Dealing with Depression – Self Help

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Health & Wellness
Dealing with Depression – Self Help

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

We understand, dealing with depression can be a lonesome activity. You’re not alone in this. Depression affects millions of people at some stage of life or the other. The good news is just like any other health condition, depression can be cured with the right therapy and medication. In this article, we will explore different factors that can lead to depression and how to get help in coping with depression.

Risk Factors for Depression

The onset of depression in one’s life can rarely be traced down to one isolated factor conclusively. However, the following elements definitely play a role and can trigger depression:


A family history of heart disease or diabetes, for example, leaves the next generation a lot more susceptible to the disease. Similarly, if you have a history of depression in your previous generations, you might be at a predisposed risk of experiencing a depressive episode at some stage in your life.

Death or Grief

The passing away of a loved one is a huge pain to be dealt with in life. Losing a parent, spouse, or child can trigger serious stress, feelings of guilt, and loss of interest in daily activities.

Personal, professional or political conflict

Long-term estrangement or a complete breakdown in close-knit relationships is also considered a big risk factor for depression. Similarly, political upheaval in the form of riots or loss of life and security due to natural calamities can lead to depression.


Our experiences as children shape our adult personalities. Kids who face bullying at school or neglect and physical abuse may be at a higher risk of depression than those who don’t. Experimentation with alcohol and substance abuse also plays a role.

Social Support

Change in social structure also contributes to bouts of depression. A change in a certain work environment or relocation to a new city may induce feelings of isolation and loneliness arising from the change in the social support structure.

One or more of these factors put together can contribute to depressive episodes of varying severity, however, that might not always be the case. It’s normal to want to know what you or someone you know is experiencing, but different people react to and overcome depression differently.

Depression in Men

Although the risk factors for both genders remain the same, if you’re a man, you’re likely to experience depression differently from your female peers. Traditional upbringing and focus on what is perceived to be acceptable male behavior can put pressure on men to suppress their feelings. Men feel surmounting pressure to conform to gender norms and be the bread-winners for their families without exception. Will I be able to get a good job after graduation? Will I be able to provide a good life for my family? Will I be able to plan for my child’s education? All these questions form the root cause of mental strain that can lead to depression. Men are more likely to deal with depression at work, due to these pressures. Unlike women and children, men rarely open up to even their closest friends about these fears and insecurities.

Symptoms of depression in men

Symptoms of depression in men range from mild irritability to rage, loss of appetite and interest in work and family activities, insomnia and failure to concentrate on routine activities.

Depression in Women

If you’re a woman battling depression, chances are you’ll experience forms of the ailment that are unique to your gender. Statistics suggest that women are twice as likely as men to experience one depressive episode in their lifetime. The most commonly occurring depression in women is postpartum depression which occurs during the last trimester of childbirth and may last up to a year after. Menopausal depression is also unique to women; this condition gives rise to a sense of a loss of femininity and womanhood, thereby triggering depression. Major life changes such as marriage and childbirth can cause a change in identity and perception for women individually and those around them. Clinical depression is also a leading health risk for women, although women express it differently.

Symptoms of depression in Women

Symptoms of depression in Women range from irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, an increase in menstrual cramps, headaches, and greater fatigue as a result of depression.

Depression in Teens

Teens suffering from depression display a marked change in behavior. They tend to oversleep, exhibit extreme deviation in eating habits, propensity to indulge in irresponsible behavior such as breaking the law or experimenting with substance abuse and many similar outrageous acts. In their attempt to express their internal angst they usually opt to act out and partake in rebellious outbursts; in case of extreme situations, some even taking to violence.

Symptoms of depression in Teens

Depressed youngsters might experience periods of sadness and hopelessness; you can sense their discomfort when they express a loss of desire in socializing and interacting with friends and family.

Self Help Tips for Dealing with Depression

Dealing with depression alone can be hard for anyone. But the best and most effective way to overcome depression is to come out of isolation and seek help. If you or someone you know is trying to overcome depression, it’s natural to think of the ways in which you can get help or reach a professional. Here are some useful self-help tips for dealing with depression:

Accept Depression

The first step to solving a problem is first accepting that there is one in the first place. If your loved one is depressed, take the necessary steps to reassure them of how they feel. Make them feel included in daily activities and talk them through their episode. Enable them to be vocal about how they feel. An expression is a key to overcoming depression.

This is the first step to loving yourself; we cannot change the situation we are in but we can own the responsibility of taking care of ourselves.

Look for trends and triggers

Most depressive episodes follow a certain pattern. If you’re wondering how to help someone with depression, the best thing to do is to help them identify their triggers. If you spend enough time with the person, you’ll recognize certain instances or memories of certain people that incite anxiety and discomfort. Make a note of these and then address these pain points.

Find something to look forward to

The happiest people in the world feel positive because they have something to look forward to and be excited about. A good technique for tackling depression is to make plans and schedule things that can break the depressive cycle and bring a burst of positive reinforcement even if it’s temporary. Repeating this exercise often can yield lasting results.

Be social

As human beings, we are inherently social animals. We need to surround ourselves with people who love us, care for us and inspire us. In order to overcome depression, you should try to gather the most fun – Replace negative thoughts with positive feelings, change your “I can’t” to “I can”. You can practice reframing thoughts on Wysa.


Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. Exercising in the gym or playing a sport you love can release endorphins in your body that will refresh your mood. Most research on the subject suggests that just a little physical activity can greatly reduce the severity of depression in people in the long run.

Maintaining a routine

Setting a routine will help you feel like you are in control of yourself and the way your day is structured. For example, you can have your morning routine that includes deep breathing exercises, a good shower, and a healthy breakfast.

Try the deep breathing exercises, and energy-boosting exercises with Wysa and make a noticeable progress every day with us.

