My Wellness. My Way.

I believe we are a product of our choices; that 90% of who we are is a direct result of the choices we make.

Choices – I can choose. I can choose to wake up earlier than normal and get on the treadmill or I can choose to pour a cup of coffee, have a seat on the sofa, watch the morning news and tell myself that’s what I “NEED” to do to wake up in the morning. It’s my choice. I can choose to let bad news affect my day. Now granted, in some instances – there really isn’t any getting around some of those big life altering events, BUT ultimately I can still choose how I react. And in those normal, everyday situations – crabby kids, the day not going according to MY plan, discovering that the car is just about out of gas on one of the coldest days of the blessed year – I can still CHOOSE to see a silver lining. Sometimes it might not be so simple when you are standing next to the gas pump with 40 mile per hour winds and a wind chill of -30 degrees – but somewhere that silver lining is there. I have the money to pay for the fuel; at least the gas is cheaper now than it was a year ago; that cup of coffee will be nice and toasty warm after standing out in this Iowa breeze!

As we kick off our Stellar Wellness Challenge 2015 – Your Way, I find myself faced with choices for today and future tomorrows. Beginning March 1st, I can choose to drink more water, incorporate more activity into my daily life, and eat healthier. I can choose what I want to do, hopefully replacing bad habits with better ones. I can choose what will work for me as we all know that one size does not fit all. This is all on me. It is my responsibility to take control of what I want, how I attain it and how I follow thru. My results at the end of the 5 week challenge just might net me a chance at a cool $100!

Stellar has given me the tools – the Wellness Challenge, the prize incentive, health coaching and even a way to get a new Fitbit – I buy one, turn in my receipt and get reimbursed half up to $50.   It’s up to me to find my motivation. That will be my biggest challenge since I have always chosen to tell myself that I am not a morning person and need that cup of coffee to wake up. It won’t be easy and I’m sure that I won’t always have that warm fuzzy feeling, but it is my health, my wellness and I’m doing it my way.

Every minute of every day we have choices. Life may not always be fair and just, but it is how we respond that makes us who we are. And even if I don’t win that $100, I can still choose to try again next time!

Being Thankful from A to Z

Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. It is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have. 

In Garner, Iowa, the weather has made it a little difficult to feel grateful.  It has been cold and it is dark outside before I leave work every night.  However, there is much for which I am thankful.  Last year at Thanksgiving, my brother asked us to draw letters of the alphabet and state what we were thankful for that began with the letter drawn.  I have so many things to be thankful for at Stellar, I thought I would do the same here:

A-    American Eagle

B-    Benefits provided to us

C-    Climate controlled facility, Customers

D-    Diverse product lines

E-     Employee Owners in all departments who contribute to Team Stellar

F-     Family owned company, flexibility at work

G-    Great Co-workers, Garner

H-    Holidays Paid, Hydraulic Equipment

I-      Innovative products

J-     Jobs.  We provide many good jobs and are looking for more good employees

K-    Kiefer Manufacturing

L-     LubeMate

M-   Manufacturing in the USA

N-    Never a dull moment, Newsletter

O-    Our People and Our Products

P-     Parties, Potlucks, and Picnics we have every summer for Stellar Families

Q-    Quarterly Meetings where we get fed and have a state of Stellar address

R-    Relationships in the community and with customers

S-     Stellar Truck & Trailer

T-     Technology

U-    United workforce and my Undersized commute to work

V-    Veterans here, there, and everywhere

W-  Website full of information, wingdings

X-    X-Tra-Lift

Y-    You.  I’m thankful you took the time to read til the end of my blog!

Z-     Zrostlik family and all they have done for Stellar and Garner!

There is so much to be thankful for everyday, if we just stop and take a moment to look around.  What are you most thankful for this year? Feel free to comment below and let us know- we’d love to share in your thankfulness.  Wishing you God’s Blessings!

Get Skilled!

I’m in love with Mike Rowe.  You know – the creator and host from the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” yeah – that guy!  His voice, his attitude, his take on the world that we live in – he’s just plain amazing!  Time and time again, he has shown his respect and given heartfelt tribute to those he works with from sewer workers and cloth diaper cleaners to dairy farmers and manufacturing production workers throughout the course of the show.  You’ve seen him dive into those nasty, disgusting jobs that you just shake your head at wondering why someone would do a job like that, as you say to yourself “They couldn’t pay me enough to do that!”  But someone does it.  Someone gets up every morning, gets dressed and heads out the door to a job that many would find ugly, dirty.  Mike devised the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo), #3 rings pretty true:  I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.”  I believe that all jobs are opportunities and it’s up to me to make the best of them.  Check out http://profoundlydisconnected.com to see the rest of the pledge.  Where would our world be if we didn’t have those hard working individuals that did those jobs?  We are slowly heading there.

