If there is one word that is overused, it is the word “drama.” Thanks to reality TV, millennials and social media, the term is used wrongly 9 out of 10 times. To be honest, every time I hear the term, I cringe. I feel like people use the word drama when they are really saying, “I can’t deal,” “It is too ____ (overwhelming, confrontational, exciting, fearful) for me.”
Just leaning on the term drama immediately creates space in the conversation to avoid getting to the heart of the matter and unpacking the situation (project, communication, experience, task), which keeps you from walking away with an intended outcome and next action.
Honestly, people thrive on being stuck.
In most conversations where people sling around the term drama, you get the consistent head nod. In our experience, when you begin to unpack the blanket term “drama,” the reality is more appropriately identified as energy or drive; ultimately, that is what people are looking for.
We see three types of drama:
1. Trouble Making: Stirring the pot, gossip, narcissism, knocking down others to build up one’s self. This level of drama is easy to detect. You walk away feeling heavier and exhausted after the interaction (face to face, phone or email). You can easily recognize this when the communication starts off with any rendition of: You won’t believe what, don’t tell anyone but, not to vent BUT…. This level of drama is not helpful or productive, it just leaves you exhausted, like you just walked away from a tragic car accident. You can turn it around immediately with one simple question: “What do you need from me to move you forward from this?”
2. Impact Making: Think of the theatre or a nail-biting movie. Ella (my 10-year-old) and I LOVE the movies. Over Christmas break we watched 11 movies. We love to go to the theatre also; last year we saw seven plays. This is Impact Making. Think the theatre, movies, concerts or a killer brainstorming session during a marketing meeting. Now THAT is my kind of drama; it causes not only an experience, but an extraordinary outcome. There is an inherent difference between this and Trouble Making. This level of drama is wicked helpful and productive, and it leaves you on a teeter totter between exhaustion and exhilaration in a GREAT way, like you just walked out of your favorite rock concert.
3. Deflect Making: This is a defer and deflect tactic – take the pressure off them; I don’t know or I need to think about it are the normal responses, so the spotlight and pressure is off them. This is not necessarily Trouble Making, but more on the side of juke and jive. I take the attention off me and put it on someone else and what they are doing/not doing, then I duck. This creates a constant “pass the buck” methodology and leaves you confused and speechless, like you just walked out of a debate or mediation.
We all have difficult relationships, projects, businesses, opportunities and people in our lives that challenge us. This is just part of the life prospectus. This is one of the many ways you get to learn, stretch and grow. All spiritual and self-growth courses, books, etc. talk about this. The hardest “stuff” that happens to us in life is the stuff with people. It doesn’t matter what they do or who they are. What matters is how you react and let it impact you.
The bottom line is YOU, and that is the place that gets to shift.
Imagine a world where people would stop hiding in a cloud of drama and actively choose to see every interaction as a result of drive. What is driving this statement, behavior, etc., what is the DRIVE behind it? To cause trouble? To create impact or deflect?
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