It’s not how much drama you encounter but what you do with it that matters.
It seems that drama is inevitable – at work, in our neighborhoods, in our school systems and in our social systems. As an organizational development specialist and life coach, I hate what drama does to us. If we let it, it has the power to rob us of our energy and distract us from doing our positive work in the world.
Therein lies our challenge.
Drama invites us to stay focused and on track – in spite of the information and energetic distractions that are coming our way. It invites us to remember why we are here and what we are to be doing – big picture.
Here’s an example. Linda is a powerful, creative, positive, professional, energetic, talented woman who is doing excellent work. A group of colleagues, consciously or unconsciously felt threatened by her good work and decided to undermine it. They ganged up on her, teased and bullied her, left her out, disrespected her in subtle ways and made her feel “less than.” Initially, the impact of the group’s communication was to bewilder and distract her. She started giving attention to the way in which they were treating her. Although she tried to ignore it, she was distracted. She stopped doing her excellent work.
Has something like that ever happened to you or to someone you love?
Drama will happen and when it presents itself it’s important to remember that we have choices about our participation and/or reaction to it.
So, how can we productively deal with drama?
Take the power out of it. You want to stop a drama? Stop buying a ticket. Stop watching it. Stop listening to it. Stop giving it energy. Focus on something else. Breathe and leave. If this “ignore it” strategy doesn’t work, try some of the other strategies listed here.
Diffuse drama at the source. Initiate a conversation with a key player. This is a deliberate, strategic conversation that takes place at the time of your choosing. It is a conversation that uses all the right words, eliminates emotion-laden language and anticipates a range of nonproductive responses from the other person. It requires attendance from your factual, non-emotional “higher self.” If you need coaching on this conversation, send us a note or give us a call – it’s what we do.
Don’t respond in writing to drama – ever. Unless it’s an apology, responding to drama in writing is generally a bad idea. In our fast-paced world, drama quickly unfolds in texts, phone messages and/or email and the intended message isn’t always the one that’s received. If you sense a drama is brewing, take it off line. Go ahead write a response in your journal and then look at the message in 24 hours. Rewrite it, removing the emotion-laden and accusatory words and then send. Better yet, deal with drama in person.
Explore the three choices. In every situation, problem or relationship, we have three choices and only three choices: accept it, change it or leave it. Exercising one of these options restores our sense of productive control (i.e., our sense that there is something positive and productive that I can do to impact this relationship and/or how I feel about it).
Spend time with your champions. Champions are your supporters. They are the people who make you happy and give you energy. If there are people in your life who drain you or drag you down, look for ways to limit contact and protect yourself. Increase your awareness of the impact of particular relationships on your energy. At every opportunity, make a conscious choice to surround yourself with healthy relationships.
Listen with different ears. Drama is often created from a place of imbalance. In some cases, the remedy may be listening with a heart of sympathy and love. Every drama presents an opportunity to learn and to love. Listen for the lesson and always respond with your higher self.
Remember that our intention is to free ourselves from the distraction of drama.
When drama presents itself, think of it as a test. Our challenge is to stay on course so that we can productively utilize our gifts and talents in the world.
What are your strategies for dealing with drama? Send me a note - I’d love to hear more about your strategies and stories.
© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on motivational programs.