To me, career engagement is all about being ‘present’ in the work that you are doing. It is one thing to show up to work each day and complete the tasks required of you, but I think that it is another thing altogether to show up and give of yourself in such a way that you are contributing in the uniquely personalized way that only you can.
There is definitely a balancing act at play in terms of being ‘present’ in your work. We all have a wide range of roles that we are responsible for – parent, student, worker, caregiver, volunteer, coach, etc. It is unrealistic to assume that it is possible to be ‘present’ in all roles at all times. Instead, we can consciously strive to influence our environments so that we can maximize our presence in each of our roles.
Finding work that allows you to experience what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls Flow can certainly help. “Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
Flow occurs when the right blend of skills and tasks come together and an optimal state is achieved. I only became aware of this concept over the last couple of years and I think it is worth further investigation and consideration. Understanding what is needed to achieve flow is a key component of engagement. I believe that an awareness of your optimal flow conditions is key to maximizing the feeling of career engagement.
To read more about Flow and Positive Uncertainty, check out these titles from Amazon.ca: