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Tao of Lifestyle Growth Part 4: Engagement

Tao or dao is a Chinese word signifying the way, path, route or road. Masterpiece is offering a four-part blog series on “The Tao of Lifestyle Growth,” discussing coaching and its role in senior living. The topics include kaizen, artful listening, communication and engagement. In part four of this series, Kai Hillberry examines the impact of meaningful engagement.


Part Four


How do you define that buzz word “engagement”? We all know the text-book definition…simply the act of participating or being involved but on a deeper level, what does that really mean? How do you make engagement meaningful and have the greatest impact on the wellbeing of individuals working and living in the community?

The engagement approach I am talking about today is the type that make people feel they are valued, appreciated, and would be missed if they were gone. This brings me to term “mattering”, the shared need for all human beings to feel important and valuable to themselves and others. It was introduced by Rosenberg in 1981 and continues to be proven as an essential aspect of wellbeing.

A recent NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) review article from their Nature Public Health Emergency Collection discusses the effect mattering has on one’s physical and mental health. The article states “it is vitally important to promote positive protective factors and competencies that heighten their resilience and engagement and involvement. We agree with Rosenberg and McCullough’s contention that mattering is vital for everyone, but it may be especially vital for older people.” The perception of not mattering can lead to increased feeling of isolation and loneliness in older adults which is magnified during a pandemic. It also reports that the feeling of insignificance at work causes turn-over, disengagement, and mental health issues.


It is an essential time to develop a mattering approach for residents and team members alike. As you know this will require a shift in thinking and process, but the research and the benefits are too strong to ignore! Creating a “doing with” instead of a “doing for” environment starts with using what you learned in the Tao of Lifestyle Growth series. Kaizen is the best method and below are steps to a create an individualized approach to a cohesive community where everyone is valued and adding value.

  1. Create an engagement survey to initially gather everyone’s interests, passions, and human capital (the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual viewed in terms of their value an organization).
    1. Sample statements for the survey:
      • My interests include:
      • I am passionate about:
      • I would love to learn:
      • A skill, talent, or knowledge I would like to share is:
      • I would like to support the community’s growth by:
  2. Build a "Champion Team"; a group of team members from different departments and residents that are role models and promoters of all aspects of wellbeing. This team will create and lead a sustainable plan to meaningful engagement. Use the engagement survey to see who is interested.
  3. Create a training plan to ensure everyone on the champion team has the coaching skills in their toolbox - artful listening and asking powerful questions!
  4. Schedule coaching conversations. Using kaizen and the engagement survey as a guide, champion team members have conversations to encourage meaningful engagement and increase the perception of mattering.
  5. Leaders develop a system that allocates team members to share their human capital and support beyond their daily tasks on a consistent basis.
  6. Build a process to follow up on next steps and to have meaningful connection with others on a regular basis.

When a person realizes that they are a vital part of something bigger than themselves and needed in the community it has a positive impact on their vitality. Creating a foundation of mattering will support a healthy longevity for team members and residents in the community!


Author: Kai Hillberry is a Training Specialist for Masterpiece.

Masterpiece is an organization dedicated toward providing a pathway for inspiring and cultivating individual growth, resilience, and purposeful longevity at every stage of life. Through data-focused measurements and research-backed content, our team of dedicated health and longevity experts offer communities the content and programming to provide their residents with a unique approach to holistic health and wellbeing for sustained vitality. Learn more: www.mymasterpieceliving.com


Note: This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from research. The view expressed here are not necessarily those of the ICAA, we encourage you to make your own health and business decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified professional.


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