World Mental Health Day and the Power of Play

Today is a great day to celebrate the importance of mental health. While I was hosting the Rural Futures Podcast, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Howard Liu about mental health. Dr. Liu serves as the Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is also the Director of Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Even better than his training, experience and titles? Howard is a dedicated husband, father and all around super-cool human being!

Part of the interview focused on mental health disparities and shortages in rural areas; however, we also talked about the importance of fun and play for both children and adults.

I included a portion of the transcript that focuses on the importance of play and taking risks below. You can hear the entire episode by visiting the Rural Futures Podcast web site:

Rural Futures Podcast Episode 14: Psychiatrist Howard Liu intersects mental health, workforce, access

Dr. Connie:  I do a lot of work, of course on strategic foresight and futuring, but part of that is creativity, part of that is innovation. And it’s really hard for people to be creative when they’re just focusing on a to-do list and a massive amount of activity, rather than being very intentional and using discernment on what’s really important, what can you say no to, what’s maybe not in your wheelhouse, how do you engage a team around these things and create different systems that really support the ability to be creative? So many organizations say, yes, we want to be innovative, we want to really be competitive in the future. But they really aren’t designing the lives of their employees to be that way because innovation does start with the individual.

Dr. Liu: It really does. I think it does start with the individual, but I think it’s fed by the culture, or stifled by the culture.

(laughing)

Dr. Connie: No, that’s true! That is absolutely right.

Dr. Liu: And I know you’re someone that’s a futurist, and so you really think ahead, and I have no doubt that you found ways to really carve out that time. I believe in two things. As a child psychiatrist, and also as a parent of four kids myself, I think that adults often don’t take the time to play in the same way that kids do. And there’s something that, I don’t know if you grew up watching Mr. Rogers, but Mr. Rogers actually was quite a profound thinker, as it turns out, and then one thing he said is sort of like, play is the work of childhood. You really are trying things out, you’re processing things. We notice in kids who have been through traumas, well, often you’ll see in the play some of the terrible things they’re trying to work out, and what happened, and reenact, and so on.

I believe that for all adults, you have to have some time to play, but that entails two things. One is, it takes some risk, right? Because if you’re going to play, you might mess up, because you’re probably not the world’s expert in that thing, you’re sort of processing in the back of your mind, or balancing off a couple other people.

And then, second thing is then, if it’s going to be risky, you have to be ready to fail, and that’s have to be okay, right, with the organization, with your unit, with your boss, whatever, or your colleagues. And I think for a lot of people, those two things are hard, because it’s a little bit of a risk, and you don’t want to put yourself out there.

I recently read a book. It’s about the founding of Pixar, and written by Ed Catmull, the president, I believe, and it really said the manager’s job is not to prevent risks, is to make it safe to take them, and I really like that, because it makes you really think about, well, as a leader, am I stifling creativity by saying, oh, you messed up here, do better next week, or do I say something different, wow, it looks like you really put yourself out there. Maybe it didn’t work this time, but I’d love to see you keep trying new things. I think there’s different ways we can approach it, and kind of buffer that risk for our employees and our colleagues.

Dr. Connie: So the culture norm is to be so serious, and really stiff.

Dr. Liu: Right.

Dr. Connie: It’s nice to see some of that changing that, but, a lot of the high level leaders I’ve coached, that’s the thing that is missing from their lives so often, and part of coaching them is to encourage them and help them create some time, and make that time to actually play. I mean, there’s nothing more refreshing than a snowball fight with your kids, even. Go sledding, go do these things.

Dr. Liu: Yes.

Dr. Connie: They’re actually fun, or if you were a musician and you haven’t picked up your instrument, like you had mentioned earlier, for years, reengage that part of your health because it really brings out the best in you. And when I used to say that, people would look at me like, oh my gosh, she’s talking about having fun, and we’re talking about leadership and futuring and all these things, but then, it’s like it clicked, and people are like, okay, now how do I do that? Because it was really lacking from their life, but I always say fun is the fountain of creativity, but it’s also the fountain of youth.

Dr. Liu: I have this philosophy about workforce, future workforce, future people in any field, and it’s that, kinda like what you were saying, you can’t just do the routine things if you’re going to flip something, there’s not enough people in any field, right? So otherwise, in 25 years, guess what? Exact same thing, if we’re going to use this same approach. But there’s some science, and I do believe there’s some art to it as well. So my first job in this department was, the only formal title I had was to help build a psychiatry interest group, which was medical students, and there was only one in the interest group, so it wasn’t very successful.

