Today’s post is a reprise of the April, 2009 “TED* Letter” – my month newsletter. It’s a timely reminder – at least for me – as my “to do” list still continues to grow!
“As you go through your daily experience, at every point in time you are faced with a choice about which Orientation and dynamic you want to live within, and which role you’re going to play. The Choice Point is that moment in which you can consciously make shift happen.” – From Chapter 8: “Shift Happens” (The Power of TED*)
A while back, the CEO of a technology services company shared with me how he and his leadership team have been applying The Power of TED*™ as part of their day-to-day decision making and business methodology. He has the FISBE diagrams from both the Victim and Creator Orientation on his wall. Anyone is free, at any time, in a meeting or conversation to say “Time Out! Where are we?” Very often, when they say this, they are pointing at the wall.
One of the key disciplines of living as a Creator is to stay aware of “where you are” – which Orientation you are operating from and what roles you are playing in your relationships with others. When those we work with share the same language and frameworks that are found in The Power of TED*, we can then support one another by raising the question when we find ourselves – or see others – slipping into reactivity and dramas.
When we raise the question, “Where are we?” the Choice Point becomes present and we can refocus our attention, intention and energy on what we want to create or how we choose to respond to current realities.
In business and organizational life, we are then able to make the shift from merely reacting to the problems that present themselves – for they always abound – to clarifying what we are want to create. In focusing on outcomes, we work to provide solutions in service to our clients, customers and other stakeholders. As we work toward those results, we may very well face problems that need to be resolved. However, by reconnecting to that larger vision, we now have a much more resourceful basis for prioritizing and meeting challenges.
One immediate example in my own worklife involves my ever-expanding “task list.” As I write, the list seems to expand almost on its own! It is easy for me to see the list as a series of “problems” that engage my anxiety and to which I can easily react. Daily I remind myself that I love the work I am blessed to do and that the list represents baby steps in the process of creating and serving others. I then am better able to prioritize the tasks by asking myself which task has the highest likelihood of either directly serving the most people or that builds a foundation for future service.
In personal relationships, asking yourself a similar question: “Where am I?” can help break the downward spiral of the Dreaded Drama Triangle when you find yourself in either the Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer roles. By pausing (Time Out!) and raising the question to yourself, you can then check in and determine where and how you choose to shift your focus and energy.
Parenting, for example, is full of opportunities to practice “Time Out!” If your child were to bring home a report card with poor grades, how would you respond? Most of us would feel a level of anxiety and be tempted to react in some way: either as a Victim (“How could you…?); Rescuer (“I’m going to go talk to teachers about how hard you already work and why they should cut you a break”); or Persecutor (“You’re grounded and no more TV!”).
While any of those reactions may be understandable, they will only perpetuate the drama. So pause, take a deep breath (or 3 or 4) and ask “Where am I?” and “What do I really want?” You are at a Choice Point.
In making the shift toward supporting your child’s learning and success, perhaps you can respond as a Creator (“I am going to see this as learning opportunity for both myself and my child.”); as a Coach (“I am going to use questions to help my child look at what happened, what the consequences are and should be, and what they can do differently.”); or as a Challenger (“One consequence is going to be homework before playing outside or TV because their learning is important and I want them to be successful.”).
Making such a shift is easier said than done, but the long term outcomes are worth the time and effort.
When you find yourself in the problem-focused, anxiety/fear-based and reactive Victim Orientation – or in any of the roles and dynamics of the Dreaded Drama Triangle – declare “Time Out!” and ask “Where are we?” and/or “Where am I?” Welcome the Choice Point when it presents itself. And then choose where you want to focus your attention, intention and energy. That’s what it takes to be a Creator.