stubbornly screaming that any solution but their own is stupid. I know you've experienced it with adults as well. Sometimes you're the adult screaming!
Why is it so hard to give up attachment to ideas, solutions, and paths forward? Does it feel like you can be sucked into the opposition unless you stubbornly stand your ground? Do you think that non-attachment is weak, vulnerable, or signals defeat? Does it sound like giving in?
Non-attachment creates an opening to be questioned, look into what's possible, and learn new information, strategies, and points of view. Start by noticing when you're attached to a specific outcome. And when your attachment is so high, you communicate a message that tolerates no discussion and says it's my way or the highway!
ATTACHMENT HAPPENS IN A CONVERSATION WHERE:
How do you know when you're attached? When the need to be right is more significant than your openness to listen and engage in a meaningful conversation. Disagreement is natural. You can have a collision of ideas in any relationship. You don't always agree with leadership in business or a family tie. But if you can reduce your attachment from high to low, you'll find that real communication is possible.
When I've asked teams of people why they get attached, the typical answer is without attachment nothing would get done. Business executives have repeatedly told me that their communication was demanding, so others would understand the importance of their requests. I asked the question, did it work? Did teams produce the results faster or better? They admitted that it didn't always work and, in fact, sometimes had the opposite effect. I suggested making requests without attachment to make sure everyone was on board, questions were addressed, and maybe even a better strategy was identified.
Even if you're in a position of power to decide, you want to get authentic commitment instead of compliance. Why? Because when people commit to a goal, they make a promise to do what it takes to get results. They're not afraid to give critical feedback along the way because it matters to refine the strategy and win the game. When you get a commitment, you prepare people to take action, understand the plan, and why it will work.
A request with high attachment is an aggressive demand where the only response is yes, which is a forced choice. A request with low attachment allows a genuine response; yes, I'm committed or no, I'm not, or I have questions. Why is this important? As a manager, you want to know before your team leaves the huddle that they're engaged, committed, and ready to go. If they're questioning out of your presence, they'll be dragging their feet. It's never good to have the real conversation happen around the proverbial water cooler. Or these days, as soon as the zoom call ends, your team is calling or texting other members of the team to have the real conversation.
Now let's make this personal. Do you think you have to be attached to make requests and get things done? Do you have to add stress to your communication, so people think you're serious? Consider that you may get attached to an outcome when you are afraid that if you don't force your strategy, it won't happen.
Can you be committed to an outcome and not be attached? Yes. Commitment is different from attachment.
Commitment is a promise. It says you're engaged; you'll do what it takes, AND you're open to feedback along the way so you can self-correct. You don't shut out other views, feedback, or questions; you invite them. It builds teams and relationships.
Commitment indicates a high level of participation dedicated to producing results regardless of obstacles or prevailing conditions. High participation includes dealing with what shows up to get the job done. So why would you add attachment?
The first part of the non-attachment practice is to notice when your attachment skyrockets. Who and what sets you off? Instead of reacting, look into why you respond with concern. What are you afraid of losing? Could you speak to your fear? You could say, "I'm worried "x" will happen if we go in this direction." And then ask a question. "How will your strategy deal with this concern?"
High attachment is an over identification with the outcome. When you bring your focus to this moment, you have all of your attention on what you're doing. You disappear into the act. Athletes speak of these moments as peak performance when concern about the outcome goes, and they're fully present to play the game.
Just for now, notice when you get attached. Instead of acting out, go within, and ask yourself why you get irritated instead of interested. What's missing in most conversations today is looking into a subject to learn something new. What's missing is listening, compassion, and understanding. Instead of being attached, lean in, and be what's missing.
May your day be peaceful and productive.
Paulette Sun Davis