REAL Wellness: A Key Element In Strategic Planning During Challenging Economic Times

“The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years. We are facing an unprecedented emergency.” Katsuaki Watanabe, author of this remark, is the president of Toyota. This statement was offered on December 22, 2008 while announcing the company’s first operating loss in 70 years – $1.7 billion.

Tina Turner made famous the question, “What’s love got to do with it?” This might be a good time to ask, What’s wellness got to do with it? Is a wellness philosophy as significant in the context of economic ruin as in times that pass for normal?

America and the rest of the world are beset with burst bubbles, bailouts and bankruptcies. Conditions are beyond serious – they’re a fright. There are multiple, interrelated crises – a loss of faith in markets and the economic order, a loss of hope for the future and a diminution in social connectedness. The daily news reflects high levels of worry, fear, insecurity, stress, self-doubt and negativity. This is the context for my question: Is the wellness concept as important now as before? Or, is wellness more of an option than ever, even a luxury of sorts with appeal mostly to privileged elites with the means to get their needs met AND aspire to a good and fulfilling life?

Consider a bit more detail on the extent of the current crisis. The American economy is sinking into a recession just this side of a depression. Frustration bordering on panic is evident throughout the land. Distress marks the national mood. Job losses (533,000 of them disappeared in November), the unavailability of credit from banks (despite massive taxpayer bailout funds later channeled in part for executive bonuses), the presence of pockets of severe unemployment (almost 14 percent in South Carolina), business failures, big losses in household worth due to market declines and the burst housing bubble – this is the context for the question posed about the viability of wellness as 2009 looms. If all this does not get your attention, consider the fact that Russian academic Igor Panarin predicts a US collapse by 2010, followed by a civil war and the breakup of the nation into five different countries. (The only good news is that Alaska will revert to Russia, thereby making Sarah Palin Russia’s problem, not ours – see Andrew Osborn, As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S., Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2009.) In summary, in case you had not noticed, the world’s coalmine seems littered with dead canaries.

On a bright note, Americans will have new leadership in a few weeks. The president-elect is amazingly popular at the moment (73% approval), but even the most optimistic Democrat knows Obama is no fiscal Superman or supernatural economic turnaround messiah sent from above. Obama’s $775 billion economic recovery plan, announced a month ago, already seems too little, too late. Rebuilding the infrastructure with WPA-like bridges, roads and other projects will be helpful, but some economists predict it won’t be enough to arrest a national slide toward a deeper state of crisis. (I will refrain from expressions like ruin and despair.)

Given this context, let’s pause for a hard, cold look at where wellness fits, if indeed it fits at all. Of course I refer to REAL (reason, exuberance and liberty) wellness, a mindset or philosophy of personal responsibility, optimism and commitment to affirmative, evidence-based principles for making choices small and large. Not the same as prevention, risk reduction or illness management – REAL wellness is a unwavering focus on exceptional health and quality of life.

Little public attention is given, in good times or bad, to positive health and life satisfaction. Instead, the focus always seems to be on the many frightful consequences of NOT doing the right thing. At a time of financial crises unknown since the Great Depression, it is fitting to ask if our philosophy for good living has a place, alongside the struggle millions are experiencing to feed their families, pay their bills and provide for the welfare of their children. Is this an appropriate time to proclaim the applications of a wellness lifestyle and, if you think so, how is this communicated to those struggling at the lower rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy?

I suggest a REAL wellness mindset is always important. In hard times, little else will make a quality difference, for the better. REAL wellness will liberate those who embrace it and enable advances toward the most important kind of prosperity, namely, physical and psychological well-being. Given the stresses of today’s fiscal turmoil, perils await those who seek only comfort and relief. The best ally in the quest for economic recovery is a positive lifestyle that promotes personal health and builds upon positive social connections. Economic perils are best faced with positive attitudes, high resolve of mental discipline and peak physical strengths, not while mired in a struggle against negativity.

Wellness itself does not solve any financial problems. However, it helps in reaching and maintaining first-rate levels of physical and mental functioning. That state can in turn facilitate the pursuit of activities that best advance opportunities and manage crises.

Consider some factors that make REAL wellness a winning philosophy in hard as well as good times. As you know, REAL wellness entails:

* A disciplined focus on the bright side.

* A commitment to personal excellence.

