dear dismayed and discouraged: a reader writes for encouragement

April 12, 2012

in life,wellness

you don’t typically see purple, hand-addressed envelopes in your business mail, so i opened this letter with interest. tucked within were two hand-written pages on startlingly bright green notepaper.

the letter was from a reader of the blog who shared:

“since i listened to you (and tanya and greg) on hr happy hour, i’ve been drawn to employee wellness. i read about it, i think about it. i cannot stop talking about it. but lately, i’ve been discouraged by my professors…all they talk about is how unfulfilling and monotonous [workplace wellness] was for them. or how it was either all fitness or all nutrition-based.

“i’m writing to you for reassurance…and inspiration to continue and gain perspective, i suppose.”

here’s a bit of my personal response to the letter writer.

if you read about something, think about it all of the time and can’t stop talking about it, you’re passionate about the subject. that passion is what you’ll draw upon when you meet the inevitable cynics, skeptics, naysayers and stonewallers. and it’s that passion you should respect and give credence to, not their attempts, perhaps unknowingly, to derail or redirect you.

i know there’s a more conventional version of this saying, but i always preferred: don’t let the a-holes drag you down. as the letter writer points out, these professors talk about how dispirited the experience was for them. you can learn from others’ experiences, but you need to go in with the knowledge that it’s all opinion. and it’s all predicated on their experience: whom they worked with, where they worked and when they were doing the work. being involved in employee wellness today is a far cry from being involved even five years ago. employers are more aware of its benefits, and they’re smarter about the approach too.

narrow vision
it’s important to listen to everyone, even those with whom you disagree. within each skeptical or negative remark, there’s typically at least one kernel of truth. i join your professors in lamenting the still-too-narrow focus on fitness and nutrition in many efforts to improve employee well-being. lifestyle behaviors are the leading contributor to our current health disaster. but until we get serious about addressing the emotional and financial concerns that lead to these behaviors, as well as the systemic and political forces, we’ll not get as far as we could.

what would you add to my advice to this reader?


Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Borton April 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

Spot on Fran. I heard an interesting comment yesterday at a presentation. Our “health” care system is really driven by the profits from treating illness…so it is an illness care system (mega hospitals with lots of inpatient beds, technology driven to treat illness).

It is slowly starting to transition to a wellness care system as plan designs/pricing etc. support those behaviors. (outpatient treatment, hospital owned wellness centers, satellite offices for physicals/biometrics) I’m not saying this as eloquently as the speaker did, but hopefully you are getting my drift. She should realize she can play an important role by supporting employers/employees as the industry transforms.

It may be a slow, frustrating process…but heck, somebody has to do it! 🙂


Jearic October 21, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rehtar sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.


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