar sodas, candy and cookies. Hey, I’m just saying.

– Grandpa Sam

Open Your Eyes … Or, Don’t: It’s Your Choice

First, You Must Decide to Wake Up!

Because we are human, we do not always do what our mothers taught us to do. We make mistakes. We slip. Sometimes we feel guilty, sad and remorseful. This is followed by a strong commitment to change; to get back on the right path, to do all those things that mom, our first-grade teacher, Captain Kangaroo, Bert & Ernie, Mr. Rogers and Oprah told us to do. Unfortunately, just like when on a bike path — once we slip off we tend to make deeper and deeper grooves in the soft grass and mud. If we stay too long the grooves just get deeper until we find ourselves in someone else’s tracks; someone who slipped off the path long before we came along. Without fast action, we quickly adapt to this new trail. It seems so much easier to continue along in the mud. The problem is that we know we are in the mud and that we would be much safer if we could break through the rut and get back on the stable road. However, when we try to leave the sloppy and increasingly dangerous trail we are intimidated by the bumps as we smack up against the groove’s edge. So, we settle back into the rut (we’ll try again, later). We lack the courage, strength or will to risk the initial jar so we stay where we are.

Such is life both on and off a bike path. The difference between life and a bike path is that, on the life path, there are plenty of people happy and eager to tell you what’s good for you — what you need to do to live a healthy, happy, and prosperous life — to get back on the right path. Parents, teachers, priests, rabbis, monks, mullahs, your Aunt Betty, Dr. Phil and the next-door-neighbor stand ready to give (push) advice your way. Mostly, this advice is well intentioned, but it is often general in scope with little or no personal relevance.

Any newsstand magazine, professional website or internet blog can give you a broad wellness formula made up of good sense tips (mom told you these things a long time ago) like eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, stay away from tobacco, drink alcohol moderately or not at all, exercise regularly, spend time with family and friends, read a terrific book, see your doctor and dentist annually, wear your seat belt, believe in a higher power and stay away from a steady diet of cable news.

The Science of Life and the Art of Living

The science of life is general and objective. Evidence indicates that, foregoing defective genes and catastrophic events, a life accented by a healthy blend of proper nutrition, physical activity, rest & recovery, intellectual stimulation, emotional support, spiritual engagement and social interaction tends to be long and relatively free from illness and disability.

Science can show you how to build a strong skeleton, but YOU have to lay down the muscle and tease out the connective tissue that makes your unique system work, for you.

What do YOU want?

There are countless “How To…” books outlining the objective science of life complete with full-color templates. But, only YOU can explore, discover, design and nurture the unique, subjective, deeply personal art of living your life.

So, again, the questions are: What do YOU want? Where do YOU want to go? What predictably triggers and sustains those moments when you feel truly happy and satisfied with the life you’re living? Is it yoga or deep breathing exercises? How about “The Secret,” The Bible, The Koran, The Torah, or “The Four Noble Truths?” Is it truly better in the Bahamas … and does it simply take a trip to Jamaica to feel alright?

Perhaps, for you, wellbeing — life satisfaction — improves when you read a good book, spend time with your kids, go the movies, buy gifts for your grandchildren, drink a cold beer on a hot summer day, watch television or work till dawn on a project that comes to life and tickles you each time you give it your undivided attention? For me, every few years, it’s a quiet far-far-away mountaintop, exhausted, sleeping alone in a tent surrounded by strangers who quickly become forever-memory friends. For my wife, it was once the thrill of climbing out of a perfectly good airplane, hanging from the wing strut, letting go, and floating through the sky (YIKES!).

How about you? Of course, you WANT to increase and sustain your life satisfaction, but first you must WAKE UP! You must become AWARE and take inventory of what brings meaning to your life, today. You must open all of your senses and pay attention.

