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“5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”, with Dr J Paul Rand and Beau Henderson

Technology is a tool; like a knife it can be beneficial, but also cut you. Use it wisely and with positive and purposeful intent. The most pressing problem impacting teens is the advent of the SMART phone. Since its introduction, teen pregnancy has declined. However, also since its introduction teen suicide, depression, anxiety, addiction, fear, […]

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Technology is a tool; like a knife it can be beneficial, but also cut you. Use it wisely and with positive and purposeful intent. The most pressing problem impacting teens is the advent of the SMART phone. Since its introduction, teen pregnancy has declined. However, also since its introduction teen suicide, depression, anxiety, addiction, fear, and frustration rates are at an all-time and never-before-seen levels.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr J Paul Rand. Rand is a regional White House Fellow. As a performance psychologist is recognized as a leading scholar in success and dynamic psychology. He has advised, mentored, and educated high performance professionals in Big-4 firms, leading Fortune 100s, but he has also been awarded for his psycho-educational research and education method by the Dept of Defense, Society of HR Management, and other agencies.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

In 2003 after graduating college and a short-stint with a Big-4 firm at that time, I was approached by a small Seattle based Think-Tank operating at the intersect of higher-education, human capital performance, and corporate learning academies. I was tasked with creating systems to enhance public and private organizational learning programs by linking people, teams, and technology. These experiences inspired me to earn an MBA and PhD in Psychology to better understand putting the human back into education, business, and technology. I eventually vested and then sold this company. Over the years my research has taken me from working in the trenches with combat veterans and military leaders, advising education providers and designing educational products, to consulting in board rooms in exciting and innovative companies based in Seattle, Washington which I highlight in my Forbes Interview available on LinkedIn for my followers.

Much of my research has been dedicated, however, to helping everyday people think, act, and lead through learning to be the best by living an organically-dynamic life while seeking to live a legacy. I hope to highlight tips in this interview to achieve that goal. But always keep in mind making time to go through the real process with my publications, programs, staff or myself on site at The-Orchard.org — my private research think-tank and retreat center.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I hope this interview inspires you to take focused and intentional steps to unlocking your organically-dynamic self. But understand I practice what I research and preach which I will share here. Aside from educational and organizational consulting, I have run a therapy park just outside of the “City of Companies” (Seattle, Washington); a park dedicated to educational-based research serving combat veterans, special forces and military leaders. Following a massive increase in teen suicides in the local K12 system and a school shooting that left a good friend of my “bonus daughter” (aka stepdaughter) dead, I turned attention to supporting K12 PTS/PTSD research at The-Orchard.org.

Through this tragedy and choice to refocus my research, I discovered that I have a very rare grove of trees that biologists report are well over 135 years old growing on my property: The Rowan Berry Tree. Historically this tree is regarded as the “Tree of Life” in many cultures. It is regarded in thousands of years of cultural references as a tree of wisdom, strength and protection — fitting given the works with combat veterans, crime victims and others that have worked with me at The-Orchard.org. Sadly, this tree is going extinct — so ponder this question: what does it mean for humanity if we let a living-legacy — the Tree of Life — go extinct?

In an effort model my research on being organically-dynamic, I have expanded efforts now to preserve this only known grove of trees in the US — versus developing the property. My team is working to create products cultivated from the tree. Due to the very limited supply (globally) we are focused on ensuring quality counts with this undertaking. Out of hundreds of requests, we selected to work with a multiple gold-medal winning distiller to release of the largest global supply of Rowan Berry vodka (ryabinokva) which retails in the EU for over $95 a bottle. We are using a 700-year-old recipe that’s absolutely amazing! A true organically and originally dynamic spirt for you to enjoy while reading my publications!

We are also working with a world renown wooden-pen artist who makes quality pens for the Pope, Prince Henry, several presidents and more; he will be creating pens from the Tree of Life from The-Orchard site. We will use the 130 year old branches for heirloom quality, rare fountain pens. Since it is said to be bad luck to cut the branches only a few at most each year can be made — a pen that can unlock your significance, from the actual living “Tree of Life.”

