Since first publishing The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) we have heard instances of how some people are using the framework in less than desirable ways. Here are a few examples:
- “After attending your workshop, I told my team they act like Victims and should stop their complaining and get their work done on time.”
- “After reading TED* I literally threw your book at my husband hoping he gets that he is being a Persecutor when he doesn’t listen to me.”
- “Don’t the Republicans see that they are Persecuting our country?” (We received almost the exact email from someone who said, “Don’t the Democrats see that they are all Persecutors?”)
We call these examples “weaponizing TED*” (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® and its frameworks.
The definition of weapon is a “thing designed to inflict harm” and/or “a means to defend yourself or gain advantage.” According to this definition the above statements are all using TED* as a weapon.
Our hunch is there are a variety of reasons why an idea or book would be used as a weapon. Here are a few we have noticed:
- You want to change others;
- You want to look smart;
- You want to feel “one-up” on others, by knowing something they don’t;
- You are pretending you want to help, when you really are giving off a subtle (or not so subtle) message that the other person, or team, is a problem that needs to be fixed; or
- You are a “serial Rescuer” on another crusade to change the world (and everyone around you).
The irony is that, by insisting another person should put TED* to work in their life, you are not putting the ideas to work in yours. By using the framework as the latest and greatest “weapon” to fix others you risk becoming a Persecutor, insisting that something is wrong with them and you know best.
We have also learned that the quickest way for you to be seen as a Persecutor is simply to say to someone: “You should read The Power of TED* so you can learn how to stop being a Victim.”
Oh! Criiiiiinge. That is using TED* as a weapon against others!
If a new insight or way of thinking has been helpful to you, it is natural that you want to share it. The caution here is twofold: Be clear about your motivation in sharing TED* and be thoughtful about how you share it.
Conversations about how to relate to others is desperately needed. Hopefully TED* can be a process that is useful in accelerating meaningful and positive relationships. These conversations are essential.
One approach that many have used is to ask the other person to read the book and then talk about what struck them and share how it has impacted you.
Rather than avoiding a drama situation by using TED* as a weapon, we encourage you to take responsibility for your own life. Learn to share your insights about when you felt like a Victim. How are you learning to approach life as a Creator and taking responsibility for what is yours to do? Sharing your own personal story will allow others the space to learn what they are ready to learn.
For many, The Power of TED* is a book that serves as a Challenger to how they think and relate to others, their experience and to themselves. And Challengers invite and call forth learning and growth—in themselves and others.
Resist the temptation to wield TED* as a weapon. Instead, see it as an opportunity to share a more empowering, resourceful and resilient way of thinking, relating, and taking action with others. Doing so invites them to consider growing into their own Creator self.