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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?

© Org Whisperers 2010. All rights reserved.


Ravi Verma
Post by Ravi Verma
December 12, 2010
Ravi Verma is a Public Speaker, Agile Coach, Professional Scrum Trainer, Evidence-Based Management Consultant, and Blogger passionate about helping teams recapture the magic of making IT. As the Founder and CEO at Org Whisperer, Ravi blends ideas from the world of Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Organizational Development to develop strong teams and inspiring leaders at all levels of an organization. He recently co-founded his second startup - Al Dente, a platform that helps Agile coaches and organizations empirically improve business outcomes with Agile delivery frameworks like Scrum. 

Ravi has around 25 years of Software Delivery and Consulting Experience, including Agile Enablement for companies ranging from 10 people to 10,000 people. He is able to earn the trust and respect of C-Level executives and help them understand how the application of Agile Principles, Values, and Practices can become a powerful means to achieving sustainable competitive advantage.

Ravi has a Bachelors Degree in Computer Engineering from R.V.C.E., Bangalore, and a Masters in Entrepreneurship from SMU, Dallas. Ravi received a Certificate in Organizational Development from DePaul University and Linkage Inc. and is an MBTI Certified Practitioner, with a Certificate in Advanced Conflict Resolution from Kilmann Diagnostics. He has also been trained in facilitating workshops for leading organizational change based on the book “Leading Bold Change” by Dr. John Kotter workshops.