We must be aware of our own level of engagement. It is a lead indicator of what is to come.
Have you ever pulled into the driveway at home or work and just had to sit there for a minute before you got out of the car? Perhaps you knew you had to have a tough conversation with someone or things just felt like they were falling apart. Maybe the expectations were mounting and the weight of responsibility was just really heavy that day. We thought for a moment, “I just don’t know if I have what it takes”, or, “I don’t know if I can make it through this”. At that moment we usually talk to ourselves and muster up the courage to press on. Then we get out of the car, take a deep breath, and start walking toward the door.
Every one of us experiences this at one time or another and likely more than once. It doesn’t make us a failure. It makes us human. It simply means we are going through life.
Now, it’s what we do after we walk through the door that really matters. If we are not careful, that feeling of inadequacy can cause us to disengage. We can lose focus and stop responding with intention. Or, we start putting off the ‘difficult’ tasks and conversations. Basically just going through the motions and that is when things start to slip. Then we start neglecting even the little things which always ends up being a big problem.
Or, we can recognize the state of mind and make a decision to engage even more, to push through. Get some encouragement from a trusted friend or colleague. It’s often during these times that if we can help each other push on and stay engaged that we get a ‘break’ through and good stuff really starts happening.
So if a friend or trusted colleague says something like, ‘hey, you haven’t been yourself lately’, take notice. Ask yourself if you have disengaged. It might be the signal to wake up, re-engage, dig in, and push forward.