Maintaining a proper diet

Never underestimate the power of a good and well-balanced diet. Depression can cause you to eat more than usual or eating too little. Monitoring and keeping an eye on your nutrition helps maintain your internal biological parameters.

Sleep hygiene

Depression can cause sleep disturbances such as insomnia or oversleeping. It’s good to set up a fixed time for bed and follow it every day.

If you are finding it hard to sleep, you can find a gallery of sleep stories on the Wysa app that are sure to relax your mind and help you sleep better.

Taking on more responsibilities

It is quite common to involve yourself in tasks that are larger than yourself or require you to contribute to something meaningful. This will help with your feelings of low self-worth and give you validation for the work you’ve done. For example, you can take up volunteering.

Talk to a CBT trained AI Bot

With the advancement in technologies, it is possible to get help in dealing with depression through an artificial intelligence bot. These bots are trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and help reframe your thoughts towards a positive mindset.

Wysa is NHS certified and is considered among the best digital mental health app. We have an empathetic AI bot trained in CBT who help you and are available for a chat 24/7 and is completely anonymous. Start talking today.


Dealing with depression alone or dealing with someone with depression is no mean feat. But it’s completely achievable. Try to think of depression as a temporary wound on your body that you can’t see. Eventually, every wound will pale and heal; the scabs and scars will fall off and you will be new! Just remember, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. We promise. Try these self-help tips for dealing with depression and keep us posted on your progress, we’re listening.


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The following blog is provided by Dr. Rick Brinkman. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled How to Bring Out the Best In People at Their Worst that aired on April 28th, 2020.


Conflict can take many forms. It can be in your face, or passive aggressive behind the back. It can be caused by a specific context like meetings where typically assertive people talk too much while others drop out. The first step to successfully exiting a conflict or even better preventing it in the first place, is to understand why people act the way they do. In order to do that I would like to introduce you to the Lens of Understanding, from our book, “Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst.”

When you understand why people act the way they do, then you will be empowered to transform and prevent conflict behaviors. Let’s examine behavior through the Lens of Understanding. We have a green Cooperation Zone and people have 4 intents operating within them: the intent to Get Things Done, to Get Things Right, to Get Along with People, and to Get Appreciated by people. Behaviorally speaking if a person is in a Get it Done mode they will be focused on the task at hand and become more assertive to make things happen. If things are not getting done and perceive others as wasting time, then they have a tendency to go into the yellow Caution Zone and will become more controlling because if they can take over they can make things happen. Sometimes the fact that they take charge and move things forward is not a problem but a solution. That really depends on how it is done. People can also go into what we call the red Danger Zone and their behavior is more destructive and can easily become a Tank. A Tank declares martial law and runs right over you. Life is really simple to them. You are part of the solution or you are eliminated. They may rip you apart personally, but the irony is, “it’s nothing personal”. You just happen to be in the way of an end result and so must be eliminated.

However, control has other expressions. When people have suppressed anger or resentment, Sniping is often the result. At a meeting their attack is hidden in put down humor, snide remarks and sarcasm. This can be to your face or also behind your back. Sabotage and malicious gossip are also versions of this behavior. A third controlling behavior is Know-it-All. They control through knowledge because they really know a lot, but they are closed minded to everyone else’s possible contribution. In a meeting they can take the group down endless irrelevant tangents.

If we shift gears to the intent to Get it Right, we find people still focused on the task but less assertive because they must slow things down to make sure all the details are covered.   If the people around them are not paying attention to accuracy, then they can move into the yellow zone and become more perfectionist. The positive of that is all the details are covered but if they go too far into the red danger zone, they can get to a point where no one including themselves can meet their high standard and then begin to feel helpless or hopeless. When people feel helpless, Whining is the result. When people feel hopeless, Negativity results. What they both have in common is they speak in generalizations that “everything is wrong, nothing is right, and it’s always that way.” It is these generalized problems that drive everyone around them crazy, because the first step to problem solving is specifics. You can’t solve a generalization.

Other people in the face of that unattainable perfection just get frustrated and give up. That’s when you hear, “Fine, do it your way. Don’t come crying to me when it doesn’t work out.” From that point they become the Nothing person and give up.

You also get Nothing behavior from a different area of the Lens. Out of the intent to Get Along with people you get people who are friendly and helpful. Here the yellow zone is all about get approval from others. And since if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all, Nothing behavior is a common result. Agreeable Yes behavior also stems from this motivation. Out of the desire to please and get approval, people don’t consider their own needs but just say yes to whatever anyone else wants. Maybe behavior can also originate from this zone. We have all told a salesperson, “I’ll think about it.” Were you really planning on thinking about it? No, it was approval-oriented behavior. Passive aggressive behavior also originates out of this zone. They are nice to your face but become a Sniper behind the back.

Shifting mental gears to the intent to Get Appreciated by people, we find the focus is still on people but behavior tends to be more assertive because what goes hand in hand with appreciation is a desire to contribute to others. But if they are not getting the appreciation they feel they deserve, their behavior gets more attention seeking. The red zone version can be a temper tantrum or what we call the Grenade. It is different than a Tank attack in that the Tank is focused on a specific person and you know what the issue is. When a Grenade blows up they do so in 360 degrees, indiscriminately and everyone gets hit. You are more likely to hear things like, “It’s the government’s fault! That’s the problem with the world today.” and other statements that make no sense given the present circumstances. A Tank is demanding action. A Grenade is demanding attention.

What you also get out of a need for attention is another kind of Sniper; friendly fire. These are people who like you and use put down humor or teasing as a way of showing their affection. There is no ill intent, but it can still have painful consequences.

