Is it a coincidence that I am feeling the tug to work on the rewrite of this book during a global pandemic? I think not. See it was only January when I identified exactly what disengagement was… it was a virus. A virus just like covid-19, with minimal signs of infection in some and fatal rapid progression in others.
It’s been five years since I began my research on employee engagement. This research that began with my own disengagement. I spent the first year as a business owner coming to the harsh realization that I was the cause of my own cyclical disengagement. Also, I realized if I ever wanted to undo the results of these cycles it was on completely on me.
I also recognized that I wasn’t alone and what I suffered from was indeed a pandemic, one that had been wreaking havoc on organizations for decades. It is only getting worse with the organizational loyalty we had once known dying. Those are the facts but what is still unknown is exactly who is at fault? Is it the organization and their greed with the constant push for efficiency with blatant disregard for any human that slows down the process or makes it more costly? Or is it the individual, who believes they are entitled to a certain amount of money or way of life because they are human? The answer I found was right in the center, both are at fault. Most times it is a 50/50 split. I also found that in most cases only one side would be willing to take accountability. The other would remain stuck and refuse to shift from their state of blame. This leaves us with organizations that believe in people, hiring employees who don’t give a damn and good hard working individuals that are being abused and taken advantage of by their employers. Yes, both exist and you fall somewhere in there, just like I do.
Once Upon a Time
It was a beautiful sunny morning in Jamaica. I was sitting on the balcony of our hotel room taking in the view while drinking my coffee. It was 2015 and my business had recently celebrated its’ one year anniversary. However, to me there wasn’t much to celebrate regardless of whatever front I was putting on for the world. Inside I felt like a failure and kind of like a fraud. I had been incredibly blessed with this opportunity, surrounded by loved ones who believed I had something special to share with the world. They believed enough in me that I was given the gift of a year to simply “be.”
The first year was a slow start for my business but that was because my effort was minimal. My entrepreneurial journey started in isolation and I had to face some hard truths about myself. I had no idea what exactly I had to offer the world. I was desperately struggling to find what others already saw in me.
It was there in Jamaica, away from it all, that I found myself lost in a constant state of reflection. During this time, the question changed from… “What do I have to offer the world?” to “What do I want to offer the world?”
When the question changed, the answer came…
That’s what I wrote, once upon a time in 2018. It was a lie. I still don’t know what I want to offer the world. Maybe a cure?
It is 2020 now and I am living through a state-wide stay-at-home government mandate. It took me four weeks of social distancing and isolation at home with my family to realize that I still don’t know what I want to offer the world. I’m still not sure how exactly I want to show up to the world.
Now I’m rewriting this book. This was strictly supposed to be a new edition — simple revisions to include all my fancy new findings from my continued research. But, let’s be real, it’s taking me months. I mean like six months to get started on this revised edition. Before, I could provide you with a long list of excuses filled with more lies about how I am changing the world and too preoccupied with other passion projects. The truth is it wasn’t time. The time is now, because right now, not only do you need this but so do I.
#Alonetogether was launched during covid-19 “to open a continuing dialogue between us all. It feels more vital than ever to keep community spirit, to act on solidarity, to support and protect the most vulnerable around us” (Source). The flamingo, the official mascot for this program, is a sign of community, a bright pink reminder of the flock that you’re a part of. Other individuals like myself, and like you, who are willing to take on the task of healing themselves rather than allowing the Disengagement Virus to be our professional demise. So even though we are about to start this path of healing alone, we are together and collectively our healing has the chance of changing the workplace landscape all over the world. Yes I said it, we can change the world.
In the past when I facilitated this program, I attempted to use my voice to soothe and bring calmness. I envisioned the work to be with people who were broken and lost, that needed to be comforted and strongly supported to do this work. I’ve realized that what is needed is actually quite the opposite. We have an entire industry dedicated to self-help that is there for the broken and lost, those who feel “called” to this program aren’t lost. They simply know that they are capable of more. They simply believe that the world could be better and that they can make a legit difference. They genuinely believe that love for your work is possible and doesn’t mean a sacrifice of all other things that bring you joy. Therefore, the voice I will bring you as we travel this journey together is raw, authentic and 100% real.