This holiday season take 15 minutes to reflect on what matters

This holiday season take 15 minutes to reflect on what matters

Yes, this time of year is busy. And as I get older, it seems to get even busier. Work, family, friends—all good things, but having the time to do everything, see everyone and be everywhere you need to be can put a serious dent in your holiday spirit.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember reading that if you’re feeling more stress and anxiety than wonder and delight during the holidays, you should take 15 minutes to reflect on what matters in your life.

When was the last time you took 15 minutes to reflect about anything?

The truth is that if you’re like me you’re so busy trying to move forward in your life that you rarely take the time to slow down and reflect on the gifts that are right in front of you.

The people in your life. Your family, friends, mentors, your co-workers and your clients. These are the people—past and present—who’ve motivated and inspired you, who’ve supported you and given you guidance. They are there for you through the good, the bad and everything in between.

The experiences you’ve had and the places you’ve been. Places and experiences that have broadened your life and affected your sense of self, your sense of community— your sense of the world itself.

The talents you use every day. What you’ve learned, the skills you have, the wisdom you’ve acquired and the work you perform each day.

Your health. The ability to be well—physically and mentally—and live a full life.

As you reflect, what are the gifts you’re most thankful for this holiday season? When you slow down for a minute to look around you, what is it that brings you joy?

Whatever is meaningful. Whatever brings you happiness. May it be yours this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

This Thanksgiving take time to listen.

This Thanksgiving take time to listen.

The world is a wee bit crazy right now. Twenty-four-hour news about completely insane things. Communities split down the middle with differing beliefs and opinions. Families struggling to “leave politics at the door” when they gather for this holiday born out of gratitude.

And frankly, I might be the most vocal of all, not afraid to share my passionate thoughts with anyone who might be inclined to listen. It was how I was raised. My mother taught us to pay attention to the world around us and who we elected to make crucial decisions for our community, state and country. We formed these opinions over dinner table discussions, sometimes quite heated.

Share wisdom instead of opinions

I have an idea. Why don’t we all plan to do more listening than talking this Thanksgiving? Pledge to be the starter of conversations, not the focal point of them. Let’s ask influential people in our life to share their wisdom. They might be 80 years old, or five years old. Everyone has an interesting story. Let’s take time to learn more about why people live the life they live. You can have this discussion with the entire group, or invite one person to share their story.

Let’s ask questions like:

  • Name one or two people who have been most influential in your life. Why?
  • Can you name your favorite Thanksgiving ever?
  • Has your life turned out like you thought it would when you were a child?
  • What is the most memorable thing your parents taught you?

A sample of what you might learn

I asked my colleagues to share something they learned from a parent or mentor. Here are a few of the answers:


From one of my mentors, Frank, I learned to challenge those thoughts that don’t serve me well. The average person has 90,000 thoughts a day. Most of those thoughts are unhelpful and ought to be recycled and replaced with new thoughts that inspire happiness and positive change.

Denise A

You are the only one who can decide how your day is going to go.

Denise B

We hear all the time that we are responsible for our own happiness, but many of us don’t really live that way. Once I started to realize that I was the one who needed to become who I wanted to be and create a life that made me happy, my life changed completely.


From her mom: Every person I meet has the potential to be my best friend. I just have to get to know them. It doesn’t matter who they are or how old they are or what they look like, they all have the potential to be my best friend.


From my mom (always keeping things short and sweet): Work hard. Be nice.

Share your favorite lessons together

I’m sure you all have these favorite “lessons” and we have a great opportunity to share them this Thanksgiving.

StoryCorps, the national nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world, is once again hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen.

StoryCorps Thanksgiving Listen

Interviews become part of the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Since 2015, The Great Thanksgiving Listen has grown from an experimental challenge issued by founder Dave Isay, into a vital intergenerational movement. To date, they have preserved more than 100,000 interviews, providing families with a priceless piece of personal history.

