Journaling is one of the fastest ways to connect & communicate with the subconscious mind to get more done in less time.
Quiet quitting is the emerging phenomenon of employee disengagement, essentially quitting on the job. What strategies do high-impact leaders deploy to motivate themselves and those around them to move from quiet quitting to quiet committing? Because, at its core, there is no change without commitment. Commitment to change ideas. Change beliefs. Change perspectives. Change routines, rituals and boundaries. Organizations change one commitment at a time. One leader at a time. As part of our series about “Quiet Committing: The Top Five Commitments High Impact Leaders Make & Keep To Themselves Daily”, we had the pleasure of interviewing David A. Caren.
Born in the Bay Area of California to a heroin-addicted mother, David A. Caren is an author, hypnotherapist and emotional optimization coach with intimate experience overcoming traumas and hardships. His incredible resilience, massive determination, and never-ending curiosity instilled a fascination with the mind, emotions and human behavior.
Since 2004, he has dedicated more than 10,000 hours to thousands of clients worldwide to solve life’s greatest challenges, receiving over 500 five-star reviews.
While he may not have invented the Internet or solved world peace, he is intensely passionate about helping people live better lives through the power of their own minds and optimizing emotional responses.
Thank you for making time for our visit. What was the first job you had, and how did that job shape the leader you are today?
I have an unbreakable entrepreneurial spirit that has been with me since I was young. My first job was at a farmer’s market at the age of 13, where I would unload frozen vegetables with my bare hands, eventually earning enough money to buy my own gloves. From there, I worked my way up in the fast food industry, never afraid to get my hands dirty and always pushing myself to become better, no matter the task.
My unwavering dedication to personal growth has been my driving force since I was a child. I see every situation as an opportunity to learn and expand my horizons, even if it may not seem glamorous in the moment. Every challenge has been a stepping-stone to achieving my goals and becoming the best version of myself.
I am fueled by a fierce passion for success and a relentless pursuit of excellence. I know that with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. My entrepreneurial spirit has led me down a path of endless possibilities, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.
We’re talking about quiet quitting in this series. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from a job you decided to quit?
There is a great power in knowing when to walk away. It takes courage and strength to recognize when a job is no longer serving us, and it can be a difficult decision to make.
But when we have the courage to take that step, we open ourselves up to new opportunities and possibilities that can change our lives for the better.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned from a job I decided to quit is that our happiness and fulfillment should always come first.
I also realized I was the CEO of my own life, and that any job I chose would have to be something that was mutually beneficial.
That massively empowering moment shaped how I perceived jobs from there forward.
Life is too short to stay in a job (or stay in anything for that matter) that is draining our energy and making us unhappy.
By taking a leap of faith and moving on to something new, we can find a path that aligns with our passions and allows us to thrive.
Employee Engagement is top of mind for most organizations. How do you define an engaged employee?
An engaged employee is someone who brings his or her whole self to work every day. They are committed, enthusiastic, and passionate about what they do. They believe in the mission of the organization, and they are invested in the success of their team and the company as a whole.
Engaged employees are not just going through the motions. They are actively seeking out new challenges and opportunities to grow and develop their skills. They are constantly learning and evolving, and they take ownership of their work and their role within the organization.
But most importantly, engaged employees are happy. They are fulfilled by their work, and they feel valued and appreciated by their colleagues and their organization. They have a sense of purpose and meaning in what they do, and they are proud of the impact they are making on the world.
At the end of the day, employee engagement is about creating a workplace where people can thrive. It’s about fostering a culture of positivity, growth, and collaboration, and empowering people to be their best selves. When we can create an environment where employees feel engaged, motivated, and fulfilled, we can achieve great things together.
THAT is how you create a powerful culture of empowered individuals working together as a team.
Say more about your Employee Engagement portfolio. What’s working? What’s not working? And what are you piloting now to address the Quiet Committing trend?
What Is Working?
Fostering a culture of transparency:
Organizations that are transparent and open with their employees about company goals, performance, and expectations tend to have higher employee engagement. When employees feel that their input is valued and that they are included in decision-making processes, they are more likely to be engaged. By being open and honest, it alleviates any subconscious threats in the mind and helps your people to feel safe and connected.
Offering professional development opportunities:
Employees who have access to training and development opportunities are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work. Providing opportunities for learning and growth not only benefits the employee, but also helps the organization by ensuring a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. We all love being challenged and at the very least knowing there are opportunities for growth and advancement stimulate a feeling of opportunity within the organization. That mental stimulation provides fertile ground for more engagement.
