For many practitioners who go unappreciated for who they are, “going to sleep” is a viable option over experiencing the alienation and distress associated with not being valued for who they are. Unless a change agent has no regard whatsoever for the people or organization involved, going unrecognized is a lonely and painful experience. From a psychological standpoint, it can be much more demoralizing to be ignored than to engage in open conflict.
Even brief exposure to environments like this can drain the life out of practitioners, but with extended periods of working in these conditions, they run the risk of disenfranchising their very souls.
Far too many change agents practice their craft in these kinds of circumstances. For some, it means periodically enduring an uncomfortable assignment while not being acknowledged for who they really are. For others, their entire professional experience has been void of any deep recognition for the contribution they could be making if their presence boldly reflected their true character.
Faced with these circumstances, practitioners often anesthetize themselves without realizing it to avoid the pain. Some use alcohol, drugs, or superficial relationships to induce this numbness. Others bury their discomfort in their psyche and learn to function on autopilot. They participate in change-focused dialogues and related activities, but without any mindful awareness of the deep personal recognition that is missing. Here is the unconscious logic trail:
- There is no pain if there is no foul.
- There is no foul if I have no expectation of being recognized.
- If I have no expectation, I have no awareness of what is possible.
- There is no awareness if I am oblivious to the way that who I am could be of value to clients.
Falling Asleep Numbs The Rejection