The Truth Behind Engaged Living

transforming our relationships

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

– Socrates

Effective personal change begins with visions, missions and purposes that are personal, meaningful and real. Translating vision into reality is one of the greatest of human experiences. The journey elevates lives and orchestrates growth.

Without clearly defined personal mission, vision and purpose we operate in a state of aimlessness and of barrenness. We clock in and we clock out. The resulting trance perpetuates the notion that a fulfilling vision is out of reach. The frenzy supports the idea we don’t even have time to look at what we want out of our lives. We miss the fact that self-inquiry is the most vital aspect in staying competitive.

Great leaders recognize that stakeholders become engaged when we help them access what they most want out of their work, their lives and their careers. As we develop the skills of self-inquiry the process becomes lighter, it is enlightening and produces environments where dreams and ambitions live in the light of transparency. We are able to support each other in pursuing the lives we want; lives that are as personalized and as clearly defined as a thumbprint. We are able to discuss our awareness and fears of falling out of step with change. The discussions lead to solutions. When we develop that kind of clarity, we become willing to experience the discomfort associated with reinvention and change.

How do I know this?

I’ve watched participants define the lives they want to have and commit to getting sober.
I’ve watched unhappy parents redefine their lives and become role models to their children.
I’ve observed workers who were making everyone around them miserable make amends and deal with the wounds of their past.
I’ve watched narcissistic executives become inclusive leaders.

None of these transformations took place by adopting someone else’s vision. It happened when they looked within themselves and defined who they wanted to be in their relationship with work and the world around them.

Developing work environments with robust self-inquiry would have been completely out of place in the industrial revolution. Many old world leaders will respond with contempt to the idea of developing self-inquiry with all of their workers.

How on earth will we motivate workers to change and engage if we are not developing environments with shared vision? The new work world is one where leaders explore three questions:

  • What is our vision?

  • What is your vision?

How can we get the two to work together? 


David Harder
David Harder
DAVID founded Inspired Work in 1990, which has helped over 42,000 professionals transform their relationship towards work. Individuals from all walks of life attend Inspired Work’s public programs to launch new careers, new business or to become more successful in their existing role. He views work as a profound opportunity to become more fulfilled, contributive and effective. Mr. Harder’s leadership, employee engagement, executive development and social networking programs are used in a wide variety of organizations including The Walt Disney Company, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, The United Church of Religious Science, Morgan Stanley, and many others. Inspired Work’s leadership programs, career development and team building programs produce some of the worlds most outstanding satisfaction numbers in any business: 92.6% out of a hundred. David has appeared on many business and human-interest programs including CNN, KTLA News, KFWB News and Business News Network. David’s book, new book, The Workplace Engagement Solution (Career Press) offers an entire “crack-the-code” approach to engagement.

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  1. My idea is that we need to involve team members directly in creating the vision. There is no doubt that a choral realization of the vision necessarily requires more time and, at least initially, the effort to harmonize the different actors can be high. It all depends on how much a leader knows how to keep cohesive teams, transforming into productive sessions, energizing and exciting potentially infernal meetings. The goal is to stimulate the team, get the commitment, provide direction, not get lost in boring proclamations.
    But it is hard to deny that this method has the advantage of stimulating the emotional sphere of involvement and therefore obtaining a greater degree of participation and comparing different thoughts, abilities, points of view, each of which can contribute to their own skills and attitudes to enrich the vision.
    When everyone is involved in creation, we talk about “our vision”. When it is only a leader who devotes himself to this activity, he becomes “his vision”. The consequences are obvious.