The Golden Engagement Rules

You’ve had those days. I was tired. I mean TIRED.

It was -11 degrees in Toledo that morning when I strolled out of my hotel. Winds whipped ferociously across the parking lot. Chicago the day before. Meetings. Coachings. Airport transfers. Rental car pick-up.

Exuberant. And tiring. When I finally plopped into my seat on the Delta flight from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale, heading home, I was ready to check out. Mentally, physically, emotionally check out.

Oh yeah.

And then she showed up. A flight attendant slid into the flight-attendant-plop-down-seat facing me. Off-duty. Dead-heading home after a China turn. Stayed in the seat for the duration of the flight.

When they sit next to you, you can ignore them. When they stare you in the face it begs the question.

She was a woman of a certain age. Dramatic short grey hair, spiked heaven-ward. Smokey make-up that elevated the drama. We bantered about hotels in Shanghai and the joys of living near the beach and the craving for a world less slick. Her smile was wise. Her energy impeccable. Gentle, expansive. Our conversation was marked by easy shifts. Time passed rapidly. We were in the easy-chatting-zone.

When we parted she leaned toward me and said “I thank you so much for the conversation.”

I will likely never see her again.

But here is what I got – got so very clearly – from my engagement with my flight-attendant-muse: I felt LESS TIRED after we spoke. I felt ENERGIZED. I would have felt MORE TIRED if I had checked out.

And here is what my chat with her clarified for me. I consider it MY GOLDEN-ENGAGEMENT-RULE:

Check OUT when I’m alone. Check IN when in the company of others.

Always. Every time.

Each person, each moment, each situation has the potential to ENERGIZE us. If we choose to CHECK IN. And ENGAGE.

The only exception to my golden rule: people with bad energy (and I will not define those folks for you – you know who they are).

This week, as you’re busy at work with too much on your plate, as you hurtle from one commitment to the next, consider the golden-engagement-rule:

The moment you’re in the company of others, ENGAGE.

So you consider yourself an introvert. ENGAGE.

So you have lots to do. ENGAGE.

If just for a fleeting moment. ENGAGE. 

You’re tapping into your I’m-boldly-human side. You’re flexing your fully-present-leader muscles.

Know that your choice to ENGAGE will energize you. It will energize others. It will energize everything you need to do that day.

Keep it simple. When in the company of others, CHECK IN.

Got it?