I’ve always been heavy. Overweight. Big. Call it what you will.
Back in grade school, my mom would take me to the “husky” department to buy new pants. You know those bell-shaped curves that show your proper weight based on your height? Yup, I’ve always been “outside” the bulk of the curve.
And now, for the first time, I’m committed to losing weight and improving my overall health.
Shanny and I are participating in the Not So “Big KC” Challenge, phase two (NSBKC2). We are among 25 civic leaders who have joined Mayor Sly James and KC Chamber President and CEO Jim Heeter in phase two of this healthy living program, powered by BlueKC.
As a member of the KC Chamber Board and CEO of Blue KC’s strategic communications firm, I feel compelled to participate, show personal leadership, and support this important initiative. On a personal level, I’ll feel better, live longer and have less pain. Transcending those responsibilities, leadership simply needs to set a better example.
And that’s the purpose of this post: to educate and inspire you to move further down your own personal path toward a healthier life.
Since the NSBKC2 official kick off on February 5, I’ve substantially changed two fundamental aspects of my life: activity and diet.
“Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”
As Dori said in “Finding Nemo,” my version is “just keep moving, moving, moving…” As part of this program, I now carry a Fitbit, a small device about the size of a thumb drive. Men put it in a pants pocket and women clip it to their bra. It’s amazing technology; it tracks each step, floor, distance and calories burned. It then syncs those stats with your smartphone and uploads to the website. “They” are monitoring me. Daily. This automatic system works. Carrying the Fitbit has changed my behavior.
I now talk on my mobile phone and walk laps around my conference room (obviously when nobody else is in there!). I park far away. I take the stairs. We are supposed to walk at least 10,000 steps every single day. I’ve averaged above 10k so far, and with spring around the corner, I’m eager to continue that trend.
I’ve also started a new kind of movement I call Rhythmic Walking. It’s not really Dance Walking (see this fun video), but I walk in a serpentine pattern along with the beat of great tunes. And every time I see someone as I’m out in the ‘hood with our dog Raia, they smile. Sure, they might be laughing at me, but I choose to think they’re inspired and encouraged to do their own exercise.
Because I have chronic knee, hip and back pain, I reached out to Matt Condon and the amazing team at the Athletic & Rehabilitation Center (ARC) to see how they could help. They’re providing customized therapy to help me strengthen and stretch. If you need any kind of rehab, I strongly endorse ARC.
It’s not a diet; it’s a new food lifestyle.
Diets don’t work. They never last. Once they’re over, people go back to their old habits. That’s why this program is all about healthy living, not dieting. I’ve learned a lot about food in the last six weeks. Here are six quick tips that work for me; hopefully, they’ll resonate with you:
Eat more fish. We all know we should eat fish, but do you know why? Omega-3 oils. Yes, but what do those oils do for you? The science shows that people who eat fish three times each week have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The fish oil keeps your brain elastic. I’m eating a lot more salmon these days.
Nuts are nature’s hunger killer. I eat 1/4 cup of almonds most afternoons. Packed with protein, nuts really work.
Avoid the “great white hazards” – white flour, white rice, white potatoes and sugar. I’m eating whole grains, sweet potatoes and brown rice. Almost exclusively.
Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. No more O.J. or apple juice for me!
Stop eating when you’re full. That’s a new one for me.
Drink a lot of water. This one’s easy for me, since I’ve already given up soda.
Many of these tips come from Dr. Ann Kulze, MD, and her Eat Right for Life approach. It’s brilliant and it’s resonated with me…perhaps it will work for you. Visit her website. Read her book. Do what she says. She simplifies her philosophy into five directives:
Not once have I felt undernourished. But I have learned (for the first time) that when I’m a little hungry, that’s a good thing – my body is telling me, “I’ll burn some fat for you now.” Ahhh, music to my ears. And waist.
Obesity is horrific, pervasive and (please pardon the pun) expanding.
The obesity issue in America is horrific, and it’s particularly rampant in Kansas and Missouri, including Kansas City. Here’s a link to a quick presentation that shows the terrible trend line and the correlation to healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP.
Obesity is a business issue. This program will help stem that tide.
Special shout-out to The KC Chamber and its commitment to building an ever-better KC. I’m so proud of BlueKC and of my friend David Gentile, CEO, whose vision and commitment makes this program work, and who personally encouraged my participation. Thank you, David. Also, thanks to the terrific nutritionists, trainers and coaches at BlueKC…they’re top-notch!
When you say you will do something publicly, we all know we’re much more likely to stay the course. So, please check back with me in July when this phase is completed. But more importantly, let’s see how I’m doing in a year. Or two. Or 10.
