Wednesday, December 26, 2018

3 Lessons from Pushing 61.29% Further

Sometimes we need to do crazy things to learn, to live, and to better love.

I did just that in October by running a 50-mile race – something I never dreamed I would do. Well, maybe in a nightmare!

Prior to this, the longest distance I covered was 50K or roughly 31 miles. So this was a considerable stretch from any semblance of a comfort zone. 61.29% of a stretch to be exact.

Here are three lessons that I learned.

1. BHAGs rock

In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins describes the setting of large, sometimes daunting organizational goals. He affectionately refers to such goals as Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs… pronounced Bee Hags).

Running this distance was truly a BHAG for me.

I set this BHAG almost on a whim 2 years prior at the start of the same race. The year of BHAG declaration I was competing as part of a relay team splitting the distance. It was accidental, but essential for me to set this goal with a proper amount of lead-time to be able to build for it – mostly mentally, but physically too.

Another important piece of this was to declare and share my BHAG with others. I did this from day one in a very specific, no wiggle room way – I WILL complete the Fall 50 solo in 2018. Declaring created sound accountability. Sharing created a channel of encouragement and support. 

2. Small goals get the job done

Though the presence of the BHAG provided the inspiration to get to the start line, it meant little when it came to executing on race day. Small goals dominated my mind.

What began as simple task mantras like get dressed and get started, or relax and get to the next aid station turned even more short-term as the race progressed.

Thinking one-mile marker at a time got me through the first three quarters of the race. However, the final heart, thigh, and gut wrenching quarter consisted of a different variety of thoughts… just make it to that tree... or get your ass to the mailbox…. or make it to that curve in the road and you can stop.

Fortunately, I never stopped!

Any deep thoughts of the overall distance would have crushed me many times during the race. The keys to executing on the BHAG jingle on a ring of many unique, tiny goals looped together.

To be completely honest, the aid station chocolate chip cookies helped a lot too :) One cookie at a time!

3. Present moment thinking frees & allows

After the race, many people asked how it was? My consistent answer - it was good, beer and pizza please!

I didn’t really remember a lot of the race in detail due to being so focused on the present moment while getting it done. Sure, pain was present… but simply embraced as part of the experience. The weather was a total shit show… but was merely conditions that I needed to outmuscle.

I did not have energy to focus on the past or the future. I could only contend with the exact moment I was in.

I couldn’t worry about what I ate yesterday and how it might affect me.

I couldn’t anticipate how sore I was going to be on Monday.

I couldn’t obsess about whether I trained enough.

I couldn’t worry about the weather forecast for the afternoon.

It was absolutely freeing to be completely in the moment. Present moment thinking was not just a luxury... it was a vital, unexpected ingredient needed to accomplish the feat. Allowing my mind to spend time unnecessarily in the past would have caused doubt. While allowing it to drift into the future would have caused anxiety.
One more note

There is one additional 4th lesson that fits somewhere in here, but I’m not going to try to weave it into any of the above.

Kind gestures from others helped me persevere and practice gratitude along the way. 

There was the man at the halfway mark who gave me his hands warmers just as doubt was creeping in. And the fellow runner that made me laugh through his jovial banter with family at a late race aid station. Then there was the course volunteer that pointed us home on the last turn of the course and graciously agreed to my request for a hug. Bless her! And finally, there was my loving wife telling me how f'ing proud of me she was with tears in her eyes.

Sometimes it takes every ounce of kindness from others to get us safely to where we need to be. This was certainly true on this day... and more recognizable because of the circumstances. One of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly, calls such events holy moments. Too often, I'm not aware or appreciative of these holy moment gifts that others bless me with on a daily basis. I’m sure you can relate.
This day I noticed.


So, I walk away from these 50 miles a bit wiser, and sincerely hope my experience can help you.