Last but not least another behavior with an extreme need for attention is Think-They-Know-it-All behavior. Here you have someone acting like they know what they are talking about, but they don’t. You get one-upmanship in this category. If you had a great vacation, they had a better one. If you were sick, they were sicker. If you had a big inauguration, they had a bigger inauguration.

Tank, Sniper, Know-it-all, Think-They-Know-it-All, Grenade, Yes person, Maybe person, Nothing person, No person, and Whiner are the top ten-problem behaviors people face. But the good news is communication is like a phone number and there is a “right number” behaviorally that you can dial that can pull people out of their stress response and back into the normal zone of behavior.

Detailed strategies for all the behaviors are beyond the scope of this article but are certainly available in the book, “Dealing With People You Can’t Stand”, published by McGraw-Hill.

Download a free Lens of Understanding and see a live presentation of the Lens of Understanding in Dr. Brinkman’s trademark Educating through Entertainment style here.


To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr. Rick Brinkman is best known for his Conscious Communication® expertise conveyed to millions of people via keynotes and trainings in his trademark Educating through Entertainment style. He has performed over 4000 programs in 18 countries. He is the coauthor of six McGraw Hill books including the 2,000,000 copy international bestseller: Dealing With People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst. Which has been translated into 25 languages. His latest book is: Dealing with Meetings You Can’t Stand, Meet Less and Do More.  His clients have included: the Astronauts at NASA, LucasFilm, Sony Pictures, the FBI, Defense Department, Lockheed Martin, Adobe and many more. He has been featured as a communication expert on CNN, the Wall St. Journal, the New York Times, and O Magazine.

Photo by Kaboompics .com

My Spy * Wonderful Story About Friendship and Love In the Most Unusual Circumstances

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My Spy * Wonderful Story About Friendship and Love In the Most Unusual Circumstances

Nine-year-old Sophie catches JJ, a hardened CIA operative, spying on her family during a routine surveillance operation. In exchange for not blowing his cover, JJ begrudgingly agrees to show the precocious girl how to become a spy. What at first seems like an easy task soon turns into a battle of wits as Sophie proves you don’t need much experience to outsmart a seasoned agent. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lindalee R. comments, “My Spy is so good because I love the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends. See her full review below.

My Spy
Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

My Spy is so good because I love the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends. Not only does JJ have a change of heart and but eventually he develops feelings for her mom.

My Spy is the story of a CIA agent who is secretly watching a family in order to try and get information connected to a big case he is on. One of the people he is watching is the little girl, Sophie, who discovers J.J. and that he is spying on her and her mom. In exchange for not revealing his secret, Sophie makes him teach her how to be a good spy.

One of my favorite parts of My Spy is when JJ goes on a date with Sophie‘s mom and starts dancing. Because his character is so serious and he’s such a large person, it’s very funny to see him trying to do all these trendy dances…because he does it so terribly! Honestly, it kind of reminded me of my dad dancing.

For those who like Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy you will love him in this movie. Chloe Coleman has a very bright acting future—she is such a kind person both on and off camera, and she has such an amazing on-camera presence.

A quick note to parents:  My Spy does contain some adult language (and in some songs played during the movie.) So while younger kids may enjoy it, parents should decide if their kids are mature enough to see a movie with moments of profanity.

My Spy is full of action, fun, comedy and love. I give My Spy 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, and adults will love it too! Available on Amazon Prime now.

Improve Your Sleep for Increased Productivity

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Improve Your Sleep for Increased Productivity

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is part of the extra blog series we are doing as encouragement in these uncertain times.  As we face added pressures of working from home, having children home from school, and being all under the same roof all the time we hope you find some tips for sleeping well.  Be sure to do some self-care so you can do your best for your family and your job.  Here is also a link to an interview on leadership fitness that may give you encouragement as well: Peak Leadership Fitness: Elevating your Leadership Game with Timothy J. Tobin.


In stressful times, it can be easy to try to burn the candle at both ends. You will want to work harder to make up for failings in your company, the economy, or at home and this can often lead to sleeping less in hopes that you’ll be more productive.

While there are ways that you can sleep less to improve your productivity, it is still important to get quality sleep because that will allow you to be more productive during your day. There are many ways that sleep, which can often feel like a luxury you don’t have time for, helps you to be more productive.

Recover from Distractions Sooner

Every working day has its distractions, from the random question of a co-worker to that urgent email that needs attention. Often what happens when these distractions come through is that you immediately forget what it was that you were working on beforehand and it takes an inordinate amount of time to return to your pressing task.

When you get the sleep that you need it will make it easier for you to get back to the important task that you were working on sooner. This helps by increasing your productivity because you can easily return to your tasks after working on a distraction.

Helps Prevent Burnout

If you’ve ever had a day where you are fed up with your job, your life, and all the little things in between, it’s probably because you are suffering from burnout. Burnout can make us all hate the things that we once loved. To reduce your chances of burnout, you need to get more effective sleep.

Sleep can help you to feel more rested and grateful for the things that you have in your life. It can help you to want to do more and feel like your work is appreciated in a way that you never knew was possible. It can also help you to feel more effective at your job.

Improves Decision Making

When you’re sleep-deprived, it can affect your decision-making skills. It can be hard to decide between what task to do, or what decision is the most effective. Decision-making becomes harder the less sleep that you get because your brain is tired and hasn’t had the time that it needs to recover from being worked tirelessly the day before.

By getting the quality sleep you need, you become able to make decisions easily. Being able to make decisions in an easier manner allows you to be more productive as these determinations are put into place sooner.  Quicker decisions allow for tasks to be completed faster making your day more productive.

Increases Memory Function

Being tired means that your brain isn’t functioning at its peak performance capabilities. To become more efficient in your day you will need to get the sleep that your mind needs to function properly. While it can be easy to try and stay awake later and wake up earlier to get more done, it’s not always the most efficient use of your time.

