Deliberate Engagement


Yesterday I sat down in Costa Rica and simply watched. I observed people walking along, heads held high, shaking hands, moments of laughter, and intentional connections.  The bright sun demanding sunglasses and covers, yet the connections deliberate, purposeful, and engaging.

As I sat there with my husband and dog, it felt different. Different than my life in in many communities, where our mode of transportation and our idea of communication pushes us into cars, cabs, and buses. Heads buried in phones and intentions everywhere but where we are standing.  I could not help but feel the difference of energy being produced around me by the simple act of deliberate engagement.

As a communications consultant, with clients scattered across the globe, I get asked all the time what holds a person back from getting what they want? For so long, I thought that most people had made a choice. A choice to be solo, quiet, and to intentionally observe the world around them. The more I work with people, I’m starting to confirm that usually this is not the case. Yes, while there are people in this world who intentionally seclude and find joy in this, most are looking for an authentic way to connect and just don’t know how.

So how do you learn? Is there an article or a book that will walk you through this process? Maybe. But what about practice, and if practice is an answer, how do you do it?


As if you are working your quads at the gym, I ask that you consider your communication efforts the same. Training and practice.  Scheduling time to deliberately work and build your social muscle seems to be more important these days for most of us.   In many parts of the world, our designs and inventions have created the ease of getting things done without ever connecting with another human being. 

What if you created a small space each day to deliberately connect to yourself, another person, or an idea? Perhaps only five minutes a day, yet every day.  Before you realize it, your new normal will bring you more than you hoped for and at the very least, the training your social brain needs and deserves.

Some ideas for you that are easy, to begin with, will build neural pathways and put you on your path to confidence in communicating.

I’m not going to say everyone’s life will be better with deliberate connections, yet I’m confident in saying that most of ours will. I also feel necessary to add; while this speaks to being in the moment and growing the social brain, what about tomorrow and our overall health? Science is confirming daily that increasing your deliberate, social awareness will promote longevity in your overall health and wellness as you age.

Are you looking for a place to practice with groups or by yourself? Reach out to [email protected] and jump into one our living communication workshops or request to connect virtually. Connecting for health, wellness, and confidence within self, teams, ideas and the world at large.  I wish you well on your path to building a healthy brain, and I’m here to help.

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3 thoughts on “Deliberate Engagement”

  1. I had the pleasure of listening to an amazing social awareness speaker present to our school community last year. He said something impactful that aligns with what you state here in your observations of Costa Rica. He said “Be where your feet are.”

    This means, be present in the moment because it will not come again. This moment will pass and you will not be able to repeat it, duplicate it, or redo it. To be where our feet are gives the person we are sharing this moment of energy transfer with our full attention and pleasure to share with them.

    This is especially crucial when we are working with children and teens. If they have picked you to share this moment that interests them, be there with all the excitement and enthusiasm and attention the moment deserves. They picked you for a reason, be where your feet are and share this energy transfer with them. Don’t daydream wishing the kid would move on. They felt you to be the important person at that moment to share this with and you owe them your full undivided attention. Be where your feet are. By doing this you teach that young person what connecting with intention looks like, and just perhaps that shared moment with that youth will be the deciding factor of what kind of human they will grow up to be.

    Connecting with intention and being where our feet are, isn’t just the right thing to do, it is also the most impactful display of caring and modeling we can do with each other!

  2. This is exactly why I love going to schools and engaging with the students they all put down there phones and interact with each other face to face. It’s so hard for us to talk to other people in person. I know a lot of people who struggle interacting face to face. When I get to my improv class everyone can put their phones down and differences aside and we just have fun.

  3. I’ve found that the five daily rituals Christiana refers to are key for my communication and connection with others. Most important for me is starting the day recognizing the “wins” or progress in my life. I use the term “practicing gratitude”. It is an important self-love technique that accomplishes the same thing as congratulating yourself for small successes.

    When I start the day every morning, it is important for me to set aside 2-3 minutes for quiet reflection on what I am grateful for. As part of this practice, I set my intention on growth and I give thanks for the growth I have thus far experienced. I find that when I set my intention on growth and positive self-awareness first thing in the morning, it is easier throughout the day to communicate openly and enjoy real connection with others. Research shows that a few minutes of deliberate “downtime” (meditation, quietness, prayer…call it what you want) each morning enhances the brain’s ability to focus and build memories throughout the day. It certainly helps me.

    Working with youth, I also observe the importance of good “sleep hygiene”. Students with limits on their screen time, especially late night screen time, often seem better rested than students who are more chronically on a screen of some kind. Regardless of screen habits outside the classroom, it is always wonderful in an improv class to put phones and screens aside and practice fun and dynamic human-to-human communication!

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