Just as we intuitively know when we’re engaged in something, there’s a space within us that also knows when we’re disengaged. Following the idiom of “like knows like”, we can tell when others are disengaged too. Sometimes we need more than a sniff test though. How do you tell when you’re disengaged?
1. You’re not getting stuff done. We’ve all been there, procrastinating and delaying things we don’t want to do. But when you’re doing this all the time, you’re probably disengaged. If you’re not doing things that are good for you, if you’re staying in tough situations because you don’t want to do anything else, and if you’re not getting things done throughout your life, you’re probably disengaged.
2. No feelings or ideas. We are generative creatures. We dream, believe, do, create, act, and reflect whenever we’re engaged in something. If you have stopped doing those things in an area of your life, you may be disengaged. So if you’re quiet in your mind about something that usually matters to you, or unfeeling about something you’re passionate about, you might be disengaged.
3. Absenteeism. You show up, but you’re not really there. You’re in it, but not “of it”. Being physically located in a place is not the same as being spiritually present in that space. Showing up with our full person and being present to the matters at hand, all of them, are traces of engagement, so being in a room but not “in” the room is a sign of disengagement.
4. Playing the blame game. When we refuse to make decisions or “check out” from our responsibilities, we’re effectively disengaging from the situation at hand. We are waiting for someone else or something else to do it for us, in turn giving us the ability to play the blame game and not take responsibility for our engagement. If we refuse to take responsibility for our actions or inactions, and instead blame everyone else, we are disengaged.