I thought it was a problem I was only having with my employer. After reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and The Village Effect by Susan Pinker [and randomly, A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss – that will have to be another blog post(s)], it became clear this void was also a problem in many of my relationships.
I can only describe it as disengagement. I didn’t realize how disengagement is not only unsustainable, it’s extremely unstable.
Brown brings vulnerability to life in her book, and claims our only choice is a question of engagement. We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. And we must accept and plan to make a lot of mistakes upon doing so.
One could define vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” To me, that aligns with my definition of travel. The more I think about how vulnerability equates to traveling, it starts to sound more and more like truth, and feels a hell of a lot like courage.
Engagement = vulnerability = traveling = truth = courage
Then, disengagement sounds a lot like abandonment. And I mean this in all levels of the word. As an employee, I start to feel abandoned when I go years without receiving meaningful feedback from my leadership. As a friend, I start to feel very unimportant to someone I love, who can’t hold a face-to-face conversation at a coffee shop without checking their phone.
It’s good to disengage though, with many things – especially those things or people that drain you or leave you feeling like your precious time has been stolen. I’m not advocating engaging with everything or everyone to be clear.
I do agree with Brown however, disengagement may be the worst, the worst type of betrayal. It makes us feel alone and it takes away from the whole purpose of being… connecting.
“We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up to us.”
I know the main reason disengagement isn’t changing in my work life, is because if we did talk about it, it would shine light into very dark corners.
Today’s organizations are so metric-focused in their evaluation of performance that giving, receiving, and soliciting valuable feedback ironically has become rare.
The problem is straightforward: Without feedback there can be no transformative change… when we don’t talk about these things, disengagement inevitably follows.
It has become very clear to me that Vulnerability is at the heart of the feedback process. Shutting down vulnerability shuts down opportunity.
So now, maybe it’s easier to see
Disengaging is unsustainable
After all, nothing: is unstable
I know you’re busy, I am too. But I want you to know, I’m not too busy for you.