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Lead By Example

June 4, 2013

Over the course of the last couple weeks, we have been recruiting and training new Ambassadors for Vidapost’s A Healthy Billion summer challenge.  As is typical of most of my programs and initiatives, there are several ’causes’ behind our Ambassador program (and the challenge) so I thought I would take a minute to explain, in a little further detail, why I started this particular program:

1.  To share the love, laughter and friendly reminders

On any given day, I receive a text message that reads:

“I love you so much, I miss you so much, you are the best trainer in the whole wide word.”

A voicemail with the message:

“Hi Jen, Today i bought you a present.  That is all I wanted to say.  Okay, goodbye.”

Or an email, with my schedule and reminders:

“Dear Jen, tomorrow we meet at 4:30.  We will have three helpers.  At 5:30 you have a meeting.  Don’t forget to mail your forms for your conference.”

Some of the messages I receive from the teens and adults I work with serve a purpose, some are just for fun and some just plain funny.  Regardless of the content, they all make me smile and quite honestly the schedule oriented ones keep me on track!

One of the reasons we started the Vidapost Ambassador program was to share the messages, have a little fun, put a smile on your face, and/or encourage you to accomplish a goal (or remind you of one you set).  Many of our Ambassadors are individuals with intellectual disabilities who have a lot to share so we simply wanted to spread the love.

2.  To provide a ‘job’, role and opportunity

My goal (or dream) has always been to create jobs opportunities for adults with disabilities.  While I have high hopes of one day employing Spencer as an admin, Kristen as chief marketer or letting Jeremy run public relations, the reality is there are many barriers to overcome to provide full time employment to an adult with a disability (not to say that we will not get there).

In the meantime, we have created a program where our Ambassadors are rewarded for their “job”, or role.  They are earning points (Vidapoints) which will be redeemable towards discounted wellness services.  For us, this is a win win.  We are able to provide them with a job-like position while also helping them continue on the path to improving their everyday health.

3.  Lead by Example

Our Ambassadors were chosen for this role because they have all of the characteristics of a great leader:  humble, authentic, brave, strong, accountable, and so on.  They are quick to want to help others and even quicker to want to tell others what to do but not all of them are actually health gurus.

In fact, many of our Ambassadors are extremely hard to motivate, are overwhelmed by the thought of addressing health and wellness issues or just plain turned off by exercising, eating healthy, etc (because it is just too hard, it is overwhelming, etc. etc.).  Many of them have never actually been challenged to improve their health.

So, our Ambassador program is also a little experiment.  As I started training our Ambassadors last week, I told them that first and foremost, their job was to lead by example and that their participation would help encourage and motivate others.

And so far, as it turns out, they reacted the same as the rest of us – when given a cause, a reason to do something for someone else, they opted in…and with extreme excitement and enthusiasm.  

Will it work?  Will the program keep them motivated and moving and help them improve their everyday health?  To be continued but we think so…

4.  Because we all benefit

And last but not least, as I was describing the challenge and the many causes to a co-worker last week, he summed it up perfectly: “Everyone benefits. A win, win for all.”  The Ambassador program and A Healthy Billion Challenge are set up in a way so that everyone involved has a cause to support and a role to play.  

We are just getting started and we hope you will join us.

To register for the challenge, visit http://www.vidapost.com

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