Now, you can ignore all of the words above and walk away with these concise takeaways…

  1. Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals set your destination (to learn)
  2. Small goals and present moment thinking provide the fuel (to live).
  3. The holy moment kindness in each of us, when extended to others, keeps us from falling asleep at the wheel (to better love).

Authored by: Mark Cumicek 

Mark is the Engagement & Operations Leader for Motion Connected. He provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values. He loves helping people thrive and grow!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Why Being Busy is NOT a Good Reason to Skip a Workout

I had an extremely full day. As I drove home, my nerves were on fire and my patience was short. Between processing the day’s events and foreshadowing a busy evening, my stress level was rising.

My first reaction was to scratch the planned pre-dinner jog from my agenda. After all, I truly had too much going on to waste my precious time out on a trail. Deep down, I knew better. This type of activity was exactly what I needed.

As I entered the house, the distractions and excuses inundated me. My instinct again moved towards ditching the workout. Fortunately, I was able to overcome the objections, get situated in my shoes, shorts, and t-shirt, and get out the door.

I managed to squeeze physical activity in between the BU and SY of busy.

The result?

I returned home with a clear mind and the words too busy evaporated with the sweat.

The day’s events were sorted and rationalized.

The evening’s agenda suddenly became easily tolerable and full of enjoyable endeavors that previously appeared gut-wrenching.

My outlook on tomorrow also changed from anxious to excited anticipation. My calendar was transformed from way too busy to an invigorating full day ahead.

The takeaway…

Though life gets chaotic and our schedules are often so full they can overwhelm, don’t forgo physical activity. Give it the priority it deserves. Doing so will ALWAYS reflect abundantly on your productivity, your attitude, and your gratitude.

Being on the move has a magical way of bringing order to chaos and optimism to a tireless schedule.

Whether it’s a 10-minute walk, a 10-kilometer run, or 10-mile bike ride, don’t make it the convenient scratch from your agenda. Instead, find a way to make it happen!

Your stress-level, your schedule, your coworkers, and your family will thank you for the investment.

Authored by:

Mark Cumicek 
Engagement & Operations Leader

Mark helps Motion Connected bring energy and action to their strategy. He loves helping people grow and thrive along the way! Mark provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Dangers of NOT doing Workplace Wellness

One of the biggest arguments against investing in workplace wellness is “We don’t know if there is a return on investment (ROI) in wellness.” 

It makes sense, since wellness solutions are rarely free - whether you are paying for a dedicated wellness coordinator, biometrics, coaching, a platform, devices, education and so on. It’s logical to wonder what will come in return for those dollars spent.


What happens if instead, you to forget calculating a hard ROI and solely focus on what happens if a company does nothing to improve the health of the employee population?

What costs are you guaranteeing the organization if you don’t intervene? Or said another way, what is your return on lack of investment? (ROLOI)

Let’s start with calculating the cost of physical inactivity the workforce.

A study in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases showed that inactive adults spent $1,313 more in annual health care expenditures than active adults. The study also showed that 34% of the participants fell into this category. (1)

The cost of the physical inactivity for a 100-person group would then total $1313 x 34 = $44,642.

We can also look specifically at the costs of elevated BMI or obesity, which is one of the biggest drivers of healthcare costs and preventable chronic diseases. (2) Data from the CDC shows that the medical cost for people who have obesity is $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. The CDC also states that the prevalence of obesity is 39.8%.

Going back to our 100-person group example, the cost of obesity would cost the organization an additional $56,874 per year.

Though we start to get into some overlap of risks here are a couple more statistics:

  • Adults with high blood pressure are estimated to pay $1,920 more in annual costs than those without normal blood pressure at a prevalence rate of 36.9% or $70,848 for our 100-person group (3)
  • Adults of working age (24-65) spend about $9,600 on average per year treating their diabetes at a prevalence rate of 25% equaling $240,000 for our 100-person group (4)

The data here clearly shows that a 100-person group would cost over $150,000 per year in health care expenditure. So if your organization avoids a wellness program that targets lifestyle diseases like physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes you can guarantee you’ll be writing a check for that amount, or more.

