In the business workplace, the concept of employee engagement is an important topic. As my corporate clients reach out to me to discuss this, I have a secondary question in my mind: "Who is measuring the engagement and how?"
If you’re being evaluated by a boss on this attribute (or if you are a coach with clients who are evaluated), it’s important that you understand how the boss defines and measures engagement. Is your (or your client’s) boss looking for specific activities and/or volume of movement of things and/or style?
Engagement has a very discernible vibration. For example, a few people (really very few) can multitask and be fully engaged in the multiple tasks at the same time. However, for most people, multitasking scatters their energy making, it easy for others to be confused wether they are engaged in one task or another.
Telephone conference calls are ripe for multitasking because others do not have visual clues to additional activities. But those who are tuned in energetically will know when someone is shifting attention from the conversation to other things. I always know when my clients or friends are distracted. Sometimes I call attention to it ("Do you have to attend to something else?") and other times I do not.
To me, "engagement" means being involved, being present, caring. I’m sure that many other words can also help to define the word and/or concept. I don’t think there is only one dynamic or element. I think many dynamics work together.
So, I’ll tell you a story out of school … When I was very young, I learned the importance of "looking" engaged at school. My farther was a college professor so I had good training on that one. There were times that I was totally bored but looked engaged because I knew the body gestures and facial expressions. (I wanted to maintain my status as a favorite student.)
Most of the time, I really was interested in school subjects. A fascinating dynamic happened as a result of this occasional facade. I found that when I put out those "fully engaged" signals, I soon moved from thinking about other things to actually being fully engaged. Sometimes I tuned into the subject from a totally different perspective and learned at a deeper level.
So, in fact, I ended up being even more engaged, and differently engaged.
So, you can LOOK engaged or you can BE engaged. How engaged are YOU?
Usually I focus on positive self talk. Every once in a while it’s helpful to bring to conscious awareness the negative talk that might be sabotaging you.
What do you say to yourself that is negative that keeps you from manifesting what you want in your life? Do you know the words? Do you know how often you say the words to yourself? Do you say them out loud to others?
One of the things I love to do is to help people to transform their language from negative to positive. Of course, the thoughts behind the words need to be changed, as well, but sometimes the language itself is like a key to unlock those negative unconscious thoughts and bring them into conscious awareness. And, once unlocked, the thoughts can more easily be transformed.
To identify your statements of negative self talk, focus in on any subject, but here are a few suggestions to prime the pump.
Health: Do you talk to yourself or others about an illness or affliction you have? For example, "I’m tired of being sick." Or, "My knee is still hurting me."
Money: Do you have disempowering thoughts and chatter about money? For example, "We can’t afford that." Or, "I don’t have enough money." Or, "This economy is really getting me down."
Career: Do you get into conversations with yourself or others about your job or career? For example, "I don’t feel confident in my job." Or, "I don’t seem to be getting anywhere in my career."
And, on and on. You know what a negative statement is, especially when you hear others say one. When you’re paying attention, you hear it in yourself, also. However, sometimes when the statement is yours, you may find that it has become so familiar that you believe the words are the truth. You may even be able to "prove" they are true.
Those negative statements can be an avenue to making a simple change that set you on the path to creating what you want in your life.
I invite you to read and follow the process in a Self Development Technique called Self Empowerment by Transforming a Phrase.
"Energy work" as been an integral part of my professional life for over 25 years. I’m not exactly sure when I first started using the phrase. My early influences were with Barbara Brennan, Polarity Therapy, Reiki, Chiropractors and massage therapists, Chinese medicine, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Gabriel Cousens, M.D., Richard Gerber, M.D., and others.
And there have been so many others since those early days. Energy work means so many different things to so many different people, and I won’t even attempt to give the definitive definition. I can only tell you what it means to me.
In a few words: "Energy Work" means working with subtle energies in non-invasive ways. I am able to perceive the energy field that underpins each person, place, thing, or idea. Sometimes the "work" is to notice the energy. Other times the "work" is to make an adjustment.
The REAL truth of how I learned about energy is this: I have learned primarily from my clients. Collectively, they are my greatest teachers. They ask me questions that I could not possibly know from ordinary reality, and so I access the energy field (the subtle energies) for the information.
That makes me look smart. But it is not so much a matter of intelligence (which I also have), but a matter of a finely-tuned skill. My perception makes use of all my physical senses, my sense of balance, my intuition, and my feelings.
Often, I believe more in my clients’ magnificence than they do themselves. So I hold a vision — I hold the energy — until they can step into it. It’s both natural and easy for me to see the maginfiicence, even while others are trying to convince me of their limitations or deficiencies.
Of course, you may have come to the idea of energy work from a totally different path. All paths are valid, enriching the whole area of understanding the power of subtle energies.
