Have you ever noticed odd feelings of rejection and “being left out” in social settings where you actually have credentials that prove you belong there?
Have you ever felt you’ve been set aside to an unimportant or powerless position within a group where you clearly possess the nametag to be present?
Have you ever wondered about why you feel sandwiched between the conflicting message of servant leadership, while at the same time a singular value of dollar and cents performance is celebrated to the exclusion of almost all servant behavior?
Has there ever been an occasion when a speaker passive aggressively admonished someone in the crowded room about some dire, unacceptable behavior within that culture; while your adult mind flinched at the stab to individual autonomy?
WHEN CULTURE AND INDIVIDUAL VALUES CLASH
I have noticed, I have felt, I have wondered, and there has been occasion in my life – more than once.
Organizational cultures can be brutal. Oh, yes, they can – even with the best of the best and most accomplished leaders at the helm!
In fact, the best and most accomplished leaders can unknowingly illicit a brutal impact upon the lives of others. This brand of brutality especially impacts the self-directing freedom and moral independence of other highly capable, successful, and servant-minded leaders. The proof are the many who have noticed, have felt, have wondered, and have had occasion to experience it.
Even the best, most upright, and successful organizational cultures can morph into a god of their own beliefs and righteousness!
The fruit of this morphism lies in the collective leaders’ obliviousness to the reality and the impact of their behaviors upon those without authority. The proof are the many who have noticed, have felt, have wondered, and have had occasion to experience it.
When humans congregate, there are inevitable interactive vortexes that develop. These vortexes offer ongoing choices to the leaders in authority roles. The choices are either mindful awareness or mindless disregard for the genuine value of everyone – in and through their action – beyond their words!
By the very nature of vortexes, they are a mass of fluid or air (likened to a group of people) with a whirling or circular motion (likened to the cultural message) that tends to form a cavity or vacuum in the center of the circle that draws toward this cavity or vacuum bodies and things (likened to people within the organization) that become subject to its action.
Boom! The dynamics of organizational culture and its impact upon people similarly compared to a vortex.
NO ONE IS POWERLESS
Altogether, the mindful awareness or the mindless disregard by those who hold authority is a choice. Always.
Even so, those who do not hold positions of authority are not powerless. Oh, no, they are not – unless they believe they are powerless!
The truth is that each person has the amazing self-directing freedom and moral independence to go and do and be their purpose – even within a greater culture.
It is a choice to remain self-directing and morally independent within the greater dynamics and within respectful interactions. Herein lies each person’s power, regardless of the formal assignment of authority within an organization!
THE LOVER’S ATTACHMENT
Here’s the Deal: Each of us has the innate tendency to want to fit in, to want to be accepted, to want to be approved, to want to be loved, and to want to “ring the bell” of whatever is valued as “successful” within a culture. It is a God-given desire that is associated with the need to be in community with others.
This God-given desire was created for the best interests of all and with the most pure intentions. Yet, we each experience the negative impurity of organizational dynamics upon this core desire within us.
Hence, the entrance of the Lover’s Attachment.
Oh, that Lover’s Attachment!
When we are so enamored with another that we cannot “see” the flaws.
When we are so blind to the reality of “wrong” that we cannot remember what is good, and separate, and righteous.
When we are so “caught up in” the emotional whirlwind of the experience that we mindlessly forget the truth of principled facts and reality.
Namely, we temporarily forget to see and maintain our self-identity and core values within the whole.
- Are we placing a Lover’s Attachment upon whatever values a culture celebrates and demands of us?
- Do we unconsciously allow others within a culture to determine the truth about who we are or the value of our performance?
- Do we allow the mindless disregard (by some leaders) to define our worth, thus the way we “see” ourselves from the inside, out?
In essence, do we exhibit the Lover’s Attachment with the same mindless disregard as some leaders – thus getting sucked into the interactive vortex of a culture gone mad?
THE WHIRLWIND VORTEX OF A CULTURE GONE MAD
Within any organizational culture (business, religious, fraternal, or other), voices and dynamics will swirl. These voices and dynamics will pressure others to conform.
