Let's stop pretending that every part of our lives fits into tiny compartments and can live in isolation for eternity.
I recently had the opportunity to attend Hubspot's Inbound 13 marketing conference in Boston a couple weeks ago and wound up hearing and learning more about culture, inspiration and why we do the work we do than how to optimize our next email campaign.
One of the Keynote speakers at the conference was none other than Arianna Huffington -- some of you around here may have heard of her -- and if I'm being completely honest, was probably the speaker I was least excited to see.
You see, I'm a health insurance agent and I didn't really get along with a majority of The Huffington Post's opinions on health care reform. Please refrain from throwing rotten tomatoes and blunt objects until the end of the article.
But as Arianna began her speech, something started to happen, she started to echo some of the same thoughts I have had both privately and publicly over the last several years.
She stood in a room with over 5,300 marketers and told them they need to sleep more and hide their iPhones.
Marketers flew in from around the world (I believe 36 different countries attended the event) and the advice they were getting from the headlining keynote was to "go to bed."
That kind of crazy talk could incite a riot where blog posts are burned and autoresponders destroyed.
But that's exactly how you redefine success, talking about something that seems completely unrelated to your goal. It's making that connection for someone that starts the redefining process, whatever it happens to be.
There was another very powerful and telling part of Arianna's talk that went quietly unnoticed; it could actually be used as a legitimate psychological study. But Arianna invited everyone in attendance to email her directly for an opportunity to write for The Huffington Post.
These are all marketers and business people who live and breathe online and were just offered an opportunity to write for one of the largest sites on the web.
8I was one of them, that's why you're reading this article today.
Arianna's response to my email was, "We would love to feature your voice on HuffPost about the event, redefining success or whatever else interests you."
I thought I would take her up on all three.
We already covered Inbound; let's talk about redefining success and how it leads to necessary change.
Creating New Success Awareness
How can we expect to redefine anything when everyone is paralyzed in their own complacency to the point opportunity feels like annoyance?
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert, thought leader or some other trendy term on the topic. The only thing I do know, is a majority of people and businesses in this country treat their personal health and well-being with a level of disrespect that a communist dictator would be embarrassed of.
If anything is going to get better, that's the first thing that needs to change, as Arianna suggested in her keynote.
One of my big missions is to help people put the health back in their health insurance. What that means for this topic is, you aren't going to see the results you want until you focus on what is actually causing the problem. More on that in a bit.
If you ask for a map you will never discover anything new.
When things reach a certain point, like they have in the economy, business and the excessive cost of our personal well-being (health care) people want lists, bullet points and actionable advice on how to fix the problem or find a solution.
That's great if you want to do something that has already been done, but if no one has gotten to where we need to go... Then someone has to blaze the trail to discover those bullet points and "actionable" advice.
In the digital age of step-by-step webinars and training, we have neglected the abstract and ignored our ability to transform information and learning into something new.
Everything is a copy of something.
That's fine for a lot of things, the wheel doesn't need to be constantly reinvented, but every now and then a problem or topic comes along that requires or demands that abstract thought that steps outside the box and walks three miles in the other direction.
That's where we are at with allowing society to redefine success in the workplace and our expectation of what's considered healthy living.
Which can't be done until we allow ourselves to open our mind to new possibilities and stop listening to everything that has been said and done before.
Putting The Health Back In Health Insurance
These topics might seem completely unrelated, however they share two common characteristics. They are close to needing mandatory change and two are saddled with questionable judgement and dire expectations that have both knocking on the tipping points doorstep.
Just like that small number of people who were aware and ambitious enough to send that email to Arianna, that same small number exists with the people who are willing and able to take personal responsibility for their health and truly understand what the ultimate motivator is behind it.
Performance and Quality
Those are the two primary driving factors behind living a healthy lifestyle. It has nothing to do with how much weight you lose or how much muscle you build, while those are byproducts of being healthy, they should be considers perks not goals.
Being healthier allows you to perform better in every aspect of your life, that means at home at work or wherever else your absolute best is required. You don't need to be an Olympic athlete to need to perform at a high level.
The Tipping Point
In this country, no one has the right to dictate how you live your life. If you stockpiled a 30-year supply of Twinkies when you heard about their demise, no one could stop you.
However we are getting dangerously close to physically and financially being unable to support this lavishly excessive lifestyle.
According to Jessie X. Fan, a professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah "fewer than 5 percent of American adults today achieve the recommended level of physical activity in a week according to the current physical activity guidelines."
I talk with people everyday who are almost in tears at the thought of having to pay a dollar more for their health insurance. While president Obama's Affordable Care Act was suppose to have solved the problem, many states are expecting prices to increase significantly at the start of 2014.
Yes, there will be a group of people who will qualify for subsidized coverage, through the new health insurance marketplaces, to lower the cost of their health insurance, however a lot of people won't get to experience the "Affordable" Care Act.
Why is "Obamacare" having trouble redefining success in health insurance?
It focused too much on the middle man instead of addressing the root of the problem.
While it's called the Affordable Care Act, an overwhelming majority of it is focused on reforming the health insurance industry and nothing else.
Until doctors and hospitals start working for free or people are able to afford their services outright, health insurance will continue to be the "middleman" to finance those services.
Sure you will hear all about the laws big push on "preventative" medicine, however it failed to address the diabolic industry who got us in this mess in the first place. Food.
The next time someone talks to you about "Health Care Reform" simply ask them, "What about food reform?"
What's The Point?
A big reason you and so many others are terrified at the sight of health insurance rates is because so many of us have ignored the thing we are so concerned about protecting, our health.
Contrary to popular belief, health insurance rates are largely reactive to the cost of what it's trying to insure -- medical treatment.
Medical treatment is incurred sometime unexpectedly and more often as a result of personal neglect and abuse.
If we are able to redefine success in our lives across the board, health should be the first mandatory bullet point on the list.
Focus on what started the problem, not what keeps it going
You can't fix health insurance without fixing what it's trying to insure. Just like you can't fix your business without fixing your life first.
Before you had a "job" or a "career" you had your life. If your life isn't properly set up to allow for continued success in your job, then you will eventually fail at both.
Don't listen to what I've just written or Arianna said -- use this time to listen to that voice in your head that was hopefully talking very loudly while you were reading.
Chances are there's an idea or two up there that will help you redefine your success, put the health back in your health insurance or free your mind from constant dictation.
The one common denominator in all this is health... Make of that what you will.
Remember, you are the only one preventing yourself from accomplishing what you want to.
That might sound like a quote from an ABC family movie, but once you get out of the way of your own apathy and self doubt, then we can all start to move forward to a much more exciting destination.
Now is Your Chance
If you want to document what the voice inside your head just told you, let me know below what it said and how it's going to help you redefine success in your life or someone else's?