It’s time to intervene with that cost and negative trend line.

Here’s a huge positive we have to offer – effective wellness doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

You can make a dent in that check by focusing on basic initiatives that have broad impact. For example, instead of bringing in speakers on maintaining blood pressure, running educational campaigns, or directing participants into coaching for their blood pressure, consider a companywide activity program that can engage the masses while targeting many risk factors.

Not only would motivating physical activity go a long way in cutting down the $1,313 average amount of annual expenditure for physically inactive participants, but it would help with metabolic measures, high blood pressure and weight. It doesn’t end there, it would help employees with healthy measures remain in the healthy category.

And there’s more… it could also help employees to sleep better, stress less, and improve their mood. This mean higher productivity and happiness!

What would a simple, effective wellness program cost our 100-person company? Motion Connected’s best practice, turnkey and results-orientated Selectproduct would be $3,100 annually. A palatable investment with the possibility of impacting the greater than $150,000 expenditures on lifestyle diseases.

It comes down to two choices:

$3,100 or $150,000?

Do nothing or wisely wager a small investment in your people and their health?

The ROI argument is a complicated one. The ROLOI argument is more relevant and more urgent.

Do you believe in ROLOI? Please share your thoughts.

Sarah Troup
Director, Wellness Strategy
Sarah has over 10 years of experience helping employers, healthcare systems and Brokers implement engaging wellness programs that drive positive health outcomes.

1. Carlson, Susan A., Fulton, Janet E., Pratt, Michael, Yang, Zhou, Adams, Kathleen. Inadequate Physical Activity and Health Care Expenditures in the United States; Progress in Cardiovascular Disease 57. 2015;315-323

Friday, July 27, 2018

How to Make Physical Activity a Cornerstone of Your Leadership Style

Endless stressful hours. Little time for exercise. Bulging waistline.

This does not need to be the recipe for “success” as an effective leader. Instead, by intentionally making physical activity a core part of your leadership approach and taking care of yourself, you can do an even better job taking care of others.

Here are a few ways to weave activity into your workday and leadership style.

Walking meetings

Take a few minutes and dissect your calendar for today. Any meetings that you could take out the door and handle on the move?

The walking meeting is a very healthy way to multitask – the meeting gets done while you and your colleagues get some steps in. I particularly find success in having 1x1 meetings on the go. It’s a great way to connect with your team members in a comfortable, conversational way.


We often view a mid-day walk as a refreshing break from our work. This is a fantastic, carefree way to spend a walk!

However, don’t be afraid to designate a walk as a purposeful tool in your workday. If you’re like me, you sometimes need a change of environment to help you think through topics of magnitude.

Have a difficult decision on your mind? Lace up your shoes and get out the door! The trifecta of moving, thinking, and soaking in nature tends to spark increased clarity, creativity, and confidence.

Give it a try. Declare a working walk with a prescribed issue to solve or decision to ponder. Then, get going and get thinking. Get ready to be surprised. Ideas and answers that hide in the corners of your office find a way out with a dose of movement and some fresh air.

Take care of yourself

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

We’ve all heard this quote before.

As leaders, it’s easy to dismiss care of self in exchange for solving business issues or helping develop talent. Keep in mind that physical activity is a very effective way to keep your cup full and fresh.

“Selfishly” investing a small amount of time each week on your physical well-being has the potential to make you a more selfless leader. The time spent sharpening yourself pays dividends in energy, focus, and confidence – all critical components to be the best leader you can be.

Take care of yourself so that you can do an even better job taking care of others.

From time management to better meetings. From strategic thinking to better relationships. Physical activity is a go-to, often underutilized leadership tool.

Being intentional about incorporating this tool into your daily approach will make you a better leader… and a prime example of how wellness and work successfully coexist in your organization.


