I’ve become a little obsessed with archetypes lately.
Archetypes have been around since the time of ancient civilizations and easily carry into how we characterize and perhaps even evaluate people today. When you think about the value of “the first impression,” or in my work, the importance of chemistry, understanding your own archetype and easily identifying that of the person sitting across from you can fuel incredible collaboration.
The amazing thing is we already know a lot about archetypes. We just don’t call them that. We call them personality traits, leadership styles or whatever the latest blog will designate them. Same, same. In fact, you probably already use them in everyday conversation.
Here’s an example.
Ever hear someone describe another person as a queen who always needs to have their way? Or, what if I asked you to think about someone in your life who is an advocate? You probably know a lawyer or two. Olympian? Look at any pro athlete. Healer? How about Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing? Amelia Earhart was both a pioneer and explorer. Hermit, judge or mentor? Chances are you can picture these people or even see yourself as one. Digging deeper into archetypes can reveal a lot about your own natural personality and others.
This has helped me deepen the quality of relationships. By consciously asking what archetypes may be present, I feel like I can meet people halfway and the chemistry is really amazing. Because at the end of the day, people just want to be seen and valued. When they aren’t, conflict happens on a conscious and subconscious level. I struggle when there’s conflict so this method has empowered me to listen more closely at the relationship itself in real time and address stuff early on so it becomes no big deal.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to know if your boss or best friend was a king, warrior or artist? Sure, because then you know what they value more than others. King: to rule, warrior: to fight selflessly or courageously for a cause, artist: self-expression. It’s also important to know if they’re also a bully or a jokester or even a saboteur. Those are archetypes too.
Not every one of my archetypes is sexy or rainbow colored, but they are real and they are mine.
Here’s a fascinating gallery of archetypes from Caroline Myss you should check out if interested. I’m a huge fan.
Let’s face it. Pressures prod at everyone’s layers and some handle situations better than others. Stack an archetype on that (their natural way of being) and even the best relationships that start out strong can buckle if not tended to.
So, if you’re looking for something interesting to explore to help further empower you and your relationships, I’d recommend checking out archetypes. Who knows? You could be looking at a knight or alchemist in the mirror every single day and not even know it!
Image source: Caroline Myss