So many times when couples break up, we’re told it was a “mutual decision.” So often when a team member leaves a business, the spin is that the company and the employee decided to part ways.
This is never true. Behind the facade, there is always a leaver and a leavee. The “leaver” has all the cards. The “leave” is left to assemble a new hand, often pained and diminished in the process.
This up and down, yin and yang, positive and negative, invades and permeates all relationships. And it is colored by all manner of conventional wisdom, which holds that it is a good and natural thing:
- Opposites attract
- Different personalities balance each other out
- All extremes need to be diluted and tempered
This is all rationalization designed to equalize things. To settle on mediocrity. To prevent the exceptional from outshining the ordinary.
Most regrettable to me is when one person is a driven meteor determined to be an unmitigated success and another with influence over them (love, fear, a false sense of friendship) is equally committed to keeping them from achieving their dreams. To leveling the playing field. To making certain that they are not eclipsed by the shooting star.
Amazingly, this pernicious goal–this drive to keep one person down so that both can be “equal”– is predicated on the unspoken truth that the enemy in disguise wants the person or people closest to them — family, friends, co-workers–to fail so that their own failure has a built-in camouflage. And they often succeed by subtly threatening to withhold their love, their approval, their illusion of support, knowing just where to strike to keep the talented and ambitious one from reaching the stars. From revealing them, in the process, for the slackers, losers and whiners that they are.
We see it in academia. We see it in the workplace. We witness it on the homefront. As business managers and as friends and lovers, we can step in at times and help to liberate the confused and often conflicted party. But in the vast majority of cases, we can only watch from the sidelines and witness the syndrome in silence.
As we look to the sky, we see the tale wagging the comet, slowing its orbit and casting a shadow on its course.Email This Post