Mike Rucker Gives His Views On The Power Of Fun And Career Change


Our interview with Mike Rucker, Ph.D sheds light on how one could use the power of fun as they approach career change.  Use it to become successful.

Consider all of the things  you go through on a daily basis with work, family, outside activities.  Now go have fun with them!

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Questions and answers from Dr. Rucker

Mike Rucker, Ph.D. has a day job as the Vice-President of Technology for Active Wellness, a consultancy group that delivers wellness and health-related services, serving over 50 locations in 11 states.  He is also a peer-reviewed author and business strategist.  His expertise includes health technology and workplace wellness.

He provides one quote that sums him up: “I am a zealot of facilitating measurable positive increases in outcomes and performance”.  He has two passions that drives him.  They are: 1) human wellness and 2) entrepreneurial marketing.   Mike has been recognized as one of the top technology influencers of 2019 by Fits Small business.com.  Currently, he is working on the benefits of fun and play.  In that regard, he has authored a book on the subject of fun that is due to be released in the summer of 2020.

Why does there have to be so much stress in changing careers?  Sure, there are new elements always popping up when making such a change.  We wanted to talk with someone who has made his career in analyzing workplace wellness to help us understand more.  Fortunately, we have have found such a person, Mike Rucker, Ph.D.

“I am a zealot of facilitating measurable positive increases in outcomes and performance”
~ Mike Rucker, Ph.D.


Mike has agree to answer our questions.  So, let’s get started.

Q1:  Hi Mike, thank you for sharing your time with us.  You are very knowledgeable in the field of health and wellness.
Also, you encourage individuals to utilize the power of fun. Could you give us an example or two of how one could incorporate that into our daily lives?

Mike:  One way is to bundle an activity that you might not consider fun with one that is fun. For solopreneurs, that might be something like inviting a fellow solopreneur, or alternatively a friend that has the flexibility to work remotely and invite them to share their workday with you in a co-working space.

Another way to incorporate more fun is to reframe tasks that are not traditionally fun into something that you consider more fun. For instance, simply approaching a situation with the attitude “I am going to have fun with this” vs. “this really isn’t going to be fun” can make all the difference. With a fun mindset, you focus on and amplify the fun aspects of an experience. Conversely, when you approach a task believing it won’t be fun that mindset can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Q2:  Following up on the need for fun, we all run into periods of stress in our lives. This is true when a person is making a job transition and especially a career transition. What suggestions do you have for a person considering a career change?

Mike:  Remember the adage, "This too shall pass." None of us are immune to periods of stress. We cannot control the curveballs that life throws at us, but we can control how we react to them. Being unsure of our livelihood can be extremely stressful. The biggest mistake I see people make is not adding constraints into whatever system they’ve formulated to get through the transition.

The remedy is to create a system (that moves you forward) and incorporate fun as a reward when tasks in your system are complete. Let’s say you are searching for client opportunities. This is a task that could potentially be never-ending—when you are hunting for something there are always more “things” to find—but certainly spending your entire day trying to find opportunities will have diminishing returns.
A better way is to define what success looks like in any given day. For our example, let’s say success is finding ten really good prospects (in one day). Once you’ve decided you have landed on ten really good leads, reward yourself with something you consider fun. This will create an engaging habit loop that will keep you coming back to the task, provide some rewarding experiences that mitigate your existing stress (through fun), and ensure that the prospects that you are mining are of quality (by shifting the focus on 10 quality leads over the highest quantity you can get it in one day).   [Editorial note: Consider speaking with one of our Mentors experienced in your desired career to give you insight into your new career field.] 

Mike Rucker, Ph.D. answers our interview questions on the power of fun in a career changeIdeas For Career Change and For Life (Photo courtesy of Mike Rucker)

Q3:  Many individuals are moving toward solo entrepreneurship (solopreneur) these days. A person may be building a business online and working at the keyboard most of the day. What dangers do you see in that instance and what should the solopreneur do about it?

Mike: There is a great book by Paul Jarvis on this topic called the "Company of One". In the book, Paul discusses the need for solopreneurs to create a set point for what success means to them. Similar to my answer from the previous question, having a constraint regarding what you are trying to achieve means instead of endlessly looking for more work, you can determine the amount of work you need to accomplish to reach your personal goals.

The beauty of clearly defining success is that once you know what you are aiming for, you can craft your day around reaching that specific goal. If you are trying to mitigate the danger of working at a keyboard all day, ask yourself, “what can I do differently so that my output moves me towards my target, but I am limiting the time sitting in front of my keyboard?” For instance, as a content creator if I don’t feel like typing anymore I use a service like Rev.com and dictate my copy while walking in the sunshine and have them transcribe it for me. Without some sort of constraint, you will always be on the keyboard, because without forethought the work of a solopreneur is unbounded.

Q4:  A number of us are at midlife or later. You previously wrote an article entitled “Why You Need More Fun in Your Life, According to Science”. Could you provide a short summary of the points you raised and how do they apply to those 50+?

Mike:  As we age, staying connected to our friends and family becomes an increasingly important component of our well-being. Making sure we engage in fun activities (especially with others) improves our relationships. As such, make sure to prioritize fun with friends and family accordingly. Engaging in challenging, yet fun, activities have also proven to keep us sharp as we age. The science is called cognitive plasticity, and the secret here is to make sure you not only engage in fun but also add variability into your daily activities. It turns out variety is not only the spice of life; it is also the elixir.

Thanks to Dr. Rucker for answering our questions on the power of funMindful Listening is the Key for Mentors (Photo courtesy of Mike Rucker)

Q5:  Career Redo provides Mentors, experienced in various career fields, to help our visitors understand more about the career field in which they desire to enter. What advice to you have for our Mentors as they work with their clients?

Mike:  The best piece of advice that has helped me when I engage in the role of coach/mentor comes from Dr. Stephen Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I believe Dr. Covey has stated it is the single most important principle of his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is easy to see other people through our lens and overlay solutions that would work for our particular circumstances but would never work for the particular circumstances of our clients.

Mindful listening is a hard-won skill that takes a lot of deliberate practice, but in my experience, this ability to listen empathetically is almost always the difference between a mediocre mentor and an amazing one.  [Editorial comment: Check out our List of Mentors to start your discussion right here].

Thanks To Mike Rucker, Ph.D

I would like to thank Mike for his time and insight on this important subject.  You can find out more about Mike Rucker at mickaelrucker.com and his Facebook page .


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Don D'Armond

Don D'Armond is the creator of Career Redo.

His goal is to connect his visitors who want to learn more  about their desired new career fields with experienced individuals (Mentors) to transfer their insight and knowledge.