Accordingly, the mindless disregard of some leadership behaviors will seek to define the identities and conform the behaviors of those within their influence. It is simply an age-old truth about mindless disregard. Guess What? It is not about us!
Hallelujah! We are not powerless.
Each of us has complete control over submitting or not submitting to the Lover’s Attachment. Oh, yes, we do!
SHEDDING THE NEGATIVE LOVER’S ATTACHMENT
There are a few ways we can endeavor to shed the negative aspects of the Lover’s Attachment.
- How can we practice mindful awareness – choosing to “see” ourselves for everything we are in our awesomeness BEFORE we ever became attached to any specific culture?
- In what ways did we value our accomplishments before we connected with others?
- What was meaningful and important to us (our values) before we joined the tribe?
- What was our life purpose the day before we were invited to become a member?
- How did we respectfully share our beliefs and express our values publicly before we were accepted into the group?
Now, let’s compare our responses to these questions (within the reality of the whirlwind vortex of an organizational culture):
- In what ways is our Lover’s Attachment impacting our thoughts and feelings – until we “ring the bell” of success within the vortex of this culture?
- Is our Lover’s Attachment screaming to be accepted within the group at a high cost to who we are in our awesomeness – until we “ring the bell” of success within the vortex of this culture?
- Has our Lover’s Attachment pressed us into disregarding the value of our personal and professional accomplishments in favor of being relegated to nothingness – until we “ring the bell” of success within the vortex of this culture?
- Are we forgetting about our individual values because our Lover’s Attachment is bullying us into letting go of what is meaningful and important to us – until we “ring the bell” of success within the vortex of this culture?
- How have we let go of pursuing our core life purpose because our Lover’s Attachment is causing us to use all of our time pursuing what is valued within the organizational culture – until we “ring the bell” of success within the vortex of this culture?
- In what ways are we not respectfully standing for what we fundamentally believe is right because our Lover’s Attachment is pressuring us to speak only the cultural message of organization (effectively squashing our individual voice) – until we “ring the bell” of success within the vortex of this culture?
WRAPPING UP THE LOVER’S ATTACHMENT
I spy the Lover’s Attachment all around me – to fit in, to be accepted, to be approved, to be loved, and to “ring the bell” of whatever is valued as “successful” within a culture.
It is pouring from the beautiful eyes of the successful. It is embodied in the passionate words of the generous. It is exemplified in the mannerisms of the passionate. And it oozes from the feelings of the greatest silent servants among us.
The Lover’s Attachment can be equalized when each of us remembers the value of what makes us unique.
When we each grab the boot straps of our unique value with the strength of a more balanced worldview, we can break the negativity of the Lover’s Attachment. We CAN have a right perspective on the reality and power of organizational cultures.
For truly, cultures are real and powerful and influential – but only to the extent that we allow their dynamics to touch our own opinions about who we are! Each of us GET to define who we are within the parameters of our Creator.
Here is the Deal: It is Good. We are Good. You are Enough.
Many Have Gone Before Us
Many have gone before us in feeling “less than” within a greater culture and group.
Many before us have felt unworthy, unlikeable, unaccepted, and undone.
Yet many have stepped forth beyond how a culture or organization has tried to define them, harness them, or relegate them to a organizational-serving status (even unknowingly).
Remember This: Many have soared within their uniqueness to heights of great impact and success in their own purpose and destiny. So, too, can each of us if we will remain connected, remain confident, and remain committed in who we are based on who our Creator says we are.
In the power of connected confident commitment, I spy a more powerful Lover’s Attachment. It is an authentic servant’s heart attachment to the greatness of ALL and to the best interests of ALL.
And this Lover’s Attachment comes forth from the unique and authentic servant leaders who willingly excel from the back seat!
“Like the Gentile woman, we’re aware of how others are trying to define us, but we choose to remain connected even as we take the bold risk to hold fast to the truth about our identities, moving with conviction toward what we’ve been called to do.”1
Reference 1Spiritual Grit: a journey into endurance, character, confidence, hope. Pg.59.Lawrence. Group Publishing, Inc. Loveland, CO 2018
Credit: the original idea of “The Lover’s Attachment” is presented in the book, Spiritual Grit.