Float Tanks – Where Nothing Happens

I’ve got a confession to make – I’ve been floating lately! Months ago one of the Vistage presenters, Dan Miller, talked about the psychological and wellness benefits of floating. Having already been intrigued by it, his conversation was a tipping point for me to try it. I invited my wife to join me.

What an amazing experience. I already meditate but this added a physical component to it I had never experience before. Essentially you get into a large coffin shape structure that has enough salt in it to make you float (and kill anything else that might be in the water so no worries about hygiene). When you close the top of the float tank it cuts out any light or sound and only leaves ventilation behind. The only thing you can hear is your own breath and mind at work. I’m 6’3” and there was plenty of room to put my arms overhead.

I love it because it allowed me to get into a deep state quickly. I lost track of time and everything else too. After 60 minutes I came out of the float tank a renewed person. That buzz lasted for more than a day physically but even longer mentally. It cost $40 for a one hour float. Check out their website to find out more about floating. http://www.floatsanctuary.com/ Hopefully there is a place to float near you.

My wife wasn’t comfortable with the total blackness so she let some light in. She swears by the benefits of the float too. She is a chiropractor and said how good it made her body feel. It definitely relieved the stiffness in my old bones.

I have to laugh when I share the experience with people whose automatic reaction is “why would you pay to do that?” All I can do a smile in reply. Try it…and nothing will happen to you too!

A Profound Conversation about Health and Thoughts on How it Affects Your Culture

I’m a health nut and learn as much as I can about nutrition, exercise, etc. Over the years I have learned much from Dave Asprey and Bruce Lipton.

This podcast is a profound conversation between two of the smartest people in health. When you listen to it think about the following:

  1. It’s all about how we produce and manage energy.
  2. While we all have our DNA’s our environment affects who we are more than anything else.
  3. First there is the mental environment. Do you have a positive mental attitude? Do you love and seek love? Do you believe?
  4. Then there is the physical environment. You are in a petri dish. What’s the culture like? Is it wholesome? Energizing? How’s it affecting your performance?
  5. When things can’t grow anymore on their own they have to collaborate.
  6. It’s collaboration and cooperation… not competition that drives evolution.

Now think about how those six thoughts apply to the whole. To your family culture? Your company culture?

How is energy generated at your company? Is it generated by stress? Some stress is a good thing. It’s why we work out. Too much stress results in overuse, injuries, resentment. Too much stress is energy depleting and not sustainable. As Joseph Campbell said “Work can be a life draining affair.”

Is the energy generated by engagement at work? Do people feel energized on their way to work? Do they still feel energized on their way home? The challenge here may be maintaining that energy level, especially in times of great external stressors or the sneaky complacency of success.

What is the mental environment at work? How do you and your employees think about the work they do? How do you try to pump up that thinking? Do you brand a thought experience to your employees? Like IBM did when it suggested everyone THINK. Or Ford did when it said Quality is Job #1. Or as Lexus says A Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. Do you have thought billboards on the walls? Everywhere? That change positions so they stay fresh?

Remember, thoughts are things.

What’s the physical environment like? Does it look like an energizing place to work? Well….does it? Is there good light, fresh air, cleanliness?

I remember working with a printing company years ago. They had 120 employees and 3 shifts working on these big Heidelberg printing presses.  There was a ton of drama and shift wars going on. And the place looked like a mess. When I asked about that the CFO that brought me in justified by saying we are a printing company and they are all messy. When I asked why that was the case he didn’t seem to have a good answer.  Here’s what I had them do. Over a weekend they brought in a painting and cleaning crew and extra equipment. Employees would be paid overtime if they wanted to help paint and clean. They had a clown and bounce house for kids out in the parking lot and refreshments for all.

Most employees participated even if for just a few hours each. By the end of the weekend that place looked amazing. No printing company that CFO knew of ever looked so good. And it changed the culture. Things were left tidy by each shift. The wars stopped. Customers were brought back into the shop for tours. Workers took new pride in themselves. And they had a 1.3 million turnaround in 6 mos.

Remember this: your physical environment is always communicating. It is never not communicating. So make sure it is an energy giving story.

Last thing about the “physical” environment. Each one of us is a physical environment. I have preached forever in the value of making sure your employees get very health food at work. One of the best investments you can make to build and maintain energy. If you listen to this podcast you will know why.

What’s the cultural environment feel like? How well can people grow in it? Can everyone see a growth path? Is the culture energy giving or energy draining?

