Workplace Engagement - Part 1 of 2

What do your pastimes and pet peeves reveal about your motivations?

March 2019

What do your pastimes and pet peeves reveal about your motivations? Did you GET to go to work today? Or did you HAVE to go to work today? It’s a subtle distinction that makes a huge impact.

Gallup research has found that up to 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. They “HAD” to go to work. They would prefer to stay home or do something else entirely. And there’s a big business case for fostering engaged workplaces – places where people feel that they GET to go - companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

Engagement starts with a psychological commitment and positive regard for how you can provide and exchange value. Engagement is the seed that must be nurtured to grow great company culture. And it starts with you. We can own an important element of engagement by making simple choices every day that contribute to positive outcomes.

Positive energy is a powerful thing. It attracts opportunity like a magnet and it makes you feel alive. Its also a sign that you’re on the right path - that you are tapping into your natural sources of talent and potential.

Hand cutting tomato

Think of a time when you felt productive, successful, and of value. Think of a time when you felt positive and confident. It doesn’t have to be grand – it could be a simple activity where you just felt like you were running on all cylinders.

Maybe it was a task around the house, an interaction at work or school, or working towards a fitness goal. Maybe it’s a small moment in your day, a part of your routine. An example in my life is cooking dinner. Simple, right? While it may not seem like much, it’s really quite impressive with a bit more context.

First, I am probably the pickiest eater you’ve ever met. I’m working on it - I now, for example, eat salad WITH dressing - and a host of other ‘grown up’ enhancements.

Second, in what my own mom calls a ‘cosmic feat of karmic retribution’, one of my kids inherited the picky gene from me and at the tender age of 8 has claimed vegetarian status – though his definition in practice is light on actual vegetables.

Finally, I’m not a particularly good cook, nor am I creative with healthy ideas, nor do I maintain a Pinterest board or recipe books that will suit the diverse palates at my table - so the struggle is real when it comes to dinner prep.

Luckily, it’s not the act of cooking, or the mastering the flavour fusion, or even the artistic presentation that gives me the deep sense of satisfaction. It’s the challenge of managing and synchronizing the different aspects of dinner into a triumphant culminating moment that I find fulfilling.


Having each component of the meal prepped, plated, and on the table at the right time that brings me joy. That’s the critical factor that keeps me challenged and engaged. Now back to your own example of a time you felt productive, successful, and of value. Think of how good that felt. The quiet satisfaction as you take a deep breath, admire your effort, and appreciate the result.

It’s important to pay close attention to those times as they can be very revealing about your deep motivations and your greatest potential for replicating that feeling of productivity, success, and providing value. Some refer to that feeling as being “in your element” – it’s inspiring, insightful, and down right energizing. It lights you up and you feel like you can conquer anything.

Now imagine you could bottle it. Imagine you had tools to be able to feel that satisfaction on a daily basis. Putting your unique talents to use consistently and intentionally is the key to channelling that power into positive energy. It means feeling better about what you do and how you do it daily. It means less time spent doubting yourself and more time putting your natural talents to use. And when we feel great about what we’re doing, it’s fundamentally easy to get and stay engaged.

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