Employee engagement is major news in the business journals. Is it up? Is it down? How do you get more of it?

Engaged employees are productive employees, so there is a good reason for organizations to focus on increasing their engagement.

But there’s an equally good reason for you to pay attention.

How much time do you spend at work? Thinking about work?

This is a major part of your life, and if you’re really going to thrive, you need to be happy there.

Here are 4 tips to feel more engaged in your work.

Celebrate Successes

Think about how often you find yourself going over every mistake you have made. The silly thing you said 5 years ago, the $10 you shouldn’t have spent, the question you answered wrong.

Too often.

Now, think about how often you find yourself going over all the things you did right – remembering to lock the door, to put money into your 401K every paycheck, and to show affection for your loved ones before bed.

Not often enough.

This is because you have a negativity bias. The human brain is primed to pay special attention to mistakes and dangers and to shrug off the more positive things in life.

The reason is simple: Don’t pay attention to a flower or a beautiful butterfly, you’re fine. Don’t notice a tiger or a snake, you’re dead.

Luckily, we can make a conscious effort to overcome this bias. By doing so, we feel more engaged and enlivened by what we’re doing. We do this by celebrating our successes.

Take the time to acknowledge things that go right at work. To make your triumph extra meaningful, ask others to join in your celebrations.

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Find Purpose

To feel engaged, we have to feel that we are acting with a purpose. What are your highest values? How do they relate to what you’re doing at work?

You may feel like you work for a paycheck. And that’s true to an extent. But the more you focus on that as your primary motivator, the less you will get out of work.

Finding purpose at work isn’t as hard as it may seem. What does your organization produce? Whom are you serving? Don’t think of a faceless crowd. Try to find stories about the meaningful impact you and your company create for individuals and their communities.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask Google. “Why I love working in…” Customer service, technology, landscaping, and marketing are full of people who find their jobs thrilling and meaningful.

Focus on Your Overall Well-Being

Blaming our problems on some outside force is convenient. Whether it’s our jobs, our parents, or society at large, we point to some external power and say, “It’s them.” We relinquish responsibility.

But that’s almost never the best way to handle your life.

Instead, you should take responsibility for yourself. Look at every arena of your life and ask yourself: Am I reaching my potential? Am I even doing the basics to be a happy person?

You may find it tough to admit that you aren’t sleeping right or you aren’t eating right. You may say you keep trying—and maybe you do, but that isn’t the point. You need to put systems in place to maintain and improve your overall well-being.

Want to be happier at work? Be a happier person? Turn off the screen at least 2 hours before bed. Don’t eat junk all day. Find a social group to connect with.

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Share Your Skills

Getting validation from management is great. You want your boss and your co-workers to recognize the time and effort you put into doing your job.

But we can’t always have that.

What we can always have is our own validation. You know you’re doing a good job. Acknowledge your expertise and share it with others.

Are there mentorship opportunities you can volunteer for at work? Is there a project that you can join or initiate to show off your strengths? Are there speaking or writing opportunities where you can teach others in your field?

Teaching is meaningful. It allows you to learn something twice. It also validates—if someone else wants to spend their time and money to learn what I know, these skills must be useful.

These 4 tips are just to get you started. Remember that you are ultimately responsible for being engaged at work—and in every other part of your life. Nobody else can fix this – only you can. 

Before you click out of this screen, download my guide below and write down at least one thing you will do to be more engaged at work tomorrow.


  • Mark Danaher

    Career, Life and Leadership Coach, Virtual Speaker and Trainer

    Careers by Design LLC

    Mark Danaher is a career/life/leadership coach and certified career counselor who helps leaders elevate their careers and life to one they will love.  He helps his clients make the best of tough situations so they can be their best professionally and personally.   Mark uses coaching along with his extensive career development knowledge and expertise to offer his clients a uniquely holistic approach to making career and life pivots.  He helps his clients manage burnout, stress, and anxiety, integrate balance into their lives so they can make a meaningful change in their lives. He uses a holistic narrative career approach to help people tell their stories and learn from their careers and life.  Mark completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut in Economics and History and went on to earn his Masters at the University of Connecticut in Counseling Psychology.   Mark was the President of the National Career Development Association in 2014-2015 and continues to volunteer for the organization.   He is certified as a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Career Counselor, Holistic Narrative Career Professional, Retirement Options Coach, 2 Young to Retire Coach, Job, and Career Development Coach, Job and Career Transition Coach, and a Certified Career Service Provider.  Mark is a Master Trainer for the Facilitating Career Development Certificate and School Career Development Advisor certificate is actively coaching training, and teaching throughout the year.  He is now a Master Practioner of the Energy Leadership Index which is a great assessment to understand how you use your energy in your everyday life and under stress.  It gives you a great insight into how you can improve your everyday interactions and connections with colleagues, employees, family, and beyond.