Prioritizing work-life balance:
Organizations that prioritize work-life balance by offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and time off for personal needs tend to have higher employee engagement. When employees feel that their work is valued, but also that their personal needs are respected, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their jobs. (This speaks to treating your people like humans…)
What Is Not Working?
Turning a deaf ear.
Times like this are when it pays to listen now, more than ever. Listen to what your people are bringing to the table. Listen to concerns, issues, challenges, hopes, dreams. Get your people together in a way that promotes dialogue instead of trying to go back to the way things were.
Having a blind eye.
Being a leader means having the finger on the pulse of your people. Be wary of the blind eye if you get too wrapped up in “managing” your people that you might miss red flags of dropped engagement or connection to the mission and purpose of the organization.
Observe your people and look for signs of disengagement. Provide a way to connect and communicate, a way for your people to feel like they aren’t backed into a corner of doubt and uncertainty. Life itself has been uncertain enough. Validate their concerns and provide opportunities to address and improve on those concerns.
Things To Pilot:
The pandemic has really shaken things up, and I think in the very best ways possible. In every crisis, there is opportunity, for those who choose to see it.
Increased focus on mental health and well-being:
One of the very best ways to increase engagement and value is to recognize and acknoledge the importance of employee mental health and well-being. The impact of Covid has really put that front and center, in the spotlight.
Ignoring that would be detrimental to growth and engagement of our people.
One of the best ways to turn the crisis into opportunity here is implementing programs and policies that support mental wellness.
Such as offering mental health resources and support, providing access to wellness programs, and prioritizing work-life balance.
(In other words, listening to your people and treating them like humans…)
Increased emphasis on employee recognition:
Explore new ways to recognize and reward employee contributions, including non-monetary recognition such as public praise, personalized notes, and increased opportunities for career advancement.
We all love to feel valued and important for our contributions. We also want to feel challenged and stimulated to improve. This goes a long way to team buy-in.
Moving more into the digital world:
The pandemic has shifted how we all show up, and provided opportunities for greater connection with less effort.
As remote work and hybrid work models become more common, investing in technology that helps facilitate communication, collaboration, and engagement among employees I think is the next evolution, and quite frankly, long overdue.
This includes tools for virtual team building, remote learning and development, and employee feedback and recognition.
As goes the leadership, so goes the team. How do you hold leaders accountable for their own level of engagement?
Set clear expectations:
Be transparent about what you expect from your leaders in terms of engagement, and communicate those expectations clearly.
This could include things like attending team meetings, providing regular feedback to their team, and actively participating in company events.
Regularly provide your leaders with feedback on their level of engagement.
This can be done through one-on-one meetings or performance evaluations, and should be focused on both their strengths and areas for improvement.
Lead by example:
As a leader yourself, it’s important that you model the behavior you want to see from your own leaders.
Show them what it means to be engaged and committed, and lead by example.
Provide resources & opportunities:
Make sure that your leaders have the resources they need to be engaged, such as training opportunities or access to information that can help them stay up-to-date on company news and initiatives.
Opportunities for engagement can be as simple as team meetings or as intense as team building experiences.
When your leaders demonstrate high levels of engagement, be sure to recognize and celebrate their efforts.
This can help to reinforce the importance of engagement and motivate other leaders to follow suit.
Ultimately, holding leaders accountable for their own level of engagement requires a proactive and collaborative approach. By setting clear expectations, providing feedback, leading by example, providing resources, and celebrating success, you can create a culture of engagement that benefits both your leaders and the entire team.
The first phase of the pandemic ushered in the phenomenon called The Great Resignation, where employees left organizations to pursue greater meaning and purpose. Then came The Great Reshuffle, where employees left organizations to pursue promotions, pay and perks. Now we’ve entered a third phase, Quiet Quitting, where employees are deeply disengaged. What do you believe to be the key drivers of Quiet Quitting?
It’s important to realize that “quiet quitting” might be an indication of not feeling fulfilled or challenged, and this doesn’t have to be a negative experience.
It can be a moment of growth and self-discovery that leads us to new and exciting opportunities. The key is recognizing the feeling inside so you can actually address the underlying issues.
“Quiet quitting” I believe, is typically a symptom of something deeper internally. Some of the reasons might be that someone is not feeling motivated, challenged, valued, or appreciated.
What do you predict will be the next phase in the evolution of the employer / employee landscape?
