I was recently traveling and stuck in Chicago International Airport for over 8 hours due to inclement weather. About every 90 to 120 minutes they would update the monitors to let us know there was still not a plane or crew for us. Typically, I would just work during this time (after finding a lucky plug in on the dirty floor of the airport); however, I had unfortunately dropped my laptop when I first arrived at the airport and completely killed my hard drive. What a string of bad luck… or was it? In my time at the airport I had nothing else to do but to walk around and enjoy a cup of coffee while I people watched. It was in my people watching I encountered an experience the inspired this blog.
I was re-filling my water bottle at the “purified” water dispenser when a lady approached me in a panic and said, “Do you have a cell phone”? I don’t know about you, but this is a question I was not sure how to answer. Come on… who does not have a cell phone these days? You can go to any elementary school and the six year olds have more advanced cell phones than I do! I reluctantly answered, “Yes, I have a cell phone”. She proceeded to ask me if I could call her… she said she just had her phone and now she could not find it. I put my things down and called her cell phone. We went through this process several times as she would plunder through all of her bags… including one with a little lap dog in it. Much to her dismay, she did not find her phone. One thing stood out to me while she was frantically searching for her phone. She continued to say over and over… “I don’t deserve this”. After unsuccessfully being able to help this lady I found a seat and grabbed a piece of paper to write out my thoughts for a blog from watching her.
There are many times in life where bad things happen to good people and even times when good things happen to bad people. It is a part of life. Some things we can control and some things we cannot control (I think there is a whole new blog coming to my brain on that topic, but I will save that for another time). When bad things happen to us it is up to us to decide how we will respond. Will we put ourselves in the place of feeling like thus responding as a victim or will be put our mindset on how to make the most of our situation. David Emerald wrote a book a few years ago titled, “The Power of TED*. In this book, he addresses the different places or origin we can approach our life/work situations from. Emerald take the reader through a story and shows how a person can come from one of the 3 points on the Dreaded Drama Triangle (Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer) or we can CHOOSE a more empowering path of the Empowerment Triangle which also has 3 points (creator, challenger or coach). There is no way out no matter which point you choose of the dreaded drama tringle; however, there are several ways out when you choose the Empowerment Triangle. Where do you find yourself as you are reading this blog post? Are you in a place of feeling frustrated and like things are happening to you that are beyond your control? If so, I encourage you to take a close look at your mindset. Are you anxiety and problem focused or are you passionate and outcome focused? How you choose to think and respond will determine your attitude, origin and outcomes.
Below are 5 questions to help move you from a problem focus to an outcome focus:
- If I were to step outside of myself and view this situation, what advice would I give to a loved one, friend or colleague
- What is within my control and what can I not control in this situation?
- How can I view this situation differently?
- Is there something new or a re-occurring lesson I can learn from this situation?
- How will I choose to respond differently in order to create something different for myself?
A meaningful way to process through these questions is to focus on this truth… if you change your questions, you can change your life. Gandhi once said, “Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.” What is your story? Have you experienced feeling like a victim and if so, how did you change your mind-set thus changing your situation? Have you ever witnessed someone feeling completely discouraged in a victim’s orientation? If so, what did you observe and were you able to be a coach or a challenger to them rather than to be a rescuer or persecutor? I would welcome your stories – they may inspire another reader.
If you are interested in working with a coach to learn how to move from the Drama Triangle to the Empowerment Triangle for yourself and/or a colleague or team member, please contact me today at . If you are interested in reading Emerald’s book, you can find it here.