Engaging Ourselves

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by Beverly Kaye, Founder, Career Systems International

As the year kicks off, I was thinking about the importance of considering our own engagement.  What’s ahead for 2016?  What might be our greatest challenges? What do we want to do differently? What’s changing in our work, in our personal lives, and how will we deal with those changes?

One way that my own engagement for the year gets jump started is by attending a yearly meeting of colleagues/friends in the Del Mar area of San Diego.  Twenty years ago Marshall Goldsmith decided to call a group of his friends together with the aim of learning from one another.  About fifty individuals took him up on his offer.  Over the past 20 years the group jelled at about 25 and most put this on their calendars in ink.  Each year a committee volunteers to design the weekend.  We meet from Thursday evening til Saturday evening.

I’ll just mention one of the activities that the group “noodled” because it might be something you may want to consider for yourself.  We used a quote that Frances Hesselbein has used often in the group (she was one of the original members and still is!).  She talks about the move from “success” to “significance.”  I had never really thought much about those words, and the shift from one to the other.

Success generated phrases like “finding your path”, “building your life”, “getting recognition for what you are doing”, “feeling you are as knowledgeable as anyone”, etc. Success, we agreed gives satisfaction….significance gives fulfillment.  We talked about significance as generosity.  We considered the importance of generosity of time, talent, treasures and touch.  Each opened interesting dialogue and engaged me in a new way of thinking.

We all built an individual four-celled matrix like this one.

Image for BK blog







Wonderful conversations ensued, and I came away with more to contemplate as I drew up some goals for myself for the year, and some conversations I needed to have.  I have spent so much time considering engagement in the context of organizations and the role of the manager.  I hadn’t thought about what truly engaged me.  I think dialogue with colleagues about areas outside of the normal day to day thinking is an engagement stimulus that we all too often fail to make time for.

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