Years ago, I started writing a book, called the Symbolic Language of Energy. Some of my students of the MAP Energetics Process have read
it and encouraged me to return to it and publish it. Maybe. In the meantime, I make the knowledge available in my client sessions and my TeleSeminars. In the meantime, also, I am excited that so many others who have done energy work over this span of time have also been publishing.
I think that the language of energy is more potent that the language of words. Don’t get me wrong, I love words. I use them a lot! But I also know that the real way that we communicate and impact change is with subtle energies, including images, and waves of light, and sound vibration.
Far more in our world is invisible than visible to the physical eye. Energy work makes me more aware of our expansive and expanding world.
Jeanie Marshall is a Personal Development Consultant and Coach
and a QEC Level 1: Certified Practitioner
Call her at 310-392-1987 for an Private Consultation
Personal Consulting and Coaching • • • Energy Work and QEC Sessions
Years ago when I trained managers and trainers, I liked to be playful with each group. The company I was working with one day had a culture that was closest to Acronym Heaven than I had ever before or since experienced. So, I wrote on the flip chart in large letters: B O Q.
“Today we’re going to learn about the BOQ,” I said, pronouncing it Bock. My demeanor suggested they already knew — or should know — what the letters stood for, just the way that most acronyms are stated. Came a flurry of activity as they wrote the letters, trying to jog their collective memories of the words that B, O, and Q might possibly represent.
I did not leave them long in this state of mild confusion. They knew me well enough to know that I liked to play. They rose to the occasion and expressed their relief in laughter as I said, pointing letter by letter: Basic Operating Question.
One way of thinking of the Basic Operating Question is to consider it your “default” question. It is the question you think of first when you are facing a certain type of situation. In some situations, you might be well aware of your BOQ, but in others you may not. Questions guide you all day long, and some are more empowering than others.
For example, when the phone rings, you are likely to wonder who is calling and may formulate the question “Who’s that?” or just think, "I wonder who that is." While it’s customary to answer out loud with your name or with "hello," still you will be silently questioning who it is until you know.
If you have a tense relationship with your boss who motions you to his or her office, your BOQ might be “What have I done wrong now?” If your relationship is cordial, perhaps your question is "What can I do for you?"
You walk into a room with others present and your BOQ in your thoughts might be “What’s going on here?” If you have arrived late to a meeting, your default question might be "What have I missed?" Often, others will answer your questions even if you have not verbalized them because they are predominant in your thoughts, and so you are projecting them.
A BOQ can be positive, negative, or neutral. It can be empowering or disempowering. It can be easy to answer or not. It can be verbalized out loud or only thought about. It can be a neat sentence or a disjointed thought or a crisp, clear question. The Basic Operating Question itself, as well as its quality and resonance, guide the quality and resonance of the answer.
The purpose of identifying your Basic Operating Questions is to discover if they are helpful and empowering. And, if not, to craft more helpful and empowering ones. A long-time habit of asking a particular Basic Operating Question will not necessarily be instantly changed just because of discovering one that you consider better, but that is a good starting place. After identifying one or more of these, it is important to practice your new, empowering Basic Operating Questions as often as possible.
I invite you to read Ask Questions that are Empowering, an article that gives you additional information on empowering questions.
What’s your BOQ in each of the common situations you regularly face in your life? For example, when you get up in the morning, when you get to your place of work, when the phone rings, when you see coworkers, when you go to a meeting, when you get into your car, when you go to sleep at night?
Once you have identified the situations that are most important to you, note the default question, and adjust it if it needs to be more empowering. Now, practice, practice, practice.
Years ago when "Stress Management" was a hot topic that few people were addressing in training and workshop events, I taught a 4-week course on the subject in a college evening course. In this program, I suggested many different ideas and practices to help participants to be more calm and relaxed.
I led groups in what I then called "relaxation techniques." An important aspect of all my relaxation techniques and guided meditations is breathing. In those days, I made the suggestion (as I have thousands of times since then) to practice focused, intentional breathing, three to more times a day, for three to five breaths. When counting, I consider one breath is composed of an in-breath and an out-breath.
The hardest part of this exercise is remembering to do it! It’s so easy. There’s nothing to buy or carry around. There’s no special place to arrive at or proper clothing to select. You can even do it secretly right in front of others.
I suggest you identify some activity that serves as a reminder to do the exercise — waiting at stop lights, riding elevators, answering phones, and other regular activities you’re already doing.
In one course in those early Stress Management workshop days, I had about 20 participants who were eager, responsive, and mostly stressed. They had come to the right place! I made the suggestion about using the focused, intentional breathing exercise at the first class. I also led them through some intentional breathing so that they would have a direct experience for themselves and to discuss with classmates.
