Are you ignoring the Check Engine light? |

Are you ignoring the Check Engine light?

Imagine if you were wrongly accused of fiddling the books.

That your life and livelihood were put into serious question.

Your reputation trashed.

Your standing and wellbeing undermined, without just cause.

How would you feel?

What would you do?

How would you cope with having your truth ignored, challenged, dismissed?

If you’re in the UK and you’ve been following the Post Office Horizon scandal, you’ll know that hundreds of postmasters were affected by such an enormous miscarriage of justice.

One of our core needs is to be seen and heard.

When our voice gets ignored, the impact is dreadful: feelings of invisibility, impotence, victimhood, anger, frustration, asphyxiation, collapse, rage.

In professional contexts and personal contexts, this is happening all time.

You get talked over or disregarded.

Or there is lip service to hearing you but nothing really gets noted or changed.

Meetings seem to happen as if you were invisible.

You say something which someone else agrees to but deep down you know they aren’t going to do anything about it.

What can you do in these circumstances?

One of the big lessons of miscarriages of justice, at whatever the scale, is to never give up speaking your truth.

And yes, I’m counting not being listened to as a kind of miscarriage of fairness, of your human rights.

In these circumstances, your truth is the beacon from which you guide yourself forwards.

Whatever is being said or inferred, being anchored to your truth keeps you on course.

In my coaching practice, I teach two vital skills to support people to stay with their truth.

The first is to listen deeply.

Beyond the words.

From a place of listening deeply we start to understand more about ourselves and those around us.

We can get genuinely curious about their motivations, their position, their needs and wants.

When someone feels heard, they are far more receptive to what you might have to say and offer.

Sometimes we have to give what we want to get back.

Listening to someone in this way, opens up the possibility of trusted, connected dialogue in ways that may not have been open before.

The second thing is to listen to your inner guidance.

In the Post Office scandal the truth was hidden in plain sight.

It seems that no-one thought to consider or question or voice loudly enough, that it might be odd that hundreds of postmasters were defrauding the post office.

It’s as if we see the data, it doesn’t feel or seem right, and yet we do nothing.

Misreading the signals or ignoring them completely.

It reminds me of a running gag in TV’s Big Bang Theory, where the Check Engine light is always on in Penny’s car.

She ignores it to Sheldon’s dismay.

Finally, the engine expires.

When Sheldon mentions the Check Engine light, Penny says: ‘It’s working fine.

It’s the engine that’s blown up.’

Whether tongue in cheek or not, this exchange points towards the truth.

Sometimes it’s scary to face up to the reality or our inner compass, that tells us:

This organisation’s values are not aligned with mine

My boss doesn’t provide a trusting and advancing culture for me and my career

My relationship with my partner doesn’t give me what I want at this stage in my life

The pain of recognising these deficits outstrips the pain of staying numb to them.

At last we are catalysed in to action.

Often we see afterwards what was hidden in plain sight for ourselves and we chose to ignore.

Until the time comes when we can’t tolerate the weight we’re carrying anymore.

So some questions for you this week:

Where are you ignoring your own check engine light?

What needs attending to that you’re ignoring?

What truth are you aware of that you’re not speaking to?

Photo by Nicolas Orellana on Unsplash