So if you have read any of my previous blog posts you might be asking why I’ve been reading about happiness. I want to stop here and clarify that I am happy with my life. I’ve been given opportunities that not everyone gets. Some of them I’ve blown, but I like to think that more often than not I open the door when I hear opportunity knocking. If I were to quit right now and do nothing different for the rest of my life I’d say I’ve been successful.
However, at a recent employer for the first time ever I felt the message coming from others that I’m negative and “not happy.” What? Me? The same person that often gets accused of smiling too much? What I discovered is the people pointing at me were only doing so because I disagreed with some of their practices which I felt to be unethical. I didn’t follow along and do everything I was told to do without question which I’m sure was frustrating for them. So they labeled me “unhappy.”
I must admit that I do have a little bit of sadness the creeps in when I see others struggling. Some people I know would say that those struggling do so because of the choices they make. I don’t believe that to be full-proof reasoning. I know that people often struggle due to circumstances out of their control.
The challenge I face then is how to remain positive and hopeful despite some of the injustices that I see all around me.
How do I speak up for myself in a non-confrontational manner? How do I speak up for those being trod on that can’t or won’t speak for themselves?
That leads me to engagement. It seems everywhere I turn I hear conversation about increasing engagement. I think it is hard to have positive, happy, and engaged people if they are made to feel powerless. When people feel powerless people lose hope. When hope is lost, happiness and engagement are lost too.
So the question leaders should be asking themselves if they want engagement is how do I empower others? The answer is simple. Start by caring about them and the things that matter to them and impact their lives.