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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Detractors: Those Who Disregard You

There will be some that will disregard you in life--your work, personality, lifestyle, interests, and attributes will not draw their personal attention, regard, or support. That happens.

When this happens, it presents a quandary and need for introspection and analysis.

In general, those that disregard you may do it for a large number of reasons, but you can't let this deter your good work, outreach, growth, or development.

When you're dealing with those that disregard and potentially demean your work, it's important to do the following:
  • Keep the mission of your work at the forefront--we do well when we let mission lead us.
  • Be transparent and continue to communicate your efforts, questions, and ideas--don't let your detractors take away your voice or choice.
  • Recognize that there will always be detractors, and see the detractors for whom they are--the sandpaper that refines your edges and moves your work forward.
  • Keep a list of the detractors' actions, both positive and negative, as there are times when detractors move beyond difference to harm, and it's important to have that list of actions to support any action you may have to forward in order to do your good work and develop.
  • Always use respect.
  • Seek "the story in the stranger," which means learn about your detractors and work to develop understanding, empathy, and communion.
  • Look at what aspects of the relationship you own and have control over--how can you find common ground with your detractors?
Like everyone, I've had a few detractors over time. I remember one from college--a young women who had no use for people like me. This women used very demeaning words when speaking of people that didn't have the privilege that she enjoyed. I stayed away from this woman, but have followed her work and career over time which has been interesting.

Another detractor was the result of circumstance and environment. In a sense the culture positioned us in an adversarial relationship. I gained a lot of empathy for this individual over time, and also learned how to forward my ideas and beliefs in ways that did not necessarily confront his. 

We will have detractors in life, and it's important to look deeply at why and when this occurs in order to shine as bright a light as possible in these situations.