I recently saw a t-shirt on a college-age, female athlete that made me laugh… and then think. Funny how that works, huh? The t-shirt’s message scrawled across her back was, “I work mine off so I can kick yours.”
We can learn a lot from this style of communication:
A. I immediately knew who the joke was on. Me. And it made me laugh.
B. It was a great example of brief and clear communication. No confusion whatsoever.
C. There was a blinding flash of truth in the thought.
D. I learned something about the spirit, determination, and personality of the sender. I like colorful, original people, and she was all of that, I am sure. Or she put on her roommate’s t-shirt without realizing what was on the back?
E. It tugged at my competitiveness (even at an almost senior age). Not because of fear of the promised outcome. But because I can work hard, compete at a respectful level, and be confident too − can’t I? I wanted that message to be for me. I wanted to be in the group she was working hard to take on. I wanted to be one of those that “got it” – to be at that level of energy and humor.
F. It was an edgy challenge. Refreshingly direct. Determined. Alive. And just enough in-your-face to awaken anyone with a little moxie out of a stupor.
Now I am not suggesting we implement Rambo Wellness Programs. But I do think it’s OK to raise expectations, introduce challenges, have fun, and for Pete’s sake use plain English. Put that formula together and I’ll put it up against any muddle-headed financial incentive concept in the land, and kick its… you know what by now.
Bumper stickers, t-shirts, short quotes, and now tweets, remind us that a lot of meaning and emotion can be conveyed in the proper selection of a few words. I know there is a short, powerful, wellness thought inside you. Compress that passion, pack it down, polish it, reduce it down to its sap, and then deliver it like a clap of thunder.
What does the back of your t-shirt say?
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Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read, and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.