The first time I met Jim, we did not make eye contact.
We couldn’t. He wouldn’t look up.
He came into my waiting room, looking for a supplement because his doctor was out of stock. Julie was happy to help him. Then, she invited him to our Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner, which happened to be scheduled for that Thursday night. He thanked her without looking up, took his product, and left.
The next night, lo and behold, he was there. He even brought a dish to share. He didn’t talk to anyone (at least he didn’t engage anyone in conversation) but he was in a room full of people and I figured that had to be a victory. Come to find out, his wife had dropped him off and left.
The next month, when my friend, Dr. Weiss was speaking, he appeared again.
Relational Wellness In Full Bloom
The next month, when we brought Jan Etzel in to talk about gardening, he appeared again. But this time it was different. It was like watching a flower bloom. He was actively engaging with the others in the room.
The next month, and each month thereafter, he was there, participating in the discussion, smiling, and chatting with people.
Something had shifted in his mind. I don’t know exactly what or when it happened, but I was so pleased to see him come out of his shell. Today, you might say he’s a leader in the group, making others feel welcome.
And it wasn’t just a mental or emotional transformation. I got him on a 28-day detox cleanse and he lost over 35 pounds! It was like his body was manifesting on the outside what his soul had gone through on the inside.
Wellness Is More Than A Physical Condition
As a chiropractor and wellness coach going on 26 years in practice, I’ve learned that wellness is more than a straight spine and a clean diet. Wellness in the body requires wellness in the soul and spirit, but it also requires wellness in your relationships, work, hobbies, and finances. If any one part of your life is less than well, all the parts suffer with it.
I got involved with Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones Project several years ago because of the fascinating research they had done on the keys to longevity in different cultures around the world. Southwest Florida has a somewhat-higher-than-normal median age (to put it diplomatically), so learning the secrets to enjoying good health in your 80s, 90s, and over 100 years old is a worthwhile study. I’m so pleased that I’m not the only one bringing this message to this area.
All that to say this: of the nine lifestyle characteristics that make up the Blue Zones’ “Power 9” of longevity, five are mental/ emotional/ relational, including two of the top three. So for me as a healthcare provider to only focus on spinal health, diet, or movement would miss the point. If we want to experience wellness, we need to pursue wholeness or wellness in every area. Loneliness will slowly destroy your health, even if you are constantly surrounded by people.
In Jim’s case, what I was witnessing was wellness manifesting in his social life – his connectivity with others.
No Man Is An Island
We’ve all heard the expression, “No man is an island.” It’s absolutely true. In fact, there are piles of research growing daily that tie social isolation to stress, depression, fear, anxiety, and the physical diseases that are tied to those emotional issues.
We were not created to live alone, and I don’t just mean occupying a space alone. I’m talking about living your whole day, day after day, without connecting with other humans in a meaningful way. You can work in a crowded supermarket and still be isolated if you don’t know how to connect with other people. I see it all the time. Naples is too big of a city with way too many social networking opportunities for anyone to be isolated.
Connectivity Is A Conscious Choice You Must Make
One of my good friends moved his family out of state to a brand new town a few years ago. They literally arrived in their new neighborhood sight-unseen. The first several months were very difficult for all of them. Nobody fit in, especially his teenagers. But there came a moment when the kids decided that enough was enough. They started attending youth groups and helping the neighbors with projects like lawn care on dog sitting. Then they volunteered at the community center, and when they heard about people moving into town, they were the first ones on site to unload the moving trucks. Over time, they opened themselves up to new opportunities by connecting with the people around them. One of the kids received a job offer from a local business based on nothing but a personal referral and a good reputation for hard work. But they had to take the initiative to not be isolated anymore.
The key is connectivity.
You can spend a fortune advertising your business or church and it won’t have the same power as good word-of-mouth from people who like working with you. Connectivity can make you rich, powerful, and influential.
Connectivity Is A Key To Success, Too
This leads me to my big announcement for this “Wellness Wednesday,” but first, I want to give you some context for why it’s such a big deal to me.
Here in Naples, we have every economic bracket represented, from deep poverty to the highest .01% of all human wealth. In my networking around town, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some amazing people in all economic brackets (and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve met some real turkeys at all economic levels). And yes, if you’re wondering, I have gotten to work with some celebrities and some very wealthy individuals as my patients. If I were to say their names here, you would probably recognize them.
In these interactions, I have observed something. While you can become rich and famous very quickly without character, the people I’ve met who have achieved high levels of success and sustained that success over a long period of time were people of character and value. I think it was leadership coach John Maxwell who said, “talent can take you to high places, but only character can keep you there.” So, when I meet someone who has achieved a long track record of success, especially in business, I pay attention to what they say and do. If I want their results, I need to learn from their experience. More often than not, I find them to be gracious and open.
My Big Announcement
It has been my distinct honor and privilege to get to know Charlie Eitel.
That name might not mean anything to you, unless you read the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Eitel has been the CEO of six major, international corporations. He turned at least one of them around and brought it back from the brink of disaster. He’s written several books on leadership. His children are successful in their respective fields. Every time I visit with him, I learn something I can apply in my own life.
But what is most impressive to me is that, when he comes in, he’s just Charlie. He’s a genuinely kind, thoughtful man who looks out for others. I believe that is what has made him successful. Some people can rule corporations with an iron fist, but they don’t last long. They drive people away. Mr. Eitel is the kind of leader that wins people over, that makes them feel special and important, and that brings out the best in others.
As I’ve read some of his books and heard him share his heart, I’ve enjoyed the stories he shares about the people he has worked with. He has been a successful leader because of his tremendous people skills – his connectivity.
Come Hear Him Speak Thursday Night
This Thursday night, it is my privilege to welcome Mr. Charlie Eitel to the Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner at my office behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road. I know I’m announcing this a little late, but I hope you will make arrangements to be there. We’ve had a fantastic season of Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinners this year, with some powerful speakers, but I believe we’re ending the season on a really high note. Mr. Eitel is a paid, professional speaker with a lifetime of wisdom and experience to draw from. He doesn’t have to be at our dinner, but he’s arranged his schedule to be here. If there is one presentation that you will want to rearrange your calendar to attend, it’s this one. Even if you missed all of the others, be sure to join us for this one.
When you hear what he has to say about connectivity and interpersonal relationships, I believe you are going to get a glimpse of what has made his so successful for so long. Take notes. I will. As always, we’ll start at 6:15 p.m. Bring a dish to share or $10 in cash. Be sure to RSVP on my Facebook page right away to make sure you get a seat. We’ve been packed to the rafters several times, and I can only imagine how many people are going to want to hear this one.
Don’t miss it.
Oh! And please take a few seconds right now to help us get the word out by sharing this week’s article. You never know who will benefit from this information.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas