Last week a good friend and colleague, who is very familiar with the Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™ work, shared a powerful insight with us.   Her story below is an excellent illustration of how she applied one of the most insightful questions you can ask yourself to shift from the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) to TED*.

The question to ask yourself is:   What is my intention?  Is my intention to look good, be right, blame or put down?  Or, is my intention to build-up, learn and grow?

Here is the story she shared:

“Last week during a conversation with one of my colleagues, he shared his observation of pointing fingers and defensiveness that was occurring within his team.  He also was noticing how he was doing the same thing—something that naturally occurs when organizational change is surpassing people’s capacity to accept, absorb and integrate the uncertainty.

That got me reflecting on the question ‘what is your intention?’ I think this question is a great self-awareness exercise.   For example, as a leader of my team, when someone responds to an email that has a bit of an edge to it, I ask them: ‘What emotion were you feeling that fueled your intention and response?   Were you feeling angry, slighted, frustrated, embarrassed?   As a result, did you ‘go reactive’ and not fully allow your feelings to be felt and processed before answering?’

The penny that dropped for me was that I just went through an experience of noticing my intention when I was emailing my brothers.  We were grappling with our mother’s health decline and need to move her from her retirement residence to assisted living.  I was doing the Rescuer to Victim to Persecutor thing in an email to my brothers, feeling frustrated, angry and worn out.

So, I asked myself: ‘What is my intention with this email?   Is it to let by brothers know how much I’ve been doing, and I don’t feel like they are stepping up?  Is it to let them know that they need to stop relying on me?   Or, is my intention to update them on the progress, and make a request (or two) for their help?’

Once I clarified my intention, I backspaced and re-typed the email with the latter intention.  I felt better (and a lot more mature!) by pivoting my intention from a negative me-centered mindset into one of a Creator.    And we avoided unnecessary family dysfunction.  The result was the three of us pulled together and are moving our mom into her new residence tomorrow!

As I prepare to share The Power of TED* work with my colleagues, I am going to incorporate this important question around ‘What is your Intention?’   It helps people create the awareness of their motives and unconscious DDT drivers.  Once people see their unconscious intention that may be holding them in the DDT, they can make healthier choices and create better outcomes.   It is far more likely they will avoid the mess of conflict, misunderstanding and assumption that comes with the DDT!!”

This story is a great example of how one can intellectually understand the concepts and tools that facilitate the shift.   But, until they are applied personally and in a real-life situation, they remain just a good idea.  Once applied they can be life changing.

In this story, our friend asked herself one of the most important and powerful questions you can ask yourself.  She did so with courage and vulnerability and it changed the relationship with herself and her brothers and, most important, it made a positive impact for her mother.