I will succeed.
Onward and upward.Tagged ARC, BlueKC, Dr. Ann Kulze, Eric Morgenstern, Fitbit, Hitch Fit, KC Chamber, Morningstar Communications, Not So "Big KC" Challenge, Your Wellness Connection
Photo courtesy of Kansas City B-cycle
As the weather warms up and the birds start to sing…you’ll also be seeing more bikes. Kansas City B-Cycle, powered by Blue KC, is hitting the streets on March 15 for its second year in operation. Comprised of 90 bicycles and 12 downtown docking stations (B-stations) the bike share program offers a healthy and environmentally-friendly form of public transportation for short trips around the city.
Our client Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) is the main sponsor of Kansas City B-cycle, partnering with BikeWalkKC to launch the program last year. In 2012, users rode the bikes over 13,000 miles around the Kansas City metro. With a longer season this year, the B-cycle team hopes to get even more Kansas City residents and visitors to the city to try the system. B-cycles are available until November, 7 days a week from 5 a.m. to midnight. B-stations are available all over downtown, from River Market to the Crossroads to Union Station.
Bike share is a great way to lower your carbon footprint, burn calories and eliminate the need to find a parking spot. According to Blue KC, riders can easily burn 300 calories with two half-hour trips between destinations.
Kansas City B-cycle is launching during rumored temperatures of 70 degrees on the 15th—a perfect time to ditch the car for fresh air and a bicycle. For information on pricing, maps of the B-stations and more visit kansascity.bcycle.com.Tagged bike share, Blue KC, Kansas City B-cycle, Morningstar Communications
This week I had the pleasure of learning about tourism in Kansas City during a task force for the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership program. A recurring theme through all of the speakers was that we Kansas Citians are too modest. We have so many great attractions in our region and our humble Midwestern attitude can be our greatest obstacle to letting others now how truly great our city is.
So, I’m taking this opportunity to brag about (or market!) KC. Whether you are visiting KC, sharing your city with friends and family, or enjoying a “staycation,” here are my recommendations for a get-away in our amazing city:
Surround yourself with creativity. They don’t call Kansas City “America’s Creative Crossroads” for nothing. From First Fridays to the Nelson-Atkins Museum to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and Sprint Center, art in all its forms is a focal point of KC’s culture.
Scream a little! If you like a little adventure in your life, head to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. I myself enjoy the Patriot rollercoaster and have been known to shriek loudly while riding the Detonator.
Shop ‘til you drop. While the Country Club Plaza is one of our most recognizable shopping locations, and for good reason, Town Center Plaza in Leawood, Kan., and the Legends at Village West in Kansas City, Kan., also offer great shopping opportunities.
Step back in time. Check out the National World War I Museum. After entering across a glass bridge showcasing a sea of 9,000 red poppies, each representing a thousand combatant fatalities, you’ll be immersed in history, while viewing planes, tanks, advertisements, uniforms and more.
I could go on but instead I’ll pose the question to you. What KC attractions do you brag about?
For more information on what to do in KC, go to VisitKC.com.Tagged Centurions Leadership Program, First Fridays, Kansas City, Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City tourism, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Midwest, National World War I Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Oceans of Fun, Sprint Center, Tricia Jaworski, Worlds of Fun
I volunteer on a leadership development committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. As part of our committee responsibilities the secretary, Sarah Beren, who happens to be an English teacher, assigned the book “Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities by Dr. Erica Brown.” While I was reading my assignment, I was struck by how much of what Dr. Brown advocates is relevant to leading a business. Dr. Brown uses Maimonides teachings to suggest that effective leaders need these seven attributes:
From a business perspective, I would modify these slightly. Replace Fear of God with Integrity, and Disdain of Financial Gain to Disdain for Ill-Gotten Financial Gains, then I believe that you have a blueprint for a successful business leader.
Ironically, the next day I read “Lincoln’s School of Management” in the New York Times. As Nancy Koehn said, “Lincoln’s presidency, at a moment of great moral passion in the country’s history, is a study in high-caliber leadership.” For years CEOs have used Lincoln’s experiences to inspire them to greatness.
Today the lessons of Lincoln are as relevant as ever. “They demonstrate the importance of resilience, forbearance, emotional intelligence, thoughtful listening and the consideration of all sides of an argument. They also show the value of staying true to a larger mission.”
The overlap between the two philosophies is uncanny.
