Four Signs You’re Disengaged

“As a man danced so the drums were beaten for him.” 
– Chinua Achebe

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?

Four Signs 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.

Being disengaged is not wrong or bad, it simply is. 
There are times when we have to show up for an activity and engage in it no matter what. I like the idea of every firefighter being engaged in fighting fires, fully and passionately connected with the task at hand. We all like to think that teachers, police, politicians, social workers, doctors, and other service people feel this way, and we’re disappointed to find out when they have ulterior motives or aren’t engaged at all. We might feel that way within ourselves too, when we find out that we don’t care about what’s going on within our own lives. We become disengaged from the things that matter most to us and go on autopilot. That’s not engagement.
How do we engage within ourselves when we become aware we’re disengaged? That’s what Heartspace and the Principle of Engagement is all about. Follow my blog for updates on the release!
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

One response to “Four Signs You’re Disengaged”

  1. Say you do notice you are disengaged from parts of your life, how do you get reengaged then?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s