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The 3 Rogue Archetypes that will undermine your leadership

Previously, I described the 9 Illuminated Archetypes of Leadership. I also introduced you to the 9 shadowy counterparts known as the Eclipsed Archetypes. Knowing which set you belong to will give you an unparalleled insight into your own core motivations. It will also shine a spotlight on blindspots you never knew you had.

But regardless of what your core Archetypes is, there are 3 Rogue Archetypes that you should know about. If you allow them to remain in the shadows, these are the 3 things that will continue to undermine your progress every step of the way. But if you can manage the courage to shine the light of awareness on them, you will see that they can answer questions that will make you a better and more successful person.

The Hero’s Journey and Heroic Presence

The metaphor often used to understand the stages of our struggles and successes is Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth or Hero’s Journey. I have developed upon this model to create something that I find to be more useful and relevant which I call Heroic Presence. More on this later, but what you should know is that in each of the 3 stages of Heroic Presence we are held back by these Rogue Archetypes. When you understand these Rogue forces you can become keenly aware of how they are holding you back.

The Rogue’s Gallery of Archetypes

These 3 undermining forces are listed in a specific order because that is how they appear in our lives. First, the Victim, then the Saboteur and finally the Sellout.

The Victim, the Saboteur and the Sellout


Addiction: Envy & Self-Pity

First, we encounter the Victim. Any time you look at the success of another person and begin the phrase, “It must be nice …” that is the Victim speaking. The Victim Archetype is addicted to Envy and instead of encouraging you to find inspiration and ideas in the success of others, it will not let you look beyond both envy and self-pity. In the card above you find the Victim represented at the bottom of the pyramid. This is because as long as we listen to our Victim Archetype, we will never rise to the next level of success and self-development.

Have you ever looked with interest at a leadership opportunity, but quickly disqualified yourself based on a lack of: experience, connections, education, etc. That is the Victim Archetype at work.

Big Question: “Who are you to pursue greatness?”

This is not unlike Marianne Williamson’s great question: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

Which she follows with the more important question: “Actually, who are you not to be?”


Addiction: Control

If we are courageous enough to overcome the envy and self-pity of the Victim Archetype and begin the work we were long ago called to do, we will inevitably meet the Archetype that can undermine the work we have just begun: the Saboteur.

The Saboteur is addicted to Control. What happens when we begin make progress in our journey is that things feel new and chaotic. We start to realize what little control we have along the way. To maintain some semblance of control the Saboteur will throw a metaphorical monkey wrench into the gears of our progress — because even though it may undermine all of the work we have done, sabotage still gives us the illusion of control.

Have you ever received an email offering you an exciting opportunity that you know instinctively you should take, but instead of responding immediately you decide to clear out your inbox? That is a small example of the Saboteur at work.

Big question: “What will you sacrifice to maintain control?”

It takes courage to trade our control for the sometimes chaotic path of progress. But if we can give up some control, we will suddenly be able to trade hustle for flow — allowing ourselves to become the leader the world needs us to be.


Addiction: Comfort

You have finally made it! You have overcome the Victim that squashes your plans before they are fully formed. You have allowed yourself to give up enough control so that your work is not undone by the Saboteur. You now hold a new sense of power. But as Michael Carroll, the Buddhist of Wall Street, phrases it in one of his mind-training slogans, or Lojong: “Power is unnerving.”

If you have ever achieved some level of success and then inexplicably flamed out, this is the work of the Sellout. James Altucher illustrates this in a story he tells of becoming the CEO of a new company and then, instead of embracing this new role, he chooses to lock himself in his office until the whole things falls apart.

The Sellout convinces us to trade our newly-acquired power for some measure of comfort. James chose the comfort of his office instead of living into his new leadership role.

Big question: “What newly-attained power will you trade for some measure of comfort?“ — or asked more directly — “What is the price of your soul?”

If you persevere in your self-awareness and self-development you will see these patterns everywhere in your life and in the lives of others. Pay close attention to these questions, ask them boldly and allow them to guide you on your courageous path.