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What are you afraid of? I’m afraid of snakes, bugs, alligators, and disengagement in the workspace.

As I mentioned in my book, JoyPowered: Intentionally Creating an Inspired Workspace, about 70% of employees are not engaged in their careers. Although my career has not been perfect, I continue to struggle with this statistic and Gallup’s monthly updates, which have been researched for over 20 years and continue to verify little to no change in this statistic. Maybe my positivity strength is a bit naïve, but I just don’t get it. If you are not engaged, what are you doing about it?

  • Are you asking your boss/leaders for new opportunities?
  • Are you exceeding your goals?
  • Are you building relationships inside the organization and/or outside the organization with suppliers, contractors, and other vendors?
  • Are you continuing to learn?
  • Are you thinking about your lack of engagement, why it is so, and proactively addressing it?

Or are you afraid? Afraid to ask the questions, afraid to challenge yourself, afraid of the leaders, afraid of the answers, afraid of the change?

If you ARE doing something about it and it’s not working, can you do it some more? Look for another opportunity? Build new and different skills? Ask for the advice of others inside and outside of the organization – outside mentors, career coaches, life coaches?

In my research for the book, I found that it is not so much the fear of something new or fear of change, but the fear of loss. So even though employees are not engaged (or sometimes not even happy), they fear the loss of their salary, their benefits, their commute, their friends and co-workers, or a whole host of other fears (and sometimes excuses).

I get it, though, people have mortgages and rent payments, utility bills, student loans, and responsibilities. We can’t just all decide to spend our days rock climbing, kayaking, or playing the piano because we find it engaging. But how can you make time – at work or outside of work – to do MORE of what engages you? How can you redesign your workflow, your work habits, your workspace, or whatever it takes to make your work more engaging? How can you figure out ways to work more with others who are engaged, who inspire you, or who can advise you?

Matthew Kelly says, “But the thing that stops us, the thing that holds us back, the obstacle, the challenge: fear. It’s always fear. It’s always been fear. It’ll always be fear. We’re afraid of losing things. We’re afraid things won’t work out the way we want them to or hope they will. We’re afraid of failing. And sometimes, we’re afraid of succeeding.”

In the meantime, while we are sitting around being fearful, we are disengaged. That leads to being less productive, and less creative, and less inspiring, and less fun to work with and be around. Aren’t you afraid of that?

I challenge you to find what engages you – in your work, in your organization, or in your life – and do more of it. Make the commitment to be engaged.

The most common phrase that appears in the Bible: “Be not afraid.” I’m not sure about the snakes, spiders, and alligators, but disengagement? We can conquer that one!

Interested in learning more about being engaged at work? Visit www.getjoypowered.com for information on my books and my podcast!

JoDee Curtis
JoDee Curtis
JoDee Curtis is the Founder of Purple Ink, Powered by Purple Ink, and the ink pad, author of four books in the JoyPowered® series, and co-host of The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast. She has a passion for helping organizations and individuals discover their talents, do more of what they do well through her speaking and training, and find joy in their work.

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