Becoming a Conscious Constructive Challenger
We have found that many people resist embracing the Challenger role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® because they view it as risky or scary. “If I am a Challenger, I won’t be liked by my co-workers or family members. I fear they will see me as a Persecutor,” some say.
Over the years of offering the TED* framework to the world, we have grown to deeply appreciate the quality expressed when we’re in the Challenger role. Challengers are catalysts for learning and growth. They sometimes shake things up and are often called the “truth-tellers.” Challengers go to the heart of the matter and frequently deliver the hard facts, while also inspiring others and themselves to reach for the highest good. For that reason, we often say they are conscious constructive Challengers.
We are sure you have had Challengers in your life. They may have been a tough teacher, a demanding sports coach, or a wise uncle or aunt. You know they loved and cared for you because their intent was to challenge you to learn and be your best. At the time, however, you may not have appreciated how they tested you.
There are three foundational principles that strengthen the conscious constructive Challenger:
1: Life is better when you commit to learning and growth, even in the face of “not knowing.”
Challengers frequently ask of others and themselves: “Given the situation, what is here to learn or gain? Let’s trust the process and keep moving forward.” While a Persecutor craves being in control, trying to manage uncertainty, your Challenger quality keeps you moving forward, even in the face of not knowing how the results will turn out.
2: Given life is ever-changing and uncertain, rest in the conviction of your values.
This principle is the foundation of how the Challenger embodies the “truth-teller.” By clarifying and aligning yourself with your values, you live in integrity. This alignment helps you avoid the drama of the moment. Instead, you can summon the Challenger in you to focus on taking a stand for what you believe, even in the middle of chaos and change.
3. Tell the truth about current reality, without blame or judgment.
Challengers see life for what it is and neither minimize nor catastrophize current reality. This gives you the courage to speak up when no one else is willing to state what they see. Resting on your values, you are more willing to be vulnerable and open because you’ve learned there is nothing to hide or defend. Compassion grows for yourself and others knowing that life and the creating process can sometimes be very hard.
Here are a few tips to cultivate your potential as a conscious constructive Challenger:
- View others as Creators. Prior to challenging others, reflect upon your intention. Ask yourself: “Is my intention to look good and be right, or to build up and support the other as they learn?” Challengers hold others as Creators, fully capable of growing.
- Be open to new ideas and experiences. Try a new experience that makes you feel uncomfortable. It can be anything—a new card game, sport, or maybe a new hobby. As you try it, explore your judgments and feelings as you learn to be uncomfortable with new experiences. Why? Because being a conscious constructive Challenger can be uncomfortable. You are learning you are safe and okay, even when you are uncomfortable and speaking your truth.
- Develop self-awareness in the moment by learning to pause and listen to your internal talk. You may notice the ego’s desire to stay in control and be right. When you hear your Persecutor’s judging voice, learn to pause, and ask yourself: “What is here for me to learn?”
During this time of unprecedented global change, cultivating your ability to be a conscious constructive Challenger will help you navigate the fear of the unknown, and be a powerful contribution to yourself and the world.