I used to work with a woman who really shone in a crisis. She was a pool of reflected water; nothing rippled on her surface.
One problem. She was the one who caused the crisis! She fed on drama. She would plant little seeds of worry and concern, and when others eventually erupted in a panic, she was there to smooth things over. She liked being the rescuer.
There are three key types of drama rabble rousers, and one who defuses chaos instead. These archetypes play out based on attention to two things:
1. The Eclipse
Like my former colleague, this is someone who has elevated self care, and a strong focus on themselves: their survival, their elevation. As such, they stir up drama only to black out all others and be recognised as the saviour of the day. Work is insidious when we have an eclipse in play.
2. The Black Hole
This poor individual has neglected self care and poor internal dialogue. Their focus is on their own survival, and find it difficult to empathise or think of anyone else but their own often paltry concerns. They suck the life force from their colleagues with their woe and misery.
3. The Dying Star
Unlike the Eclipse and the Black Hole, the Dying Star has a clear focus on others. Too much so. Their lack of self care and focus on others means they self-sacrifice. They use up their own personal energy in service to the boss, the team, the organisation. They are left scattered across the universe, depleted.
4. The Sun
Thankfully, there are those who have disciplined self care and know that by maintaining their energy, they can better serve others. Their focus is on connection and making a difference. Their self management and contribution operates like a polarity: two seemingly opposite forces that are synergistic in nature. The more they look after themselves (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually), the more they have to give, and the more they are rewarded for their contribution. It feels good to give. They radiate positivity and generosity. They light up a room, not because they try to, but because of who they are.
If we find ourselves drifting into drama, the intervention is to elevate self care immediately, and to draw our attention gently from survival towards connection and contribution. Our energy will rise, and our addiction to drama will drop away.
So what ought we to do if we find ourselves in the presence of an Eclipse, a Black Hole, or a Dying Star?
Here are some fundamentals for drama-free living:
- Notice what is happening. Awareness is the first key of keeping out of the drama vortex.
- Don’t get sucked in. Listen to the story of what is being told, and choose a different role.
- Don’t feed the drama! Don’t criticise. Don’t complain. Don’t gossip.
- Nurture yourself.
- Be kind.
- Be generous.
- Rise above the maelstrom and ask, ‘what is better for the whole?’
What do you do when you find yourself in drama? What is the best way you have found to fetch from its influence?