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The ‘Quintet’ of Healthy Living

Multi-TaskingQuick, try to name a few famous quintets (things that come in five.) Are you done? Quite possibly, you may have included the following: Olympic rings, Great Lakes, vowels (most of the time), points on a star, toes, The Jackson 5, The Dave Clark Five, among many others.

Now try to list five (relatively easy) things that you can do to remain healthy and prevent debilitating diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these five healthy behaviors are the best assurances at preventing heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases:

  1. No smoking – Smoking is the main cause of preventable illness and leading cause of death in the U.S.
  2. Regular exercise – Allowing employees to engage in brief bouts of physical activity or lunch breaks to socialize with co-workers can have meaningful stress-reduction benefits.
  3. Drinking alcohol in moderation, or not at all – Enough said on this behavior.
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight – Over 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, primarily due to consuming too few fruits and vegetables and too many carbs, added sugars and refined grains. Also, lack of physical activity impacts weight.
  5. Receiving at least seven hours of sleep per day/night – Between 50-to-70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, leading to increased rates of chronic diseases and cancer, increased mortality and reduced quality of life.

I know what you might be thinking. “This sounds so easy and most Americans are doing this. Tell me something I don’t already know!”

OK, I will.

Did you know that only 6.3 percent of the U.S. adult population report engaging ALL five optimal health-related behaviors? Yes, this information comes from a recent CDC study using 2013 data. Here’s the breakdown for each of the five healthy behaviors among U.S. adults:

Apparently, Americans find it difficult to multi-task when it comes to engaging in healthy behaviors. As a male, I would venture to guess that most of the 6.3 percent responders from this particular study were most likely females. My personal observation is that males, in general, are not inclined to multi-task.

Interestingly, engaging in four or five healthy behaviors was most prevalent in the Pacific and Rocky Mountain states. The least prevalent were in the southern states and along the Ohio River. The authors of this valuable study conclude that “Collaborative efforts in health care systems, communities, work sites, and schools can promote all 5 behaviors and produce population-wide changes, especially among the socioeconomically disadvantaged.”

A good idea would be to start with the ‘easiest’ behavior and begin mastering it before moving to another behavior. Incremental improvement is more realistic for many of us. As for this writer, chewing gum, texting and humming a tune at the same time can be challenging at any given moment. But the five behaviors listed above seem to be doable – especially for those of us who have impairments while multi-tasking minute-by-minute!

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Overcoming Doubt

Doubt May Kill DreamsTo succeed, every entrepreneur goes through a particular rite of passage. I have, and still do. In fact, entrepreneurs MUST experience this in order to learn and grow. It can be a vicious cycle of perpetuity. So what is this passage?


Regardless of how great one may think their product or service will benefit the intended consumer or general public, he/she will ALWAYS have doubt squirming in the back of the mind. If doubt creeps in and begins to metastasize, it can spread like a deadly cancer and overcome any positive cells of thought that remain. Doubt can resort to fear and eventually eat at the basic essence of any entrepreneur – confidence and hope. Both are essential ingredients to provide stability in a tenuous world of uncertainty.

But doubt can also be a good thing because it may help one look at problems more realistically and, ultimately, provide motivation to succeed. Being an entrepreneur brings a great deal of loneliness at times, but it also fuels the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that you are helping others because you dare to be uncommonly different. For some, the payoff can largely come from the satisfaction of ‘making a difference.’

To overcome doubt, it has often been said that large doses of inspiration and perspiration are necessary to be successful at whatever one pursues. One without the other will not provide the necessary balance of satisfaction and success.

Three tenets found to be helpful when confronting ‘doubt’ include:

  1. Seek council from those you trust to have your best interest in mind.
  2. Be prepared to fail, but learn from each failure to build a winning formula.
  3. Failure is just as important as success. Just ask Thomas Edison (and all other entrepreneurs).

In a speech delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt talked about The Man in the Arena “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…who comes short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, what gets you out of bed each day? Is it the hope and aspiration of making a difference to (and for) others – such as your spouse, children, employer or perhaps your own business and employees? Your passion and knowledge-base are extremely important, and rest assured, both will always be under duress due to the effects of doubt.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:

The purpose of life … is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Without a doubt, TR and Emerson are right!

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2016 Iowa Employer Benefits Study has Begun!

18th Annual StudyAnd, we’re off…

The 18th annual Iowa Employer Benefits Study© survey process has begun!

Our research partner, Data Point Research, recently began the process of contacting randomly-selected Iowa employers to become survey participants. Our desired goal this year is to survey 1,000 employers, which means that we will have surveyed over 13,000 Iowa organizations since 1999!

If your organization has been invited to participate in this year’s survey, I highly encourage and appreciate your involvement. By completing this survey and once our stats are tallied and released in early fall, you will receive a unique link via email allowing you to download a complementary electronic summary of the survey results – a $300 value!

Each year at this time, Iowa employers look forward to being selected to participate in this trustworthy and credible resource on employee benefits offered within our state. Many thanks in advance to those organizations who participate in our annual survey. Without your assistance, our survey would not be possible.

Please know that our firm is Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. Should you have any questions about the 2016 survey, or are unsure whether or not your organization has been selected to participate, please contact me directly.

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