Taking the time to get a good night’s sleep will help your memory function faster, giving your brain the power to remember tasks quicker allowing you better performance during your day. This increases your productivity ten-fold because it allows you to rely more on your memory than in times when you didn’t get enough sleep.

Reduces Mistakes

Reducing your sleep will often increase the number of mistakes that you make during your day. Mistakes are common among people who are sleep deprived and it’s often the people that need to make fewer mistakes that choose to reduce their sleep to become more productive.

The time that you use fixing mistakes due to poor sleep habits can be easily used to enact innovative plans that create less work for you and your team. We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of having to redo a project or proposal because we read the instructions wrong or made a simple mistake that might not have occurred had we gotten better sleep.

So, what can you do to improve your sleep and be more productive?

The infographic below by SleePare helps to give ideas of things that you can try to improve your sleep routine to help you be more productive during the day.

For example, if you really want to sleep less, they offer the idea of trying to harness your natural sleep-wake clock to help you sleep less while feeling just as refreshed as you normally would. To do this you need to understand the sleep cycle and structure your sleep time to ensure that you only wake up after you’ve been through all the different cycles of sleep.

You may have experienced this by having woken up for no particular reason at 5 o’clock in the morning and feeling very refreshed. This means that you were able to sleep effectively and get all the rest that your brain and body needed without sleeping until your normal wake time. They suggest that in order to fully harness this sleep cycle you focus on going to sleep and waking up at the same time that this occurred. It will help you add hours to your day.


To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Jennifer Chonillo is a longtime sleep enthusiast and Content Marketing Specialist for Sleepare home of the mattress compare tool. In her free time she plays magic the gathering and goes on long walks with her dog.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman

Practical Advice for Businesses in Crisis – Emerging

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Practical Advice for Businesses in Crisis – Emerging

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

The following is a guest blog written by Mike Sayre.  It is a companion to the interview with Paul Gibbons titled Impact-Leading Change in the Digital Age that aired April 21st, 2020 on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future.


What to start pushing forward on as you think about emerging from this crisis. You do need to push forward!

In the a previous two article, you learned about communicating openly and honestly with your team and understanding your cash and credit resources to push forward. But what do you push forward on?

Because this blog series is meant to be both practical and tactical, I am assuming that you and your company already have a mission, vision and values that are all in alignment and are the basis for the culture of your business. If not, please check out my At C-Level blogs 2, 3 and 4 at the Innovative Leadership Institute website.

As I write this, much of the world is in some kind of lockdown status for “non-essential” businesses. A major indicator that your business is not as essential as you might like it to be, is that during the pandemic, your business was either designated as “non-essential” or your sales dropped like a rock and will take months, if not years, to recover. Whenever your sales are falling off significantly, most of the following applies as well. You always want your business to be “essential” to fulfilling the needs of your customers!

Of course, there are varying degrees of “essential” and some businesses will rebound more quickly than others. What degree of “essential” is your business?

To get a gauge on that, ask yourself, “What are people doing or buying right now instead of what we provide and, more importantly, why?

Then ask yourself,

  1. If the pandemic ends tomorrow, will they immediately come back to us as customers?
  2. If not immediately, is there something we can start doing now to incentivize them to come back sooner?
  3. Is it possible they will continue on with what they are doing now and not need us at all, or nearly as much, going forward?

In any of these three cases, it’s time to engage with your customers and your team to come up with appropriate incentives to insure they come back and as soon as possible, or come up with new directions to keep them from splintering off to those new-found alternatives…which, actually, you and your team should be doing on a regular basis anyway!

If that all sounds like Marketing 101, it is. But it is amazing how much we forget and how far away we can get from our customers in a pandemic, or when things have just been going really well for a while! Your owners, customers, employees, suppliers and communities are all depending on you and your team to be thoughtful and committed in this process!

What does the business and/or its offering need to look like to not only keep current customers, but also to attract new customers as your business emerges from your crisis? Fact is, you will need new customers to fill in for current customers who just won’t come back no matter what you do, and to grow the business and thrive again going forward. What are your competitors doing? Is that what your customers want? Is your new offering really a compelling proposition for your customer and for your business?

Sales in our profitable electronics repair business (something like $12M-$15M at the time) with customers like Oracle, HP, Xerox and IBM were in decline…a crisis for us. Our customers told us we were being excluded from new bidding processes because we only had one location, which made the shipping cost of doing business with us too expensive. To be added back to the bidder lists, we needed to add our own repair locations in Europe and Asia like our much larger global competitors. Our vision had to be “adjusted” from being “the best in the business at what we do” to being “the best in the world at what we do!” We already had an international salesperson selling our customized electronic solutions who had made some nice partnership connections for us in The Netherlands and Hong Kong. So, we cultivated those connections into relationships, raised money from investors, bought a small well-run repair business in The Netherlands, and partnered with our repair contact in Hong Kong to create a small joint venture operation there. We were then put back on the bidding lists, the repair business started growing again, and we eventually achieved our vision to be “the best in the world,” according to our largest customer! Yes, this is a much bigger story, but I think it illustrates the point.

Now that you have some ideas on how you want to emerge from this crisis, you need to focus on what will have the biggest impact for your customers and business, based on what you can actually do considering your resource availability and/or constraints.

I sometimes use a quick model to evaluate such ideas/alternatives with my team:

“Impact” can be short term or long term. So you have to consider your time horizons on each alternative.

“Resources” can be financial, expertise, people, equipment, facilities, etc. Considering all of these, how would you rate it in terms of being possible for your business to do it?

“Score” is just multiplying your two ratings. This is where your risk analysis comes in.