Peaceful Reflections on Aging…

Peaceful Reflections on Aging…

“…The sixth age shifts 
into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
 his youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
 for his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
 turning again toward childish treble, pipes
 and whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history,
 is second childishness and mere oblivion;
 sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

As You Like It, Jacques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)

Yes, for most of us, Shakespeare’s later ages will bring physical decline, but it can also be a stretch of immense joy and happiness; a period of calm and peaceful meditation on a life well lived. Life’s Act III should be a time where Walter Mitty isn’t restless from the angst that comes from living a would-be life of fantasy and vicarious joy, but, instead, enjoys the serene rest that comes from inhaling a life of active living.

Or, perhaps a better way of looking at it is to consider the quality of the dash (-) that separates the date of your birth from the date of your death. The date of your birth is fixed and beyond your control. You are here, so open your eyes to all of it, the good, the bad and the truly ugly. The other date, your death, is inevitable and is simply a matter for the stonemason.

As they did about so many things, Joseph Campbell and Viktor Frankel spoke eloquently and passionately about the art of living — the dash. When asked, “What is the meaning of life?” Campbell would say, “There is no meaning of life. We bring the meaning to life.” He agreed with Viktor Frankel’s philosophy that sustained wellbeing (success, happiness) ensues from the honorable and enjoyable pursuit of meaningful goals.

Beyond the physical, the anxiety of aging often spews from a gunnysack of wouldas, couldas and shouldas—a life of regrets. To those who have danced until their feet throb with joy, the quiet of old age is paradise. As Carl Jung once said:

“An old man who cannot bear farewell to life appears as feeble and sickly as a young man who is unable to embrace it.”

And, again, from Joseph Campbell:

“Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere.”

– Joseph Campbell

Health and Wellness FAQ – Full Complementary PDF Now Available

No fee…no need to leave an email address…simply click the “Health and Wellness Industry FAQ: Samuelson link (Next Line) and it’s yours!

Health and Wellness Industry FAQ: Samuelson

Be Well,


The Health and Wellness FAQ: Advice to Practitioners

Wellness Exists at the intersection of Contentment and Aspiration.

To live  there, You Must First Choose to Move Out of the Village of Someday…


Over the years I’ve been asked a number of questions about the health and wellness industry. This is question #10 of the top 10 most frequently asked questions. The responses are, of course, neither right nor wrong. They are simply my impressions from over 35 years of field experience.

QUESTION #10: After spending so many years as an executive, educator and practitioner in the field of health promotion and disease prevention, what advice do you have for the next generation?

RESPONSE: Before giving advice, let me express my absolute joy in having spent my entire career as an educator in the area of health promotion and disease prevention. It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful adventure; one that has allowed me—for the most part—the luxury of following my passion, defining and pursuing a purposeful life and avoiding anything close to what we think of when we use the term, “work.” I am humbled and grateful for the opportunities that continue to come my way.

As for advice, I urge teachers, students and practitioners to recognize that we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to having an impact on the overall health and wellness of this, or any other, country. Remember that the process of change goes from intellectual (information stage) to emotional (engagement stage) to visceral (action stage) and, finally, to cellular (sustained engagement stage). We have done a reasonably good job with education and awareness; however, for the most part, this has not translated to sustained actions resulting in improved health and wellbeing.

This is not for a lack of effort and, certainly, there are isolated pockets of impact; however, the overall investment of blood, sweat and tears has failed to produce an adequate return. Why is this the case? What should we be doing that we haven’t done? What should we do differently? What, perhaps, have we done that we should not have done?

For over three decades. I have lectured and written on the importance of primary prevention, early detection and early intervention as the three keys to improved health. While these three areas are, indeed, important elements in the health equation, I’ve missed a fourth and, arguably, the most important ingredient. My advice, my urging, is that much, much more attention be given to:

Primary prevention is the identification and mitigation of risk factors, i.e., smoking leads to lung cancer, so don’t smoke; obesity leads to heart disease, so reduce your fat and sugar intake, exercise more and lose weight; hypertension kills so lower your blood pressure with a proper diet, exercise and stress management.