Mark Cumicek 
Engagement & Operations Leader

Mark helps Motion Connected bring energy and action to their strategy. He loves helping people grow and thrive along the way! Mark provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

We're Hiring! Wellness Engagement Specialist / Customer Care Advisor


This dynamic position will split time between two roles – both of which are critical to helping partner organizations build a healthier tomorrow.

The first role, Wellness Engagement Specialist, is focused on supporting our new and existing clients with the design and implementation of their wellness programming while leveraging our myInertia platform and related products and services. This includes helping an assigned portfolio of clients most effectively engage their populations in their wellness program. 

The second role, Customer Care Advisor, is focused on actively working with a collaborative team to provide frontline, direct care and service to administrators and program participants. Providing friendly, timely, and knowledgeable care is a key differentiator for us and vital to our future success and growth! This includes investing in continual learning to best advise our clients on account set-up, integration with top activity tracking devices, and maintaining initiatives in our unique platform to support an engaging and thriving wellness program.

This position is designed to provide learning opportunities through a variety of experiences, with the ability to grow your career with us… as we grow! Let’s build a healthier tomorrow together.

High-level Responsibilities: 
  1. Collaborate with the sales and operations teams to execute effective new client onboarding processes and current client renewal processes. 
  2. On-going management of new and existing client relationships. This may include advising on best practice wellness program and scorecard design, scorecard implementation, communication plan development and execution, and administrator support. 
  3. Own the “Challenge Calendar” development, communication, and participant assignment process. This includes identifying and implementing new Challenge ideas and process improvements. 
  4. Collaboratively contribute to our growing, cross-functional Customer Care team. This includes a primary focus on serving our wellness clients. Secondarily, with time, this may include growing an understanding of our other businesses to support seasonal spikes in demand. 
  5. Identify and implement strategies to organically grow existing client revenue and engagement while deepening our relationship with them. 
  6. Identify and implement approaches to help our entire client base more effectively reach higher levels of engagement. This includes hands-on involvement in designing and developing communication pieces and educational modules. 
  7. Assist with activity device fulfillment and service as needed. 
  8. Professionally and positively represent Motion Connected at trade shows, in the health & wellness industry, and in the local community. 
  9. Active and engaged participation in team meetings. 

Expectations and Competencies: 
  1. Takes to heart and consistently personifies our guiding principles: 
    • We Care. 
    • We Own. 
    • We Deliver. 
  2. Exudes trust, ownership, and follow-through. 
  3. Consistently shares good energy in the office environment. 
  4. Driven to take action beyond the status quo with a mindset of continuous improvement. 
  5. Demonstrates a consistently positive attitude, outlook, and demeanor. 
  6. Acts with a strong sense of personal accountability - no complaining, blaming, and excuses. 
  7. Ability to act as the “calm in the storm” with an I got this attitude. 
  8. Proven ability to navigate an environment of growth and ongoing change – includes dealing well with ambiguity and shifting priorities. 
  9. Ability to comfortably grasp technology and help others learn to use technology. 
  10. Embraces and thrives in a work environment built around computers and technology – this includes a comfort with use of email, phone, and virtual meetings as main sources of client interaction. 
  11. Actively and intentionally “creates moments” with our clients that lead to satisfaction, foster a forgiving nature when things don’t go perfectly, and lead to referral business. 
  12. Not afraid of a good mind-clearing, energy-inducing walk or a walking meeting with colleagues!
If you are interested in exploring this opportunity further, please submit a cover letter and your resume to Mark at

Monday, July 9, 2018

Is Your Wellness Program Mushed Bread?

Everyday employers look to workplace wellness programs to control healthcare costs, improve employee morale and boost overall productivity.

The problem is, the program approach tends to be off-base. Employers offer a one-time health risk assessment (HRA), or an expensive biometric screening + dollar incentive and wait for the results listed above.

We find this approach is like cutting bread with a spoon. It leaves you with mushed bread and lack luster results.