* A regard for social support and the value of communities.

* A willingness to secure and work to maintain high standards of physical fitness.

* A continuing conscious pursuit of added meaning and purpose.

* A desire to comprehend the phenomenon of happiness and realize some measure or degree of it, as circumstances permit.

* A continuing respect for personal honor associated with the art of applied ethics

* A recognition that it’s best to want what you have and to live in the present (versus bemoaning what you had before or could have had save for an errant decision or two). An excellent book on this approach to prospering in the best sense of the word is Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher.

* A predisposition to take the time to appreciate the beauty around you, in natural as well as human forms.

* A sense of gratitude for the fact that, while conditions are difficult, there is so much left to celebrate and resolve to appreciate.

* An outlook marked by compassion for others in general, as well as a mindset of forgiveness for those who may have contributed to difficult circumstances. (Yes, include in the latter even George W. Bush. But, not the Devil. Humans need someone or something as a scapegoat, even if they have to invent such characters to make their saviors seem deliriously wonderful by comparison.)

Some still might fret at the contradictions in the affirmative nature of REAL wellness, such as sketched above, and hard times, massive human suffering, scarce resources and widespread worry and fear. Is REAL wellness of a positive nature not a guilty indulgence while Rome (and the rest of the world) burns? Or not?

The proper answer, I say, is Absolutely not! Major not! In fact, au contraire, no way Jose and just the opposite. Now more than ever, we need a REAL wellness philosophy to deal with challenges greater than normal. Much greater than normal, in fact.

A healthy lifestyle that includes physical, mental/emotional and social components will protect and build your immunity while maintaining and boosting your morale. The REAL wellness qualities sketched above (a partial list, I might add) are invaluable for weathering the proverbial storm (s) AND for building a capacity to flourish.

Wellness qualities are always advantageous, but when times are tough, such qualities lend toughness, as well. The weak in body, mind and morale will be first to succumb to unrelenting demands, stresses, setbacks and other misfortunes that accompany prolonged crises. Furthermore, family, friends and perfect strangers need you at your best, providing leadership, guidance, inspiration and hope. Judd Allen, like his father Robert F. Allen before him, often describes the health and other positive benefits that follow when people come together for support, for entertainment or to seek political solutions. All are helpful ways to boost well-being, no doubt even more so when budgets are light and conditions difficult.

There are no guarantees, even with a bright-side outlook, but more than ever, it will pay to adopt and practice REAL wellness. To be physically fit, mentally strong and resolute, adaptable, flexible, resilient and capable is a formula for success in bad times – and good.

If these comments seem plausible and convincing, if you agree that REAL wellness makes sense in normal times and more so in crises, then you will want to support public policies and private initiatives that make such learning and living opportunities widely available. For instance, you will want to support continuing worksite wellness programs, knowing that the common reaction to less business might be to pull back programming to save money. This is an ideal time to not only deal creatively with the current crisis but to prepare as well for the future. Let’s explore innovative new approaches to healthy, productive work forces and work settings. Similar thinking should influence the shape of health system reforms. Likewise, apply REAL wellness values introduced with varied public programs aimed at creating jobs, rebuilding the economy and making individual life and society itself better than before the economy fell apart. Perhaps solutions to the fiscal downturn will only be possible when we more effectively work together for solutions that meet the needs of all classes, not just the most advantaged.

5 Real Estate Marketing Options

Selling a house usually comes, as a result of a combination of curb appeal, location, pricing, marketing, negotiations, and a few other factors. This article will concentrate briefly, on some of the options, in terns of how houses might be marketed, why one might be better than another (in certain circumstances), cost factors, effectiveness, and usage. There is no such thing as only one way to market and sell a house. Years ago, real estate agents were heavily dependent upon newspaper advertising, and that’s where most prospective buyers looked for information. In today’s information – driven, digital society, much more data is readily available, and while there is still a place for newspaper advertising, it is not the premier way, most of the time. Let’s review 5 marketing options.

1. Direct verbal: This includes face – to – face, telephone calls, contacting a Realtor’s personal contacts, etc. The advantages include cost, and the ability to effectively communicate, articulate the home’s strengths and possibilities, and motivate individuals, to take a look. The disadvantage is, it’s time – consuming, and somewhat limiting!

