The Power of Shared Symbols

Once upon a time I held the noble and endearing job of being a sixth-grade teacher. 

One of my students, we’ll call him Brady, definitely qualified as a 1% for Nike. Every backpack, hat and every visible piece of clothing he wore, bore the Nike Swoosh.

At one point I asked him what the symbol stood for and he was unable to say. However, this question led Brady through a relentless, self-imposed, research project to learn more about the emblem. We even persuaded the school to pay for the charges so he could interview someone in the marketing department up in Beaverton, OR.

In her book Monster Loyalty, Jackie Huba talks about this sort of drive and the connective power individuals sense when they embrace a brand’s symbol. For Brady, his embossed daily wardrobe and school gear helped him feel part of all things Nike.

Shared symbols are everywhere. This week I looked around my home and work and found a fistful of examples.

Here you can see Susan Yule, CEO of ConsultNet, sporting the company’s newest t-shirts.

photo (6)At SoulSalt Academy, coaches in training learn how to ask powerful coaching questions. This emblem supports one of the main points in a specific module.

don't ask why

Racer’s in X-terra events find temp tattoos in their SWAG at sign-in.  The intention is to foster unity among the athletes on the course during races.

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And speaking of tattos, Jackie Huba committed her left ankle to the Pittsburg Steelers logo.

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Now before you decide on the symbol your tribe will share, do your research. Experiment with logos, emblems, icons, and even mascots. Find out what attracts and unifies your client base.

You may even start to notice the symbols your 1%’s are sending you. The following is a collection of items that we have been given. We can’t say yet what role they will play in becoming a future SoulSalt Inc. shared symbol. However, those of you who know me can see these drawings are on to something. Even if all they do is capture and mirror back to us aspects that are near and dear to my heart such as: my collection of eyewear, my favorite belt buckle and of course, my love for wearing a tie now and then.

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Lyn Christian Named Fittest Female Executive over Fifty

We are proud to announce that Lyn Christian has been named Fittest Female Executive over fifty by the Utah Business Magazine. This wasn’t just some random appointment. The team at TOSH (The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital) put all of Utah’s applicants through what they call an ultimate fitness test.

The test included skin fold measurement to determine body composition, a VO2 Max test that indicated cardiovascular fitness, a vertical jump and pro agility test. If that wasn’t enough, flexibility was measured, press jumps were administered and each applicant had to prove themselves in a good old-fashioned push-up series too.

While Lyn took first in her age division, insider information indicates she surpassed the fitness of several contestants much younger than she.

What seems most impressive to us at SoulSalt is that this wasn’t a random contest Lyn took extra time to prepare for. She maintains a philosophy about being strong and true in all areas of life, which include not just the physical but also the mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. She believes that regular routines and practices of healthy living in theses areas are critical for enjoying and having optimal experiences.  She says, “If you want to do well in your work, in your relationships, and in your life you must be well.”

For more information read the Special Report in this month’s edition of Utah Business Magazine and watch for other postings and comments concerning this topic.

Got Feet?

Let’s start with two questions:

Were you born with feet?

Do you still have them?

If you answered “yes” to both, you’ll want to read on.

Chances are you are like me and you’ve had a limited perspective on how complex those two things living below your ankles are. For example, did you know that we have about 200 bones in our entire body?  And did you know that 25% of these bones are found in your feet (25% of all the muscles and motor nerves in your body are dedicated to your feet as well)?*

Sounds like I know what I’m talking about right?

Well I do, sort of.  Stay with me on this one and you’ll understand.

I thrive on supporting the entrepreneurial spirit. I consider it to be one of the most powerful forces reshaping this country. In my opinion, it is one dynamic that has constantly remained more of an art than a science no matter how many textbooks try to put their arms around it. And, I believe that entrepreneurship was flowing through the veins of this nation’s founding parents.

So over a cup of tea, on a Sunday morning I put down a current copy of Entrepreneur long enough to go wandering around the Big Cartel website. Ever curious to see what some of the artrapreneurs (yes I made that up) were up to, I viewed Susan Peterson’s mini documentary about her company Freshly Picked.

My partner heard the music and came up behind me to see what I was watching. As soon as Freshly Picked footwear for kids came on the screen my partner exclaimed, “Those are perfect. Parents need to be more aware of what they put on their baby’s and children’s feet.”

My partner, Susan McLaughlin, is a Physical Therapist trained in Restorative Exercise™ by Biomechanist turned Entrepreneur, Katy Bowman. Between these two women’s highly educated influence in my life, I have come to better understand the benefits of having a proper fit from a well engineered pair of shoes. I’m learning the type of “toe box” my feet need. I also know how important it is to avoid long days in elevated (heeled) footwear.