As part of this new journey, we are also researching the production of 100% organic, natural soap using the berry (my firm will lead FDA-focused clinical research due to laboratory studies showing the products effectiveness in combating MRSA; something Vikings knew about the Rowan Berry over 1000 years ago).

You can learn about this organically-dynamic project and how it relates to the work I have conducted helping combat veterans, special forces, and K12 crime victims on-site at The-Orchard.org which is now open for executive retreats, seminars, and programs and not just combat veterans. Learn more on my website under The-Orchard at www.jpaulrand.com as you start your own journey to be organically-dynamic inspired.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Too many to recount! The key I guess is recognizing your greatest discoveries can come from failures and not success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

For me it is a 20-year long friend, the psychologist, as I call him to those that did not have a chance to know him. In today’s social media fueled society, we measure ourselves by followers and likes; but that’s not a real friend. I will highlight this a bit in my advice, especially for teens, in this interview. But I want to elaborate on a real friend, the psychologist.

I learned and discovered much from in our time together. He was a three-tour Vietnam veteran — which was rare in that war. He was the best psychologist I have ever known. Due to his service to our nation, he has always remained unknown to the general public. Over the years we worked together on various personal and professional endeavors, and he twice participated in my work at The-Orchard.org while combating cancer (he won two of the three battles before passing the other year). In our 20-year long friendship I learned from that in this life — if you really reflect on real friendship — we are lucky to have three to five true friends in our entire life… Friends there in the best of times, worst of times, through our mundane periods of life. The reality is many people will come and go in our life, but very few are true and real friends.

And true to his words, as I share with you tips in this interview to maximizing your performance in every-day mental health, “put it in a pot, stir it around, reach in and pull out what means something right for you” and in doing so you will honor his legacy and service to this country.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

Based on this research, to avoid burn out, I suggest remembering the ABC to achieve personal prosperity.

Much of my research from the humanistic focus has culminated in several publications advocating for what I define as prosperity-motive. Unlike profit motive, this method empowers innovation and ensures a balance of reward by teaching individuals (or businesses) to focus on profit, purpose, and passion.

Learn about Well-being to be-well — Well-being is often thought as an end-goal, when in reality it is a measurement of immediate and long-term performance. It measures short-term (under 1 year) and long-term (3 year) measurements of mind, body, essence, and emotion. (Short-term focus is called social-emotional, fiscal-vocational, educational-mental, physical-wellness). And Being-well is the externally observed measurement of one’s well-being, in this regard connecting our inner character with the lived experience of those we interact with in life. Here are the ABC of seeking prosperity:

Awareness: Being aware of who you are today and where you intend to be in the future is important recognizing, we are not computers, we are organically dynamic humans that benefit from what I define in my research as real-reach.

Balance: Achieve dynamic success no matter how small the steps may to balance your inner needs as much as the real relationships and environmental needs around you by knowing and leveraging your strength of character.

Cultivate success: Focus on small steps and tasks, but always be mindful that sometimes the fruit of your labor may take years to unfold. Remember the guiding philosophy I teach in Inspira programs at The-Orchard: “seek to live while leaving a legacy” by mastering the Speed of Patience.

These steps will help you avoid burnout, unlock your potential to contribute to your highest and best potential; and are easy to learn.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Thank you for asking this question, I have was awarded for ten years running for my leading research and education of personnel departments by the Society of HR Management; I have presented to the Dept of Defense, White House, and have presented live on 5th Ave Forbes on human performance through what I define as “Culture-ROI: linking people, teams, and technology.” In 2020 I will release my publication on Culture-ROI and I write about it monthly in the National Business Journal for those following me on LinkedIn they can view these subscription free if they do not subscribe in one of 34 cities they appear. So, it’s really an important focus for my research and consulting as a performance psychologist.

