The Power of TED is a fictionalized explanation of real-world self-improvement concepts and techniques. The fictional aspect is a first-person account of how the author was introduced to The Empowerment Dynamic; The Empowerment Dynamic itself is a set of possible responses to being caught in The Karpman Drama Triangle. The Karpman Drama Triangle, reframed as The Dreaded Drama Triangle in this text, revolves around the three intertwined roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.
The main character, David, realizing the problems created by falling into these roles in response to life crises, is guided to a better understanding of his behavior and three new roles, Creator, Challenger, and Coach that he can consciously adopt to generate more positive outcomes for himself and others. The two guides, Ted and Sophia, gently remind David (and the reader) of instances when one might easily slip into a role that hurts them and others. This includes the Rescuer, which has a more positive connotation but describes a person who unintentionally reinforces and enables the Victim.
The antithesis of the Victim is the Creator, who sees everyone else as a Creator as well, and operates with the intention of encouraging and enhancing all Creators, including themselves. The Challenger replaces the Persecutor; “they coax, cajole, and entice you to move in the direction of your heart’s desires”. And the Coach supports others not by validating Victims as the Rescuer does, but by reinforcing the Creator’s power and agency.
The description of the Dreaded Drama Triangle and the roles that can be adopted in response is truly meaningful. The Triangle is pervasive in our culture, and it’s incredibly difficult for people to realize their unconscious participation unless it’s pointed out to them, and they are ready to accept it. Also, realization that one is stuck in the Triangle often comes during a time of great emotional challenges, as it did for David, when the person is seeking a better way to live but is at a loss as to how to find it.
Another helpful aspect of the book is that it does not try to present the transitions to Creator -Challenger-Coach roles as easy, and it explicitly states that taking on these new roles does not mean that the person will be free of struggles or negative influences for the rest of their life. For example, Deconstructive Challengers “may be unwelcome people, conditions, or circumstances”. They may be in the Creator’s life to teach them what they don’t want, and it is up to the Creator to understand that without internalizing it and slipping into the Victim orientation.
One criticism of the book is that in its simplicity, it is a bit heavy-handed. The messages are easy to understand, though not to implement, so the story is repetitive. One solution might be to integrate relevant “Questions for the Journey” from the end of the book into each chapter and encourage the reader to journal throughout, so they can identify action items for implementing The Empowerment Dynamic into their lives as they process the concepts. An accompanying workbook might also be helpful.
This book is highly recommended, with a score of 9 out of 10. The missing digit is due to the lack of action items or journaling prompts that would slow the reader down and help them integrate the material into their daily lives. It is a great text for organizational leaders, who may unconsciously cast themselves in the roles of Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer as they navigate stressful situations. It’s also a great read for anyone who realizes they self-sabotage, not just in relationships but with addictions, and needs clarity on ways to change their thinking and behavior.
Emerald, D. (2016). The power of ted: the empowerment dynamic. (10th Ed.). Polaris Publishing.
About the Author: Rachaelle Lynn is the SEO Chair of Austin Women in Technology and has over 20 years' experience in digital marketing, with the last seven years in B2B tech. She currently manages SEO at SailPoint and holds certifications in Google Analytics and Conductor (SEO platform). Rachaelle frequently volunteers at AWT events and has presented at events like Apps We Love. Her special interests include cybersecurity and privacy in Artificial Intelligence. Rachaelle holds a bachelor's degree in Communications and is pursuing an MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Her hobbies include talking to her two cats, visiting quirky museums, and listening to live music. Connect with Rachaelle via LinkedIn.
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