(laughing)

Dr. Liu: But I had in my fellowship, encountered a really outstanding mentor. Her name was Dr. Paula Rauch, who’s a child psychiatrist. And when were trying to learn development, normal childhood development, she would invite all the fellows over, there were nine of us, to her house for breakfast for I think six or nine weeks. And we’d go sit around the table, and she’d serve us a very simple breakfast —just bread and peanut butter, and whatever, and we’d talk about development. And one of the things that we then did was go to see a preschool where her kids had gone to school, and then  just see what they did in their sort of all day recess. And that experience always stuck with me for two things because one is that it takes a little courage to open up your home to trainees, or to colleagues, whatever. It’s an extra step, but two was I never have forgotten it, and I think others have never forgotten it either. Many of us remember it fondly as one of the best parts of our training. And I realized that when I started here, and there’s one person going into psychiatry, and that we needed to do better than that. And so I started hosting things in my home, and we’d invite students and faculty, and you really see outside of the work environment, people really let their hair down. It’s best if they can show up in their shorts or something, and it’s casual, and they can just relax and get to know each other, and I think as the students get to know the faculty, then I think that we’re also sort of unconsciously sort of auditioning them as future colleagues. They’re looking at their lives, and sort of auditioning their lives. Is this the kind of person I want to be? Is this the kind of balance I want to pursue? And as it turns out, the latest study on why students choose psychiatry, work life integration and balance is one of the top three factors. So the only way you could show that is definitely not in your office, but by showing them that thing. Maybe it’s piano, maybe it’s something different. It needs to be something that gives them some sense of who you are outside of work.

Dr. Connie: Oh, absolutely, you get to see the real person. I mean, in so many ways, when we go to work, it’s not really a facade. I mean, I think for some people it is, but you don’t see the family that they’re raising. You don’t see who they are, or the hobbies they have. You don’t see them as a whole person. My previous position before coming to the Rural Futures Institute, I did a lot of team building at the Kimmel Education and Research Center, which is on Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City, Nebraska. We’d have companies come and we’d do things like Iron Chef cook-offs.

Dr. Liu: That’s great.

Dr. Connie: Real active, very fun, but also very purposeful types of activities. It’s the same thing you’re saying, I mean, so often, a lot of team conflict is because people just really don’t know or understand each other outside of the meetings they sit in. So how can we break down those barriers, really understand people as people, and build that camaraderie, but also that compassion, and real like for other people. And we’re more apt to do that if we know them and appreciate who they are rather than judging who they are.

Dr. Liu: That’s really well said.

Dr. Connie: You are a leader in your space. I’d love to know more about your leadership philosophy, your style. There’s a psychologist that said, with any organization, it’s always good to be half in and half out, and what he meant by that was that if you have six different jobs, no one really feels like you’re part of that organization because you’re running around, and you’re not really present, right? And people understand that, right?

Dr. Liu: So you have to be at least half-time in, doing that thing, where people see you, they recognize what you do in that work and that kind of thing. But this goes back to your earlier point about creativity. You have to find that thing, you have passion area, and you have to carve it out. And it may not be there right away, but however you get there, that’s what’s going to create vitality for you in the workplace, is having that thing and for some people, that’s research. For some people, that’s community engagement. I really enjoy that piece, for example. For some people, it’s something different, right. It might be building infrastructure, or could be anything, publishing. But having that space to really carve that out, is so important. And then not being too committed to too many things is very important as well. So that was one principle. Another one that someone told me was, think about your portable skill set, because in a career, you may wear six, ten, many different hats, but what do you take away from each, and have you grown? And as I’ve thought about my career, I came in, again, really just as a clinician, which is a great thing, but I didn’t really know anything about leadership, and so a lot of what I’ve learned has been on the job. But I do try to be intentional about it, and try to write some things down. At some point I realized, there’s some major gaps of what I do and don’t know. I know a little bit on managing budgets, but I really don’t know about healthcare economics in the same way as someone who’s running a hospital does, and if I’m going to ever do clinical leadership, I should probably learn something about that. So for example, last year, I enrolled in an executive MBA program that’s sponsored through our hospital. Having those relationships, what Gallup would say, is the “friend at work” is so important. It’s so easy to neglect, but if you don’t have it, I really feel it So it’s the people that you can go and really debrief with, that aren’t doing it because of your role, but really, they genuinely, you like each other, that you can share your woes, and they can share theirs, that kind of thing. You can’t just create it, you have to find it. You have to carve that time out, and then you have to nurture it once you have those people. I’ve been lucky to have those people here, and it’s so important just for attention and for your own vitality as a leader.