Here’s how this works

  • Log into the StoryCorps Great Thanksgiving Listen.
  • It will show you how to download the StoryCorps App.
  • You will be given instructions on how to record a story with an elder or a loved one in your life.
  • Tag your story with the keyword THEGREATLISTEN2018 and you can decide if you want to send it to StoryCorps or simply keep it for yourself and your memories.

I did a test with a friend and it was amazing how quickly we forgot that we were recording and how easily we fell into a great conversation. I can’t wait to have a similar conversation with a loved one on Thanksgiving.

Let’s do this

Let’s listen this week and be prepared to be amazed. Because all of us have a great story. We just need someone to ask.

Happy Thanksgiving.

From all the Hailey Sault-perstars.

Are you curious?  {1 way for health care marketers to nurture better lives and workplaces}

Are you curious? {1 way for health care marketers to nurture better lives and workplaces}

Ever wonder how to live and work better? Maybe the question needs to be: “Am I wondering enough?”

Curiosity plays a crucial role in more than scientific breakthroughs and great storytelling, but in everything from relationships and personal growth to organizational success. Here’s a closer look at this “wonder drug” and how to nurture it in your everyday life.

“Curiosity has its own reason for existing. The important thing is to never stop questioning.”  —Albert Einstein, physicist

Easy peasy? Maybe not.

We’re all born with a “sacred curiosity,” as Einstein called it. Many of us work in settings that require it. Health care, for instance, relies on curiosity to diagnose, treat and foster better outcomes. Effective marketers routinely return to the well of inquiry for researching and listening, creating and collaborating, testing and assessing.

But in an age of instant informational gratification, it can be easier to prioritize quick answers without always questioning and considering alternatives. As organizations seek efficiency protocols, the laudable goal of moving things along can come at the expense of exploration—the kind that rewards lasting growth, says researcher Francesca Gino in The Business Case for Curiosity. She also found that social conventions can stymie creative collaborative potential in workplaces when there’s more value placed on “having the answers” than, say:

  • considering other perspectives
  • listening without judgement
  • using strategic inquiry to arrive at a better destination

Clearly there’s a time and place for decisive answers and fast turn-around. But in order to do it well—that is, be ready with the necessary experience and insights to “deliver”—there’s got to be a yin to that yang.

To be at your peak, as an individual or organization, takes a willingness to follow curiosity. It makes your work better. But most crucially, it makes life and relationships better. There’s plenty of data to back up that premise.


Consider learning and brain health: research has shown that intrinsic curiosity improves learning and memory for things we aren’t even interested in. Other studies have shown that being open to new experiences keeps your brain active and alert, which can be immensely helpful as we age.

“Research is formalized curiosity. It’s poking and prying with a purpose.”  —Zora Neale Hurston

Get better results

Scientists say there are two kinds of curiosity. “Diversive curiosity,” a wide-ranging interest in anything and everything new. “Epistemic curiosity,” on the other hand, is focused and discerning.  

Combining these two kinds of curiosity can be powerful and productive, says Ian Leslie, author of the book, Curious.” Leslie says the key to making curiosity more fruitful and productive is to take that non-discriminating approach and then dive in with a sustained attitude.

Think of an entrepreneur who questions why a service isn’t offered, then digs in to assess what can be done to deliver it. It’s a classic problem-solution model that anyone can use—particularly in business and design, says author Warren Berger in Three Ways Curiosity Can Change Your Life. “I found many of the most successful innovators to be people of wide-ranging curiosity who also knew when and how to narrow their focus,” Berger says.

While we’re all born with these traits, we don’t all nurture a sense of exploration and discovery as we grow older—even though our futures depend on it. But there are many practical ways we all can go about it.

Here are 6 tips to nurture curiosity:

  • Read. Different kinds of things, with varying perspectives.
  • Talk with people. Different kinds of people, with varying perspectives.
  • Brainstorm without judgement to consider angles, approaches and possibilities.
  • Ask questions: “who, what, when, where, why and how” are the standard journalistic ones. Befriend them.
  • Don’t let fear hinder curiosity. What’s the potential positive in a situation? The unknown may offer surprising rewards.
  • Listen. Sometimes it’s the silence, the experience, that teaches you best.  

