Transition to BE-ing@Work in Practice

apple heartAs a result of my research, I have immense respect for the wearable technologies potential to enhance both physical and cognitive function as well as the current limitations.  Completing a PhD takes a toll on the body and mind. I consider myself lucky, as I have many of the tools available to me to monitor this impact and the recovery.

I was profoundly struck by the irony of what now feels like a near miss, just days prior to graduation. Had it not been for the passive capture of my heart rate on my AppleWatch, I would not have been able to share the data with my doctor electronically when things went sour. He was able to both diagnose and prescribe remotely without delay. The issue resolved, but I am now more aware of the benefit of tracking vital signs passively for prevention. I became my own research subject, yet again.

I have shifted my attention back to the wearables, apps and other innovative tech based interventions that complement our wellbeing goals. The book BE-ing@Work is still in the works. As I collect more stories, best practice and insight from the field, I will be ready to share it. In the meantime, I am sharing my research at a few upcoming events. I will be speaking at Virgin Pulse, Thrive Summit 2016, In Boston next week. I am also booked to speak at the Employer Health and Benefits Congress, in September. I hope to see you there and hear your stories about technology and wellbeing in the workplace.

In the meantime, I am working on sharpening my knowledge in corporate wellbeing strategy by getting certified as a Corporate Wellbeing Specialist through Corporate Health & Wellness Association. There is a lot happening in this space from the HR benefits side that can apply my research and crosses over from social strategy and organization change.

Very soon the BE-ing@Work website will be launched. This will have more exciting details about the specifics of social tech and wellbeing in the workplace, new research projects and more. In the meantime, you will still find that here a lot of other things that I have worked on over the last few chapters.

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I’m back, well almost.

It’s about balance. From the outside, I am often perceived to have mastered it, balance, that is. When inside, like most, I am challenged to my core. I did not pay attention to that which I preach, balance. As you might have already guessed, this is a reflection posting, but one that I thought worthy of sharing. I hope you will agree and find that it gives you reason to reflect and act upon your own balance.

You may have noticed (or not) that I have not posted much as of late. I have been following the sage wisdom of my elders. My mother raised me well enough to practice, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all.” Of course, I also believe too much “nice” sometimes has the same effect. My father said, “nobody listens once you start shouting.” I have been pretty good at keeping my cool despite it all. But recently I have discovered that the ocean doesn’t mind my occasional outburst (and it feels pretty good). Before you get worried (or not), know that I am indeed alive and doing well.

After seven years in Sweden, my health suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and I needed a serious change. I mean this in every sense of the word, health (emotional, physical, intellectual…). I had forgotten how to smile, and was in need of a serious belly laugh. Being in my mid-40s (yes, a bit of mid-life stuff too), I knew something drastic had to happen.  It needed to begin with the physical “vessel” so that I could proceed with the rest. So, here I am, moved the family to California (kids here, my husband’s coming eventually).

First order of business, sunshine to increase the dangerously depleted vitamin D levels. Second, get active both inside and out. Third get social, meet new people and reconnect with my existing network. The first month was full of the usual logistics and details of an international move with two kids. Registered the kids for school and activities they would love. I signed up for Pure Barre to literally kick my bottom into shape. I brought music back to my life, both guitar and downloading some great playlists on Spotify.  I bought a used convertible to maximise sunshine and smiles while getting it all done.

All my meetings have been either on a hike or walk (no more lunches or fika – unless earned). I have reconnected with some wonderful friends and contacts and made new ones. The depth of conversation is remarkable when one has room for comfortable contemplation, silence. Walking side by side as you aim to a vista point provides just that. The shared memories that are created ensure a bond that cannot be matched by a hurried lunch and certainly not by meeting in a sterile office.

I am feeling amazingly sane and happy for the first time in years.  I am able to tackle whatever life dishes out.  This already tested by challenges to learn the emergency systems (separate ER visits for kid, dog and car all in one week).  So, yes, now it is time to get back to work.  It will not be full throttle at first, as part of my effort to maintain balance seeking the right amount.  But I am happy to say that yes, I am back.  My doctoral research is making great progress and I have a few projects in the wings.  You will be hearing from me again soon and there is some great stuff brewing.

You might ask what does this have to do with leadership in the new social paradigm or global social strategy.  Everything! Part of leadership and social strategy is authenticity and taking care of yourself so that you can lead, connect and share.

I hope you find this helpful in seeking your own balance.  Moving to California is neither the answer nor an option for most.  My point is to take action to achieve balance when it is completely lost.  Take care of the core so you can take care of the rest.  I expect great things from you all.  Perhaps on our next hike.

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Stop and Smell the Lilacs

It is crunch time as we prepare for the launch of the new 2BalanceU. There are never enough hours in the day. We are excited, exhausted, exhilarated and extremely happy that the time is finally coming near when we can share it with the world. The process has, like most typical entrepreneurial endeavors, been one of many learning experiences, some pleasant and some painful. But we have come through with what we believe to be an expression of our passion and vision.
All this is wonderful, despite the extra hours and hard labour. But today, I am making a point of reminding myself to stop and smell the lilacs (for that is what is in full bloom here). I received an email this morning from a dear friend that is battling cancer. I feel blessed that she was willing to share her experience with us in reaching out. Today is dedicated to Alejandra. I am wishing her the greatest in strength, health and courage as she continues her battle. I will stop and smell the lilacs, hold my children a little closer, let out a big belly laugh when they misbehave and thank each and everyone of the people in my life that make it so rich. Despite all this craziness and my passion for my work, it would not be worth much if I did not have you in it.

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Happy New Year

Now back to work. Yes, it has been a wonderful time to be offline, reconnecting with my family and friends. I must admit, once I was weaned of the pinging and vibrating of phones and Blackberries (this took a few days), I thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of us whose lives rely so heavily on the use of technology and the connections they provide, this is far more difficult than we expect. I was amused to hear that even my non-techy family members were trying to reach me on Skype and shocked to not find me there. I thank all of you who send me encouraging messages about health and being offline being good for the soul.

My vacation report: I relaxed. I made fresh tracks in the powder off Grands Montets, laughed wholeheartedly at my children’s (and my own) silliness, made snow angels, ate delicious food (enjoying every bite), drank delicious wine, enjoyed intense fireside conversation solving the world’s problems (and a few of my own) with friends, slept, learned a few new tricks, read books (“Eat, Pray, Love” – highly recommend it), freshened up my French, and just breathed in the mountain air and sunshine.

Lastly I must report that I have made a New Year’s resolution that I hope you all will share with me. “Listen to my body.” For someone who has studied the art of understanding my body’s communication both inside and out, I have been a very bad listener. Without my health, I cannot achieve my greatest potential in any shape or form. So, I promise, I will make the effort to take better notice of, and to act on, those messages going forward. I hope that you all will too.

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