Idea #1 is a slam dunk for an okay impact at best.

Idea #2 would have a huge impact, but is really beyond your resources in a big way.

Idea #3 would have a sizable impact, and you have the majority of what you need…do you have the money or other less obvious resources to fill in what’s missing?

This is just one way to look at it and a place to start. The larger the potential investment, the more analysis you really need to do. If you have the resources to do more than one of the alternatives, and they all make sense strategically, redo the model by taking out the best alternative and assume those resources no longer exist. Re-rate, score, and decide.

Please don’t let any model substitute for your common sense! Your results should mirror your intuition. If not, I’d think it through again.

Now, it’s time to think about the people and capabilities in-house that can be redirected to build up new business capabilities without causing major disruption in the current business, depending on how large the challenges are in the current business.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.


About the Author

Mike Sayre has successfully piloted businesses through difficult times of crisis for over 20 years – as a CEO, COO, CFO, and/or Board Director. He is currently an independent executive leadership consultant working through Civilis Consulting and the Innovative Leadership institute, trusted partners inspiring and enabling perpetual innovation, evolution, and growth in leaders and their businesses.  If you would like to learn more or get help, please contact Mike through LinkedIn.

We’re All in this Together: But, Are We Really?

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Health & Wellness
We’re All in this Together: But, Are We Really?

We hear this phrase repeated time and again, from newscasters, public officials, politicians, and countless others. Proclaiming that “We are all in this together” is a way to stress the fact that everyone is suffering through the lock downs and social distancing, at least in those U.S. states and other countries that have implemented these measures, with the implication, of course, that no one is alone, and we will survive and recover from this pandemic together. But, every time I hear these words of support, I think of all of the people who must disagree. I wonder if they’re really saying to themselves “You have no idea what I’m going through,” or “You are not where I am and don’t try to convince me that we are all impacted the same way.” Could many people really be saying to themselves “Whenever I hear someone on TV say this, it makes me feel more distant and disconnected from everyone else”? How many of the 22 million people in the U.S. who have now applied for unemployment insurance truly believe that we will all sink or swim together?

We hear about the unequal impact of the virus, where Blacks and Latinos have a disproportionately high mortality rate when infected with the virus. Just a single case in point, referenced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in several of his many news appearances: the number of deaths for Blacks in Chicago is almost three times what their distribution is in the city’s population. This finding is shining a bright light on the incidence of chronic diseases in this group, and their increased vulnerability, (which raises other questions but that is a different conversation). Another example is illustrated by the seriously high rate of deaths in long term care facilities from COVID-19, where patients in some locations are dying so fast that facilities are unable to store or transport the bodies humanely. Additionally, we have known that those who are already immuno-compromised have a higher mortality rate when infected by the virus than those with relatively healthy immune systems. Their fear and anxiety undoubtedly is greater than the rest of the population. And then, when we hear from those with more wealth or celebrity status, saying in an obnoxious way how difficult the guidelines are to stay-at-home (or stay-on-their-yacht), can we really take seriously the feel-good, “We’re all in this together” words of encouragement?

Sad to say, but I suspect we will witness in the weeks to come more concrete examples of how the impact of the virus unevenly impacts different racial groups, socio-economically disadvantaged, medically compromised, and those in confined populations, among many others.

This short piece is not meant to disparage the wealthy or privileged, or those with more advantages so they are better able to make it through this storm. We will always have rich and poor countries and divides in populations within these countries, with sharp disparities in wealth and income, and in physical and mental health. But, trying to assure the public that we are all in this together offers false hope and false reassurances, and likely only contributes to resentment and anger among some groups. Everyone needs hope. And, we do not want to take away this hope. We all keep fighting, pushing through this together, and supporting each other, but we must remember that many, many people do not benefit from this encouragement, and merely voicing these words can have the opposite effect. Let’s not assume that “Cheer up” is helping. For some, it might be making it worse. Addressing these disparities is the real solution, but let’s not offer false pretenses that eventually it will all be better.

Until next time, thanks for reading. If you like this article, please share. And, if you have comments, please email me at jc@Livingto100.Club.

Joe Casciani, PhD


The author is a clinical and geropsychologist who has worked with older adults for over three decades. His company, the Living to 100 Club, offers resources for seniors on successful aging and managing setbacks. The tagline for the Club is “turning aging on its head” capturing the notion that age is only a number and to not allow setbacks to interfere with a positive outlook about our future. He also hosts a live radio program on Voice America, every Friday at 2pm PT.  www.Livingto100.Club.

Looking Back from 2050

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Looking Back from 2050

As we approach the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, Uncle Mark and I are keenly aware that the world we’ve been living in is unsustainable. The world-wide quarantines and stay-home orders have given the Earth a chance to breathe in a way She hasn’t been able to for decades.

From China to India, from Los Angeles to the Great Lakes, and from most of the busiest cities around the world, pictures are surfacing of air pollution disappearing as human activity virtually ceases. If the air can clear that much in just a couple of weeks, imagine what might be possible if humans curb other forms of pollution as well.

Just a couple of months ago, the biggest argument against such changes was economic. Yet, here we are, with an incredible opportunity to re-design the future.

To celebrate Earth Day and bring attention to climate solutions, we dedicated the inaugural episode of “Rise ‘n Shine! Not Just for Mornings Anymore.” to Matt Briggs, Writer, Director and Producer of “Deep Green”, an up-beat, solutions oriented documentary about what one person can do, also shares how much economic sense it makes – personally and nationally – to go green and help save our planetary Life Support System.

Part of Uncle Mark’s and my intention in creating the show at all is to help create a future vision of what’s possible, and open doors to conversations that will guide us forward.