Mike has lent his support to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the “I Make America” campaign, he has testified before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation about skilled trades.  He repeatedly reminds us to “work smart” and that “many of the best opportunities that exist today require a skill, not a diploma.”

Nationally, there is a shortage of skilled labor affecting not just manufacturing but everyone.  All companies want the most qualified, trainable applicants.  We want to match up the right person with the right skills for a successful outcome in our business.  With the right person in the right position we reduce turnover and training costs and increase productivity while gaining higher employee morale and job satisfaction.  All companies are fighting for the same thing – success for the company and success for their employees.

A program that is there to help not just companies, but also workers is The Skilled Iowa Initiative.  This program works to increase skill levels of Iowa’s workforce by helping people find great jobs, companies find skilled workers, and our state’s economy grow and prosper.  More than 10,000 businesses across the state recommend the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) to students and those in the workforce.  The NCRC is a series of tests – tests that are “real world” skills using everyday work situations.

Skilled Iowa and the NCRC give prospective employees the opportunity to boost their credentials, tout their abilities and promote their capabilities in a no-cost way while helping employers identify and invest in employees who can make real contributions to their businesses.

Programs like these that make a difference in people and companies are a win-win for everyone.

Pirate Talk and Home Base Iowa

Ahoy!  I know today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I couldn’t come up with enough clever booty to keep me audience from hittin’ the Grog too soon!  So I shall hang up me hornpipe, hook, an’ patch and breech ye another topic, before ye make me walk the plank!  Arrrrr!

Lets switch from Pirates to Veterans.  Have you heard about the Home Base Iowa Act?  It was passed by the Iowa Legislature in a broad bi-partisan manner and signed by Governor Branstad on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014.  The act positions Iowa as the leader in respect, support and employment for veterans.  The state of Iowa wants to say thanks to our veterans who have served our country and welcome them home, even if they have never been here in Iowa before.  The Home Base Iowa Act, a comprehensive package of incentives provides:

·         Military pension exempt from income tax

·         Veterans hiring preference

·         Streamlined occupational licensure for vets, spouses, and dependents

·         Iowa Veteran Housing Programs

·         Iowa Financial Assistance Benefits

·         Iowa Education benefits

·         Free specialty veteran license plates

·         Vietnam conflict bonus

·         Veteran lifetime hunting/fishing license

It’s an honor to assist veterans in any way.  Iowa employers know veterans bring a valued skill set and we have many jobs available.  That is why some individual communities are also working on additional  incentives.  We at Stellar hope to help veterans and transitioning service members get a great job, maybe even a new start…in Iowa.

Learn more at homebaseiowa.org.

Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel, Mind on Driving

You’ve seen the commercials, the print ads and billboards – Distracted Driving.  Any non-driving activity you participate in while behind the wheel can be a potential distraction and significantly increases your risk of an accident.  ANYTHING that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or your mind off the basic act of driving safely puts you, your family, friends and everyone you meet on the road– at risk.

Did you know that up to 90% of all car crashes are caused by driver error and about 26% of all car crashes involve the use of a cell phone – including hands free devices.  According to the National Safety Council, studies show that using voice-to-text can be MORE distracting than typing texts by hand.  Just because a technology doesn’t take your eyes off the road does not make it safe to use while driving.  Drivers are more likely to develop “tunnel vision.”  You may still be looking ahead while driving however, the tendency to scan the roadway or check side and rearview mirrors diminishes.  Many fail to see what’s right in front of them:  stop signs, red lights and even pedestrians.

We pride ourselves on the ability to multi-task.  How many times a day do we attempt to do two or more things at once?  The old adage “walk and chew gum at the same time” is so prevalent in our society today.  While our brains can quickly switch between tasks, it cannot do two things at once.  How well can you read and comprehend a book while speaking on the phone?  You won’t be able to do either of these well if you try to do them at the same time.  Multi-tasking while driving divides our brain power and decreases the focus on the main task.  Hands-free is not risk-free.  

We know the risks and whether we think that the statistics don’t apply to us or that we can beat the odds, ultimately the choice is ours.  Life is busy, stressful – constant.  Is that phone call or text message as important as coming home each night?  Is it as significant as family dinner or tucking your children in bed?  Don’t take unnecessary risks.  Life is short.  Life is precious.  Life can change in an instant.

Please take a moment to visit www.distraction.gov or www.distracteddriving.ncs.org to learn more about Distracted Driving and what you can do to take action.