Thursday, March 21, 2013

Agents of Happiness

Its official. The tide is turning quickly and if you don't catch on quickly then you will be one of the many who will be looking at things as they were and not as they are. I saw them everywhere. They were infectious and outgoing...passionate and kind...helpful and hopeful. Yup, I left IHRSA 2013 knowing that the people who are agents of happiness are multiplying at a staggering rate. You could just feel it. As I walked the expo floor of IHRSA I was astonished by all of the good vibes being broadcast by so many fitness, health and wellness professionals. People were smiling, laughing and engaging in quality conversations. It was beautiful to see.

I also found this to be the case with some really dynamic presenters at IHRSA. Now, I could also say that there were some difficult to get through presentations due to low energy from some presenters, but that was far and few between in my experience. I experienced presenters who were serious agents of happiness which means these folks are serious agents of change. I saw a presentation by Nicholas Kristakis, supremely accomplished scientist and professor at Harvard University that blew me away. His discussion based on the research on why and how people connect with others was educational and though provoking.

I saw the wonderful folks of the American Council on Exercise provide a genuine argument for their new action plan to wipe out obesity by 2035 called "Do well by doing good." Just an awesome plan that evokes community involvement not only by those in the community, but also by the executives of ACE. They plan on doing an Action Plan Tour in which they will sit down with owner/operators of fitness facilities to get them to focus more on behavior modification and creating a more inviting way for the 80% of people who don't exercise regularly to become physical active. They are spreading happiness with a message of we care going to provide you with the truth and not confuse people about what fitness really. I love it!

I saw an agent of happiness in Roberta Fordham who is a fellow WTS team member based out of Ashburn Villiage in Virginia. Her talk about "Positioning Your Club for Success" was less about operations and more about giving happiness and love towards your staff and members. And I saw these types of talks all week as the model of business is beginning to shift. While bottom line results are still important, people are becoming more aware that in order to get those results you have to be an agent of happiness to others and to yourself! Mark my words...if you think you can micro manage people then watch out because the agents of happiness are going to run you over. We are going to smash every fiber and being of what you think it means to run a great business.

And you know being happy doesn't mean that you are weak and less of an authority figure. Listen I will be the first person to let an employee go if I have done all the things I can do to coach them up and yet they still can't get right. They just need a change of scenery then and I am happy to free them up for that. But my overall goal is simple. Be a change for goodness and happiness in both my personal and professional life.

I met wonderful change agents such as Alison Hager from Kansas, Lindsay Mashburn Wright from North Carolina and Jerard Nighorn from Wisconsin. These people are simply put...good human beings. You can't beat amazing people who just demonstrate humanity in the best way. They ooze it. It's emitting out of them because they can't help it. They love their life and they want to give other people the opportunity to feel how they feel. How awesome is that?

And then there is my loyal and wonderful friends Heather Doane and Emma Pietrzak. Truly wonderful life changers who just by being at IHRSA elevated the atmosphere inside the Mandalay Bay. I could just the see the happiness floating off of them and on to others. Then there was Rick Barbee of Advanced Exercise who just might be one of the most incredible and classy people you will meet in your lifetime. And there was Rob Newkirk, Charles Ware, Debbie Woodruff, Amy Krishka, Bonnie Lang, Sarah Parker and the list keeps growing all the time.

You see, people today desperately want to be affiliated with something good and honest. Something that will give them that child like wonderment and awe. We love a good story, but most of all we love a happy journey in each person's story. And while pain and heartache are inevitable at certain times of our lives, we always have the option to rise again and claim the happiness that is out there for us.

Whether the good folks at IHRSA know this or not, this year'show was the beginning of the takeover of the happy people. I certainly did not think this was going to be the case after the first 10 minutes of me writing notes about the event, but as it went on the engine of happy agents roared and that sound will be audible for years to come.

Thank you IHRSA and especially Meredith Poppler  for allowing me to meet so many wonderful people at your 2013 show. I am grateful for the opportunity to use my blog as a platform to promote IHRSA 2013. May goodness and happiness always find you and may you help find it in others. And thank you to all of you who read my blog regularly. I know these past few blog entries have been a little different than my normal writing, but I hope that you can see that it still keeps the same heart and life lesson approach. Have a wonderful day everyone and I will leave you with this:

Who are the agents of happiness in your life?

Dr. Darian Parker

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