Recognizing Your Choice Points
If there is one core principle in which the Power of TED* work rests, it is this: You always have a choice about how you respond to life events. You may not always like your choices, and your range of choices may be narrow. However, you always have a choice.
You can choose to react from the problem-focused, anxiety-based, and reactive Victim Orientation, which triggers the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) and result in acting as a Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer. On the other hand, you can choose an outcome-oriented mindset that will support you as a Creator responding within TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic)®.
The moment you are faced with choosing we call the “choice point,” illustrated below:
Notice the choice point rests at the center of the intersection of six roles—three from the DDT and the three roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach that make up TED*. When you reach a choice point, if you can pause, take a deep breath, and give yourself a break, you will have a greater capacity to choose wisely.
You meet multiple choice points, or decisions, every day. Even a simple email presents several decision points. Do you read it now or later? Do you interpret it as a threat or an opportunity? What do you write in response? Whom do you copy?
Our lives are made up of a series of small and occasionally momentous choice points. What you choose when you face choice points significantly influences the life you create.
David faced such a choice point a few weeks ago when he received a text from a client asking for a conversation as soon as possible. His initial reaction to the text was: “Oh no, something is wrong!” He avoided calling right away and distracted himself with emails. Finally, he caught himself and said internally: “Wait a minute, this could be anything and it could be something good!” He shifted his focus to responding to the text with a positive mindset, made the call, and was pleasantly surprised by its outcome.
How do you recognize these choice points and choose consciously, rather than unconsciously reacting to the anxiety you feel about what you are facing? Here are several steps to support you in making wise use of your choice points:
- Honor your choice point as a gift. Name the moment by stating: “This is a choice point.” By labeling the moment your brain becomes more self-aware and snaps out of any numbing activity (like constant emails or playing another game on your electronic device) that might distract your attention.
- Hit the “pause button” and take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. When you are calm, your mind has the ability to see more choices as possible than when you are anxious and reactive.
- Consciously turn toward your choice point rather than push it away. As you turn toward the moment, you can appreciate it rather than fill it with the next distraction.
- Ask yourself: “Which roles do I choose? The DDT roles or TED*?”
- Visualize the choice point and the empowering choices you can make. Explore the range of choices (again, they may be few, or they may be many). The neural circuits in your brain begin to prepare for the new response when you visualize the new behavior. This is the same approach athletes use when they visualize successful sports moves.
When you recognize and honor a choice point, you are leveraging one of the most important moments in your life as a Creator. You will have a greater chance of wisely using these empowering moments and may be pleasantly surprised at the unlimited possibilities that emerge.