Howard and I had a great time during the interview (I left the “laughing” element of the show notes in tact so you could literally read about the fun we had while talking).

Play and laughter need to be a bigger part of our human experience. We have forgotten not only that it feels good but that it is also good for us, our families, our communities and even our businesses!

This whole idea was the basis of creating a futuring school (F * School) for women in midlife. This creation has come from my many years of coaching clients and working with businesses who have all lost their ability to create their desired futures and engage with their world because fun is typically a distant memory. It may sound a little wild, which you all know that I am totally fine with being. The first module is going to focus on…FUN! Yes, you read that right…the first module is going to focus on the power of play and fun as the foundation for creating your future (while enjoying the present). We will explore a bit about of the science associated with the importance of fun. Then, we will get into into practical steps designed transform life through fun and fulfillment.

If you have any interest in learning to have more fun, please add your email to our list and you will be one of the first to receive the enrollment information. The fun lessons will be absolutely free! The more fun we can get out there into the world, the better!

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Enjoy yourself today and everyday, and remember to…

Go Wild & Have Fun!

-Dr. Connie

How to Create Your Desired Future on the Leaders of Transformation Podcast

I have to admit that I was super excited to do an interview with Nicole Jansen as part of her Leaders of Transformation Podcast. We talk about the future, the importance of a vision and how work and leadership are evolving; however, my biggest moment was actually diving into my own transition! I have not said or written a lot about why and how I left a twenty-five year career to pursue my own desired future. Honestly, it has been a hard to talk about for a number of reasons. We discuss it a bit in this interview, and it felt awesome just to voice my truth as well as my new adventure in midlife!

http://leadersoftransformation.libsyn.com/276-dr-connie-reimers-hild-how-to-create-your-desired-future

Enjoy the show, and let me know what you think! I would love to know what topics you want to know more about in the future. Make sure to download the free

Start creating your desired future today by enjoy the Dream Life 2025 exercise that is mentioned in podcast! After you complete the Dream Life 2025 exercise, let me know what your desired future looks like in the comments section below!

112 – Cultivating a Futurist Mindset with Connie Reimers-Hild – Jake A Carlson

Source: 112 – Cultivating a Futurist Mindset with Connie Reimers-Hild – Jake A Carlson

Top Takeaways: Cultivating a Futurist Mindset with Connie Reimers-Hild

  • You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backward – Steve Jobs
  • What if you could find a way to look forward?
  • Futurist is a discipline and schools have teaching certifications for this
  • Futurism is a strategic tool to influence and impact both now and the future
  • A mix of methodology and mindset – strategic foresight to create the future we want
  • Vivid Visual Vision – 3-5 years out what do you want to do and experience?
  • Crayons, Paints, any medium to make the vision as vivid as possible – make it your own whole brain, whole soul process
  • Get below the surface and become very self-aware and honest about your future
  • Proactively pause and find out what you want – step away from the demand and create a new model – become mindful
  • Slow the train down to obtain a creative flow – (savor a piece of chocolate)
  • Time and Value of being in the moment
  • The future is created every day – today matters as we build for tomorrow
  • We live in a “nowist society” – instant gratification and we are starting to look for that in our careers as well
  • Intentional learning – determine what you want to experience along the way
  • Is your ladder against the right building? Are these the right steps?  Adjust your ladder if you find you want a different option
  • Authenticity – What am I willing to do to be bolder and go in the direction I want to go
  • Follow other futurists – question the current paradigm – borrow from others but do unique and original things
  • Inventory of your strengths and how do we leverage those – who wants or needs this?
  • Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses – become the best at what you’re good at
  • Alternate futures vs probable futures – develop your preferred future – something you are passionate about

What is the Future of Work?

I am exploring the future of work with leaders at the Innovating Georgia’s Workforce Pipeline Conference. It is a one-day conference designed to innovate Georgia’s talent development and workforce pipeline. The keynote is designed to be an an interactive session that generates innovation leaders can use. However, the future of work is a complex issue. Will we all be replaced by robots? Do older workers have a place in the workforce of the future? Should Millennials and younger generations be the focus?

I am going to add my Futurist insights and would love to hear from all of you. How do you see the future of work?

Great news! There is still time to register for the conference. Visit the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s web site to register. It would be wonderful to meet some of you live and in-person! If you are not going to be in Georgia, then add your insights about the future of work below! I look forward to reading your ideas.

Live Your Future,

-Dr. Connie

Dream Life 2025

Want to start thinking like a Futurist? Then, try this Dream Life 2025 coaching exercise!