Presently my research firm (Rsolutions) is independently researching the integration of a multidisciplinary system that drives “Culture-ROI” by linking people, teams and technology. Specifically, we are integrating artificial intelligence (AI), emotional intelligence (EI) measurement tools, and business intelligence (BI) methods based on a proprietary software to connect coaching, learning, and innovation in cooperation with NestorUp.com.

Our work will allow organizational development to occur at the speed of technology! Rooted in applied-learning sciences, the software will end a 150-year-old control-model system of organizational management. For those interested in the first step of driving Culture-ROU I offer a free publication in 2020 called “Leadership: A Culture” that depicts the various academic, business, and independent results we have accumulated over 20 years. This free 2020 publication provides readers a simple, focused, and intentional business model to utilize and maximize the culture that you are as an organization. This complimentary book is available at my website www.jpaulrand.com

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

I will draw from the ABC of prosperity that I defined earlier. I want to highlight some very quick and practical tips anyone can to do implement these principles in life and ensure they are remaining focused on intently managing their well-being even if they can not come work with my team (or myself) at The-Orchard.org:

1) Rejuvenate (learn thyself) through Recreation — well-being is a measurement system, but it is important to find personal rejuvenation with fun activities. Whether that is fishing, boating, biking, knitting, whatever the chosen recreation (not sport) that helps get you outdoors, out of your normal environments, and into the fresh air is an important step to naturally finding positive energy in your life.

This is a good starting point to mastering mental health that most people completely overlook — taking time to rejuvenate by doing something fun and exciting. And for most, the hard part is discovering what it is that brings you joy, so don’t overlook this process. It is key in your quest to learn about yourself while learning to measure your well-being and efforts being-well. Afterall, finding a recreation you enjoy is a great way to further cultivate a real friendship with others that enjoy the recreation, something time spent on technology cannot match.

2) Awareness: accentuate positive with three basic activities daily: intently focus on taking 20 minutes each day focused only on: walking, breathing, and/or decluttering. Do not over do this! In fact, set a timer to keep it to just 20 minutes. Simply create a routine focused just on these steps (one a day for 20 minutes) and you will maximize your focus, routine, and performance in all other daily duties. Understand that every problem is an opportunity to think, act, and lead while learning your strengths as a person, but these activities are important to ensuring you are fully attuned to important and intentional undertakings.

Whether you feel anxiety, depression, stress, frustration; be intentional in taking time to go for a walk. Working with people at my research and therapy park (The-Orchard.org) we discovered that time spent just slowly walking, focusing in specific breathing techniques allows you to think and focus your actions based on positively focused priorities. Further, a number of studies in academic journals indicate that spending just 20 minutes a day focused on decluttering (the desk, car, bathroom, kitchen) optimizes mental focus to prioritize, balances emotion with sufficient physical activities.

These are all very quick, easy, and simple steps to adopt to help maximize focus daily!

3) Balance being “organically dynamic” by taking a Technology-Timeout: in conducting research for the Inspira method I delivered at multiple universities, fortune 100 trainings and for special forces at The-Orchard.org I discovered the secret to an exciting life is to embracing becoming a “organically dynamic” spirit. How? Simple: take a technology-time out on a routine basis.

We are inundated by technology every day. One of the most in-demand opportunities at The-Orchard.org is the chance to take a time-out from technology for a few hours to several months in an organically-dynamic environment. By breathing in sea-sale infused air, listening to nature amid one of the most economically developing communities in the nation, alone, silent, and unconnected to internet or technology, The-Orchard provides a rare chance to walk, breath and declutter the mind under the watchful protection of the living legacy — the Tree of Life, discussed previously. But if you are not able to come to The-Orchard, here are two activities to balance the technology-era and the organically-dynamic self that you can do anywhere, if you choose:

Solitude: find a park or location outside where you can spend at least 1 hour a day, but ideally 4–5 hours in one sitting (weekly) as a minimum: alone. Read, write and think. Let your thoughts wander and cultivate the strength of the inner self by becoming comfortable being alone. Do not do anything tech-related: calls, texts, tweets, social media. Nothing but a pen, paper, your thoughts getting comfortable solitude. When you get very comfortable with this for several hours, move to step two: active Silence.

