The Power of TED

When last did you read a book (in my case non-fictional) that you could not wait to share what you learnt with as many others as you could?

That was the experience I had when I first came across this intriguing title: The Power of TED* The Empowerment Dynamic (TED*) by David Emerald.

As an executive coach, learning and development facilitator, and someone who really appreciates a good story filled with impactful and practical information, this book ticked all those boxes.

TED* is a story of David, the main character, who shares that he is feeling victimized by the cruelties of life in the form of infertility, divorce and the death of his father. Through serendipity he meets some wise guides, Ted and Sophia, who show David how he can move from feeling like a Victim to being a Creator of his own life.

I could certainly relate to circumstances in my own life experience, having weathered my own relational storms (personally and even professionally) where I felt like a victim, I felt stuck, hopeless or wondered how do I get sucked into what feels like constant drama?

The drama triangle is a social model that was conceived by Stephen Karpman. He made use of triangles to explain the roles individuals inhabit when in conflict situations.

It was incredibly helpful to understand the Drama Triangle but what I was hoping to come across in the book was more than just the resignation of my own victim / drama triangle cycle and thankfully it did not disappoint.

Here are few but certainly not all the great learnings that I have embraced:

  • The Drama Triangle is a real thing. It always requires 3 Role Players: Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer.
  • The Drama Triangle only arises when an individual takes on one of the roles and from there others will be drawn into the conflict.
  • Consider the classic stories of superhero’s: The victim needs a villain (persecutor) in order to have a hero (rescuer) save him or her.
  • It’s easy to convince yourself or someone that you are personally defined by drama, for example: “There she goes being a drama queen again!” “Oh, he will step in and save the day.” The truth however is that these are no more than roles we may have become good at or have become comfortable with – that said it does not make them healthy to stay in.
  • There are tools to help shift us from DDT (Dreaded Drama Triangle) to TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic).
  • The shift from the DDT to TED* is facilitated through a tool called FISBE. It was amazing to realize that my current Focus would always bring about my Inter State which then led to my Behaviour.
  • Focus could be: Problem Oriented or Outcomes Oriented
  • Inner state would either be: Anxiety or Passion / Desire
  • Behaviour: Reactive or Baby / Small / Next Steps
  • Two people could be experiencing the same moment & the impact of that experience depends on their own FISBE choice.
  • The * at the end of TED* represents having a choice point. Whilst it is not always easy to like our choices or perhaps our range of choices are narrow – we still always have a choice.
  • I loved the principle of Dynamic Tension – it follows the fundamentals of physics: to create movement between two points, tension is required. Imagine stretching a rubber band between your two index fingers. Eventually the tension will demand a release – but the key is to develop the skill of ‘holding the tension’ in a way that does not snap the rubber band (too big a gap / tension) or allow it to slip off (too small a gap / tension) when our default patterns show up again.

Off the back of reading this book I was inspired to enrol in a coaching course led by Donna Zajonc (the author David Emerald’s partner) which further impressed on me just how powerful sharing this work with my coaching and facilitation network could be.

I have also read the follow up book written by David titled The 3 Vital Questions: Transforming Work Place Drama and as of  November 2020 I am excited to share that I am now a fully-fledged 3 Vital Questions facilitator with the TED* group and excited to support work teams and individuals on their journey from the Drama triangle to the Empowerment Dynamic!

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