Just Me

Engage Yourself Before Engaging Others

Closing keynote speaker at the 2014 i4cp annual conference was Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, executive coaching guru and notable author. His message on building engagement in one’s personal and professional life clearly resonated with the audience. I’m quite certain that as many conference participants headed home on flights later that day, the standard safety talk about putting on one’s own oxygen mask before assisting others may have struck a familiar chord. Goldsmith says engagement is a daily choice each of us must make.

In becoming the person we choose, each of us needs to decide what to keep and what to change. What will you create for yourself? Preserve? Eliminate? Accept? Rather than carry stressors around with you, Goldsmith says, “Ask yourself ‘Am I willing at this time to make a positive investment in this topic?’ If not, let it go.”

Engagement surveys are sometimes built around passive questions that make engagement dependent on the environment and, therefore, make changing the environment the solution. Instead, Goldsmith suggests asking yourself six active questions:

Did I do my best today to…
  1. be happy?
  2. find meaning?
  3. be fully engaged?
  4. build positive relationships?
  5. set clear goals?
  6. make progress toward goal achievement?
These active questions put the responsibility for engagement squarely on the individual. Goldsmith challenged the audience to participate in a simple study that takes just two minutes to complete each day. List out seven questions for yourself around what’s important in your life. Lay out a spreadsheet with Yes/No responses for seven days of the week as a scorecard to see how well you are taking care of your own well-being.

“It’s good for customers and it’s good for the company. But it’s even better for you,” said Goldsmith.