2. Direct marketing: Some of these include using postcards, flyers, door hangers, for – sale signs, Open House signs, etc. Mailings have become somewhat costly, especially when you consider the relatively low transaction rate, but is often a good supplement, and a positive way to get the message out.

3. Print media: Print media includes newspapers, magazines, weekly circulars, and direct – to – home marketing pieces. These approaches may be somewhat expensive, and surveys indicate most of today’s buyers pay less and less attention to these, than in the past!

4. Digital (websites): When we ask attendees at Open Houses, how they heard about it, the predominant response is from some website. Many use MLS, Trulia, Zillow,, or a larger agency’s own site. When listings are placed on Multiple Listing Service, many other Websites pick up the information, and include it on their sites, as well. There is a cost to this approach, but is probably the most bang – for – the – buck, in terms of marketing real estate, today!

5. Social Media: Social Media includes things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. The advantage is low or no cost, but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty, as to their effectiveness as a marketing tool, to sell a particular house.

The bottom line is, a real estate agent must know, understand, and use the best marketing tools available, to sell a particular house. Dependent on type, price, niche, location, etc, the options often vary.

The Real Difference Between Job Hunting and Job Search

Any active job seeker will find that these terms are used interchangeably in articles, blogs and other literature. There is in practice a fundamental and distinct difference.It is important to embark on both a structured and a more flexible approach to job hunting to secure a new role successfully.

In a recent study, a group of executives were studied prior to making a presentation. By observing these executives at an evening party, prior to making their presentations the following day, researchers were able to correctly predict the winning presentation, just by observing and listening to the way these executives. Their language, the way they talked and listened were all valuable clues about the level of the effective interaction and communication skills.

Job search can be defined as the systematic and structured process of searching for a new role, as a result of outplacement or the desire to change roles or careers. Common methods include job search engines, job boards, newspaper ads, recruiters and company web sites.

Job hunting is a more creative, unconventional and non-rational process by using a variety of effective methods to find new employment, but relying more on informal networks and unconventional approaches to find jobs in the hidden market.

Let me share with you one example in my own career of using job hunting effectively to secure good roles. Years ago I decided to immigrate to New Zealand and during my first holiday trip I was talking to my immigration agent. When I mentioned I had a strong interest in technology she suggested I meet with an IT company. After a couple of meetings the company created a new position and offered me this role, which I held for three years. It was never advertised and I was the only applicant. All it required from my side was effective sharing of my skills and connecting with the right company, using effective networking skills.

Since that role, I have also been appointed into two other roles that were never advertised:

(1) As part of my consulting practice I was doing a strategic assignment for a large recruitment company. After the assignment, they mentioned to me that one of their clients was looking for a new head of HR. After a meeting with the MD and another meeting with the Board, I was offered the role and worked seven years for this company.

(2) After being invited to complete a strategic consulting assignment with a listed company that took six months, they asked me to join their executive team. I was known the MD and Board, there was little due diligence required, and again the position was never advertised.

Let me close off with a good example of job hunting. If you have ever been to Africa, one of the things most people on a wildlife safari strive to do is to take pictures of the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, and leopard). Finding these five animals on an African safari is no mean feat.

How would you go about making sure you get these five animals in your sights? Well, first of all you would want to go to a safari camp that have all these animals in their reserve. Then you would want to get a good tracker and game ranger to help you find these animals. You would need to bring with you a good camera and ensure you are in the right position to take your picture, so that months and years later you can still savour the memories of taking those perfect pictures.

As you embark on your job search, ensure you incorporate a bit of the primitive hunter in your job hunting, using your instinct and gut feel. In today’s competitive market, it is really survival of the fittest.

The REAL Cost of Building and Maintaining a Commercial Website

Having a website can be a wonderful experience. I have experienced the joy of owning and operating a brilliant website built and hosted by a genius. I have also experienced the misery of owning a lousy website hosted by notorious scammers. So I have seen websites from both ends of the spectrum.

This article is to apprise everybody of the costs associated with building and operating a commercial website. There are millions of web-surfers who seem to believe that everything they see on a website should be available free of charge. This will set the record straight so these people get some appreciation of the costs involved to bring information to them. (Note: The rates will vary from provider to provider).

First, a distinction – there are two basic types of websites:

  1. Personal – mum and dad type sites – several pages of “family” style information
  2. Commercial – business sites – from one page “sales letter” sites to massive sites of several hundred pages.

