by Chuck Gillespie, CWP

Your social network is the foundation for who you are and what you do.  Let me explain this a little further with my own experience.  The job that I am in today can be traced back to when I helped one of my best friend’s moms distribute election materials for her City Council election campaign when I was eight years old. I still spend quality time with many of my college friends and a few of my primary school friends.  In fact, I just took a picture this weekend with one of my best friends who I have known since we were five years old (his mom in fact was who was running for City Council above). During the holidays, I will spend quality time with my wife, daughter, sisters, parents, mother-in-law, and my cousins who are like brothers and sisters to me.

In other words, my social wellness dimension has truly defined who I am and what I do.  Social wellness is the foundation for all of well-being.  Here are some statistics that prove this:

  • According to research by HubSpot, 85% of all jobs are filled through your network.
  • Studies found the health risk of having few friends was like smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and more dangerous than being obese or not exercising in terms of decreasing your lifespan.
  • Physical activity is sustained longer when done with others.
  • A National Institute for Health study of young people’s social network showcases that school friendships may be critical in shaping young people’s eating behaviors and bodyweight and/or vice versa.
  • Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland are the happiest countries according to the World Happiness Report. Healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of trouble, low corruption, and high social trust/generosity in a community where people look after each other and freedom to make key life decisions are what are used to rank the countries.

So, when you are building out your community development strategy, your business plan, your fitness routine, your school selection, your meal preparations, and/or your job search, consider filling up your social calendar and chances are you will net more successful and sustainable results.

Chuck Gillespie, MBA, CWP is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Wellness Institute (NWI)

Chuck’s timeline to socially networking my way to becoming CEO of NWI starting at age eight.

  • Helped friend’s mom distribute campaign materials to constituents.
  • Get an internship during college with the Indiana General Assembly thanks to friend’s mom being a reference and was at the time a State Senator.
  • Get first job out of college in Human Resources with references from my internship.
  • Continue to gain work experience and then management opportunities while also building my business network.
  • Apply for job at Executive Director of Wellness Council of Indiana. Of the five people who interviewed me, only one I did not already know through my business connections. CEO of the organization that had just acquired the Wellness Council of Indiana was someone I met when he was on staff with the Indiana Senate, and I was an intern for the House of Representatives.
  • Get call from Board Member at NWI, who I met through the Wellness Council of Indiana, about role with NWI. Become CEO of NWI.