Primordial prevention looks to not only identify and mitigate risk factors but slices deeper to identify and mitigate the root cause of these risk factors. The emphasis changes from, “What are the risk factors?” to “What are the environmental, cultural, economic, social and behavioral conditions that allow these risk factors to emerge?”  With primordial prevention comes comprehensive and collective impact efforts targeting poverty, inequality, environmental toxins, hunger, malnutrition, child abuse, housing, education and other determinants of population health.

According to The Institute for Functional Medicine, “Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.

By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.”

From my perch, this blend of collective-impact sociology and patient-centered medicine holds great promise for the advancement of community as well as worksite health and wellbeing. I strongly encourage you to investigate the area of primordial prevention including the critically important pursuits of The Institute for Functional Medicine.

The Institute for Functional Medicine


I am indebted to Dr. Howard Schwartz, an Integrative Cardiologist located in New York City,  for providing me with an introduction to primordial prevention and functional medicine.

Dr. Schwartz has more than 23 years of field experience in the areas of preventive cardiology, general wellness and prevention, stress reduction and lifestyle modification. Dr. Schwartz specializes in assessing the healthy heart status of organizations, and custom designs education and intervention strategies to advance both personal and professional performance. 

The Health and Wellness Industry FAQ: Small Budget – What Should I Do First?

Wellness Exists at the intersection of Contentment and Aspiration.

To live  there, You Must First Choose to Move Out of the Village of Someday…


Over the years I’ve been asked a number of questions about the health and wellness industry. This is question #8 of the top 10 most frequently asked questions. The responses are, of course, neither right nor wrong. They are simply my impressions from over 35 years of field experience.

QUESTION #8: “If you had the barest of budgets but were charged with the responsibility of improving employee health, what activity or initiative would be number one on your list?”

RESPONSE: I strongly believe that hours spent at the workplace are the easiest to design and control. With the stroke of a pen a CEO can create a:

As a CEO, I may not be able to dictate what you do the other sixteen hours but I can certainly shape the environment and promote a healthy agenda when it’s on my time and my dime. When you’re in charge, you get to make the rules.

Today’s CEO gets to call the shots. If they want Free-Fruit-Fridays and a smoke-free campus, all they have to do is say so. As long as they conform to the letter of the law (and, in a union shop, provisions agreed to in collective bargaining) corporate rulers get to rule, absolutely. Healthy food in cafeterias, safe and inviting stairwells, health awareness campaigns and flu clinics are easy to administer and the cost is minimal. Creating a smoke-free campus and banning sugar sodas, candy dishes and high-sugar-high-fat celebration “treats” costs nothing more than the courage and conviction needed to make it so.

So, my answer is, “Create a Healthy Corporate Culture.” Now, if you have additional dollars, here are numbers two through ten:

2.  Personal Health Surveys, Biometric Screenings and Follow-Up Counseling

3.  Healthy Heart Awareness, Education and Intervention Classes

  • nutrition and weight control (both over and under weight)
  • exercise (yoga, stretching, aerobics, light resistance)
  • stress management
  • tobacco cessation

4.  Link Insurance Premium Contribution to Wellness Activities and Metrics

5.  Employer Sponsored Healthy Competition Campaigns

6.  Subsidizing Fitness Club Memberships

7.  Healthy Employee Recognitions and Rewards

8.  Financial Management

9.   Healthy Babies and Parenting Skills

10. On-Site Fitness Center

“When it comes to Wellness … Are You Committed or Just Involved: A Call for Leadership”

There isn’t a day that goes by without a dozen or so clicks to this posting. Something is resonating, so here it is again…just click, below.

Wellness: Are You Committed or Just Involved?

A One-Minute and Twenty-Second Tribute to Sunrises on The Narragansett Bay

When we lived in Rhode Island we enjoyed many, many beautiful sunrises on the Narragansett Bay. Here are but a few of our photos taken on early morning walks and bike rides. Remember to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you and to treasure each sunrise as a time for reflection, self-renewal and promise for the future.

