Archive for fitness

On Stress and Financial Wellness

by Brad Knowles, Heritage Institutional

Let’s talk about wellness. There is financial wellness, physical wellness, emotional Brad Knowleswellness, and probably a few other wellnesses that I need to learn more about. For years, we have heard people talk about corporate wellness programs: smoking cessation programs, weight loss programs, counting calories, and earning points for activities like walking or gym memberships. Some companies that have implemented these programs have seen significant decreases in employee absenteeism and health insurance premiums plus an increase in productivity.

Not too long ago my lovely wife said that she wanted to “clean up” her diet — to eat better and eat smarter. Like all good husbands, I volunteered to join her. She had spent a considerable amount of time researching exactly how to do this. We started our venture on the first of the month and planned to “eat clean” for 30 days without cheating. I will admit, I was shocked. The food was great. I had more energy than I could ever remember having ever. By the end of the 30 days, I lost two pant sizes. I felt like a new and improved me.

In the last few months, I have started to see articles and studies that are connecting financial wellness and nutrition. Financial wellness articles have regularly discussed financial hardship is a leading cause of stress. Stress causes us to trade our normal healthy lifestyle behaviors for much less healthy behaviors. Stress can cause depression, inactivity, unhealthy food choices, binge eating and drinking, and many other things. I never considered the cause and effect relationship between financial stress and health, but it is real.

In a 2015 study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), they found that 72% of adults feel stress about money at least some of the time, and 22% experience extreme financial stress. When the stress is extreme, health suffers. Many respondents reported thinking about skipping or did skip doctor visits because of financial concerns.

Stress at home doesn’t stay at home. It invades every aspect of our lives like an unwanted house guest. It takes up mental and emotional space, it weighs a ton, and it grows like a weed. Many studies have reported that employees miss work due to financial stress. One study reported that 37% of employees in the study spent three hours or more thinking about their financial stress at work. When employees worry about their financial stresses at work, they lose focus and produc- tivity decreases.

Fortunately, Heritage Institutional has a new found focus on Financial Wellness. We are currently researching effective ways to help employees decrease their financial stress. A recent study of HR professionals said that 81% offer retirement plan education to employees, however, most do not provide any financial literacy training. We believe a solid retirement plan plus financial literacy education for employees is not only the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do. Stay tuned.

Blaze a Trail

by Aaron Jack, Vice President, Director of Development and Marketing

A large reservoir near my home in Quail Creek has hills of varied size. Perfect for sledding in the rare instance of snow in OKC, the hills also represent a great workout opportunity. There are a number of options, but I’ve been pleased to settle on one that balances distance with the challenge of a steep slope. An admitted creature of habit, since choosing my hill I always return to that same starting point. Soon after incorporating the hill into my workouts, I noticed a path was beginning to appear from my steps. Whether the grass is overgrown from the summer rain or brown from a recent freeze, I can always find my spot. I take pride in the fact my hard work has blazed a trail.IMG_4553

Walking home from a recent workout, I reflected on the leadership and legacy lesson from the hill. Our clients have become successful in many ways. With success comes responsibility, and part of that responsibility is to leave a positive impact on our surroundings once we have moved on. Each of us have the chance to blaze our own trail personally and professionally. Three quick leadership/legacy thoughts come to mind:

  • Win the Day. The only way to create impact is one step at a time. I personally grow tired of trite corporate sayings. However, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is one that stands true to the test of time. The trail on the hill began with a single step, followed by thousands more. The best chance each of us have to influence our future is the opportunity of today. Take the first step.
  • Treat People Well. A simple thing, but sometimes the most difficult principle of all. I recently enjoyed listening to Sam Presti, renowned General Manager of the OKC Thunder, talking about the Thunder’s process of evaluating collegiate players. Certainly talent and basketball ability are the top priority, but Sam also stressed the importance of character in their evaluation process. They take extra time to interview student managers and support staff at the prospect’s university. Why? Because an important part of their evaluation process is how the player treats people — not just those people in leadership positions — but especially the ones that are in subordinate positions.
  • Leadership is Influence – A favorite quote of mine is “People remember 7% of what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.” The most effective leaders understand this key principle. Influence is not given; it is earned. True leadership transcends title or position. Yes, there will be challenging times, difficult discussions, personnel issues to tackle, and family dynamics to overcome, but how we handle these tough situations defines our ability to positively influence those around us.