The first of the 3 Vital Questions ™ (3VQ) for applying the frameworks from The Power of TED* to work and life is:

Where are you putting your focus?   Are you focusing on problems and what you don’t like, or are you focusing on outcomes and what you want?

What you focus on has a great deal to do with what shows up in your life and it sets the stage for the way you relate to others, your experience and yourself (which we will explore next week).

The Problem (Victim) Orientation – Focusing on problems is common for virtually all humanity.  When in this mindset, your focus is on problems as you move through your day, which engages an inner state of fear-based anxiety, that then drives your reactive behavior.

Problems are the people or events that you don’t want or don’t like that vie for your time and attention. In this mindset, you are always scanning for the next threat, whether physical, social or environmental in nature.

Your inner state that arises when a problem occurs can range from mild irritation to extreme distress.

The actions you take in this Orientation are designed to manage the anxiety you feel and usually take some form of fight, flight, freeze or appease.  You may react aggressively; try to “get away;” stand still in hopes the problem and anxiety will go away; or “go along to get along” to smooth things over.

In the TED* work, we refer to this as a Victim Orientation because, at a minimum, you often feel victimized by the problems you face.  It is easy to adopt an attitude that things happen “to me.”

The Outcome (Creator) Orientation – Operating from this mindset requires conscious attention and choice.  However, you inherently have experiences of living and working from this orientation – at least at times.

In this Orientation, your focus is on the Outcomes you want to create or accomplish, which engages an inner state of passion or desire, and propels you to take a Baby Step toward your outcome.

Outcomes can include projects you want to achieve, a new attribute you want to cultivate, and even how you choose to respond to challenges that arise.  Passion and desire can range from simply saying “I care about this,” to the “fire in the belly” of heightened motivation.  Baby Steps are the choices and actions you take – including the solving of problems – in service to the outcomes you envision.

In TED* we view this as a Creator Orientation because, at the heart of this way being, you are always at choice.  You create through the choices you make, either in choosing the outcomes you desire or in choosing how to response to challenges and opportunities as they arise.

The two Orientations can result in quite different responses to the same situation. A simple example:

  • You are called to an unplanned meeting with your boss.

From the Victim Orientation, your response might be “Oh no, I wonder what has gone wrong?”  You might rack your brain for some mistake you have made or anticipate some “shoe that is about to drop.”  In preparing, you might go into the meeting defensive or bracing for some unpleasant news.

As a Creator, you might see this as an opportunity and become curious, “Oh good, I wonder what my boss wants to talk about?”  You might be thinking of an idea you have been wanting to present or welcome the opportunity to brainstorm together, even if the meeting is about a problem that needs to be resolved.

By adopting a Creator Orientation and focusing on the outcomes you want to create – and choosing your response to life’s challenges – you will expand your experience of empowered living.