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Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — Want success? Be prepared to fail — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

“No pain, no gain” is a mantra for many people who exercise, motivating them to lose weight or get in shape.

Yet in other facets of our lives, we reflexively avoid pain, adversity and even uncertainty. A potential entrepreneur may hesitate to launch a startup because it could fail. A student may avoid law school for fear of the bar exam. Or a leader not open to new ideas could hinder a company’s ability to capitalize on opportunities.

It’s part of human nature to avoid pain. But pain, adversity and uncertainty, despite the hardships they bring, are where you can truly experience life. If you think about it, avoiding pain in its entirety can make you miss life’s real rewards.

Take the book “Principles,” by Ray Dalio. He’s the founder of Bridgewater Associates, a highly successful financial services firm. In the book, Dalio examines the concept of decision-making and provides a way for the reader to create a series of life principles and work principles. An underlying theme is our aversion to pain; Dalio advises us to embrace reality and deal with it, as opposed to ignoring it.

Dalio developed these principles after watching his startup business grow to 16 people and then shrink to one employee – himself. He had been “dead wrong” on a critical financial venture. Dalio realized that if he “was going to move forward without a high likelihood of getting whacked again, I would have to look at myself objectively and change.” Enter the concept of principles.

Here are three key takeaways from some of the principles in Dalio’s book and how his principles might not only help you, but also help change health care.

Be prepared to fail well. It’s good to fail. We’ve all done it. And if we learn from failure, better things will come from it. In Principles, Dalio writes:

“Everyone fails…The people I respect most are those who fail well. I respect them even more than those who succeed. That is because failing is a painful experience while succeeding is a joyous one, so it requires much more character to fail, change, and then succeed than to just succeed.”

In our careers, we tend to think failure can set us back years. Yet some of the greatest mistakes — from Steve Jobs being booted from Apple, the company he founded, to Thomas Edison’s 1,000 failed attempts to create the light bulb — paved the way for transformational success. Dalio says mistakes are “a natural part of the evolutionary process.”

So if failure knocks you down, like it has done for many of us, you’re certainly not down for the count. You have the choice to rise back up and get closer to success. In any career journey, Dalio writes, failures “can either be the impetus that fuels your personal evolution or they can ruin you, depending on how you react to them.”

Health care needs to fail like Thomas Edison failed. There have been many attempts to rein in health care costs. But focusing on costs won’t solve the core issue, because costs are a reflection of our society’s unhealthy lifestyles. I’ve seen that a broader approach, designed to help people change behaviors at all phases of life, will help bring down these rising costs. It’s not going to happen overnight for all of us, but if we keep at it and learn from our mistakes, it will.

Experience life by being less pain-averse. Failure can lead to pain, but if you can open yourself to more difficult situations, you’ll enhance your chances for long-term success. It’s important to realize that if you want to succeed, you have to be willing to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and you can do this by embracing difficult situations. The journey – good and bad and everything in between — is where life happens.

If you can move beyond being pain-averse and push ahead when things get difficult, you’ll be heading in the right direction. As Dalio says:

“Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life—you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.”

Health care is changing, and change can be difficult. I’ve been in the health care industry for decades, and the industry is heavily focused on how new technologies, from blockchain to artificial intelligence, can deliver better patient care. Health care is also changing from episodic care to focusing on managing health holistically, recognizing the importance that lifestyle plays in overall health. Getting comfortable with these changes will almost certainly improve the lives of many people.

Be open-minded, radically open-minded. You can fail. You can make mistakes. But you need perspective, beyond your own, to make use of these experiences. Being open to diverse points of view can only make you better. You might have issues, as a leader, not knowing all the answers. Yet in my experience, I’ve seen that the best leaders are the ones who seek out fresh perspectives.

Dalio encourages radical open-mindedness and radical transparency, which are “invaluable for rapid learning and effective change…Being radically open-minded enhances the efficiency of those feedback loops, because it makes what you are doing, and why, so clear to yourself and others that there can’t be any misunderstandings.”

For example, take a look around your office. If you have diversity of thought, diversity of culture and diversity of males and females – but don’t have an inclusive environment where people feel welcome and safe to be their true selves – it will be difficult to create new ideas. Being open-minded and seeking alternative opinions is an important part of being a good executive, family member or community leader.

Health care does not have all the answers. Our industry has made tremendous advances, but to continue this momentum, we must look outside our industry for answers, starting first with the perspective and needs of health care consumers. The industry also needs to listen to and partner with physicians and clinicians, as they play the most critical role in improving patient health.

Health care is evolving. For the benefit of health care consumers, it’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

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Tim State, Senior Vice President of Associate Health and Well-being at Humana, will deliver a keynote speech at the Human Capital Institute’s 2018 Employee Engagement Conference. Leading up to the event, HCI published a “backstage interview” with Tim, gleaned from a recent HCI podcast.

Tim’s keynote — “The Power of Purpose in a Culture of Well-Being” – will take place July 30 at the conference in Denver.

“Tim is passionate about well-being in the workplace and its power to impact the destiny of individual employees as well as the organizations and customers they serve,” HCI wrote. “We caught up with Tim to learn a little more about why the employee experience matters, and how organizations can embed well-being into the workplace.”

