As you read this essay, please pause for a moment and observe yourself. Where are you sitting or standing? Notice what you are doing (in addition to reading this). What is going on around you? How are you feeling (mad, glad, sad, excited, etc.)? How are you reacting to this unusual start to the essay—-are you wanting to read on or close it down and move on?
If you paused and reflected on these questions, you just experienced what we call “going to the balcony.” As a Creator—-the central role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®—- developing the capacity to reflect on your experience and gain perspective becomes a well-developed skill. By taking a “balcony view,” the Creator in you has a greater chance to choose a more empowering response to life’s challenges.
Look at the pictures accompanying this essay. In one, two men are sitting in the front row of a theatre. Their view is restricted to only what they can see right in front of them. This is similar to what it feels like when you are enmeshed in drama-filled situations. You can only see a limited perspective.
In the other picture, a person is on a balcony looking over a wide-range of activity taking place below. He has a greater perspective and can observe the drama unfolding without being in the middle of the action.
When you find yourself in some form of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and that toxic brew of the Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer roles, one way to break the reactive cycle is to gain perspective by taking a view from the balcony. From the balcony you have a better chance to observe a full range of possibilities.
Harvard’s William Ury refers to going to the balcony as a metaphor for a place of perspective where you can keep your eyes on the prize. From that balcony, Ury says, you can step back from your reactivity and ask yourself the essential question that will enable you to make the shift happen.
When you can observe yourself going reactive, it allows you to be less attached to your drama-filled behaviors. That is why we say TED* helps awaken your inner observer.
From the balcony you are more likely to calm down and reconnect with others as Co-Creators. This allows you to focus on what you want and on what you can learn from the drama situation.
Sitting quietly or going for a walk or going for a cup of coffee are all ways of going to the balcony to gain a broader perspective. Or, you can simply go to the balcony in your mind and feel the larger outlook arising.
Viewing from the balcony allows you to observe with a little less reactive emotion (drama!) and see the situation with a bit of fresh air.
The next time you find yourself hooked by drama, call a “time out” and go to the balcony. Take a moment to reflect upon your emotions and recognize the hot-button issue that got you triggered in the first place. The perspective you gain will help you feel lighter and more likely to choose a resourceful and resilient response to the situation.
We encourage you to add the practice of taking a view from to the balcony as one way to help interrupt DDT situations, stay calm and reconnect with what you want to create.