With that in mind, we wanted to share this incredible vision of possibilities by a man who has taken on being “that one” who takes action and shows the rest of us what’s really possible.

Originally published in the Lake Oswego Story Project, the story below is a fictional look back from the year 2050. Matt wrote it in the Spring of 2016 – back when Obama was still in office (for a few more months anyway), it looked like the U.S. would be fully on board with the Paris Climate Agreement, and there was no pandemic even on the horizon.

We hope it inspires you to take a look around your home and your life to see what small changes you might be able to make. And if you need some additional ideas, or even a step-by-step plan, visit our Rise ‘n Shine Fan Club for downloads and materials that will help you get started.


Looking Back from 2050 to 2016 in Lake Oswego:

What We Did to Stop Global Warming And Save Our Life Support System For Our Children’s Children

by Matt Briggs, Director of “Deep Green”             

       It’s March 31, 2050.  I just turned 100 years old today, and  I’m riding my self-balancing electric bike through one of Lake Oswego’s city-wide bike paths into Millennium Plaza at the huge year-round Farmers Market for local Restorative organic farmers.

As I ride into downtown with my new stem cell grown knees and hips and my Apple Memory Hard-drive hooked to my helmet, everywhere I look I see the change that came from The Oregon Statewide Climate Plan and Lake Oswego adoption of it in 2017 that eliminated 80-90% of our carbon emissions by this year, 2050.

I see solar panels on almost every house and business roof and community solar along main highways connected to our Statewide Smart Grid of Renewables and Energy Storage facilities balanced in a smart grid by our wonderful Columbia River Hydropower and a little natural gas.

The tree cover has increased, and migrated by design to the north sides of houses and businesses leaving the south exposure open to the sun to maximize energy for rooftop and wall solar panels. There is far less grass   than in 2016 and all the lawnmowers are acoustic.

I see rainwater catchment systems on most houses and businesses—they get us about half the water we need and slow down rain runoff,  and cut some of the 10% of carbon emissions from just pumping water.

Almost all the houses and businesses have been retrofitted from being energy guzzlers to energy sippers.

And work: These days smart machines do much of the work and most people work less and at home—telecommuting or teleconferencing with their colleagues.. I see far fewer cars on the roads and they are almost all electric run on renewable electricity. There is more happening in the City Neighborhoods. I just passed Porter’s Jazz Club headlining famous Oswegan jazz pianist Randy Porter—he must be old as dirt now.

When I think back on the last 35 years of what we did to mitigate the effects of climate change and create a better community in Lake Oswego, I would have to say I did not see it coming. In 2016, just about everybody thought the highest goal was more growth and more consumption. But research showed that we were consuming and polluting more than the Earth’s natural systems could process and clean up.  We were poisoning ourselves—the smartest animal who had ever lived was committing environmental and economic suicide.

But the powerful corporations that made so much money off the extractive fossil fuel economy did not want to give it up. They spent massive sums to change the laws and control the lawmakers so they could keep destroying the Life Support System for money.

But all around the world in 2015-16, growing groups of people took the time to push back hard and work for solutions. The United States signed the Paris Climate COP 21 Treaty committing our entire country to get off fossil fuels by 2050.  The Tar Sands Pipeline was stopped.   In 2017, the new 9 Judge US Supreme Court upheld the United States “Clean Power Plan” phasing out high emission coal utility plants. In Oregon in March of 2016,  lots of green organizations and companies worked with the two largest Utilities and  hammered out the compromise  “Coal to Clean” law to eliminate 80% of our Carbon Emissions by 2050.  This eliminated all Electric Utility coal plants, accelerated the transition from oil to renewable electrical transportation. It also systematized the cultural and legal transition to a citywide codes and laws for Energy Efficiency and Conservation.  All these  were guided by the economics of Full Cost Accounting where all external costs like pollution, disease, decommissioning nuclear plants, the acidification of the oceans, droughts, floods, stronger storms, see level rise, massive forest fires, food and water shortages, environmental refugee movement, conflict were INCLUDED in the prices of everything and included in all decision making— putting the fair price on carbon emissions. This true cost made them expensive and unable to compete with clean energy and restorative action.

To get there, the whole State of Oregon including Lake Oswego adopted a Climate Master Plan that took 90% of the 2005 carbon emissions out of the sources— buildings, factories, appliances, electronics, agriculture, energy, transportation, and deforestation, and optimized the whole system in a smart grid that works.


Our goals changed from Quantity of Stuff to Quality of Life. We take more time for family, friends, and interests. Young and old live together in the same neighborhoods as income inequality has gone down. Life spills everywhere into the streets with sidewalk cafes, farmers markets, concerts, sports, gatherings of all kinds.  With the cleaner air, water, and food, our health is much better and we are the richer for it both in our pockets and our attitudes.

I am gliding into the Farmers market now.  The biggest solutions surprise was finding out how changing what we eat and how we grow it could lower emissions so much.  When we shifted from long distance industrial, chemical and fossil fuel based agriculture to local, restorative, organic agriculture we got several big benefits:

These Farmers use a system of diverse cover crops and often quickly rotating animal herds that massively rebuild perfect soil by pulling 25% of all the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and the carbolic acid oceans and put it back into the soil. Our local farmers now get 25% more production with 50% less cost (no fossil fertilizer, no pesticides or herbicides, no plowing), 50% less work, and make more money producing lots of healthy food locally. And for our part, when we cut our meat consumption by 75% we eliminated another 15-20% of emissions from deforestation and animal methane(mostly cow burps). By changing the way we ate, we stopped global warming.

We are not done yet, but we rose to the challenge and made laws to protect our Life Support system and keep our destructive behavior in check.  We decided that it made both environmental and economic sense to change the way we lived.