Read the story here, and listen to the podcast here.

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Spending time outdoors can be good for your health, offering everything from improved cognitive performance to decreased stress levels, according to Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, and Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

Next Avenue recently published a conversation between the two as they discussed the physical and mental benefits of visiting national parks and enjoying their natural beauty.

“Healthy recreation like walking, biking or playing is associated with physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as social well-being,” Dr. Beveridge said. “There is also evidence to suggest that exposure to natural environments could have a variety of positive health benefits.

“Natural environments affect human health and well-being both directly and indirectly, according to the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science,” he wrote. “Urban green and outdoor areas provide opportunities for stress recovery and physical activity, in addition to offering spaces for social interactions, which are vital for mental health.

“Chronic stress, physical inactivity and lack of social cohesion are three major risk factors in people with poor health, and therefore exposure to abundant greenery and outdoor environments is an important asset for health promotion.”

The two noted that Humana and the National Park Foundation partnered with Florida International University and MetCare medical practices to introduce a Park Rx program that gave physicians and other care providers the ability to “prescribe” park activity to their patients. Analyzing the results showed that the program fostered better health and well-being by inspiring people to head outdoors.

“We need to make it easy for physicians to treat their patients, and not only with the necessary pharmaceuticals,” Dr Beveridge said. “We need to prescribe resources that engage patients in healthy activities that can lead to better lifestyle decisions and ultimately healthy behavior change. Physical activity is vital to achieving better health, and it’s up to us to make it easy for physicians to make those recommendations to their patients.”

Read the full conversation here.

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When your schedule is crammed full of work obligations and caregiving for family members, how do you squeeze in some much-needed “me time?”

If you take the advice of Domenica Robinson, Humana’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year, you’d find a volunteer activity that makes you feel happy and connected to your local community.

“Giving back to my community gives me ‘me time.’ It’s what I do for myself to feel good while also giving back to my community,” Domenica said. “I truly enjoy volunteering and giving people a little sunshine in their day – it makes me feel so good.”

Domenica, a Work Content Specialist who works from home in southern Indiana and stays busy caring for her grandson and her aging mother, is Humana’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. She tracked 178 volunteer hours in the Humana Volunteer Network in 2017 – and more than 700 hours since 2008! Her very full volunteering schedule includes time at Kindred Hospice spending time with dementia and terminally ill patients, Floyd County Animal Rescue, and serving as a “master gardener” at local 4H clubs, parks and universities.

Humana selected Domenica as Volunteer of the Year based on her commitment to community well-being and the transformational impact of her volunteer work. She will receive a $10,000 grant from the Humana Foundation to Floyd County Animal Rescue League, one of the nonprofit organizations where Domenica volunteers.

Volunteerism is a tangible way Humana can impact the health and well-being of the communities we serve in a personally meaningful way while also increasing our own well-being and sense of purpose.

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Last year, Humana employees logged more than 375,000 volunteer hours. They were supported by the company’s volunteer time off policy, which gives employees paid time away from work to volunteer for activities that positively impact the health and well-being of their communities. Humana employees were rewarded with a higher sense of purpose*, and some were also acknowledged by the organizations they serve.

A group of Humana associates based in Kentucky recently received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from Home of the Innocents (also recognized as Home). The Louisville-based organization provides support and services to over 6,000 at-risk, vulnerable children and families each year.

Led by Ron Woodlee, Technology Services Leader in the IT organization, the group is still growing and includes associates from across Humana, as well as support from local companies such as Baptist Health.

“We connected with Home of the Innocents in 2016 and have been volunteering there ever since. We do all sorts of events and outings, such as Thanksgiving dinners, back-to school cookouts, cards for senior centers, heart shaped pizzas on Valentine’s Day,” said Ron. “Although these kids have had tough lives, they can and will do great things in life if they have support and can see the possibilities. They need people to believe in them, to invest in them, to help them get excited about life.”

Knowing that many Home teenagers never attend dances like most high school students, volunteers planned a formal fashion show (complete with hairstylists) and sit-down dinner. And one year for Halloween, the group bought costumes for the children. Not just any costumes; children received the specific costumes they wanted in their specific sizes.

To encourage these at-risk children to pursue college degrees and follow their passions, mentoring and real-life training is also a focus. When one child showed interest in mechanics, the group connected him with a local mechanic to learn more about the field.

“Everyone in our group is devoted in giving back, serving others. Within minutes of sending an email about an opportunity at Home, everything is covered,” continued Ron. “We get so much joy from doing this work, and even bring our families with us to events.”

In Arizona, Zoilabella “Zoila” Calo has been actively engaged with St. Vincent de Paul. She has coordinated donation drives and setup volunteer time off opportunities for local associates. As a result, Zoila was awarded the Champion Volunteer Award at the annual volunteer appreciation luncheon in April. The award is presented to those who demonstrate exemplary leadership, service excellence, teamwork and community spirit.

“I was honored to receive this award,” said Zoila. “I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it for the mission – Feed. Clothe. House. Heal.”

*As measured by Humana’s 2017 Associate Experience Survey

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