One of the tools I use for my OD consulting and coaching work is Inner Archetype Search. One of the wonderful gifts archetypes have for us is that they are always there, inside us, and can be awaken or activated, either by external stimuli or through inner work (which, by the way, can be really fun). So, today, I found myself activating my inner ORPHAN, along with my inner LOVER and SEEKER.
Our inner ORPHAN helps us realize that something has been lost, that in certain respect, the world turned out not to be what we thought it was and, especially, the way we thought it was to stay. So, here we are faced already with a form of unwanted change. If we get stuck in the pain, frustration, anger that may be triggered by our loss, our ORPHAN may go the the 'dark side', remain in our shadow and come out in unwanted, unpredictable, and toxic ways. By the way, this applies to all archetypes. But if we accept our ORPHAN's call, and accept the fact that there has been a loss, then we can hear the next thing that our ORPHAN is telling us, which is that we are not alone, it isn't happening just to us, and we don't have to go through it alone. Maybe, even, we shouldn't. That doesn't mean that somebody else will do the work for us. Of course not. It means that, while we do it, we can walk along other ORPHANS who have experienced a similar loss. Probably, by now you are already thinking about certain types of organizations or certain individuals that embody this archetype.
Here is when our inner LOVER may kick in (as mine did this morning). This one can be very straightforward: our inner LOVER takes care of us, wants the best for us, and its voice reminds us that we are worth it, and that we deserve to be in peace and happy. Our inner LOVER is very helpful in keeping us away from self-sabotaging us or self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and actions. If our inner WARRIOR is well and awake, it will push us to wanting to do something. But to do what? That's where our inner SEEKER comes handy. It did for me this morning.
The SEEKER archetype is also quite clear: whenever we feel like we need or want, or have a hunch about the existence of something different, new, unknown, that's our inner SEEKER calling. If we listen to it, then we are giving ourselves the chance to find a way to move forward, to get out of being stuck, to find a new way, the new path that we probably need.
So, this is the background info. Now, what happened today?
It took just a couple of minutes. I was thinking about how tired and disappointed I am of an organization I've been working with for about 18 moths now, and the word "stuck" came to my mind, quite loud and painful. I have very low tolerance for certain types of "stability", especially in settings where stability is not invested in pursuing a dream, fulfilling a purpose. So, here I was, feeling a deep disappointment (here's the loss), and telling myself that I love my other lines of work, the ones I do solo , but there is a part of me that craves team work, team effort, a plural way of giving back to society (societies, in my case), learning and growing in community.
Now, I'm currently working FOR an employer is out of question. First of all, I wouldn't want to, unless I could function as an INTRAPRENEUR with no strings attached, and be able to keep doing my solo work. Second, even if I wanted to, I seem to have been labeled as "not employable" due to my age, plain and simple (more loss here).
At this point of my thinking, I was already fully immerse in my ORPHAN, and here was when the name of three people I know, two in the US and one in Catalonia, came to my mind. They also carry the same "not employable" abel, feeling the same craving for meaningful and purposeful team work ,and at some point, not long ago, found themselves having to (not wanting to, as it was my case), setting up their own solo business. This was my inner ORPHAN telling me 'you are not alone'. I could have stayed there, but I know my inner WARRIOR has been fully active for a long time now, and it took me just seconds to hear my inner SEEKER kicking in, fast and loud, and say to myself: "Why should we all go solo all the time?" "Why should we stay in this partially reactive mode?" "Why couldn't we explore the possibility of setting up a small company, with 4 or 6 of us, half women half men, with the explicit purpose of giving back to society by offering to society added value coming from what makes people like us a gift, a jewell: our age, and everything that comes with it?"
Because yes, we are a gift, a jewell. We are at a point where most people around us are not. We may have already over 20, 25, 30 years of professional experience, and still have other 20, 25 ahead. We have gone, or are going, through our midlife crisis, a unique time of cleaning, renewal, and a chance to become more complete, more who we really can be, each one of us in his or her own way and circumstances. It is not only that society needs us; it is also that we deserve to be needed, appreciated, rightly valued, and sought after. Because we're worth it.
I don't have to tell you that hat was my inner LOVER talking.
Does any of this sound familiar? Most likely, it does. These archetypes are inside all of us, and they may be very quick: it's taken me about an hour and a half to write this, to share with you all about a minute of my thinking. And that's how it works.
You can read about these archetypes, with examples, here:
Blogs We Love
Association of Women in Business Ethiopia AWiB
Live On Your Terms
Living For Purpose