Flipping the Switch from Drama to Empowerment

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 10.27.34 AM

Last week, we dove into a detailed explanation of the different roles that facilitate drama and the roles that diffuse it. For this post, we’re looking to have a little fun exploring how to use that information to stage a full on drama-busting role reversal.

Moving from Victim to Creator-

There’s a scene in The Matrix, after the Oracle gives Neo bad news that he is not “The One.” The Oracle says something like, “you’re in charge of your own life, remember?”The same is true for us all. We can’t get lost in what other people think: we choose our attitudes, we choose our perspectives, we create our outcomes. When we see that there is the potential that we are playing the victim role, let’s break that cycle by asking questions like: “What do I want to create?” “How do I want to respond?” Better yet, let’s ask these questions every day and in order to prevent drama before it starts. That’s when we become drama-busting gurus.

Switching from Persecutor to Challenger-

Remember, being the persecutor starts with our beliefs, which means that we can overcome it by adjusting our thinking. First, we must acknowledge that the other person is NOT a victim: they are creative, capable, and resourceful. Once we are in this mindset we can change our role by changing our actions. For example:

  • Be courageous and tell the truth about what you see sans assumptions and judgments.

  • Encourage the person to take action and ask if they are willing. If not, say, “OK, what are you willing to do do?”

  • Share the ways in which you’re hoping they will grow or what you’re wanting them to learn and ask for their input.

Jumping from Rescuer to Coach-

Moving from rescuer to coach is similar to the old “Give someone a fish versus teaching them to fish” analogy (and we all know how it goes, so I won’t bore you here). We can’t fix the victim’s every problem for them. Instead, we can take the role of a guide. Instead of stepping in and resolving the problem with a quick wave of the wand, we can aim to guide them through it by asking questions such as, “What do you want?” “What are your choices?” “What outcomes are important to you?” If we continue to play the role of rescuer it’s the other person we are robbing in the end (and we don’t want to be the kind of people who rob others).

With the information now in front of us, let’s intend to make the switch from drama to empowerment. Being a drama buster means not only understanding how to prevent drama, but also recognizing when we are engaging in drama and consciously flipping the switch. Freeing ourselves from the negativity that soap-opera-like drama can bring into our personal and professional lives opens us up to the opportunity for greater success.

Our upcoming Ditch the Drama™ workshop will dive deeper into the subject in greater detail and we look forward to seeing you there!


An Introduction to Drama: The 5 Questions to Defining It


In preparation for our upcoming Ditch the Drama™ workshop, I wanted to send out some information regarding drama. During this time we are going to analyze all of its moving parts and how to deal with it in the workplace. However, before we get into analysis, we must first gain common ground about the nature of drama. These five questions will help us get on the same page about what drama is and how it affects the workplace.


What is drama?
I have adopted my definition of drama from Purna Steinitz, a notable public speaker on drama. After listening to him speak and including a few adaptations I define drama as: anything that results in unresolved negative thoughts, beliefs, emotions, or actions.


Where does drama exist?
To round out our definition we have to give it a setting. Drama exists:

  1. Interactions with others (meetings, conflicts, conversations, transactions)
  2. Within our own minds (conscious or unconscious)


What creates drama?
Based on the work of Stephen Karpman, Drama is composed of three defining aspects:

  1. A victim
  2. A persecutor
  3. A rescuer

An example of how these come together might look like: an employee (victim) hears that another employee (persecutor) is talking negatively about them, thus going to their manager (rescuer) with the problem and the manager deals with the other employee. This can play out in a number of different ways. Victims are not always employees; rescuers are not always a person. No matter the combination it usually generates some telltale signs.


What are the symptoms or signs of drama?

  • One or more person walks away from the interaction with unresolved negative thoughts or beliefs
  • You have unresolved negative thoughts about a situation or condition in your life.


Why is it bad in the workplace or in life?
Drama is unwelcome in the workplace for a number of reasons, they include:

  • It is toxic and contagious
  • Creates a negative impact on performance and productivity
  • It is a source of unhappiness and disengagement
  • It propagates negativity
  • It can spill over to customers or uninvolved employees


Next week we are going to discuss how the roles of victim, persecutor and rescuer perpetuate drama and how those roles can be changed to diffuse the situation, often before it begins. As we dig deeper into the subject, don’t forget to sign up for the Ditch the Drama™ workshop, where Sharon Sperry and I will unravel all our secrets to creating a drama-free workplace and lifestyle.

It’s All in Your Head

There are always problems that must be solved, and the decisions we make when facing problems are the direct result of the state of mind we have going into them. I have found that when working with individuals it is easy to get hung up on the “why”:

·      Why did I do that?
·      Why did they do that?
·      Why didn’t they listen?
·      Why didn’t I take their advice?

This kind of thinking rarely brings a solution. In fact, it can be downright counterproductive; it siphons energy and shifts the focus on the past.

True, it is extremely important to learn from the past, but I have found that individuals can overcome problems much more effectively when the attention is focused on the present and future. One of the ways to do this is by focusing on the “hows” and “whats” of the issue:

·      What can I learn?
·      What would I do differently next time?
·      What’s possible now?
·      How can I move forward from here?
·      How can I apply what I’ve learned?

These questions are better designed to keep minds where they need to be: What is? or What will be?

The only thing the past has to offer us now is a chance to learn from it. The present and the future, on the other hand, have so much more. Therefore, try to not waste time beating yourself up about what has already happened. Shift focus on what is still to come. For many of us, this requires a change in mindset and asking the appropriate questions of ourselves can help create that change.