There are times and events in our personal and professional lives in which we feel victimized.  That victimization can be a natural disaster (just think of Moore, Oklahoma this week).  It can be a condition, such as a health challenge.  And it can be a person who says or does something that you perceive as a Persecutor and want to react to as a Victim.

We experienced just such an event this week.  A couple of TED* supporters made us aware of a TEDx Talk by Mo Fathelbab entitled “A New Definition for Hero,”  that was posted a couple weeks ago.  In it, he told several engaging stories to illustrate his version of the Karpman Drama Triangle, using the labels of Victim, Villain and Hero, rather than the Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer that we use in describing the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™.

He then says “there has got to be an alternative” and proceeds to present “The Empowerment Dynamic” and the roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach as that alternative.  The thing is, he presents it as his own and does not reference in any way The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) or David Emerald.  The Empowerment Dynamic ™ and its roles are copyrighted and trademarked and are the product of years of work.

We felt victimized.

Rather than reacting in the moment, we chose to slow down, “sleep on it” and respond to Mr. Fathelbab’s presentation as a Creator and – in this case – as a Challenger.  As a Creator, we asked “how do we choose to respond?” and in considering the video as a Challenger, we asked “what is there here for us to learn?”

Among other characteristics, the Challenger is a “truth teller” and the truth is that Mr. Fathelbab presented The Empowerment Dynamic as his own creation.  While we know and are honored that many find TED* to be empowering and enlightening and share it with others, since this is our expression of our life purpose and the culmination of decades of development, we consider it reasonable and appropriate (and legal) that proper attribution be made.

We try our hardest to practice such attributions ourselves.  In all our presentations, we acknowledge Bob Anderson of The Leadership Circle for his depiction of the Problem (Victim) and Outcome (Creator) Orientations.  We reference Stephen Karpman as the originator of the Drama Triangle.  Dynamic Tension is credited as an adaptation of Robert Fritz’s Structural Tension (also known as Creative Tension).

We encourage you to watch Mr. Fathelbab’s TEDx Talk and, if you feel so inclined, to add a comment to the page about the origins of The Empowerment Dynamic and that more information can be found at

Telling the truth is one of the gifts of the Challenger.



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