Silence: this is not the same as solitude. Silence is the ability to interact with the world, but without making a sound. It is an amazing exercise to develop not just the inner well-being but to learn to communicate, express gratitude, and positive interactions with the public in a different and dynamically positive way.

Imagine, going to the store an letting your eyes scream “thank you” when someone smiles at you; or gesturing positively to let another pass through the door before you. The concept is that by remaining in silence we overcome our fear/ego that causes us to “create noise” but not be intentional in our everyday actions. By focusing on one thing — no sounds — we naturally allow our positive self to engage society in a nice, kind, and appreciative manner while also allowing our innate character to speak through intent action.

4) Cultivate success: MAP your journey

Create a 1 sheet map for each long-term measurement and short-term measurement of well-being I referenced earlier. At the top of the page write if your focus is one of passion, purpose, or profitable performance in a single sentence. Below this focus statement write a single sentence SMART goal: specific, measured (from where you are today to where you want to be by a point in time), action-focused, realistic, and time-bound goal. Then outline the 3–7 steps needed to get you to your goal. Finally summarize the key people (who) that will be important, resources you will need, and statement of the end experience you seek.

By doing this process research shows that people are 3-x more likely to achieve the results than just stating a basic “goal.” At minimum you should have 4 pages, but at most 24-page, single-sheets that create a personal journey MAP. This MAP (mastery, autonomy, and prosperity) should be reviewed every 3, 6, 12 months during one of your “times in silence” I discussed earlier. Not sure where to start? Check out publications and programs at my website to guide you through maximized performance in work, well-being, and life adventures using this method.

5) Pen to paper — the connection to our past, the key to enlightenment, and the key to cultivating our future depends on this nearly lost ability! It is as simple as routinely (10–20 minutes daily) putting pen to paper. Outline, notes, write free hand, draw — keep it simple to start until you have rediscovered this powerful lost ability.

But it must be pen… to paper… this is not the same as typing!Make it a quality pen and paper… you are worth the investment. You will be amazed by what you unlock and start to achieve in life when you build this into your weekly routine.

This is so significant in my research that I have created a system to help. I will send anyone who works with me a nice, heavy, expensive executive pen of my own. Putting pen to paper is that important, but being intentional in your thoughts and tools you changes the process from writing to corresponding; it cultivates significance; and because of the significant value this lost capabilities has been shown to provide in my research, I want to help you make your first effort count. Reach me and I will send you my own personal executive pen. I mean that, a pen of weight, quality, and value to help you unlock your meaningful self through writing.

Also, I provide an active process to incorporating this simple system into your life at www.ipaulrand.com — make the effort, make it count, and be intentional to own your thoughts by putting them to paper, even if no one but you ever reads them.

Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.

In my research I have found the lesson that is most applicable to retirees (regardless of age): Pursue a passion, pension will follow. The opportunity to retire (young or old) comes with a great deal of risk to mental health.

When I sold a company and took a temporary retirement, I was amazed at the hurdles I had to overcome — learning to be bored, learning not to let being bored cause stagnation, and learning how to break stagnation before it impacts well-being negatively. In line with my prior recommended principles — the ABC of prosperity, retirement is an exciting opportunity to recreate yourself with a focus on passion, purpose, and not just providing for others:

1) Memory work: Awareness of thought and the power to keep the mind sharp is understood, but not heavily investigated empirically. In my experience, however, the more memory work- supported by reading, writing and recital — the sharper the mind and the better longevity of prosperity.

2) Become a coach: if nothing else, dedicate your coaching to helping kids — in sports, recreation, school, community service. There is a unique combination of youth and wisdom that can create really exciting interactions, but as a retiree you get to let the kids lead and be leaders. You just go along for an exciting ride helping them learn to discover all their potential. As an example, a child following the MAP process I referenced earlier becomes not only 3x as likely to meet their goals, but also 60% more likely to achieve the goals in half the time they plan when working with a coach. Enjoy your retirement but find the success in helping others launch their journey!

