Monday, October 3, 2011

Life Engagement & Change in Perspective

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." ~Hans Christian Anderson

Life Engagement
I work in the corporate world where one of the biggest topics is Employee Engagement. This got me to thinking about whether or not we are engaged in our personal lives. To be fully engaged, you are physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned.

The book, "First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently" by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, identified 12 questions to determine employee engagement so I decided to make a few for us to use to consider if we are truly engaged in our lives. How would you answer these:
  • Do I know what is expected of me at home, school, work, as a spouse, as a friend, and as a parent?
  • Do I have what I need (skills, education) to do things I need to do?
  • Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have I received and given recognition or praise?
  • Does my spouse, family or friends truly seem to care about me as a person?
  • Is there someone who encourages my self growth?
  • Do my opinions get recognized and seem to count? Do I recognized others opinions?
  • Does my personal mission statement/purpose make me feel important and contributing to the world, my family and friends?
  • Are my family and friends also committed to contributing to the quality of our lives?
  • Do I have a someone I can lean on - a best friend or confidant?
  • In the last six months, has someone talked to me about the progress I've made towards changing my life for the better? Have I talked about my progress? Have I recognized the improvements others are making in their lives?
  • This last year, have I had the opportunity to learn and grow? Did I take advanatage of that opportunity?
Did you answer "No" to any of those? If so, how can you make small changes to become more engaged in your life? It's yours so you should make the best of it! A more fulfilled person is a happier person.

Change in Perspective
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mundane routine of our lives that we become creatures of habit. We go through our days on auto-pilot and end them feeling drained, unfulfilled and emotionally depleated. For example, I bet most of you take the exact same route to work/school every day. Do you always have the same thing for breakfast? Do you spend your weekends getting caught up on chores, laundry, etc. to the point where you have very little time for just you?

Stepping outside your comfort zone might help you gain some new perspective! Try some of these suggestions:
  • The Path Less Traveled: Take the scenic route instead of the same old way.
  • Mental Health: Take a guilt free "mental health day" where you focus just on things to feed your soul. I give 3 of these a school year to my kids. Sure they have vacation time but haven't you ever had a day where you woke up feeling like you just couldn't deal with the things life was going to throw at you? A day where you feel like you just need to pamper yourself? Sometimes you have to hit the snooze button on life for a day and just take care of your mental health.
  • Fall is in the Air: Take a drive out to the country and watch the leaves change! Nature is painting a masterpiece for your enjoyment - you just have to pause long enough to see it.
  • Meditate: Get up 30 mins earlier every day and meditate. Take the time to clear your mind so that you can focus on what you need to do.
  • Walk/Explore: Don't skip lunch but perhaps pack a lunch so you can go for a walk - explore your surroundings. You never know what you can find. I found a mesa out behind the many office buildings where I work. It became a goal to find a way to get out and up to it.
  • Color Your World: Buy a bright new scarf, jacket or shirt in a color that you love to add some color to an otherwise drab day. Something that makes you smile when you see it.
  • Plants & Animals, Oh My!: Have an office? Get a plant or a small fish bowl to place on your desk so that you have to pause during the course of the day to tend to something beside your day to day job. The mental break this provides will do you wonders.
  • Breakfast: Get up early one morning and go for breakfast before work. Sit and sip your coffee slowly without all the harried frantic pace of your normal morning.
  • Interests You Love: Think of something you love or would love to do then make some plans to do it. For example, I want to go horseback riding. It is something that makes me smile on the inside just thinking about. I looked up places where I can go do that.
If you find small ways to feed and nourish the true you, you will become a more fulfilled and engaged person in your personal life. This will also reflect positively on your professional one.


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