I developed this exercise for people who listen to the Leaders of Transformation podcast with Nicole Jansen. Strategic foresight is now a core leadership competency, and Nicole and I had a great chat about how all of us can develop a futurist mindset.

One of my favorite strategic foresight tools is using stories to creatively expand their ideal futures!

If you are going to think like a Futurist, then it is important to focus on your own future first! This exercise is designed to do just that-help you think about your ideal future. This same type of exercise can be done with teams, departments or even whole organizations. Give it a try and let me know what your dream future looks, feels and even smells like!

It is important to clarify and begin living like you have already achieved your ideal future if you are truly going to achieve it. There are multiple futures, and the outcome that actually occurs happens because of both your mindset and the methodologies you use to get there.

You can download the FREE Dream Life 2025 coaching exercise by clicking on the link below!

Episode 167 – Thriving in a New World with Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild –

How do you think technology will evolve with people (or vice versa), especially women, in this rapid era of change?  This is the question Steven Shallenberger and I explore in this podcast episode.

Steve is the founder of Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, LLC and host of the Becoming Your Best Podcast.  

Join us for a conversation focused on leadership, globalization and the future of humanity.  

Please join this important global conversation and reply with your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comment section below.

Enjoy the show!!

-Dr. Connie

Steve: Welcome to all of our Becoming Your Best Podcast listeners, wherever you might be in the world today! This is your host, Steve Shallenberger, and we have a very talented and interesting guest with us today. She helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. Welcome, Dr. Connie …

Source: Episode 167 – Thriving in a New World with Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild –

Creating Exponential Opportunities

I am thrilled to be leading a strategic foresight session in partnership with the Western Healthcare Alliance as part of their Annual Summit.

Our goal is to achieve three overall objectives:

1. Feel Inspired, Energized and Connected

2. Learn about Ideas and Opportunities

3. Collectively and Openly Innovate to Co-Create the Future by Asking and Answering: What can our Health Organizations do Together?

Healthcare is undergoing a massive disruption like so many other industries.  Many women are leading this change as part of the health and healthcare industry.  They are also leading it as consumers.

I am curious…how do you see the future of health and healthcare evolving?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas and insights!

-Dr. Connie  

 

Innovation, Leadership & the Future of Healthcare

One of my favorite things to do is work with leaders who are eager to shape the future.  I especially enjoy working with leaders in the $3 trillion healthcare space.  Why?  Their world is being disrupted at an increasingly rapid pace, and many leaders in this important industry are doing what they can to innovate and shape the future.  I also appreciate the fact that women comprise a large portion (approximately 75%!) of the healthcare industry.    When I help hospitals and other other healthcare organizations reinvent their futures, I am helping female leaders, their families and their communities.  Thanks Western Healthcare Alliance and all involved for taking on this important conversation about leading innovation to help build a better future for all the people and communities your serve.

 

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The New Midlife Crisis on OPRAH.COM

I just read a brilliant article by Ada Calhoun, The New Midlife Crisis:  Why (and How) It’s hitting Gen X Women.   

Gen X, the generation often ignored by researchers, employers or even in basic conversations and presentations about generational differences,  had a very different upbringing when compared to their parents or their children.   We are an ambitious generation that created successful companies but also struggled in careers while figuring out how to “balance” work, family and gender dynamics.  Many remained unmarried and childless by choice.  Others married and had children much later in life than previous generations-yes, that’s me!

Midlife has changed, and there is little understanding of midlife challenges and opportunities in the modern era.  I agree with Calhoun about many of the challenges (underemployment, regret about life decisions, etc).  However, I also think our bold and courageous generation continues to shape the world in many positive ways.  Gen X continues to shape organizations, businesses and communities with their independence, work ethic and drive to have a personal life.

The pressure many Gen Xers put on themselves can be a blessing but also a curse.  One key to a more positive midlife is letting go of regret and so much self-censoring while making life more of an adventure.  Generally speaking, many of us were bold and independent in our youth.  We are the generation of big hair, shaved sides, multiple piercings, video games, loud music and mohawks. If there is any generation who can find ways to enjoy it all more-it is ours.  Gen X has done more for this country than most people realize without receiving or even needing the credit for their accomplishments.  We have been leading under the radar for most of our lives, and it is time to raise our hands and voices to audaciously shape the future, especially for women (more on this in a later post).

What does this more modern midlife look like to you?  How are you dealing with the challenges, pressures and stress?  What great adventures are you having in your midlife?  What new opportunities are you pursing?  Let us know by leaving a comment.  We would enjoy hearing from you!

-Dr. Connie

Enjoy OWN’s hilarious video: