The Challenger Role
The Challenger role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® is the antidote to the Dreaded Drama Triangle role of Persecutor. As a result, many people resist stepping into the Challenger role, worried they might be viewed as a Persecutor. Consequently, the Challenger may be the most misunderstood of the three TED* roles.
You have absolutely had a Challenger in your life, even if you did not realize it at the time. Your Challenger may have been your toughest teacher, a demanding sports coach, or your wise aunt or uncle. Their care for you was evident in their intention; to challenge you to learn, grow, and be your best. At the time, however, you may have resisted or even resented their high expectations.
Challengers are sometimes called the “truth-tellers” because they are willing to go to the heart of the matter and deliver the hard facts without blame or judgment. Their intention is to inspire themselves and others to reach for the highest good.
Without Challengers, people tend to lose energy and focus, compromising their desired vision. We have found there are at least three primary beliefs that are foundational to conscious and constructive Challengers:
#1. They understand that life is ever-changing and uncertain, and rest in the confidence and conviction of their values.
By clarifying and aligning themselves with their values, keeping their word, and living in integrity is a high priority for a Challenger. They do not acquiesce to the drama of the moment. Instead, Challengers focus on being a stand for what they believe, even in the middle of chaos and change. This is the rock-solid person whom you and others can count on to tell you the truth about the current situation.
#2. They accept “not knowing” and are committed to learning and growth.
The Challenger accepts change and learns to flow without knowing how things are going to turn out. While Persecutors want to control the chaos and uncertainty, the Challenger is committed to continuous learning as a core philosophy of life. Challengers frequently ask themselves: “Given the situation, what is here to learn or gain?” They may say: “Let’s trust the process and keep moving forward.”
#3. They tell the truth about the current reality, without blame or judgment.
Challengers see reality for what it is and don’t minimize or catastrophize a situation. While there is strength and sturdiness to the Challenger, there is also a willingness to be vulnerable and open because there is nothing to hide or defend. A Challenger is courageous and authentic, willing to say what others are not.
Here are a few suggestions about how to boldly step into the Challenger role:
- Be open to new ideas and experiences. Choose something you are unfamiliar with and then become genuinely interested in the topic. This loosens your grip on the need to be in control and know all the answers.
- Reflect upon your intention of why you do what you do. Ask yourself: “What is my intention—to put down and blame or to build up and support others?”
- Develop more self-awareness in the moment by learning to pause and listen to your internal talk. It is here you will notice the ego’s operating system that whispers (sometimes shouts!) at you to stay in control and be right. When you hear the Persecutor part in you and its controlling voice, soften, relax, and learn to pause and choose again before you respond.
The Challenger’s intention is to bring out the best in themselves and other people. It is the part of every human being that has a capacity to view the world with clear eyes, to speak the truth even when it’s uncomfortable to do so, and to harness their capacity to learn and grow.