On Connecting

How engaged are you on the job?” is a question posed in this issue, primarily directed to bridal consultants... yet it’s a topic worthy for us all regardless of position or life circumstance, as it reminds us that the rewards of being fully engaged on the job ripple beyond the workplace, positively affecting our home lives, attitudes and perspectives.

I’ve been thinking about engagement recently, as I’ve struggled with being present. . . engaged. . . with an aging mother descending through stages of Alzheimer’s.

In many ways I am blessed through this experience by siblings and family that share the load, by a community of caregivers who exhibit the epitome of Care, by the depth of information providing insights, tips and advice. And by the numerous friends that are deep in the same issues and circumstances with their loved ones.

Yet still the frustration and fear bubble up.

What helps is developing a sense of mindfulness. . . a fake-it-till-I-make-it approach. She needs me to be upbeat, enthusiastic, non-judgmental, patient, to not treat her as a victim, or worse, a child, to listen, really listen to her.

So I’m “faking” those qualities for as long as it takes to move from intention to in-grained attitude. . . which I now see as a blessing in itself, good practice actually for the “rest” of my life.

So for your struggles with a greater engagement at work, follow my lead. . . act like who you most want to be.

Approach each bride with enthusiasm, with open body language, with a smile, with a genuine desire to hear her story, with respectful patience, with intention.

As Aristotle wrote: “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

Oh. . . and according to Alzheimer’s caregivers, words matter, specifically the word “but”. By replacing it with “however”, you’ll better maintain the engagement and connection you’ve worked so hard to create with your loved ones, fellow employees and brides.

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