When leaders look at a new book, program or solution to develop their leadership, they are looking for one or both of the following:
- How to increase strength
- How to minimize weakness
There are endless resources for both of these approaches, but there is a bigger problem here. While many leaders know their strengths intimately, they may only think they know their weaknesses. The reason for this is what is called the blindspot, which I will discuss in detail below.
A New Operating System
Another problem with most leadership resources is that they speak to the leader’s Head (logic), Heart (emotions) or Gut (instinct) — but rarely to all three. In fact, even when the head, heart and gut of the leader are taken into consideration, there is a more fundamental piece missing: the mysterious concept of their essence. What leaders are looking for is not another piecemeal solution, not another checklist, not another breathing exercise, but rather a full-on new Operating System that acknowledges the humanity they know and the mysterious part of them that they don’t know but would like to understand.
Your Archetype Precedes You
What is missing from most leadership resources is the acknowledgment of a foundational aspect of the leader’s personality, their very essence, which I call Archetype. Somewhere between ages 7 months and 7 years, we are all assigned, by nature, nurture, or a mixture of both, to one of 9 core Archetypes and we remain there throughout our lives.
The Archetype is the Essence
What is an Archetype? While it may be difficult to articulate, we know it when we see it. Take Beethoven’s 5th Symphony for example. Whether you are hearing it played by a symphony, a solo pianist or on a telephone’s ringtone, we know exactly what it is. It does not matter if it is played faster or slower than the composer had intended. There is an essence there that transcends the instrument and communicates to us some greater and more fundamental truth.
The same goes for us as leaders. When we walk into a room, it is as if our Archetype precedes us. Maybe it’s the gait of our walk, or the way we style our hair, or the expression on our face, but we are communicating something bigger than any of these individual idiosyncrasies. We do this whether we know it or not, and, in truth, we are often the last to know.
From Stereotype to Archetypes
Archetypes are helpful, Stereotypes are not. Although our life-long Archetype is set in childhood, there is no reason we must remain stuck there. The point of this new Operating System is three-fold:
- to accentuate strengths
- to illuminate blindspots
- to provide greater access to the other 8 Archetypes
Gaining access to these other 8 Archetypes is key. This is what unsticks our energy and keeps us from remaining trapped. When we are trapped within our personality construct we become a Stereotype. We are one-dimensional, predictable, and instead of inspiring love and respect from those around us, we warrant only their disdain and worse, their pity. The bigger our blindspot, the more of a Stereotype we embody.
There are specific exercises and tools for replacing that stereotypical behavior with a strategies that draws on your greatest strength, integrity and resourcefulness. These new strategies move you from a place of struggle into a state of flow.
Accentuating Strengths, Illuminating Blindspots
What if there was a comprehensive Operating System that could highlight in stark detail your most fundamental strengths and how to accentuate them? What if it could also shine a light on your blindspots, bringing awareness to those things you ‘don’t know that you don’t know’?
What I am describing does exist and has existed for thousands of years. Thinking and speaking the languages of symbol and Archetype is nothing new and I believe that it actually holds the key to our success on a physical, emotional, mental and, most importantly, spiritual level.
Become the Light
I hope you will stay tuned as I describe in detail this newly envisioned Operating System with ancient roots. On this path you will discover a new symbolic language that I hope will change your life as much as it has changed mine.
When we align our Head, Heart, Body and Spirit, we are Illuminated and those who are illuminated become the light.