An Infrastructure for Empowered Relationships
By David Emerald & Donna Zajonc
It is not until you hit a deep pothole that you know how essential good roads are to keeping your car in good condition. When you experience a road detour because a bridge needs repair you understand the importance of a healthy infrastructure.
You most likely do not stop to think about the infrastructure that supports you in going about your daily life. The Webster dictionary defines infrastructure as “the system of public works and resources of a country, state, or region required for an activity.”
There is another definition that serves as a wonderful metaphor for applying TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® and the 3 Vital Questions® in your life. But first, the backstory…
A few weeks ago, I (David) was facilitating a live virtual learning session with the management team of a construction company in Fresno, California. It was the 4th live conversation during their exploration of our 8-unit online eCourse, “3 Vital Questions: Applying the Power of TED* to Work and Life.”
In that session, the team was talking about how to shift from the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer to the more empowering and stable TED* roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach. One of the managers shared an insight I have never heard. Now, several weeks later, I haven’t stopped thinking about what he said.
He recounted that their company was in the business of building and repairing bridges, water treatment plants, and roads and that they had the means, methods, and processes to bid and perform their work.
“Hopefully,” he said, “(3VQ) is the means and methods to be able to resolve conflict, be able to have opposing views or discuss alternative options. It’s that interpersonal communication. We don’t have a lot of resources to help us with that and… this is opening the door to that.”
Suddenly I realized there could be a new definition for infrastructure. The 3 Vital Questions and TED* are infrastructures for empowered relationships and it fits the second Webster definition, which is “the underlying foundation or base framework (as of a system or organization).”
This created a metaphor for 3VQ as an infrastructure for life and relationships.
- Bridges – The 1st Vital Question, “Where are you putting your focus?” This question provides a bridge from the problem-focused, anxiety-based, and reactive mindset to that of the outcome-oriented, and creative frame of mind that is a Creator Orientation.
- (Water) Treatment – Untreated water is dark and murky and potentially toxic, just like the dynamics in the DDT. The energy begins to clear when you reconnect to your true Creator essence and relate to others as Co-Creators, Challengers, and Coaches. It’s the “the means and methods” the manager spoke about and aligns with the 2nd Vital Question, “How are you relating?”
- Roads –You need roads to get from where you are starting to a desired location. That is exactly what the framework of Dynamic Tension provides in the 3rd Vital Question: “What actions are you taking?” When you focus on the outcome you want, assess, and tell the truth about your current reality in relation to where you want to go, you take short-term Baby Steps that can become your “yellow brick road.” (A tip of the hat to “The Wizard of Oz!”)
In the next few weeks, pay close attention to your personal infrastructure.
- Does your focus need a sturdier bridge to help you move from problems to outcomes?
- How about the water you are swimming in? Is it murky, or even toxic, and needs some clearing?
- Reflect upon the road you are traveling. Are you choosing a road that moves you closer to empowerment or further away?
As a Creator, you have an infrastructure for your life. What are you building?