Personally, I see the next phase as opportunity for more humanization and collaboration between the employer / employee dynamic. Empowerment and overall well-being have definitely been highlighted because of the pandemic. This provides a fantastic opportunity to usher in an evolution of strength and commitment personally and professionally.
What leadership behaviors need to evolve to improve employee engagement in a sustainable way?
Peopling. Plain and simple. Treat people like people.
The evolution, in my opinion, is to become a better person, which makes you a better leader. A part of becoming a better person is to evolve from power-tripping ego into compassionate and empowering leadership. This also makes the efforts of leadership more efficient. A power-tripping “leader” ultimately has to tow the line to make sure everything goes their way. An empowering and engaging leader can more efficiently use the strengths and energy of a united team towards common goals.
Show your people a mission they want to get behind, give them the tools that empower them to achieve that mission, and watch them show up in fantastic ways!
Not only is that sustainable, it is much more efficient.
Change requires commitment and happens one choice at a time. What are the top five commitments you make and keep to yourself daily that have a material impact on those you lead?
1. Self Care
Taking care of self is THE most important commitment because as a leader, you are the one guiding the ship. If you run yourself into the ground, you’re no good to anyone.
2. Emotional Efficiency
Emotions can either be a massively effective tool for compassion, connection & empathy, or a ticking time-bomb waiting in the closet of unresolved issues.
Journaling is one of the fastest ways to connect & communicate with the subconscious mind to get more done in less time.
Knowing where to spend our time & resources to move whatever needle is most important to us can make the difference between spinning our wheels or gaining traction.
The most precious resources is time, and being as present as possible allows us to make the most use of that resource, instead of wasting our time in protection mode from the pains of the past, or preventing possible pain in the future.
What’s the most effective strategy you’ve discovered to get back on track when you break a commitment you’ve made?
Breaking a commitment to oneself can be challenging because it often involves feelings of disappointment, frustration, and self-doubt. Here are a few strategies that can help get back on track:
Personal responsibility is one of my core principals. We can’t make progress if we’re passing blame. Own up to the fact that you broke the commitment and forgive yourself. It is not going to make the situation any better of you keep beating yourself up. Release any burden and reset.
Identify the root cause:
Identify why you broke the commitment to yourself. Was it due to lack of motivation, competing priorities, or unexpected events? Understanding the root cause can help you develop a plan to avoid similar challenges in the future.
Revisit your goal:
Remind yourself of the goal or commitment you made and why it’s important to you. Refocus on the benefits you will receive from achieving the goal, and use this as motivation to get back on track.
Adjust your plan:
Review your plan for achieving your goal and assess whether it’s still realistic or if it needs to be adjusted. You may need to break the goal down into smaller, more manageable steps or give yourself more time to achieve it.
Consider enlisting the help of a friend, family member, or coach to help keep you accountable and motivated. Share your goal with someone and ask for their support and encouragement.
Once you have a plan in place and have identified the root cause of the problem, take action. Get started on the next step, no matter how small, to build momentum and get back on track.
Learn from the experience:
Reflect on what caused you to break the commitment in the first place and use the experience as a learning opportunity. Consider what steps you can take to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.
It’s important to be kind to yourself and not dwell on the fact that you broke your commitment. Instead, focus on the positive steps you can take to get back on track and achieve your goal. Remember, setbacks are a natural part of the process, and it’s never too late to start again.
Thank you for sharing these important insights. How can our readers further follow your work?
I love connecting and helping people. It is in my DNA or something. My website would be the best way to stay connected. That has links to my newsletter, all the socials, as well as my books and membership programs. I am most active with my membership communities and on Facebook and YouTube.
I will put those links below for those who want to stay connected.
For anyone interested in Emotional Optimization™, as of this interview, I have my Emotional Optimization Academy™ and a new book coming out on Amazon that goes deeper into what Emotional Optimization™ is and how it can help you not only become a better leader, but live your best life in the process. Imagine reclaiming the resources you have been wasting in the background with your unresolved emotional closet… What more could you accomplish with less overwhelm, stress, and burnout? How much greater could your impact be with more clarity, purpose, and passion?
Speaking of, I have a book I created especially for leaders and entrepreneurs titled, Overwhelm, Stress & Anxiety. The Pressure Cooker of Entrepreneurship that includes my 5 Minute Emotional Release™ process.
You can find that on Amazon: https://DavidACaren.com/PressureCookerBook
We wish you continued success and good health!
You are all doing some amazing things here. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of this. I really appreciate how you bring the voice of leaders to the world and appreciate you having me.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!