How to Stop Being a Fixer at Work

Heroes are everywhere. It feels like there is a new Marvel movie released every other week. The news features local hero stories. Almost everyone can name 5 heroes off the top of their head.

How do you hero or fix problems?

Do you like to solve problems as soon as they come up? Are you a fixer at work? Do you always try to fix people?

Are you a helper? Do you swoop in to save people from bad things or teach them things they need to know?

Let’s look at the hero persona from the perspective of the drama triangle.

It may not be what you typically think of as a hero. And this framework doesn’t refer to incredible acts of bravery or saving a family from a house fire.

You may think you are a fixer but you are probably in a hero mindset which doesn’t fix the problems at all.

In a hero mindset, you actually perpetuate drama and create powerlessness in your own life and all around you.

When you are in hero mode you are approaching the problem from below the line and are on the drama triangle . Yes, you are a problem solver, but you are only seeking temporary relief from the problem — not a permanent creative solution.

When in hero mode you react to the pain or suffering either within yourself or outside yourself. You assume you can control the situation so you work to fix and provide immediate relief.

The key here is in hero mode you are seeking relief.

Why is it temporary relief?

Relief in hero mode is temporary because the focus is on making the pain go away. The focus is not on resolving the core issue permanently. The focus isn’t coming from a creative or challenging perspective. It’s ultimately only about making you feel better right now.

There is an unwillingness to feel feelings when in drama, and the hero loves to avoid feeling feelings.

As a result, in hero mode, you might become obsessed with fixing, saving, solving, helping, teaching, “improving” others, and more. Or you might become an expert at numbing out.

You try to make the discomfort go away to make yourself or someone else feel “better.” This may make everyone feel better in the short term but it really has not solved the problem.

Sometimes in order to solve the problem, you must sit in the suffering and be uncomfortable to create the shift above the line into challenger, creator and/or coach.

Results of Being the Fixer and in Hero Mode

Often what you might feel threatened by in this mode are feelings and emotions.

The reason you hero and get really busy to the point of numbness is you are trying to avoid feelings — both emotional and physical feelings. You’re trying to avoid a somatic experience and it leads to drama.

Some of the most common ways to numb out are: blankly staring at the television screen, staying at work later than you need to, fiddling with email, drinking alcohol, getting in accidents, or making a bunch of mistakes all over the place that have you needing to solve a bunch of problems all around you, giving you little small victories and the thrill of that.

Ultimately, these practices distract you from the looming issues you need to address.

Do you relate to this? If so, it’s okay. It’s totally human.

You are human and lovable. All of us fall into hero mode at one time or another. It’s a part of life. It’s a natural coping mechanism when you are experiencing a sense of threat.

I want you to think about your patterns of fixing and heroing as creating suffering for yourself and others. Think about the times when trying to make problems go away made it even more difficult to resolve them permanently.

Have you felt burnt out, resentful, and empty after your efforts to fix and hero have fallen short or didn’t get the reaction you were hoping for?

Problems and issues recycle when you’re in drama.

In presence and in your full power problems and issues get resolved permanently.

When you rush in with an answer or make a problem go away there is no transformational learning. There is no change in perspective. It becomes repetition. The relief of “eliminating” the problem is fleeting.

You thought you would feel better because you believed others would feel better because of your actions.

In hero mode, you’re seeking rewards. You’re trying to make the problem, sensations, feelings go away. And this temporary relief feels good (while it lasts). So you start looking for the next problem you can fix, and the cycle continues.

The critical cognitive mistake you make as hero is assuming you can control things that are out of your control. You can only control yourself and your impact.

Part of understanding the drama triangle framework is acknowledging how hero, victim, and villain are roles that all need each other.

As humans, we often dance between those roles many times within even a short amount of time. Being in drama is completely natural and normal and we’re pretty much hardwired for falling into this drama triangle.

Your work (and opportunity) as a conscious leader is to recognize when you’re in drama and to make a conscious choice to step out of those mindsets. By learning to recognize when you are in drama and question your stories you can begin to shift into an empowerment mindset and into a state of ease and flow creating, challenging, and coaching others.

Originally published at https://caneel.com.

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Caneel Joyce

Caneel Joyce

Transformational executive coach to founders & CEOs of fast-growth companies. Mom, wife, speaker, former professor & startupper. Caneel.com, The Allowed Podcast