ENJOY … and pass along to someone who may like a little more sunshine in their life!

SATURDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS: What is it About New Year’s Resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

– Mark Twain

YouTube Video Introduction

What is it about New Year’s Resolutions?

I guess, maybe, ironically, we create this entrapment to feel good about ourselves. You know,   “This time…and, I really mean it!” kind of self-righteous-good. The time when we look in the mirror, stand a little taller, stare the stare of determination and raise one arm followed by a series of quick little fist pumps.

“There, I did it, I made my resolutions! What a good boy am I!”

“…now, let’s get back to life and living.”

Why is it that I don’t have to make an annual commitment to take long walks in the woods, love my family, watch more movies at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, enjoy a glass of red wine, buy the latest new toy at the Apple store, or eat more peanut butter?


Hey, maybe, just maybe, it’s because I anticipate and look forward to the payoff. In the moment—at least to the person doing it—all behavior is considered good, it scratches a self-interest itch. And, as long as the actions don’t hurt innocent bystanders, that’s okay.

  • I love the woods; the smells, solitude, insights, critters, and the random questions and answers that suddenly appear tucked inside the sounds of  crunching snow and snapping twigs.
  • I love my family beyond words. My feelings are spiritual, sacred, unbounded and absolute.
  • I look forward to the thought-provoking films shown on campus and the lively discussions/debates served afterward as a side-dish at the Red Hawk.
  • I enjoy sharing a bottle or two of rich, velvety, red wine with friends who are never guests.
  • I love the little-boy-at-Christmas feeling that comes when I take a new Apple product out of the package.
  • I like peanut butter; I just do, always have…always will.

I guess what I’m saying is that It isn’t the woods…it’s the treasures I find in the woods. It isn’t an obligatory sense of family strangled by “shoulds” … it’s a humbling, revered, fulfillment of “wants” and “needs.” It isn’t the Michigan Theater…it’s the intellectual challenge and passionate conversation it spawns. It isn’t the wine…it’s the uncorked flow of friendship. It’s not the computer, touchpad, speakers, wireless keyboard, tablet, or phone…it’s the promise of discovery, creativity, and adventure that shakes my bones and lifts my spirit. And, it isn’t the peanut butter…it’s the taste in the jar!

Shakes my bones and lifts my spirit…shakes my bones and lifts my spirit.


Maybe, just maybe, that’s it! Perhaps our annual Brick-Laying-Party-to-Hades renews because we focus on the path to personal rewards and not the personal rewards, themselves. By the way, I’m talking about your rewards, not your mom’s, partner’s, or Oprah’s. Seek passionate change that takes you to a state where your bones shake and your spirit soars!

Reframe and repackage your resolutions. Losing weight is not the goal…the goal is freedom from emotional and physical discomfort coupled with new options and opportunities. Exercise is not the goal…the goals are energy, self-confidence and, in some cases, social interaction and athletic accomplishment. Quitting smoking is not the goal…the goal is a long, healthy life of engagement with friends and family. Cutting back on the booze is not the goal…the goals are clear thinking, dignity, and self-respect. Getting out of debt is not the goal…the goals are sleeping well at night, economic freedom, pride, and self-reliance.

Take a close look at the resolutions you’ve made for 2012. Ask yourself, “Who am I making this resolution for?” “Beyond, the science of life, how does the resolution advance my art of living?”

The mechanics of behavior change are relatively easy and well defined. I can show you the color templates. However, personal passion and personal motivation—not as easy to define and kick-in-gear—are the keys to sustained, meaningful change. Focus on “Why?” and “So What?” These questions tap into your passion. If the resolution doesn’t pass the bones-shaking and spirit-lifting test, odds are you’re focusing on the process, not the true goal, and, maybe—just maybe—you are channeling someone else’s desire for you to change.

Watch for more about discovering your passion and cultivating your motivation in a future edition of “Saturday Morning Reflections.”


“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

– Helen Keller