And then on Monday, I learned that the “first lady of Kansas City,” Adele Hall, had passed. She took the best from both of these philosophies. She epitomized high caliber leadership. She was a gracious and gentle soul, who could move mountains. She dedicated her life to making the world a better place, and because of the quality of her leadership, her legacy will continue for many years to come.
May her memory be for a blessing. And an inspiration for us all.Tagged Adele Hall, Community Leadership, Leadership, Lincoln, Maimonides, Morningstar Communications, Shanny Morgenstern
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Shawnee and Kansas City Kansas Area Chambers of Commerce Joint Luncheon on how to establish and strengthen lasting connections through intentional networking. This opportunity helped me better define networking and re-think how to make lasting connections in today’s day and age. Here are a few highlights:
What networking is all about
I often see people go to a networking event for the purpose of receiving career advice. While receiving career advice is beneficial for the person on the receiving end, it’s not the same as networking.
Here is my preferred definition of networking:
Networking – Building or strengthening personal relationships with no pre-determined end-in-mind, which becomes a win-win for both people.
You might be thinking, “Where do we start?”
Start with the concept of ‘Share/Get’
Come prepared when you attend a networking event. Knowing what you want to share and what you want to get will help you succeed at making connections. (I’ve written about this in a previous post on networking.) Walk in with three things you want to share. That way, when someone asks, “How are you?” you will have a better answer than, “Fine.” I usually reply with, “Excellent,” then say something interesting to spur conversation – “I just went to Seasons 52. Have you been there? It’s great!” The topic doesn’t have to be business-related – you may be looking for a house painter, or want information about where to take your teenage niece when she visits. It’s easy to get to know someone when asking for referrals and suggestions.
Make one stretch networking goal each month
We all like to socialize with friends, but networking requires us to get out of that comfort zone. To truly make the most out of networking, we should give ourselves a stretch goal. Make a list of key people you want to get to know, and then have the courage to reach out to them one at a time. Make sure you think in terms of quality, not quantity. It’s all about making a few really good connections, not just gathering 30 business cards.
A lesson learned on being memorable
Once when I was at a networking event, I met a lady on my target list I really wanted to meet. I was so excited to finally meet her. I followed up with a phone call the next day and said, “Hi, this is Eric. It was so nice meeting you last night…” And she stopped me to say she didn’t remember meeting me. I was hugely disappointed. However, it taught me a lesson that you must be memorable. And be memorable for something good.
It’s not who you know…it’s who knows you
We hire people we know. For everything else, we seem to listen to other people. When deciding whether or not to see a certain movie, we used to listen to two people – Siskel and Ebert. Now we use Rotten Tomatoes, Trip Adviser, Urban Spoon etc., and we’re listening to recommendations from hundreds of people we don’t know. Yet, when it comes to hiring, we still hire people we know.
Lasting connections generate referrals
At Morningstar Communications, all it took was an Excel spreadsheet for us to track all of our new clients to see 94 percent of our new business comes to us through referrals. Build relationships, and when someone needs something, they’ll call you. When networking, realize the relationships that matter go beyond the initial interaction. They offer lifetime value. That’s why we work with each other to accomplish goals.
Intentional networking is essential to establishing and strengthening lasting connections. It builds your personal and company brand by helping you expand your reach and connection to potential partners and clients.
Onward and upward.Tagged Community Involvement, Connections, Eric Morgenstern, Hand-Written Notes, LinkedIn, Morningstar Communications, Networking
What has 90 bikes, 12 docking stations and is coming soon to downtown KC? Kansas City B-cycle! On July 3, volunteers will pedal the new bikes over the Heart of America bridge into downtown—launching bike share right in time for the All Star Game.
More than 200 cities around the world have bike share programs, including Paris, London, Denver, Miami and Chicago. Kansas City is launching bike share the same summer that New York City is also launching bike share.
Kansas City B-cycle offers a healthy, environmentally-friendly way to navigate the city (and save money at the gas pump). Comprised of 90 bicycles and 12 downtown docking stations, the system allows users to check out a bike at a docking station (B-station) and return it to any B-station within the system. Pricing options include daily, weekly, monthly and annual passes. Stations are located at a variety of downtown locations including the River Market, Crossroads and Union Station. Smart phone users can download the Bcycle app for maps and bike availability in real-time.
I have had the pleasure of working with the Kansas City B-cycle team since our client, Blue KC, is a major sponsor. Blue KC supports bike share for the many health benefits of cycling. Biking burns 600 cal/hr at a moderate speed and 300 cal/hr per hour at a leisurely pace.
