A few weeks ago, we heard from a longtime friend and colleague who has used the Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® and 3 Vital Questions® frameworks for many years in her work as a public leader in her community. We are delighted to share the following story she shared with us as an example of how she learned to use these ideas to become the “best version” of herself – as a Creator.

She started her note by saying “I hate feeling like this!” and continued with this short story:

The  barn was quiet and dark. I arrived at 4:20 AM so I could clean the stalls before my sister arrived to go for our morning jog. After feeding and letting the horses out into the pasture, I began cleaning their stalls.  My spirit was so restless.  I felt so…yucky! THAT was my clue.  From my TED* training, I knew that when I feel yucky, it is a clue that I am stuck in the Dreaded Drama Triangle. Ugh. I was so in the DDT and had been there for a few days. I just hadn’t been quiet long enough to recognize it.

“Okay, if I am stuck in the DDT, that means I am focusing on problems. But what is the problem?” I asked myself.  

As I thought about it, I realized I had been focusing my attention the last few weeks on our Community Together project called “Love Thy Neighborhood.”  I strongly believe this initiative could shift the entire culture of our community, so I was really attached to its success. It was crunch time to make the “Together Days” a success and launch “Love Thy Neighborhood”, I was starting to panic about all the details.

So, I asked myself again, “What am I focusing on?”  

I had to be honest with myself and admit, down deep, I was focusing on fixing my community. In my egoic mind, I had convinced myself that fixing my community was my purpose as a community leader—the reason I mattered.  Wow. If that was true, then I only mattered if I had someone or something to fix. That sucks! Even worse, my success is based on other people’s neediness. That sucks even more! This was a huge epiphany for me.

I had always believed that my mission in life was guiding others to live a life they love. It was truly a lightbulb moment when I realized that mission meant my success was based on other people. I have since rewritten my mission to focus on me… to live my life to the fullest, modeling, encouraging and coaching others who want to do the same. My focus now gets to be to live my life to the fullest! How fun is that?  

To make that shift, I needed to first recognize that my community isn’t broken. It isn’t my job to fix anything. I just enjoy fostering true connection. This was done by creating the “Love Thy Neighborhood” initiative. And my neighborhood now models that. Just yesterday, I wandered over to a neighbor’s house, that I didn’t know prior to launching “Love Thy Neighborhood”, and he helped me figure out a dilemma I was having. Then I washed my car in his driveway ‘cuz he had all the right stuff to wash it. Another neighbor that I grew closer to in our neighborhood group brought his leftover pizza to share with us. I realized we had created what I so enjoy… community in my own neighborhood. 

I get that building community isn’t for everyone, but it is for some. By living my life to the fullest, modeling, encouraging and coaching others to do the same, some will be blessed. Which blesses everyone. THAT is what TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) is all about!

We are so pleased our colleague shared this story. It is a wonderful illustration of how shifting your focus—which is the 1st of the 3 Vital Questions® work—can lead to a more empowered, and empowering way of being!

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