My Shingle

What Solos Can Learn From The Recent Obesity Study

by Carolyn Elefant on July 26, 2007 · 7 comments

in Encouragement, Ideas & Tips, MyShingle Solo

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As you’ve probably heard on the news by now, turns out that obesity isn’t exclusively hereditary; it’s also socially contagious (US News, 7/25/07). A recent study to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that if you’re close friends with people who are obese, you’re more likely to gain weight yourself either because you adopt the same unhealthful lifestyle, you don’t feel as much pressure to stay thin in front of an obese friend or you alter your perception of acceptable appearance when you see that your friends have gained weight.

All very interesting, but what does a study about obesity have to do with solos? Plenty. The study reinforces a basic concept: that our behavior, action and self-worth are affected significantly by those around us – even to the point where we compromise our health and well being. And we solos and aspiring solos, independent and bold as we may like to believer, are not impervious to this phenomenon. Thus, much as we believe in our ability to start and run a successful practice, if we surround ourselves with naysayers, we may begin to have doubts. And if we’ve already got a pretty decent practice up and running, we’re more likely to look down on our accomplishments when colleagues belittle solos.

So just as you may want to seek out fit people if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to seek out supportive, go-getting, self-starters if you’re thinking about starting a practice or if you already run one. Doesn’t matter if they share your practice area or if they’re 20 years older or younger than you, but just that they share your drive and optimism. And fortunately, with blogs and listserves, this kind of supportive crowd is only an internet connection away.

  • Susan Cartier Liebel

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! Negativity is very reinforcing because if we permit it in because it helps us cater to our fears. Positive thinking and surrounding ourselves by those who will encourage us to be brave in spite of our fears reinforces our desires and dreams. Which would you rather have in your life? Once you decide, then you will know where you want to go! It’s always a choice.

  • Bernadette Laughlin

    Positive thinking not only leads to success, but health and well-being. The more positive my outlook- the more positive people I attract and so on. I had lunch with a friend like that this week and what a boost it was! The next day I had lunch with another friend who commented on my “good spirits” and said it picked her up. Maybe it is “contagious.” Like attracts like! I have noticed that working out at the gym motivates me more than working out alone at home. Just looking at all those skinny, fit people gets me going!
    Look at it from a client’s perspective. Wouldn’t you want an attorney who is optimistic, energetic and clearly seems to feel good about life?

  • Jeff Donner

    Agreed. Terrific post, as usual.

  • Rita Cartwright

    This post reminds me of the positive feelings I have after going to church. At that moment (during service) everyone is more or less on the same page.
    Being a Virtual Assistant in a virtual world, I am also solo. Therefore, this is very good advice regarding surrounding myself with positive thinking people. Fortunately, I have a positive, supportive family, who are not naysayers.
    I recently attended a webinar, which pointed out that potential clients can pick up on your attitude even on a phone call. The suggestion was to have a mirror on your desk when you answer the phone. Watch your body language and smile. This positive attitude comes through your conversation.

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  • Jessica

    Yeah, if you want to achive something, think positively. And of course, positive people will help you, as they energize you and you become more confident about your strengths.

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