As a downtowner and a cyclist, I can’t wait to use the system for short trips around the city and grocery store runs (the bikes come equipped with baskets!) I took the picture on the right at the newly installed B-station in my neighborhood in River Market. Can’t wait for the station to fill up with bikes after the launch on July 3!bike share, Blue KC, Holly Eckold, Kansas City, Morningstar Communications
I was proud to represent Morningstar Communications at the 2012 KC/IABC Bronze Quill Awards ceremony on May 3 at The Uptown Theatre.
The Bronze Quill Awards promote personal and professional growth and recognize excellence in the field of business communication. Various agencies and corporations around the area entered their work into the contest and, just as in years past, there were some outstanding entries.
Morningstar Communications brought home two awards for excellent client work:
Our client, Stinson Morrison Hecker, also received an award of Merit for its 2011 Holiday Greeting e-card.
The night also featured special individual awards honoring leaders in the communications community. Along with other former Arthur E. Lowell award recipients, our own Eric Morgenstern co-presented the 2012 Arthur E. Lowell award to Mike Goff, who was most recently vice president of corporate marketing for Sprint.
Thursday’s event was a great celebration acknowledging winning nominees’ hard work over the past year. It was also a wonderful networking event where I was able to meet some of the best business communicators in the city as well as spend time away from the office with my wonderful, intelligent clients and co-workers.Tagged Eric Morgenstern, KC/IABC, Meg Schulte, Morningstar Communications
As those who live in KC know, we work in a small business community where connections are invaluable. Your network can lead to new business, job opportunities and personal fulfillment. The key is finding the right networking opportunities for you.
I found an incredible opportunity in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program. Each year Centurions welcomes a new class of business professionals into its close-knit organization. I was one of those lucky people last year and I’m excited to see who will join as a member of the Class of 2014.
Centurions opened many doors for me, both professionally and personally, over the last year. In addition to gaining a network of some of the most talented professionals in our area, I’ve been exposed to Kansas City’s elite business leaders and given an insider’s perspective on the issues facing our bi-state region.
Some of my favorite memories from the year include:
If you are passionate about Kansas City, leadership, service and learning, I encourage you to apply for the program. Application packets are due by end of business on Friday, June 1, 2012. To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit http://www.centurions.org/Join-Now.aspx.Tagged Centurions Leadership Program, Morningstar Communications, Networking, Tricia Jaworski
It’s a very exciting time for Kansas City. This year Kansas City will open its first aquarium, SEA LIFE Kansas City, LEGOLAND Discovery Center is being built at Crown Center and the MLB All-Star Game in July is just around the corner. Numerous national media outlets have taken notice of this, declaring Kansas City as a global travel destination. Top recognitions include:
There are many groups in charge of marketing Kansas City. We are proud to work with several of them, including The Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, The Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association (KCCVA), amongst others. As one group representing the brand image of Kansas City, KCCVA wanted to capitalize on this great media attention and highlight the revitalization of Kansas City by enhancing its brand image and revamping its mission statement. KCCVA did just that last week when it revealed a new tourism brand and logo at its 2012 Annual Meeting. The new brand includes a new logo, identity and mission “to ignite global passion for visiting Kansas City.”
KCCVA’s new brand is not simply a logo, but rather an overall message to promote and elevate Kansas City’s status as a prime spot for conventions, meetings, tour groups, business travel and leisure travel. Tourism is vitally important to Kansas City, contributing jobs, tax dollars and a better quality of life for all of us who call this city home. In 2010, tourism generated $135 million in state taxes and $179 million in local taxes. Tourism also sustains more than 45,000 jobs throughout the Greater Kansas City area.
We as Kansas Citians need to work together to promote the brand of KC and share all of the wonderful things this city has to offer not only nationally, but also globally in 2012.Tagged Community, Design, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City, KCADC, KCCVA, Marketing, Meg Schulte, Morningstar Communications, Rebranding, Willoughby Design
For the last few years KC Business magazine has recognized “Rising Stars.” It’s an amazing group of professionals who have really made a mark on the Kansas City business community.
I was honored to be included in the 2012 Rising Stars class with 33 others. Each of the individuals has done amazing things in their career and in the community.
The biggest take away of the lovely reception was the true commitment each of us has to Kansas City. It is our time to set the stage for the next round of growth and development in our community. It is a delightful responsibility and privilege to continue to work to make Kansas City a great place to grow in career and life.
Take a few minutes to read the profiles of each of the Rising Stars, there is an abundance of talent in our area in so many industries and organizations. Kudos to each of the Rising Stars. Can’t wait to see what everyone does next.Tagged Kansas City, KC Business magazine, Morningstar Communications, Rachel Spear, Rising Stars