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Can Drama Be Useful?

A meme popped up in my LinkedIn feed and it advised to avoid drama and instead invest in people and time that promote positivity.

This made me pause.

First, I am curious how one defines drama? My guess is, drama is one of those elusive terms that changes for different individuals based on their personal filters, comfort zone and tolerance for risk.

Secondly, drama seems to be tied often to female performance or behavior, and I find this word dangerously used in the workplace. Drama is one emotion, and I believe women who tend to utilize emotions strategically at work (emotions such as empathy, compassion, and praise), may be discouraged in doing so at the risk of appearing dramatic.

Even without applying a gender lens, I still believe there is an upside to drama. It begins with reframing how one defines various words that they perceive as bringing unwanted drama. Here are a few examples of situations that may provide opportunity, not drama, when seen from a different perspective.

Conflict Conflict occurs when two sides are at odds and there are varying levels of conflict from disagreements to war. When considering the less violent options, disagreements and arguments can be positive if parties are willing to remain open-minded and tolerant of diverse ideas. Conflict like this may make us feel sweaty and uncomfortable, which results in avoiding at all costs. On the flip side, conflict is the driving force to engage in conversation because differing views are present. Healthy dialogue can help us achieve exploration, change and/or resolution to various problems.

Saying No As a recovering people pleaser by default, saying no to others makes me extremely uncomfortable. My fear was if I said no, then someone might not like me. Others who avoid using the “no” word may believe they are the only ones capable of completing a task. After years of extending myself so thin, I discovered being burned out helped no one, least of all myself. Delegation or allowing others to step forward is a great way to empower, train and motivate.

Creating Boundaries Boundaries are limits or rules that people establish for relationships, whether personally or professionally. The need and scope for boundaries differ from person to person but ultimately the act of creating a boundary is founded in self-care and emotional safety. Examples of boundaries can include setting time limits on projects at work, or help with self-regulation to avoid burnout. When others don’t honor those boundaries, this could result in feelings of resentment, guilt, or anger; yet these boundaries are intended to help us be most effective, efficient, productive, and healthy. In other words, if someone feels drama based on boundaries I’ve created for my well-being, than that is their emotion to own, not me.

Without some level of pain, or drama in this case, people would find little motivation for change, and change is often necessary to make progress in areas important to us. If the end goal results in a positive outcome, then I believe any drama that accompanies can be seen as worthwhile.

If you are interested in working with a mental fitness coach to help you gain greater clarity or self-confidence, please let me know. Coaching can be extremely empowering and enlightening. I would be honored to be part of your success journey!

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