Why skip engaging?

Engagement is incredibly important to me. It matters in so many areas of life. Of course you can imagine that I will tell you that engagement matters in my marriage, you better believe it does! Focused conversation, feeling heard, and a give-and-take engaged conversation is what makes for a happy and successful marriage. Without that what is the point? I want to know that I am always paying attention and engaged in Chris’ life, that he is doing the same for me. When it becomes part of your every day, it is not hard, it becomes part of you.

Engaging with others also matters at work. Do you pay attention to your co-workers or employees? Do you listen and engage in their questions and ideas? Or do you come to a meeting with the decision already made and only bring them in so they think you care? When I read Seth Godin’s recent blog: “The hard work of understanding” I thought “Godin gets it right again.” The full excerpt of his post is here, (the bold lines for my own emphasis):

“Sometimes, we’re so eager to have an opinion that we skip the step of working to understand. Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe? We skip reading the whole thing, because it’s easier to jump to what we assume the writer meant. We skip engaging with customers and stakeholders because it’s quicker to assert we know what they want. We skip doing the math, examining the footnotes, recreating the experiment, because it might not turn out the way we need it to. We better hurry, because the firstest, loudest, angriest opinion might sway the crowd. And of course, it’s so much easier now, because we all own our own media companies.”

It makes me think that when we try to move through our lives so fast, we miss others along the way. We miss engaging with them, connecting with them, we miss understanding them. Instead of going through each day, each meeting, so fast, what if we focused, listened, connected, and engaged with others? I think it is doable, sometimes we just need to stop, breathe, and think about what experience we bring to those around us. Are you with me?