Checking in with your God or your place of worship to reconnect with what is important to you, having the ability to center yourself and put all of your troubles back into perspective.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay Hummer.
Jay is a former radio personality, successful Franchise business executive, and current entrepreneur. He admits that his biggest success is finding happiness every day of his life by taking daily field trips, no matter how business, family or other responsibilities may try to detour that happiness.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was fortunate enough to grow up with four loving siblings. We did not have money but we had a great leader. My Mom taught us what was important in this world and always delivered creative ways to make our childhood memorable, while setting us up for success in our own direction.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
My first career came as a result of my love for sports, since I was not chosen to play in the big leagues I decided to become a radio personality with a goal of announcing live games.. My career was off to a great start when I decided the number of hours I was working did not pay enough to enjoy the type of life I wanted to achieve. So I stumbled into the franchise business while I was viewing the classifieds for my brother inlaw who was looking for a new job. I took an interview at the World Trade Center in New York, accepted the job and was off and running.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
Finding and trusting the right mentor can be a challenge, so many people choose the wrong person to follow. I have been fortunate to have found great mentors. First my Parents, even though my parents were divorced and I was not a big fan of my Father growing up, he did something that I did not realize until he had passed away. He validated me constantly. Having confidence is huge, I looked at the things my Dad did wrong, it took me years to realize the gift he had given me. My Mom was always our rock, she gave everything for us. Giving everything is pretty substantial, unlike how long it took me to realize what my Dad has given me, my siblings and I recognized what my Mom gave pretty early on and it made for a special upbringing.
Rick O’Neill gave me everything I needed to succeed in my first role in franchise sales, his knowledge of conceptual selling and how to impart that wisdom on me, set me up for a wonderfully successful career in the franchise business.
In addition to giving me her unlimited support with even my wackiest ideas, my lovely bride Helen gives me strength every day just knowing she loves me.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
I was attending a conference in the Algarve area of Portugal, a beautiful coastal area just ripe for tourism and business alike. After my long flight from Boston to Lisbon, the connecting flight to Faro, and the ride to the resort. I checked into the resort only to find that my room would not be ready for an hour or so. The front desk representative recommended that I make my way to the pool area, where I could also grab something to eat at the poolside cafe. Sounded good to me, as I entered the area, I did a double take when I realized I was in an area that allows topless sunbathing. For me it meant that I just did not want to look at anyone, and particularly anything other than their face. Walking to grab a seat near the pool at the cafe would be hard enough, I just wanted to get to the cafe and not be accused of looking at anyone (Hey, I grew up with three sisters and my Mother, and have a bride and two daughters, so I just have an enormous respect for not making anyone feel uncomfortable). I was no more than 20 feet away from finishing this race to the cafe, when someone called my name. This of course means one of my colleagues or one of our customers was the person calling my name. I stopped in fear of what I might accidentally see and the embarrassment that it may bring, as I slowly turned around to see the female voice who called out, I see it is none other than our CFO, a wonderful woman who I always assumed was low key. My eyes locked in her eyes, fearful that she was topless. We spoke for about five minutes, until she announced “I have to run to a meeting”, she stood up and now out of my peripheral vision could tell that she did indeed have clothes on. I was so relieved, have you ever looked at someone for five minutes without even glancing away for a second, I was tired!
While this encounter turned out ok, and if I was a betting man, I would have bet she did have her top on, and have learned to never assume you know the correct answer. As such I stayed focused on those eyes.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
THE ONE MINUTE SALES PERSON by Spencer Johnson. I had no interest in being in sales when I was 24 years old and changing careers, and I was not having success either. At the same time Rick O’Neill started to mentor me, I read Spencer Johnson’s book. The simple principle behind the book was “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want”. To a young guy who thought sales was all about working hard and selling stuff to people who do not want what you’re selling. This was groundbreaking to me. First I needed to find people with big dreams. If I could show them how to reach their dreams through my company, we would unite together, they would achieve their dreams and I would make some money along the way. The important part of that story never left me, it is always about helping someone else with their dreams. As I moved to the leadership side, I already knew it was about servant leadership.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not:
Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not:
Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not:
The world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
For a kid who grew up without the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, this quote gave me inspiration every day that I could achieve great things.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
The mission behind my book EVERY DAY IS A FIELD TRIP is to get people to enjoy every day of their one life. That is a tall order, most folks follow the same routine every day and most days it does not include a lot of fun. The four sections of the book Discovering Field Trips, Building Field Trips into work, Building Field Trips into Family Life and Field Trips to Challenge Yourself cover thirty six fun stories with tidbits of inspiration and motivation followed by field trip challenges sure to get you into fun every day.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Mind, body & spirit. If we spend every day paying attention to each of these we have a head start on the rest of the world.