We adopted Wendell Berry’s Golden Rule:

“Do unto those downstream

the way that you would have those Upstream

do unto you.”


We gave our children’s children a chance at a good life.



As we look forward now from 2020, our lives are changing.

Over the last few years, we’ve been seeing powerful evidence of what will happen if we don’t change what “normal” looks like as storms continue to get worse around the world causing record flooding, forest fires devastated Australia, and climate change made summers hotter than ever across Europe.

Yet, right now, with the vast majority of humanity staying in, we’re also seeing powerful evidence that the Earth CAN heal itself when we humans change our ways.

Which tells me that we need the Earth FAR MORE than She needs us.

So, what is the story you want to be telling when you look back from 2050? Are you taking the time to evaluate which parts of “normal” you want to return to and which parts of this “new reality” you want to keep? Are you taking some time to look around your home to see what kinds of small changes can be made now, while you have the time you keep telling yourself you need to “get around to it someday”?

This is our chance.


Blog Post by Lori Anne Rising, international, award-winning author, and co-host of “Rise ‘n Shine! Not Just for Mornings Anymore.” on Voice America – Variety.

“Looking Back from 2050” story by Matt Briggs, Writer, Director and Producer of “Deep Green”. Learn more about what one person can do at

The Upright Zone

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The Upright Zone

The Upright Zone

When I first conceived of this article, I thought it was going to be primarily about what I had noticed about how my body behaves while walking. Now I see the observations I want to share go much deeper. So let’s begin with the simple version of this article and go from there.

In early 2018 while in Costa Rica, where Shya and I were facilitating our immersion courses in leadership, communication and well-being, I experienced something I now call the “Upright Zone.” Here’s what happened:

One morning, as we took a walk before breakfast, I was a bit stiff – my stride shorter than usual, one of my hamstrings achy. Shya wasn’t feeling particularly spry either, but as usual, we set off on our morning jaunt as though it were our idea (which it was) and made a point to walk with alacrity – an excellent way to bypass those “I don’t wanna” thoughts. Shya and I were patient with ourselves about our pace but at the same time we engaged in the moment, moving as if we were fully alive, not as if we were hardly awake. As we did so, our legs began to swing freer, our stride became longer and naturally, without effort, we began to walk at a lively pace.

On this particular morning, we headed down past the resort office into the gravel parking area, past the geese in the pond and over the suspension bridge. Continuing down the drive about a half-mile to the entrance of the property, we lightly tapped the bars of the gate and reversed course. As we walked, I enjoyed the sky lightening, with wisps of peach clouds turning golden as the sun rose off the horizon. We delighted in the flowers, the play of light on large green leaves and the flash of brilliant red set in midnight black on a scarlet-rumped tanager.

After we reached the end of the drive and had started back toward the resort, I noticed a phenomenon I had felt before but this time it was quite perceptible. As I walked, my belly spontaneously pulled in of its own accord and I found myself taller, in a surprisingly upright posture. I don’t tend to walk with my stomach distended so it was notable to me that my core muscles fully engaged themselves, much like I have purposefully drawn them in while doing Pilates or other exercise discipline. From this state I found myself feeling well and empowered, not only in my body but also in spirit. After describing the sensation to Shya that morning, I started to think of this state as my own personal “Upright Zone.”

I like that tall feeling. I enjoy moving through time and space as if I am not going anywhere yet I am fully engaged, alive and present. I take pleasure in striding forward while moving with ease. And it’s delightful to get a core muscle workout without trying.

On our Costa Rica morning walks Shya and I step out of our door and trick our bodies into action whether they felt like it or not. Tired, awake, it doesn’t matter, we play the fake-it-till-you-make-it school of full engagement until our bodies took over and it required no further effort on our part to keep in motion.

So, originally that was my point and the end of the story. Yet, I was surprised to find the Upright Zone late one night while on a subsequent trip to Oregon to visit my aging parents.

It was now late 2018 and just before Shya and I flew to Oregon, my then 92 year-old father had an emergency operation to remove a large kidney stone. Luckily my two sisters were able to be there to support him and my 93 year-old mom. My dad has such severe dementia, he didn’t grasp he was in the hospital, much less that he’d had an operation.

When we arrived in Oregon, Dad had just come home and everyone was exhausted. But then there were complications. He got nighttime diarrhea, which required helping him make multiple changes of clothes at night. On the second night of his illness, it was my turn to sleep nearby and be on call for the evening challenges. First at 11pm, and then again at 2:30, I was awakened to help him in the bathroom. Each time I needed to clean him up, change his clothes, then mop and sterilize the area. Then at 4:15am when he was sick once again, an amazing thing happened – I suddenly entered the Upright Zone.

As I was walking down the hall in those wee hours of the morning, in an instant, I found myself fully engaged – body, mind and spirit. The Upright Zone took over and between one step and the next I was tall and powerful, meeting this situation as if it were my idea, my preference – striding as if I was looking forward to what lay ahead.

As I rounded the corner into the bathroom, I recalled a saying I’ve heard from people in times of hardship or stress, “Just suck it up!” But that adage has always implied pain and suffering and working to overcome being a victim. I realized that I was experiencing a transformational version of sucking it up – no pain, no being a victim, just strength. The Upright Zone occurred naturally rather than following a self-imposed dictate to get over the moment and get on with it – whatever that odious “it” may be.

I’m grateful that I am a player of the game of full engagement, even in the times when life seems simple and undemanding. It has made things so much easier during life’s challenges and when circumstances become potentially stressful.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Six Tips to Navigating the COVID-19 Landscape from an Epidemiologist

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Six Tips to Navigating the COVID-19 Landscape from an Epidemiologist

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This blog is provided by Erica Fowler, an epidemiologist who studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline.


