Drama shows up in three ways: An emotion, a situation and through other people. If you missed the last couple of articles, you can click on the hyperlinks to access them. This lesson is about how drama shows up as other people.

When I was a factory worker on the lines at Kraft Foods, I had some great bosses and a few not so good. One particular boss used to say, “I didn’t ask you to work here, so if you don’t like it, find yourself another place to work.”  When I got the vision for my new career (the one I enjoy now as a professional speaker, consultant and author) I saw this boss as an obstacle—a shark between me and my dreams of being a professional communicator.

I would observe his lack of relationship building skills, and take notes about what he should be doing. I would watch his bad communication skills and would design a program for the day when I’d be teaching other managers and leaders a better way of leading.

What I didn’t realize was this boss was my grand master in disguise, teaching me all that I had to learn about workplace relationships, personal power, vision and living in alignment with my values of improving communication and relationships everywhere.

In my fantasy there would someday be a situation what would change—one that would allow me to speak my truth, to be a living example, and to write books about it. The reality that took me a while to recognize is that I had to start right from where I was—a blue collar factory worker with no authority, no backing and no positional power.

What I have since learned is that if you can’t start from where you are now, you will never leave the launching pad. You will not be able to move your vision into reality if you keep waiting for the situation to change.  The real power is always in the present moment, and the real gift is often the person you think of as the obstacle.

Many of the techniques and methods I teach today, I learned years ago on the factory floor. I learned to quit blaming my boss and only clean up what belonged to me. I learned how to make my choices based on who I wanted to be, not on how someone else behaved.

From a drama perspective, dysfunctional relationships are all about how the other person behaves. We lose power when we obsess about what they should have done that they didn’t do, what they shouldn’t that they just did. We miss the gift when we fall for the beliefs that our lives would be better, easier and more fulfilled if not for the shark called, my boss, my co-worker, my ex-spouse, my teenager or my trouble-making queen bee that overrides my authority.

From a growth perspective your shark is your grand master who is there to guide you to the bridge of enlightenment. Your shark, be it your boss, your teenager, your coworker or your spouse can teach you about managing your emotions, clarifying your values, setting appropriate boundaries, getting out of judgment, having difficult conversations, forgiveness and a whole curriculum of learning if you can but see the opportunity!

Marlene-Blk4Marlene Chism is a consultant, national speaker and author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011). Marlene’s passion is developing wise leaders and helping people to discover, develop and deliver their gifts to the world.

Marlene’s message is spreading across the country at association meetings, corporate retreats, universities and other venues. If interested in exploring speaking or training opportunities please call 1.888.434.9085