During the review process of my book EVERY DAY IS A FIELD TRIP, a friend of mine after reading made an interesting comment. “I had no idea how to be mindful, and actually be in the moment”. I blurted out “YES, exactly”. How could you possibly enjoy anything when you are on constant call with your phone. Notifications? Not a chance, they do not happen on my phone. Do you really need to be interrupted while you are with someone else to what is going on in your facebook feed? My phone does not own me, I own it, and I decide when I want to see any content that may be flowing into it. If you are the person that is responding “I want to see the content”, then you may be missing so much. Let’s say you are at a football game, and between every play you are on your phone. You are not taking in everything that you paid for. What is happening on the sidelines, how many people are working between every play, see them rushing around being in their moment. Or watch the body language of the players on the field, you can almost forecast what will happen just from their body language.
Exercise is so hard for some people. It is hard because they have not made it a part of their everyday existence. I am proud to say that my daughter understands this. She is a professional with a 9 to 5 job, yet she has a goal of exercising three times a day. She will fit in three a day by riding her spin bike, taking a walk, roller blading on the bike path, biking on the bike path, strength workout through free weights or through her spin bike live classes, playing volleyball or playing soccer. She has a variety of exercise solutions so she can find her exercise in different hours of the day, work out alone and work out with a team to make social connections. I am proud that she has chosen this path, she will have exercise as a functioning part of her everyday life forever.
Religion, Yoga & meditation are the obvious answers and I have seen friends and family thrive with each. In addition, what about spirit as it relates to your outlook on life? I have a friend whom when I first met him I thought “This dude is the most positive person I have ever known”, and I consider myself a positive person. Is your spirit real or is it just an Instagram or Facebook pretention? Well for my friend it is real. When he was fired from his Division one college coaching job, an outcome that he did not deserve, he did not pout, feel sorry for himself, or get mad at the world. He looked at his fate as an opportunity to reach out into life and experience something totally different. As you would expect for such a positive person he landed pretty quickly landing a job coaching in China. He was off to experience something beyond what his routine was delivering.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
While I am a firm believer in Yoga and meditation and have seen it fit so well for friends and family, I have not practiced either.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Eat what you burn and nothing more. Just like the gas tank in your car. If you have a full tank and do not drive anywhere, you cannot put more gas in the tank. I literally exercise so I can eat. I love food!
- Exercise: There are no guarantees in life, some of the most fit people have dropped dead with heart attacks, or have been stricken with cancer. One thing that exercise does guarantee is a better quality of life while we are here. Last week when I was out on a bike ride with my daughter, we saw an elderly man walking (for exercise) with the aid of a walker. I said to my daughter, “look at him, he is getting after it! That is going to be me in twenty years”. she replied, ” ..how about 30 years?”
- Move more, sit less: Most of us need to earn a living, but do we need to sit for hours and hours, and when we get home retreat to the couch to watch TV? If you work at a desk, get a standing desk, I am writing from one now, and moving to the music while I write. Insist on taking walks and getting away from your desk during the course of the day, and get out there and play.
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- We are products of a great big marketing machine. And guess which food companies have the most marketing power? And Oh yes, those same companies offer the best, most affordable deals to the consumer. And did they mention that the salty and sweet foods they sell are addicting? Good for them, not good for you. These snacks are easy to access when you are hungry, and this is a problem. In defense we need to have foods ready to replace them.
- Prepping a multi day salad ahead of time makes it easy to take advantage of nature’s bounty. I have this great metal salad bowl that my mother inlaw gave us, it will fit a few days of salads in it. Prepare the main part of the salad, the greens, fresh bell peppers, fresh cherry tomatoes, cucumbers etc. Then when you are ready every day to enjoy a salad (I literally put my salad in a pie dish-I need to use these for something), add fresh fruits like cut apples, pears or blueberries, nuts, seeds, avocado and use humus as a dressing, topped with fresh cracked pepper and ground flax seed. Having a big bowl ready in the fridge creates a salad eating discipline. If you do not use it within a few days, the salad will turn into an unusable mess. This discipline is a great motivator.
- Cutting up whole honeydew melons, cantaloupes, pineapples and watermelons each provide a few days of easy to grab fresh juicy fruit. Have a rotation of the big fruits on the counter. When one ripens, cut it, put it in a big bowl in the fridge and enjoy it for a few days. When you are looking for something quick it is there and tastes great, feels refreshing and does not bloat you down.
- Practice moderation when it comes to sweets, fried foods and other well known problem foods that taste great. Have one cookie, not four, enjoy a handful of fries every now and then, not a super size portion two or three times a week. Indulge in Ice cream and cakes on special occasions, and at that time treat yourself to a small portion. I love pies, cookies, cakes you name it, but I am not a 15 year old who can eat anything at any time. We need to change as our activities and metabolism change.
- We eat Organic at our house. One night when my daughters were in high school, one of their friends was in our kitchen questioning why we ate organic food (like it made us weird). I took out two plates and put a tomato on each plate. I sprayed one of the tomatoes with bug spray, I then put both plates in front of the young man. And simply asked him which tomato he would prefer. I also found out that I did not need to eat the same amount of organic food as I ate conventional food. While I am no scientist, it appeared to me that perhaps I was getting the necessary nutrients that I needed in the organic food faster and therefore did not need to ingest the same quantity.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- You can always sell soap: Many years ago we were approached by a famous network marketing company. They shared stories about how people have attained the lifestyles they had always dreamed about, by setting up a business with them. The plan they introduced was to get a bunch of people to sell the products (or just buy the products that you already use), and every one would make money through what is called a downline. While this plan was not for us,I looked at the plan and saw something obvious. If I am down on my luck, if I lose my job and the whole world is falling apart, I can always sell soap. This particular company was famous for their line of soap (for all purposes). This knowledge gave me confidence, knowing that I could always set up a distributorship with this company or any of the other network marketing companies out there and be in business instantly. I did not need Johnson & Johnson to hire me, or Proctor & Gamble, I could just pay 75 dollars (no idea how much it cost now) for the kit and I had a business.