I noticed that one man didn’t return after the first class. He had seemed so eager and responsive, that it seemed unusual. To the surprise of both of us, we rendezvoused unexpectedly months later — in an elevator. He expressed appreciation beyond what I might have expected for the one class he attended.
He explained that he put the focused, intentional breathing exercise to use beginning the next day. He said "that was what I enrolled in the class to learn, and I learned it! I knew I would enjoy the rest of the class, but with my very heavy schedule, I decided that finding something that worked so effectively could not be topped."
So, breathe. Breathe intentionally, one in-breath followed by one out-breath. And then do it again. And again.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES. I have gathered together a list of helpful resources to support you in your meditation practice. At different times, you might be interested in different resources, so check in frequently for Meditation CDs, ebooks, courses, etc. at Meditation Resources.
Finding the Balance in Your Breath gives you the relaxing break you
need to regain your balance and enhance
your personal development and success.
You will discover how, with practice, you can find your balance,
especially in your breath. You can learn through experience how it
feels to lift yourself up or calm yourself down by focusing fully on
your breath. When you listen to this guided meditation regularly,
you’ll more easily and naturally experience balance, peace,
strength, and fulfillment throughout your daily life.
This guided meditation is available at my web site in mp3 format,
and in CD format at Amazon.com.
I know that many people associate certain conditions with their happiness (or unhappiness). Happiness from the outside, though, is short-lived — for example, until the conditions change.
You may define "happiness" in any way you want, but the happiness I want to speak about is the kind that comes from the inside. I mean happiness that tells you that you are free, peaceful, perfect as you are. It is peace of mind. It is happiness without demands on others.
In a true state of happiness, there is no guilt or shame or jealousy or self-doubt, or any other negative feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Surely, it’s important to experience and recognize negative emotions … to feel them fully and then respond appropriately. I feel negative emotions fully takes a matter of seconds or minutes, by the way, when you are generally in a state of happiness.
If it takes you many hours or even days to overcome negative emotions about a situation, you are in a state of non-happiness or false happiness. Some people ACT happy, when they really are not. Acting happy can be helpful when dealing with others, from time to time, and it can also be helpful to you when pretending makes true happiness a little more accessible. But it’s important that you not fool yourself into believing that the facade is a state of happiness.
Happiness in 2012
In this remarkable year 2012, you might have powerful goals and dreames. The goals and dreams you envision may or may not facilitate your happiness when you achieve them. However, if you are happy right now in the midst of your unfulfilled goals/dreams, you will also be happy when you achieve them.
Life is in the journey, not the destination, as you know. And the journey needs to be energized by happiness and love, so that each destination is a celebration and not a disappointment.
The Right Kind of Loser
Do you resent being called a loser? If so, reframe that immediately. Set your sights on losing negative emotions and anything else that holds you in a state of unhappiness. Or perhaps you find yourself in a state of boredom or disinterest. Call the lack-of-happiness state whatever you want. Lose that! Lose the boredom and you can more easily feel the vibration of happiness. Happiness is a distinct vibration, with a range of frequencies.
Your happiness is already inside you. You don’t have to find it. You can’t change someone else to get to your happiness. You don’t need to do anything at all outside yourself. Certainly it is inspiring to be with others and to learn and to be in motion. Anything you do can facilitate your happiness. But to be happy is an inside job.
Release or let go of (other ways to talk about losing) any of the clouds that are in your energy field. Notice when you have negative thoughts, which can take many forms: complaining, criticizing, doubting, and so many other examples. Notice, and let them go. Turn off (lose) the television, as it is designed to dampen your Spirit and numb your intellect.
When you lose the negative stuff, what is left? Yup, happiness. In addition to happiness, love and freedom and playfulness are more accessible.
Decide to be Happy
So, I end this with a challenge. Make the decision to be happy. The decision takes only a few seconds, yet if it is a powerful enough decision, it will assist you in making many, many other decisions.
A strong decision to be happy will alert you to notice immediately when you are in a state of non-happiness. As soon as you notice, shift your attention to a happy thought or put a smile on your face or get up and take a walk. Almost any action can begin the shift of your energy so that you can have greater access to the state of happiness in which I am challenging you to decide to live.
As you establish new happiness patterns, you will live more frequently in this magnificent state. Yes, you will forget at times. Yes, your attention will be drawn by challenges or negativity. Notice, and turn your back, recommitting to your decision to live in a state of happiness. You cannot be happy by giving your attention to unhappy ideas.
Your happiness patterns will get stronger, building your confidence. You will step into your own power, and stay there longer. You will love life more fully. Decide now to make future decisions from inside your state of inner happiness. In other words, move to a state of happiness before you make any major decisions.
What decision do you want to make today about your relationship to happiness?