How do we foster cooperation and collaboration? Slack is great but that’s just part of the equation. How do we talk about it, engineer for it and incentivize it?


Like I said an amazing conversation. Tell me what you think about it.


and https://www.bulletproofexec.com/bruce-lipton-336/


When Suicide Hits Close to Home

I sense there is a lot of fear and depression going on. And…it can’t be ignored.

While I have never entertained the thought of suicide, that’s not been the case for so many others. And… it’s been hitting close to home the last few years.

A 13-year old boy, who was the younger brother of my son’s friend, committed suicide last month because he got himself in trouble and feared the judgement that would come with it. This was a sweet boy who had many a sleep over at our house.

Four years ago, my dear cousin committed suicide leaving his wife and two lovely daughters behind. Last year, two of my oldest son’s best friends committed suicide, one of whom also left two children behind.

Where I live in Coronado we have a bridge that is famous for its suicides. It is second in the country behind the Golden State Bridge for suicide attempts. You can’t be in Coronado and not be aware of the problem. 18 people have jumped since January. A few days ago my wife told me the mother of a 16-year-old award winning student we know jumped off the bridge.

I live in a military town and know many soldiers, including many SEALS. Their rate of suicide is well known but seldom publicized. Many of them are struggling with PTSD problems. My friend Dr. Bart Billings has been working with many of these young men and women, trying to get them off of killer medications.

Recently one company I know, under significant financial pressures,  had two employees commit suicide within a few months. You can’t ignore that.

I recently spoke to a group Chief Financial Officers for construction firms and they have a program going on to address the suicide problem in the construction industry. http://www.cfma.org/news/content.cfm?ItemNumber=4570

My son told me the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why which has caused a great deal of buzz on campus. It’s about a girl who commits suicide and gets back at other people by telling them how they contributed to her death. Based on the book

Recently the media focused on a 20 year old woman convicted for bullying her boyfriend to kill himself. The messages she sent him were chilling. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/06/16/shes-accused-of-pushing-him-to-suicide-now-a-judge-has-decided-her-fate/?utm_term=.5288fb6ec40c

What do we do with all of this? How do we make sense of it? I know I can’t ignore it when it strikes so close to home. I have to talk to my wife and son about how they are going this experience. HR and other executives may want to recognize its impact at work.

I did some digging. Starting with the data about suicide and then looking for resources for families and companies to help to deal with it.
According to DoSomething.org:

  • Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds.
  • On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes.
  • Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people.
  • About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated is the number 1 cause of suicide.
  • There is 1 suicide for every 25 attempted suicides.
  • Males make up 79% of all suicides, while women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts.
  • Over 50% of all suicides are completed with a firearm.

Hundreds of people decide to commit suicide at work every year. An example from OSHA:

  • Employee Is Killed After Jumping From Roof
  • Worker Drives Off Bridge And Drowns
  • Commits Suicide Soon After Arriving At Work.
  • Employees Are Killed In A Murder Suicide
  • Dies From A Self-Inflicted Gun Shot.
  • Employee Commits Suicide In Hospital Restroom
  • Worker Commits Suicide Using Sodium Azide
  • Water Treatment Worker Commits Suicide
  • Employee Commits Suicide By Jumping Off Parking Structure
  • Employee Shoots And Kills Self In Shed
  • Jumps From Elevated Platform And Is Killed
  • Employee Commits Suicide At Work By Hanging

What I’ve learned is that while there are commonalities, the stories behind suicide are as unique as life itself. Sometimes it is a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain caused naturally or due to prescription medications or drug abuse. It could be due to a fatal diagnosis or intolerable pain. Other times it is a traumatic event and other times it’s fear, hopelessness and failed expectations.

In all circumstances… they saw no way out. They saw no path to peace other than to end their lives.

There are a ton of emotions triggered by a suicide including shock, anger, grief, despair, confusion, rejection, the need to understand “why”, physical collapse or even the thought of suicide itself.

Acknowledge these feelings, don’t pretend they don’t exist. It is OK to question them, examine them and discuss them. And it is OK to ask for help. You are not alone.

Here are some excellent resources:

Wellness…Where Do We Go from Here

It seems as if the idea of wellness has hit a brick wall. Its vast promise has not materialized, other than in unique circumstances.

I think the greatest challenge, to paraphrase Lincoln, is that most people (me included) are about as healthy as they choose to be.

Click here to read a report I wrote on the next steps for wellness.

Here’s to your health, Don