- Be true and ethical: You never have to remember what you said. If all you tell is the truth, you can always be counted on. In the franchise business, franchisors are heavily regulated by the Federal Trade Commission for the protection of potential franchisees. If you misrepresent to a potential franchisee you risk your entire business falling apart. As such it is ethical practice to never represent to a potential franchisee what they can earn as a result of purchasing a franchise. During the process of awarding a franchise in a particular market place, we had multiple applications and could only approve one. The person we turned down was understandably not happy. He tried to sue us, and in depositions their trial lawyer continued to try and get me to fold on his aggressive questioning tactics. Knowing my truths were solid and they did not have a case. I responded back to the attorney after having the same question asked of me in several different ways.”You can ask me that same question another hundred times and since I am sitting in your uber comfortable conference chairs, I can sit here all day and answer in the same manner that I already have. Our attorney did not like my answer, I guess there must be some kind of attorney code, but their attorney never asked the question again, and he no longer duplicated any of his questions.
- Take time for yourself every day: Hey I wrote an entire book about this topic!
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
I do, it works for me! To quote Buddy the Elf (form the movie Elf), “I love smiling”, who doesn’t? Smiling means you are happy, and joyful. Sales organizations teach their sales reps, both internal and external representatives to smile while they are speaking, they believe smiling adds excitement and trust to the conversation.
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Thanking the good lord when you wake up every morning, and thanking him again when you have the opportunity to lay your head down at night. How many times do you run into a person who is just miserable? And the worst part is they are in customer service at a business you frequent, you can battle with them or you can simply go home and at the end of the night add them to your prayers.
- Reflection: Reflecting on your actions each day to set up how you move your day forward the following day. One day when my family and I arrived late for church, we had to stand in the back of the church (which I prefer), we were directly behind the last row of seats. A few moments later a Mom and her young daughter came and stood behind us. I asked them if they would like to stand in front of me, so they could see. They said yes and thanked me. A few minutes later, a tall woman and her tall college age son walked right past my family and this Mom and her daughter and stood right in front of them, blocking everyone’s view, but their own. I could not believe what I saw. I bit my tongue and said nothing, but I wondered about these folks, how could they be so selfish to stand right in front of a Mom and her young daughter? I gave up on society for a few days, thinking “If this happens in church the world has gone astray” But as the days went on, I realized the perpetrator needed to be in front. I had no idea what was going on in her world, but it was obvious she needed to be in direct connection to that service. And for that I found a spiritual connection to both parties that I was mindful enough to support on that day. You never know what someone else is going through, be accepting of human kind and their challenges.
- Visiting your place of worship can remove you from an environment that is pulling you down, giving you the opportunity for reflection, inspiration, motivation and reconciliation. Checking in with your God or your place of worship to reconnect with what is important to you, having the ability to center yourself and put all of your troubles back into perspective.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
A solo hike in nature opens up a world of possibilities, from understanding and connecting with what has been created on par with you, the sounds of birds, the understanding of possibilities unknown are endless. For many standing on top of a mountain a place that native peoples believed to be sacred is often attune to be harmonious with nature. You tune in to the world even more hiking solo in the woods in the dark. My daughter once said while hiking in the dark “I hear everything, it is like the forest is speaking to me”.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Who wouldn’t love to find a cure for cancer, that would be my number one. But since I am not a scientist and have little or zero skills in that area, I truly believe helping people find joy every day in their one life is a noble cause and one that I hope my book EVERY DAY IS A FIELD TRIP can inspire people to achieve.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I am not much of a celebrity watcher, so believe it or not this is a really tough question for me. When I was younger it would have been a sports hero, definitely not the case now. The list of people who have passed on would be substantial and Martin Luther King would be the first person on that list of people who are no longer with us that I would want to have that private moment with-strength, courage, conviction, selflessness, leadership, the ability to move others I would feel empowered just rubbing shoulders with the great man.
There is a man who I felt lucky to have already met, and yes a former athlete, but his athletic fame was not what was so interesting to me. Kareem Abdul Jabaar is quite the historian. I met him during the Boston Celtics -Los Angeles Lakers NBA finals sponsor event in Boston. He had brought with him some copies of STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS, a book he had written about the Harlem Renaissance. We talked about history and he gave me a copy of his book. I would love to talk with him about how our country can grow out of these turbulent times.
And since I would love for my book to reach as many people as possible to help them enjoy every day of their one life. The best person I can meet today would be Oprah Winfrey who has a powerful connection with her audience and her ability to do great things for mankind.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.