It’s 2009 and I’m lying on a chiropractic table at a Transformational Gate in Westminster, Colorado. “You think you lead with Perception,” my teacher Donny Epstein whispers in my ear, “but you really lead with Structure.” He lingers a moment to let that sink in, and then he walks away.
Whoa! I say, still face down.
First of all, what does that even mean? I hadn’t yet been exposed to Donny’s new Triad of Change and, whatever he was talking about, I took instant umbrage to his diagnosis. “Yes, of course I think I ‘lead’ with Perception! I’m a very perceptive person. So there!” But I just think this in my head. I do not say it out loud.
Fast forward a bunch of years. Now that I’ve been to many seminars and workshops about the Triad of Change, Donny has analyzed my personal energetic blueprint this many ways to Sunday. (Is that the expression?) And I’ve sat in many work groups figuring out my and other people’s Triads. He was right— after much soul-searching and many flip-flops, I have finally reached the same conclusion on my own (a slow learner), and I am so grateful for this new awareness. It has kept me from stepping in a lot of icy puddles.
Donny says we make up, or at least choose, most of the stuff we believe anyway. So, if life is a game, why not make up one we can win? The Triad of Change is such a game.
THE TRIAD RULES
Here’s how the Triad works: each side of the Triad is a strategy. When two sides of the Triad are aligned, the third side comes along automatically. A Triad of Pain results from leading with your weakest side — through ignorance, or not strategizing at all. A Triad of Gain results from a conscious strategy using the two easier or stronger sides, allowing your weak side to automatically come along for the ride.
So, when Donny said my weak side is Perception, it meant that I tend to over think things — the old monkey mind — and to become frustrated when tired or emotionally charged or drained (lack of Energy, in the center of the Triad). Left to my own devices, or a day with no plans, I chase my tail or drool senselessly. Inside a structure with which I resonate — an assignment, a schedule, a deadline, a daily blog post — I perform (Behavior) and think clearly (Perception). Give me someone else to help (also a Structure), and I’m unstoppable, inexhaustible, unbelievable.
Choosing to do something that’s actually easier for me has made the difference between failure and success, frustration and ease.
POWER IN AWARENESS
When a spouse steps outside (Behavior) the marriage (Structure) by having an affair, the cheating spouse works overtime to justify it (Perception). We’ve all heard that person rationalize the affair by telling him- or herself that it doesn’t mean anything, that the spouse is not good for or to them, or that the marriage was “over” anyway. When the first two sides of the Triad align, the third has to come along. So Perception must be contorted to fit the new Structure and Behavior of the affair. The Structure of the marriage falls apart.
Awareness is power. When you become aware of the order of your Triad, instead of falling to fate, you can lead your life. If your marriage needs to end, end it on its own terms. If you need to lose weight or begin to exercise, your own strategy is the key to sustained success instead of repeated failure.
So, let’s figure out your Triad and get you into a game you win.
NOT A COSMO QUIZ
Read these descriptions of the three strategies and see what resonates with you as a strength or a weakness:
Perception: A chosen perspective; a mode of style, or manner of focus. Weakness: judging, angry, fearful, loser, polarizing, eliminating, getting rid of, or seeking less of. Strength: courage, focus, gain, love, compassion, gratitude, energy, grace, acceptance.
Behavior: A pattern of actions taken, purposeful movement towards a goal or objective. Weakness: reactionary, attacking, judgmental, accusatory, procrastinating, perfectionist. Strength: decisive, deliberate, making changes, serving others, actions demonstrating love and gratitude.
Structure: A form serving as a vessel or medium for energy or information exchange. Weakness: inflexible, no sharing of ideas, resistant to criticism or growth. Strength: flexible, poised for rapid change, expansive, inclusive, inspiring, celebrating diversity and creativity.
WHAT’S YOUR ORDER
Start by playing with your own order. It might be easiest to first identity your drain. What drives you most nuts about other people? Their behavior? Their perceptions? Or their structures? Whatever you say bothers you most about others is probably your own drain.
Here’s another hint to discovering your drain. When things are going badly, what is your lament? Does it reflect your thoughts (“I hate myself for being a failure; I can’t figure this out”), trouble taking action (“I don’t know what to do”), or your body, organization, or surroundings (“I need a job/home/plan/diet/partner/idea”)?
Once you’ve found your drain, what’s left are your two lead two strategies. Experiment with them for a few weeks. Switch them around. If one doesn’t work as the lead-off strategy, try the other. Your goal is not to find “The Answer.” Your goal is self-discovery and better results.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
- Which side of the Triad has been the most elusive to you?
- Which side of the Triad do you have difficulty knowing precisely what to do about?
- Which side of the Triad appears easy to you?
Next in the series: the freedom of Structure.