For more in-depth advice, check out these links:

Create more room to grow

As hard as we try, sometimes curiosity ebbs and flows. I can tell when I’m feeling worn out and need a refresher, because my desire to wonder, dig deeper or re-examine feels dull. Which is often code for: time to take a break, breathe, work out, laugh or jam to some crazy good music.  

At Hailey Sault, we’ve long valued curiosity as an integral part of our creative craft. It informs what we do, how we do it, and even why we do it. It’s a healthy practice for any organization. Because fostering a culture that values the pursuit of questions, openly and honestly, will strengthen your ability to make real and lasting improvements—in work and life alike.   

How do you nurture curiosity? For yourself, and for those in your sphere?

What are you doing to pursue your next big idea or make life, work and health care better? We’d love to hear about it.

Why You Should Care We Made OUTSIDE Magazine’s Top 50 Best Places to Work

Why You Should Care We Made OUTSIDE Magazine’s Top 50 Best Places to Work

What’s it like to work for a company that’s made OUTSIDE Magazine’s Best Places to Work list two years in a row? More importantly, why should anyone outside of our offices—especially our clients—care?

For me personally, it boils down to this. There is a respect here for stepping out of your comfort zone, for caring for your body and your mind, for involving yourself in the health of the community and appreciating the world and our environment at large. All of this makes it possible for me to expect the most out of myself.

As I step into the office each day I know that I’m going to work hard with a team of people that will allow me to push the limits of my abilities and my creativity. I also know that as I do this I can trust that team to accept me as I explore, discover, test and refine until what goes to our client is the very best work we as a group can produce.

There is an openness here and that openness translates into great work. Work that sometimes blows our clients away. Work like that can only be produced in a culture like ours.

I also know I am going to have fun. I’m going to get out for a walk at lunch, listen to some good music, be able to pet one of the dogs someone has brought in. Laugh a lot and share a lot. I’m going to enjoy a workout with our personal trainer, maybe play some pingpong or help with a jigsaw puzzle. And on Friday, I’m going to share a glass of wine or a beer with officemates I truly care about before heading out for the weekend.

I know the fun, the respect and the trust is felt by most of the clients we work with. Our company mission is to create a healthier world with our clients and that world starts with us. We care. A lot. And that care makes this one of the best places to work.

OUTSIDE evaluates each company by combining an employee survey with an appraisal of each company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This year, Hailey Sault moved up in the rankings from #15 to #13. We’re just one of three Minnesota companies recognized in 2018. We celebrated by having a little fun hamming it up in an office space we created on the shores of Lake Superior.



What’s it like to work here and why should clients care? It’s a great adventure that creates fantastic work for good clients whose mission it is to care for the health of the people of this world. What could be better than that?

Believe in Better Project 2018 Recap

Believe in Better Project 2018 Recap

Do you believe health care can be better? Better for patients? Better for those who work in health care? Better for your pocketbook? Better for caring for everyone? Treating the whole person? Treating the root cause, and not just the symptoms?


We at Hailey Sault believe in better for health care. That’s why we hosted the first annual Believe in Better Project on October 16–17, 2018, a two-day event that celebrated innovation, transformation, compassion and breakthroughs in health care.

We were joined by nine amazing speakers who shared what they believe better health care can and should be, and what they are doing every day to make that vision of better come true.

2018 BIB Speakers Photo

This was a true “passion project” for Hailey Sault, a strategic marketing and branding firm that works with health care brands, innovative startups, and cause-driven organizations in pursuit of the greater good.

Our teammates from our New York, Twin Cities and Richmond offices joined the team at the home office in Duluth, Minnesota to host the event. The speakers inspired and encouraged brave, better thinking, along with practical actions to make a difference. We designed the event so that the speakers and attendees could collaborate in real time: rich Q&A’s after the speeches, during lunch and outdoors. Outdoor magazine calls Duluth “Best Town Ever,” so we made sure our guests had the chance to experience the beautiful fall weather with outdoor hikes and lake walks.