3) Cultivate communities of leadership: stay active by being willing to create leadership; a chance to be part of a team but not to lead or be a leader. This helps overcome being bored, keeps you active, and lets a future unfold because while you may have retired, you may still have work to create impact through a legacy you have still to leave on the world. For most retirees, this is the first and only chance in life to participate to have fun, serve, and support, and motivated out of financial obligation or duty. If you are a retiree, I suggest my publications Inspira to help you discover opportunity in your new future available on my website.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

Technology is a tool; like a knife it can be beneficial, but also cut you. Use it wisely and with positive and purposeful intent. The most pressing problem impacting teens is the advent of the SMART phone. Since its introduction, teen pregnancy has declined. However, also since its introduction teen suicide, depression, anxiety, addiction, fear, and frustration rates are at an all-time and never-before-seen levels.

One tip to help, hire an independently certified coach to help you navigate life complexities. There is a time and reason for healing with a counselor, but most teens would benefit more from a coach who is trained to help them look forward, accentuate their positive strengths, and unleash their potential. This is different than counseling. But don’t hire just anyone (you wouldn’t go to a dentist who is not licensed), hire only an independently certified coach. Check out www.strategiclearningalliance.org for a list of over 10,000 independently tested and vetted coaches.

I have several more tips outlined in my publication DADJOB for teens and parents. As a pre-release I co-presented with my 13 year old in her first-ever trip to New York City where she was invited to present tips to teens with me live at FORBES on 5th Ave. I am always reminding her that technology is a tool that can provide immense opportunity but handle it with care before it’s too late. The best advice I can share, take time to read, write, and recognize that real friends are not made through social media posts. Visit my online — obtain a pen, a publication, and launch a real journey to help you overcome the many perils of the online world by mastering mental health.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho to understand personal experience and journey. And for personal and professional performance, master The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr Steve Covey. I have lived by both of these books and I highly recommend them. For those looking to understand more about my tips I have shared, then check out Inspira and The-Orchard, both publications are available on my website www.jpaulrand.com

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement of focus is DADJOB — the publication is available 2020. Did you know that for every 1 single mom in America living in poverty, there are over 3 single dads living in poverty? The pew research center further reports that less than 10% of programs for parents allow or provide support for dads. Did you know that there has been a 4-fold increase I the number of stay-at home dads (and many of them are disabled?). But as a society this is a new role, a new phenomenon, and to encourage equality and diversity it is important men and women, young and old read this publication.

This is an exciting adventure and one not only of personal experience for myself but also a three-year research endeavor I have taken to understand the complexities of this new gender role. A movement that does not tell men how to be a father, but instead creates a solution to the challenges, lack of support (even discrimination) faced daily by dads of all race, color, and creed in this country. This is really important to me as a father of three daughters and one son; equality requires we ensure girls have the chance to earn really amazing income and career opportunities in corporate America, but also it requires we start to recognize it is important we help young men and current dads to be supported if they choose the dad-job — the fastest growing job in America.

Be sure to check out the 2020 public release at www.readDADJOB.com or on my websites! Rooted in science and research of well-being I delivered to combat veterans — that was endorsed by the VA/DoD, accredited by multiple universities and regulatory agencies, I really believe this is an important movement “by men, with men, for kids and community” to help improve diversity, equality and a better community for our future living legacies — our kids!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that counts can be counted” — Einstein.

Everything in my research, consulting, and educational programs over the past fifteen years has been focused on this adage. It is relevant to me in several ways that I depict in my publications available on my website that take a deep dive into real outcomes achieved through my research of dynamic-success psychology. Whether its vodka, heirloom quality fountain pens (or my own personal executive pen you can ask me for and I will send it, for real!), my focus is always rooted in helping people unlock and discover what counts through quality and in-depth understanding to find what counts but may not be countable in this big-data era we live in today…

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

www.jpaulrand.com or exclusively by following and interacting with me on https://www.linkedin.com/in/drjpaulrand/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you!

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