I’d like to say that this is the reason I also took time to watch the Big Cartel mini documentary for Zuriick footwear.  That would be a lie. The sole, upper, toe box and most of the heels provided by Zuriick shoes are not only extremely well designed from a creative standpoint, they are pretty hip on the wellness scene.  And I think it is incredible because there is something out there in the innovative new business scene that is not just about how things look. There is something that is considering the integration of quality, design and wellness. I think it is more than a trend. I think we’ve traveled far away from “what’s good for us” in terms of food, water, shelter and clothing. And today I see a grassroots movement among the free-agent thinkers toward having a more mindful means of living our lives and loving the process.

That’s why I can mash-up my thoughts about shoes, entrepreneur, and health and believe that I’m posting something worth reading. That’s the reason I would promote Freshly Picked, Zurrick and Katy Bowman all in the same blog.

That’s also the reason that I’m reminding my friends and connections that my company, SoulSalt is hosting a Katy Bowman event here in Salt Lake this Saturday the 4th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Sugar Space. 

If your knees hurt, if your hips bother you, and if your back aches, you can’t be as creative or entrepreneurial as your potential would allow you to be.  You need to pay attention to your feet and listen to what Katy has to say:

Your footwear can absolutely affect the performance of your body… (I’m adding this last part)…and the way you experience your life.

 

*This paragraph was adapted from Katy Bowman’s book Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief see page 8.

The 2012 SoulSalt Courage Award

Two strong constructs within my work are to:

  • Support people to clarify and align with their core value system
  • Support people through the process of career reinvention

This year’s Courage Award goes to a woman whose story embraces both and has unfolded right beneath my nose. Susan McLaughlin, my partner in life has simply yet bravely earned this award.

Having her livelihood placed on the line, Susan chose to leave a job in order to remain aligned with her personal values. This daring move has required that she quickly reinvent herself in the world of entrepreneurship (something she is approaching with as much skill and thoughtfulness as I’ve ever witnessed). Her story is best told by her own pen:

Recently I experienced a big shift in my life that has made me wonder.

 I wonder, what is it that drives a person to initiate a big change?

What is it that allows a person to take the next step, to change careers, a relationship, even a residence?

I took a big step…. no, I took a leap this Dec, 2011.

I have been practicing physical therapy since 2001. Four years ago I established myself as an outpatient physical therapist with a top notch healthcare company. I had an ideal position with a decent salary, potential to develop a pelvic health program and move into a leadership role.

During my years with this company, minute incongruencies clashed with my core values and began to take its toll. I had been packaging and storing these differences in a way that manifested as stress in my body. I started to observe that I mixed up words when I spoke, I transposed words when I wrote, I couldn’t finish my sentences, and I started to revert back to the childhood days when I couldn’t say my “Rs”.

I also noticed that despite all of the hours of stretching and restorative exercise™ during the week, my muscles just wouldn’t let go….Although I could feel that I was carrying more tension in my body than was healthy, I didn’t want to admit that my current job was contributing to this condition.

I now realize that my stress was caused by the friction of internal struggle. I have a belief that our bodies will heal if given the optimal environment. I wanted to work from my soul. However, I was working within a system where healing is something done to us and we wait for people to get sick, and then “cure” them with surgery and pills. I would have continued to work with this subtle inner struggle, but my company initiated a new policy that challenged me to really look at my core value of health and wellness.

You see, it is becoming a national healthcare trend to initiate a mandatory flu shot policy for all workers of large healthcare systems. My company followed suit this fall 2011. I had to make a decision: Do I sacrifice my personal health and compromise my immune system, or do I sacrifice a “good job” and a paycheck?

I realized that if I continued to make compromises to my core values, my physical body would eventually revolt, and then where would I be? I had to ask myself an important question: How could I stand for health and wellness when, by taking the flu shot and working for this company, I would be out of my personal integrity? 

I chose not to get the flu shot and I left my company. I was able to take that leap and land on my feet because I have an inner conviction that I know that my body has everything it needs to be vital. I stayed aligned to what I believe in. It wasn’t popular, nor was it profitable, however, I am committed to health and wellness and I will support others to do so as well. So I formed my own company and aptly named it, Align Integration and Movement, PLC. I intend to thrive and I intend to work with those who want to thrive as well.

Please feel free to visit www.alignintegrationandmovement.com and be sure to check out the class schedule. If something within Susan’s philosophy resonates with your own outlook on wellness, I recommend that you attend one of her Restorative Exercise™ classes now being held in Salt Lake !