Beyond the amazing speeches and sharing of ideas for better health care, perhaps one of the best outcomes was the sense of community created at the event. Physicians, board members, CEOs, executive leaders, government officials, policymakers and patients collaborated, communed and connected with one another against shared goals and purpose.

We’re planning the Believe in Better Project 2019 now. Visit our site and let us know if you want to join us—as a speaker, as an attendee. Thanks to the generosity of our speakers, we’re able to keep ticket prices low. But there is a non-financial price to be paid for joining us: a belief that better is possible, and that you’re called to make the better tomorrow a reality.

Why we have to talk about suicide (especially as health care marketers)

Why we have to talk about suicide (especially as health care marketers)

Do you remember how you felt when you heard about the suicides of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain? Well, just one short day after the news broke about Anthony Bourdain, I personally felt that same shock and sadness tenfold. I received a voice message from an old friend. She was part of a tight group of friends I’ve hung out with for years.

“Di, it’s me, Lisa. Give me a call, please.”

I could tell by the sound of her voice that something was off. As I picked up my phone to call her back I was hoping I was wrong.

As you can guess, something was wrong. Terribly wrong. Lisa told me our mutual friend’s 17-year-old son had just taken his life. This young man had graduated from high school only a few days ago. He had a wonderful, loving and supportive family, an amazing sense of humor, a full-ride sports scholarship to college and many, many young friends who adored him.

My first thought, as I was reeling from the news and my heart was breaking for my friends was, “Why?”

Why did this have to happen? Why don’t we as a society talk more? Why is it not ok to tell others that you or a loved one has thoughts about suicide? Why is it socially unacceptable to express these thoughts? Why does there have to be such a stigma?

We need to talk

We need to make depression, anxiety, mental health and suicidal thoughts as easy to talk about as any other health condition. We need to end the stigma around these subjects—to make it as easy to share our mental health struggles and treatment with others as people who are being treated for conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease do.

Why we as health care marketers need to take action

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between 10 and 34 in the United States and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.

Here’s another shocking statistic. Did you know that 80 percent of individuals thinking about suicide made contact with a health care provider? And, many times that contact was with their primary care physician.

  • Why isn’t suicide prevention a core priority in health care?
  • How can we make system changes to make prevention a priority?
  • How can we better equip primary care providers?
  • How can we make screening, assessment and intervention as acceptable and standard in everyone’s care as a colonoscopy or a mammogram?
  • How can we market those screenings in a way that erases stigma?

I don’t have the answers, but I do know we need to start using our creative and marketing skills to work on finding a resolution to these big questions.

How to start the conversation (an example)

Several years ago, we worked on a campaign we called “Give Voice” to raise funds to build Amberwing Center for Youth & Family Well-Being. The last million dollars was needed to build a facility that would create a national model for the effective care of children, teens, young adults and families coping with mental health and substance use problems.

It was one of the most meaningful projects we’ve ever done. We invited people from the community to “Give Voice” to mental illness and start erasing the stigma surrounding getting help. The campaign was extensive including a press conference with the mayor, TV, outdoor, digital and more. Part of the campaign included creating a powerful video with a young man named Dave Romano.

Dave was just like my friend’s son; he had lots of family support, he was popular and athletic—and depressed. The only difference was Dave recognized he needed help and received it at the right time. I’m happy to tell you that throughout his college career Dave was a spokesperson for talking openly about suicide and depression and today he is a counselor at the beautiful Amberwing Center for Youth & Family Well-Being.

We can’t be afraid

I don’t ever again want to get a call like the one I got from Lisa. We can’t be afraid to have the hard conversations, to bring up the subject of suicide, to communicate with those suffering from suicidal thoughts. To let people know they are not alone and they don’t have to be afraid. To create marketing around the support we can provide people in the hardest of times. To create campaigns that make it perfectly acceptable to talk openly about mental health, treatment and recovery.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).