For the purpose of this discussion I am going to limit my comments to commercial websites only.

A commercial website has been described as the great business leveller. You see, small businesses can compete on an even playing field with giant multi-national companies in what have been described as “niche” markets. That is, specialist markets.

As I mentioned before, so many web-surfers expect all websites to deliver completely free information to them. After all, websites are really cheap to build and cost virtually nothing to maintain. Or do they?

Let’s have a look at what is involved and the typical costs:

First, you will need a telephone line. No problem. Most people have them. The cost is variable depending on what country you live in.

Next, you will need a computer. Again, no problem, most people have them too. They can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars US depending on the make and model, its capacity, its range of features and the like.

With a telephone line and a computer you will then require an Internet Service Provider (ISP). An ISP will charge around US$20 per month for internet access. Broadband access will cost around US$750 per year, depending on your ISP.

Note that so far we are still just incurring the cost that the average surfing information hunter incurs.

To have a website you will either need to build it yourself or contract a specialist to build it for you. Obviously, if you do not have the knowledge and ability to do it yourself you will need a person skilled in doing this. For 15 or so pages (a reasonable sized website) you could pay in the vicinity of $1,500 US, often more.

So, now you have a telephone line, a computer, internet access and a website. Is there anything else? There sure is.

You will need a domain name for your website. This is so you can be found by your Unique Resource Locator (URL) name. That is how people will be able to find you – via links to your name. A domain name will cost you somewhere around US $10 to $20 per year to keep it registered.

Then there is hosting. You will need a website hosting company to keep your site active and online for all the world to view. This is where the site “lives.” It’s where it is domiciled and is able to be changed by adding to or subtracting from the pages. Hosting can set you back around US$200 to $300 per year. Yes, I know some people get it for a lot less. However, like everything else if you want quality and performance then that is the going rate.

Anything else? Sure is.

Now you can really spend some money. Now your website desperately needs what all other websites need – traffic, otherwise known as visitors. You can spend thousands, even tens of thousands on this if you want.

So, let’s add it all up so far:

  1. telephone line – standard variable cost
  2. computer – standard variable cost
  3. ISP – US$240 per year.
  4. website construction US$1,500 to $2,500 (initial set up)
  5. domain name US$20 per year
  6. website hosting – US$200 to 300 per year
  7. website traffic US$nil to infinity (whatever the budget will allow)

To summarize, without the initial cost of a telephone line or a computer, the minimum cost of a commercial site is in the order of US$1,960. That does not account for any traffic costs. Nor does it account for an opt-in email collector or a delivery system to send digital products automatically. These can add the best part of another thousand dollars per annum to costs. However, we will only count what the basic ongoing yearly costs are as listed above. These amount to around US$460 at the bare minimum.

I stress that these costs are conservative. In reality a website owner can spend every cent he or she has on a commercial website. It is easy to do.

So, if you are looking to have your own website you now know what sort of money you are going to need to fund it and keep funding it year after year. And we haven’t even talked about the cost of anything that you might want to sell yet or the time it might take to develop digital products that can be downloaded from the website to a consumer.

If you are a web-surfer wanting everything free you now know why everything simply cannot be free.

Many website owners are very generous with what they provide free of charge. Just don’t expect them to give you everything for nothing. If you do then your favorite site may be out of business the next time you go to visit it. If you see something that you want then buy it. Very little in this world is free – somebody, somewhere has to pay. Something is free to you only if you do not have to pay for it.

Website owners can display this article at their own sites to explain why not everything can be free to the many visitors who expect just that. Perhaps it could be listed under a heading like: “Why Not Everything At This Website Can Be Free.”

Now Joe and Mary Websurfer will understand the costs that the average website owner has to pay before even one sale is made.

This article comes with reprint rights providing no changes are made and the resource box below accompanies it.

How to Become a Nurse Entrepreneur And Experience Real Freedom

You know you want more freedom and flexibility but you are unsure how to get there. You have a great idea but you don’t know how to turn it into a viable business. You dream about owning your own business.

But then the years go by and you still haven’t taken action.

You find yourself still in the same old nursing job, maybe even feeling a little burnt out and frustrated.

You’re just mystified! You don’t know where to start.