As the pandemic progresses, more and more people are getting a glimpse into the world of public health. Epidemiology is one public health discipline that is getting a lot of attention and happens to be my chosen field of study.

Epidemiology is an applied field of biostatistics, and beyond the numbers is the study of humans. Social norms, individual behaviors, health, wealth, emotions – any facet of life with a discernible pattern. The combination of numbers and practical application allow us to understand current trends and predict future ones. We can identify points of interaction with individuals that will yield the highest probability of action and influence behavior using subtle human cues to elicit an action.

It’s important to remember that many factors influence both sides of the equation – human and mathematical. Social determinants of health, sociodemographic disparities, or differences that can only be explained by factors that would be irrelevant in a world that was fair. The numbers you see on the screen, the dots that make up every graph a human life. On the mathematical side, numbers are only as good as the quality of their measurement and data management.

As an epidemiologist and public health professional, I’d like to share answers to six common questions I’ve been asked during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m grateful that I can dissect the information bombarding me at every turn and hope to share useful information for others to do the same.

1) Should I wear a mask? 

Yes. I’ve been asked this question more than any other. If you are to be in public, it may help slow the spread of the virus by preventing you from spreading it to others. If you know you are infected or if you have been in contact with someone who may be infected, it is best to stay home.

2) What is flatten the curve? 

Most people are familiar with this one. It’s been used to describe the intended effects of social distancing, which appear to be working. With a flatter curve, the Area Under the Curve (AUC) is the same, but the duration of the outbreak is longer. In other words, the same number of people will be exposed to and get the virus – just stretched out so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed.

3) What do all these numbers mean? 

We’ve all heard ‘flatten the curve’, but there are other common metrics that are useful for understanding the virus. These numbers won’t stay the same and will vary depending on the population studied – a key epidemiologic concept.

  • R0 or R-naught represents how many people one infected individual infects on average. Social distancing efforts can lower this number and slow the spread of the disease and prevent new incidence.
  • Incidence or number of new cases of a disease. This can aid in resource allocation, such as healthcare utilization. The number of new cases, duration of disease, and rate of spread taken together may predict what is needed two weeks from now.
  • Case Fatality Rate represents fatalities relative to confirmed cases. In the current climate, testing is limited and often flawed. People will contract the virus and have no symptoms. Similarly, patients die before they test positive.
  • All-Cause Fatality Rate is the fatality rate for all causes which can be monitored year-over-year to estimate the total fatalities related to the disease and account for gaps in incidence and prevalence monitoring.
  • Infection Mortality Rate represents fatalities relative to all people infected. This number is not known without universal or widespread testing.

4) How does COVID-19 compare to other well-known viruses? 

It’s twice as infectious as H1N1 or the typical seasonal flu. The mortality rate is 10-30x higher than the seasonal flu. The H1N1 mortality rate was much lower than either COVID-19 or the seasonal flu.

The H1N1 virus was deadlier to younger ages because many people over age 65 had been exposed to a similar strain of virus earlier in life. This immunity helped keep them from contracting not only cases but severe cases. Because this is a novel or new virus, no one has immunity. That is why social distancing may play an important role in containing the virus until a vaccine is available.


  R0 Mortality Rate
COVID-19 2.0 – 4.0 1.5 – 3%
H1N1 1.1 – 2.6 0.02%
Seasonal Flu 1.3 0.1%

Source: Healthline March 12, 2020

5) Why do the numbers keep changing?

The numbers listed above can change depending on the population of people you are examining. A few examples are shown below.

With #flattenthecurve, we take social distancing seriously, decrease new cases and decrease the rate of spread. The mortality rate could go either way depending on how it is calculated. If it is only confirmed cases, it may go up as more people are staying home if they have mild or asymptomatic cases and will not be tested. They survive but aren’t counted toward lowering the mortality rate.


6) Why is testing such a big deal? 

Testing is important because it gives us a fuller picture of the virus, how it behaves, who it affects and how intensely, what treatments are effective for easing symptoms and shortening duration of illness, and what points of intervention we can employ to prevent or stop the spread of the virus. Testing also allows us to understand who has the virus and has built up antibodies. It could determine whether people are safe to return to work and a more integrated form of society. Testing enables a more accurate measurement of metrics for informed decision-making.

If you are unsure of something you read or want more information, as a trusted friend or colleague to help decipher the information. Use your social media networks to find people you trust who share information from vetted sources. I’m happy to do this for my sources and know many others who do the same.

I’m not sure what the other side of COVID-19 looks like, but the news I read every day makes me hopeful for the ingenuity, intelligence, compassion, and humanity I’ve witnessed in-person and through social media in the past several weeks. I am grateful that my life has not much changed, yet I worry for the world, vulnerable populations, and those I love. Despite the uncertainty, I am sure of one thing – Epidemiologists around the world are at far lesser risk than ever before of being asked if they study the skin.


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About the Author

Erica N. Fowler, Ph.D., is a strategy and analytics professional with a profound interest in developing data-driven solutions to improve health and business outcomes. She studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline. Her experience includes analytics product development, measurement strategy, database operations, business intelligence analytics, and statistical modeling.

Dr. Fowler’s passion is professional development consulting as a certified Birkman Method consultant. She uses the Birkman Method, enhanced by her analytic skillset, to develop individual and group programs that foster emotional intelligence to improve communication skills and productive teamwork.

Her day job is Product Manager for the Applied Data Science and Omnichannel Experience teams at Syneos Health, the first end-to-end integrated pharmaceutical solutions organization. She serves as a contributing faculty member to the Health Education & Promotion program at Walden University, where she oversees the dissertation process for doctoral students. In her spare time, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling the world, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

Photo by Anna Shvets

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