While HRAs & Biometrics can have a place in wellness, they shouldn’t be the beginning and the end of it. 

Why doesn’t this type of approach work? It boils down to a few fundamental issues:

1. HRA and Biometrics don’t CHANGE behavior

They only allow the employee to become aware of the problem. This approach doesn’t offer them the motivational tools to make changes to their daily lifestyle.

2. It doesn't improve morale

When was the last time you heard employees chat about the riveting HRA they just completed? Your wellness program needs initiatives that can spark conversation and comradery between employees.

3. It's not a year-round program

In a matter of 20 minutes, an employee can earn significant dollars for an entire year with a Biometric or HRA.

The truth is, improving and maintaining health is a result of the choices that are made minute-by -minute and day-by-day. How can taking a biometric help keep us on track throughout the year as we face the choices of what to eat, whether to exercise, staying awake another hour and so on. Year-round programming that engages more than the same group of people can impact those choices on a daily basis.

4. It doesn't factor in environment and culture

As we face these tough choices during our work hours, the unhealthy choice is often encouraged by the work environment: poor food choices, no options for movement,limited flex-time,and leaders not supporting healthy options.

So, how can you bring more meaningful results to wellness?

By focusing the attention on building a year-round program with strategic, well-intentioned goals, and behavior changing initiatives you can start to see a visible change in your culture and the health of your individuals.

Or, said another way, by cutting your bread with a knife rather than a spoon, we’re confident you’ll bring more meaning to your wellness program.

Need help getting started? Download our checklist to meaningful wellness to see what strategies and initiatives can drive real change.

Monday, April 30, 2018

3 Ways to Give Your Workplace a Positivity Makeover

We all like working in an environment that radiates positive vibes. 

In addition to making us feel warm and energized, uplifting environments also provide fertile ground for growing engagement and innovation. All keys to remaining competitive in today’s market.

But it can be hard to remain positive, or feel like you can make a difference in the current state of your culture. Luckily, there are simple ways you can contribute to the power of positivity, no matter your position.

Here are three ways to give while helping foster positivity in your organization.

1. Give Energy

When we enter a room or enter a conversation, we either give energy or take energy from those we interact with. Which we choose is something that is totally within our control. 

I prefer to be around people that share their good energy. How about you?

The opposite end of the spectrum is an “energy vampire” who thrives on sucking the energy from others.

So ask yourself: are you a giver of energy or an “energy vampire?” 

Try to be aware of your energy give and take. Find yourself being negative? Take a breath and refocus on the power of good energy.

2. Give Back

In the book Tuesdays with Morrie, Professor Morrie Schwartz shares the following nugget of wisdom with his student Mitch Albom, “Giving is living.”

The premise of the thought is that giving to others makes our life all the richer.

You can transfer this premise to your organization for the same effect.

By rallying around a chartable project you can bring your people together in a spirit of positivity. That positivity will easily transcend the project and create an additional light in your workplace.

Foster a core value of investing time, treasure, and talent to the greater good and watch the refreshing impact it has on your culture.

3. Give Praise

Sadly, leadership guru Dan Rockwell reports that 37% of managers do not share positive feedback with their employees. 

1 in 3 managers are only sharing the negative with their team members! This is troubling.

We can’t expect positivity to rise from environments that are absent of recognition and praise.

In 2013, an article titled The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio was published. Though some of the data behind the study has been questioned over the years, the underlying message remains strong. A ratio that tilts to more positive comments than negative comments is a winner over time.

Assess your ratio with tally marks for a couple days. The findings will help you determine what action you need to take. Shoot for a minimum positive-to-negative ratio of 3-to-1.

Dish more praise and you’ll be naturally ditching negativity in the process.

Each of us can lead a positivity makeover in our homes, community, and workplace – it starts with choosing to give a little.

“Do small things with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Give Energy. Give Back. Give Praise.

Which one will you start with today?