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community engagement engagement personal engagement social change

Best Practice: Engagement for ALL

This is the second post in my series on Best Practices in Engagement.

Almost a hundred years ago spiritualist J.J. Van Der Leeuw wrote, “Would any one of us undertake even a journey of a few hundred miles without knowing why, without having some purpose? And yet, so many of us live, undertaking not a chance task, but the great Task of life itself… and yet we ask not why.” In a condemning tone, Van Der Leeuw suggested there are some who look at the “great Task” on purpose. I have found that “great Task” is engagement, and I think all people can become experience personal engagement more deeply. In order to truly engage society, the best organizations seek to accomplish the next best practice in my series.

Practice 2: Foster Personal Engagement for ALL People.


Personal engagement may be the deepest task in anyone’s life. Yet, its also one of the things we think least about. If that appears not matter, its because everyone is personally engaged in many ways already. There’s nothing that exists without personal engagement. Having lasting connections within yourself and throughout your world doesn’t require that you think about personal engagement, or even know what it is.

Because of this, we take our personal engagement for granted. We consider karate, knitting, piano, children, politics, faith communities, driving, hiking, and history to be important, but we never name why. They’re important because we’re personally engaged in them. In the same way, we’re personally engaged in interactions and transactions through our relationships with others everyday. The jokes we swap with coworkers, disciplining of our children, dating our potential life partners, and paying for coffee with the same barista everyday are all ways we’re personally engaged in the world around us, too.

The most successful community engagement efforts support all becoming personally engagement. They don’t place limits on birth dates or budgets, and they see every person as necessary and relevant from the inception of the effort. Here are a few ways to do that.

101 Ways For ALL People To Be Personally Engaged

  1. Do the thing right in front of you to get done.
  2. Take an inventory of things you’re personally engaged in right now.
  3. Encourage people to be who they are, how they are, where they are- not where, who, or how you want them to be.
  4. Let everyone establish their own role.
  5. Give people opportunities to relate to each other.
  6. Engage yourself, and stop relying on others to engage you. 
  7. Be highly interactive with others and involve others throughout your life, if you want. 
  8. Expose yourself to new opportunities to become engaged if you want to.
  9. Create direct opportunities for yourself to gather new engagement in your life.
  10. Distribute power every time you can.
  11. Find out what the people around you are personally engaged in.
  12. Provide opportunities to reflect.
  13. Use the Internet a lot.
  14. Embrace yourself.
  15. Speak the way people speak- not academics, scientists, or politicians.
  16. Project images and use visuals
  17. Acknowledge how your personal engagement overlaps those of the people around you.
  18. Share feelings.
  19. Develop visible connections beyond words.
  20. Support personal growth by providing space, place, time, and energy for individuals to do the same.
  21. Build community.
  22. Think critically about what you’re personally engaged in.
  23. Be a mutual mentor with someone else.
  24. Encourage sense of self.
  25. Do the things that you are personally engaged with on purpose.
  26. Name your personal engagements.
  27. Appreciate difference.
  28. Reward yourself with reality.
  29. End personal engagement that does not serve you.
  30. Have a strategy for deepening personal engagement in your own life. 
  31. Recognize and praise yourself.
  32. Care about yourself as person. 
  33. Clear your vision and maintain that clarity.  
  34. State your values and acknowledge how deeply you’re engaged with them.  
  35. Make decisions you can stay engaged in. 
  36. Listen to the ways people think.
  37. Develop clear methods for seeing what you are engaged with. 
  38. Live lively.
  39. Love deeply.
  40. Have a dream of personal engagement in your life.
  41. Recognize personal engagement in others’ lives. 
  42. Let go of any negative opinions you may have about your engagement.
  43. Approach personal engagement as a source of unique knowledge with something valuable to contribute to your life.
  44. Make sure you have everything you need to engage within yourself. 
  45. Your needs change often- be honest about that.
  46. Clearly communicate what your values and vision are
  47. Acknowledge the different ways success has arrived throughout your life.
  48. Show, don’t tell.
  49. Compose a song about your personal engagement.
  50. Perform however you want to and acknowledge how that affects your personal engagement.
  51. Envision how personal engagement affects all other experiences in your life.
  52. Get to know your engagements, including what they are, how they operate, where they came from, and what they do. 
  53. Identify your goals, stressors, what excites you, and how you define engagement. 
  54. Get interested in the well-being of your personal engagement.
  55. Do what it takes to let your personal engagement feel more fulfilling.
  56. Constantly ask how you are doing in your your own eyes. 
  57. Support people equitably, not equally.
  58. Know that there are things you’re personally engaged in that do not serve you well, right now.
  59. Be sure to accept feedback from within yourself graciously.
  60. Express appreciation to yourself for your personal engagement.
  61. Pay attention to your own stories.
  62. Recognize your rituals. 
  63. Participating in discussions that are keep your personal engagement alive, if that’s what you want to do.
  64. Remember that personal engagement has to have meaning for you. 
  65. Get to know your personal engagements. 
  66. Celebrate both accomplishments and failures in your life, even if in different ways. 
  67. Recognize your own consistencies with yourself and others over the long term.
  68. Let your personal engagements do the talking. 
  69. Giving yourself a voice throughout your life in order to ensure you are authentically reflecting your personal engagements. 
  70. Increase the ease you have for staying engaged with the things you want to be engaged with. 
  71. Be transparent with others about what you are personally engaged in. 
  72. Emphasize engagement.
  73. Be credible with yourself.
  74. Give yourself choices.
  75. Make decisions on purpose, not by accident.
  76. Alter the ways you do things in order to become more engaged in the things you do all the time.
  77. Write about personal engagement in your life.
  78. Live the life you want to live, and don’t be a hypocrite. Starting now.
  79. Take responsibility for what you want to learn, how you want to live, who you want to know, where you want to go, and what you are going to do. This is your life, not anyone else’s. Get engaged in it starting right now.
  80. Analyze, evaluate, critique, and recreate your personal engagement. 
  81. Live a life that makes you want to live more life.
  82. Promote your personal engagement above community engagement.
  83. Make a picture of personal engagement in your life. 
  84. Sustain the things you want to stay personally engaged in.
  85. Stop personal engagement that does not serve your highest sense of yourself.
  86. Try new experiences that may personally engage you.
  87. Do things that are not personally engaging for you.
  88. Make it easy to be personally engaged in things that matter to you.
  89. Keep personal engagement where it is- light or heavy.
  90. Show off your personal engagements to yourself.
  91. Develop clear expectations of what your personal engagements can do in your life. 
  92. Acknowledge the spiritual, emotional, educational, intellectual, kinesthetic, and cultural basis of your personal engagement.
  93. Live a variety of experiences.
  94. Enrich your personal engagement.
  95. Reach out to others who are personally engaged in you.
  96. Give yourself plenty of opportunities to do what you do best. 
  97. Do things that encourage you to become more personally engaged.
  98. Choose experiences that personally engage you. 
  99. Attend community, family, school, cultural, religious, and other types of social events.
  100. Give others warm and genuine opportunities to know you’re personally engaged with them.
  101. Be who you are, right now.

Read the first post in this series on Best Practices in Engagement, and subscribe to this blog to learn more!


Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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