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What does “Engagement” mean to you?


So this morning when I got up I was feeling kind of miserable. This is due to recent surgery so it’s causing me not to be able to do the things I normally like to do. As a result of the crappy thoughts, I became engaged in negative feelings which led to being engaged in a kind of mental tug-of-war with someone very close to me.

This experience made me more aware of a different form of engagement (other than what has been the buzzword within organizations). Each of us engages in our own lives, be it in a career or profession, or a relationship, we are continually in the process of being in some form of engagement with life, whether we like it or not. In the end, how we personally engage in our lives not only affects each and every one of us, but inevitably has a ripple effect on everyone and everything around us.

Back to the "Engagement" Buzzword

People need to know what it’s like to experience engagement in their lives first before you can ask them to be engaged on a job or in a career.

Engagement: Let’s look at engagement in a different way.

First, a definition of engagement as a verb (because that’s the point, right—to take action).

en·gage

  • 1. occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention): "he plowed on, trying to outline his plans and engage Sutton's attention" synonyms: capture, catch, arrest, grab, seize.

  • 2. participate or become involved in: "organizations engage in a variety of activities" synonyms: participate in, take part in, join in, become involved in, go in for, partake in/of, occupy oneself with, throw oneself into, share in, play a part in, play a role in, be a participant in, be associated with, have a hand in, be a party to, enter into, undertake, embark on, set about, launch into (you get the idea).

With this definition and synonyms in mind, consider these questions:

  • What thoughts are you engaging in right now?

  • Do the thoughts create positive or negative feelings?

  • Are you engaging in positive thinking, or in negative thinking?

All Thoughts Create Feelings

Here is a brief exercise:

  1. Take a moment to be aware of how you are feeling right now. Name that feeling. For example, I’m feeling tired, I’m feeling anxious, I’m feeling happy, I’m feeling sad, etc.

  2. Now ask yourself, "Why am I feeling this way?"

  3. What kind of thoughts do these thoughts lead to? What kind of thinking do you have as a result of positive or negative engagement in your mind?

  4. What activities do you engage in actively, physically, when you have these thoughts: positive and negative?

  5. Next ask yourself, "What can I do about this feeling?"

  6. Now write down five possible options that you can take action on right now to expand on (positive) or alleviate the feeling (negative) with the possibilities of new thoughts. Making decisions and creating choices can allow us to move forward and give a sense of control back.

When we are aware of the kinds of thoughts we engage in we can also become aware of how we are feeling and what our energy level is like mentally and physically ...and how it feeds our spirit or the place that our true meaning in life lives and wants to grow.

When this energy is stifled or blocked we can experience anxiety, frustration, and resentment toward life itself... our own life’s meaningful experience.

Remember, negative thoughts and feelings can also create anxiety restricting our view of seeing opportunities and possibilities in our lives. Positive thoughts and positive feelings broaden our view of life, creating optimism and clarity for increased possibilities and opportunities in our lives. This all allows for new growth and needed change to happen. Positive change means a more positive life.

About the Author

For over 20 years, John Cane has helped over 100,000 individuals in areas of Self Improvement. John is a Certified Integrated Wellness Coach (Mind, Body, and Spirit), motivational speaker, and writer. John has six certifications in Personal Growth and Development. His Journal Books, ‘Important Things I Remember from My Parents’ are used in schools and as an aid for adults in gaining strength in self-identity in the United States and Europe. John is currently pursuing his Doctoral Degree in Psychology & Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Saybrook University, Oakland, California.