So what do you do to stop feeling so stuck?

Here’s How You Can Stop Feeling Stuck and Get Started as a Nurse Entrepreneur

1. Consider Your Background

Do you have at least 5 years of nursing experience? Having some nursing experience can be very helpful when you are setting out to be a nurse entrepreneur. This experience gives you the skills you need and also helps you determine a specialty for your nurse entrepreneur business.

2. Research Various Nurse Entrepreneur Opportunities

Reviewing roles other nurses have pursued in setting up their nurse entrepreneur business can provide you with some ideas of what might work for you in your location. There are well over 20 nurse entrepreneur opportunities and more crop up every day. Some of these opportunities include: case manager, legal nurse consultant, foot care nurse, life care planner, nutrition and weight loss consultant, cruise nurse, and many more.

Look for websites about nurse entrepreneurs. Read blogs and articles to get ideas about what others are doing or where there might even be an unmet need for a new nurse entrepreneur business.

3. Find your Target Audience (Customers)

Know where to find the people who are going to buy your nurse entrepreneur products or services. Ideally you want to be able to find your customers in groups. If you can find them in organizations, groups, educational institutions, types of employment, or social groups your sales and marketing will be much easier. Trying to sell to your target market one at a time is expensive and time-consuming. However, you need to know where to find your target audience before starting your business.

4. Create Your Business

Now is the time to decide on a business structure, business name, logo, website name, get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for tax purposes, determine what insurance you will need and where to get it, and create your business plan. Many US Small Business Administration offices offer training on starting a business. If you aren’t in the US, many countries have something comparable that offer assistance in starting a business. You can also get lots of information from the SBA website even if you aren’t living in the US.

5. Follow Your Plan

Now that you have created your plan, follow it. You have plotted your course.

Take action every day. Even if you haven’t quit your full-time or part-time nursing position. Take a step every day that is part of your plan to move you closer to your dream.

Down the road you will enjoy the excitement of owning your own business because of the steps you took today. Don’t lose sight of the dream because this is what pulls you forward. It is a lot more enjoyable to be pulled forward than to be running away from something.

How To Run Your Home Business Like A Real Business

Many people dream of being able to work from home. This article has all the information you need to get started with your home business.

Make sure you keep accurate records of all your home business activity. It’s easy to put off pesky record-keeping tasks till you feel like doing them, but strive to keep everything pertaining to your business up-to-date so that you won’t be confused and stressed out later on.

Develop the discipline to set aside a certain amount of your earnings to pay income taxes. Even though home business owners get a decent number of tax write-offs, there is a very good chance that you will still need to pay something to the tax man. Make sure to set aside a portion each month to avoid taking a huge cash-flow hit all in one month.

Make sure you create a mailing list as your home based business grows. Be sure to have communication below spam levels. Mailing lists are perfect for announcing sales and special events within your company. Some businesses use the mailing list to circulate miscellaneous articles that contain relevant information. Add a signup area on your website for people to join your list.

Attend seminars that discuss how to start a home business. The Small Business Adminstration is one organization that offers such seminars free of charge. Look online for other organizations offering seminars or classes in your area. Be wary of anyone offering a seminar that promises dramatic results in a very short time frame. Starting and running any business takes time, effort and dedication.

Determine how much it costs to make your product if you run a home business. You should charge others twice this amount for wholesale and twice the amount of wholesale for retail. If you do not have an accurate estimate of how much it costs for your product, you will not be able to charge others the correct amount.

Starting a home business can often seem to be a daunting task, but by organizing yourself beforehand you will have more chance for success. The very first thing you should do is to sit down, and write out a step by step plan for how you can implement your business. This will help you to know what to do next.

When you are ready to write a business plan for your new business, get some help from experts. This does not mean that you have to spend hundreds of dollars to hire a business consultant. You can find many books in the library, containing sample business plans for every type of business imaginable. You can also find samples from online resources.

When starting your home business you will want to go the post office and get a PO Box for mail that is sent to the business. There are a lot of crazy people in the world and you do not want to invite them to your front door by having your home address as the mailing address for your business. A PO Box is a safe and affordable way to avoid hassles.

As this article has shown you, there are quite a few things that you’re able to do to make working at home successful for you. Keep what you’ve just learned in mind as you go about your business. Best wishes for your home business!

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