I realized four things about myself after reading Carols Pearson’s book – Awakening the Heroes Within

  • I am passionate about supporting and inspiring my team
  • I love to seek out new approaches to solve problems
  • I get energized by sharing what I learn to help others
  • I am most fulfilled when I can see a vision realized

This mapped to four Archetypes-

  • Caregiver – Makes a difference to others
  • Seeker – Searches for a unique identity, path, or solution
  • Sage – Shares wisdom with the world
  • Magician – Uses intuition and insight to catalyze change

This helped me understand why I might be dissatisfied professionally – most of my responsibilities as a Technical Manager in the fast paced world of I.T. R&D were focused on day-to-day tactical management of releases, leaving little time to focus on taking care of the team or learning better ways of solving recurring problems. As a result, I sometimes found myself getting frustrated – I felt I had terrific ideas to help my organization, but I did not have the influence or pay-grade to get my ideas implemented.

This frustration manifested in different ways:

  • Impatience- When others did not see my vision
  • Inflexibility- When my ideas were not accepted in pure form
  • Burnout– When I could not protect my team from situations I found unfair

I learned that each Archetype has a unique and valuable gift, which is necessary for growth and self-discovery. However, if a particular archetype is suppressed, it rears its head up in an ugly, negative form – called the Shadow Form. For instance, here are some of the Shadow Forms I could notice in my life:

  • Shadow form of Caregiver – Tendencies toward martyrdom and enabling others, and to burn themselves out while always putting others first.
  • Shadow form of Sage – Ivory tower thinking, dogmatism, and coming across as lacking feeling/empathy
  • Shadow form of Magician – Expect miracles when things get rough, and lose patience with those who aren’t as visionary as they are

Now, I could apply the Archetype model to understand not only what truly called me, but also why I might be dissatisfied professionally. It became clear that if I wanted a life of harmony and balance, I would have to find or create a job that allowed me to express my dominant archetypes. I had a choice – I could either find organizations that gave me this opportunity. Or I could create one. I chose the latter.

Applying this model helped me create the blue-print for a business that lets me express my most dominant Archetypes:

  • Caregiver – Helping teams remove challenging obstacles using tools and techniques from the world of Organizational Development
  • Seeker – Searching for unique solutions to help teams recapture the magic of making I.T.
  • Sage – Sharing what I learned with the world through webinars, public speaking and consulting
  • Magician – Using intuition and insight to apply best practices from the world of Organizational Development to the world of I.T.

I am using these guides to help me on my journey of discovery. It is not always safe easy, but it is definitely more fulfilling. How about you?

  • How can you archetypes help you understand yourself better?
  • Do you get to express the archetypes that truly call you?
  • Can you see the shadow forms of any archetypes in your life?
  • How would you apply this model to design a life that integrates your outer and inner worlds?

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