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The Conscious Archetype: Using Awareness to Gain Abundance

February 21, 2012


Research and experience has show that the surest way to becoming wealthy in this country is to become an entrepreneur. Though this path holds great risk, with most businesses failing within their first five years, those who do succeed often provide enough inspiration for the rest of us to brave the dangers in hopes of gaining the riches. The psychological concept of archetypes, brought into the mainstream by Dr. Carl Gustav Jung gives insight into the behaviors of people of all kinds, including successful entrepreneurs. This paper shows the reader how to use the understanding of archetypes to unlock the secrets of accomplished entrepreneurs while presenting a model which can be used to evaluate one’s own thoughts and actions in comparison. It further goes to detail the evolution of business from the older profit-centered, mechanistic model, to the more service-interested, conscious model, holding promise for those individuals who are seeking to work with greater awareness and responsibility. It concludes by presenting a new model for business, one which seeks to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle not just for profit and contribution, but for personal discovery, self-expression and fulfillment.









 The Conscious Archetype: Using Awareness to Gain Abundance

            As I have traveled extensively and lived throughout the world, it has become abundantly clear to me that one of the characteristics which distinguishes my U.S. homeland from the rest of the world is its dominance by capitalism. Even when I have lived in countries that are remarkably capitalistic in their own right, such as Singapore, there is still a pervasive belief among natives that the attitude witnessed there is a direct result of our Western influence. It is hard for anyone to debate that this country is one for the individualist, seeking to find his or her way to a personal pot of gold. Survey’s of today’s teens has shown that most expect to be rich one day (Morin, 2005). And these beliefs in potential riches are really nothing new, for stories abound of immigrants coming to this country with nothing more than a few dollars and a dream and finding their destiny in this land of opportunity (Caggiano, 2006). It is partially due to stories such as these that Americans are so eager to dream of riches themselves and to seek them out through participation in business.

Though there are many ways of becoming wealthy in this country, such as working into a high paying executive position, winning the lottery or inheriting a large sum from some distant relative, experts in the field seem to agree that, by far and away, the most common way to get rich is through becoming a successful entrepreneur (Tracy, n.d.). Entrepreneurship allows for individual talents, desires and beliefs to find a common point of expression in such a way as to receive an exchange from others for that expression. Yet, despite the fact that going into business for oneself holds such promise for creating wealth, it is also true that this road presents great risk. There are many obstacles facing new entrepreneurs and their businesses, and the U.S. Small Business Administration reported that, for various reasons, over half of them fail within their first year of operation and nearly 100% go down within five. (Longley, n.d.). Therefore, despite the fact that many people realize that others have built impressive businesses and seek this for themselves, there is no guarantee they will find similar success. This creates an interesting challenge because while the means and opportunities exist to become rich through entrepreneurship, when considering the numbers above, it seems almost magical that anyone succeeds at all. This challenge leaves many aspiring entrepreneurs wondering, why does it seem like some are destined to succeed in business while others seem doomed to fail? Because of this question, and because this question is so important to the maintenance and growth of our capitalistic culture, much has been done to try to identify key personality traits and actions common to successful entrepreneurs.

Over the years, in order to stay competitive, companies and entrepreneurial individuals have developed new models of business which attempt to align themselves with the newest findings of social scientists and psychologists. Organizational psychology, which is the study of the relational dynamics within an organization, is a booming field. Many universities, such as John F. Kennedy, now offer organizational psychology bachelors, masters and even doctorate level degrees. As a fusion of traditional psychological and business theory, organizational psychology has birthed new business models and also has helped to shed light on the question of why business success often seems so intermittent. Whereas traditional business theory studied production and distribution systems, the introduction of psychology has turned our attention to the minds of the people within the business for the answers to its success or failure.

While it is true that organizational psychology has given us many new ways to look at business, it is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss all of these in detail. In fact, entire books have been written on singular aspects of business such as leadership style (Beck, 2001). For the purposes of this discussion, I will focus on an area of particular importance to those who are seeking to develop and understand themselves as entrepreneurs. Gaining such understanding may be some of the most essential work one can do to ensure future business success.

In the early 1900s, a psychologist by the name of Carl Jung first started to advance the idea of archetypes to explain human behavior (Card, n.d.). An archetype is a pattern of action existing in nature, which has distinct characteristics, behaviors and manners of expression. While archetypes can also apply to explain the dynamics of concrete entities such as businesses, they can also describe the behavior of abstract items such as ideas. In this paper, archetypes are applied only to people and therefore the term is used synonymously with personality. In psychology, archetypes help to predict and explain behavior because, as just mentioned, archetypes follow a pattern as they express. Archetypes then can be helpful in answering our question above because they hold the possibility of shedding light on the dynamic that may be operating in successful entrepreneurs, which may then be studied and imitated by those looking to find success for themselves. Herein lies the major theme of this research: to identify an entrepreneurial personality for all looking to increase their opportunities for success in entrepreneurship through personal awareness and self-discovery.

In the course of this study I delve much deeper into the subject of archetypes, what they are, how they have been used traditionally within psychology, and how they are now finding application within business circles. I examine how understanding certain archetypes can be helpful in reaching one’s professional goals by looking at an archetype that applies specifically to entrepreneurs. I also present a model for comparing oneself to the entrepreneurial archetype in order to find what abilities may be as yet unexpressed but useful to entrepreneurial achievement. After that the discussion expands to include a larger look at business as being composed of evolving organizations which seek to find a competitive edge through using new technologies and findings from the social sciences. I draw a distinction between older profit and loss models of doing business and newer consciousness centered models which focus on societal contribution, environmental balance, and employee, customer and client fulfillment. Next, I introduce an example of a thriving company which has actually built itself on the latter philosophy of conscious business practices. This company serves as proof of how business is changing today as a result of human-centered awareness being used in the workplace. Finally, I suggest a new paradigm for entrepreneurs which empowers them to use self-awareness as the basis for business and financial success. As a result of this paper, both current and aspiring entrepreneurs will understand how to better prepare themselves for success in our changing marketplace.


            The idea of archetypes has existed since before Jung introduced the idea within the context of psychology. The Greek and Roman gods represented recurring characteristics of man that had been observed throughout time (Encarta, 2006). The Western and Eastern systems of astrology also capture models of human behavior that seem to cycle with the movement of the planets. In fact, Jung (1962) actually referred to astrological models as representing “the summation of the psychological knowledge of antiquity” (p. 142). What Jung did differently was take the concept of archetypes beyond the realm of stories and parables and into the domain of science.

Jung actually used archetypes as a means to understand his patients and their traumas (Gale Group, 2001). In his work, he uncovered many different archetypes but most strongly established a few archetypal patterns of behavior – the self, the shadow, the anima and the animus (Boeree, 2006). To provide a better understanding of how archetypes operate, it may help to take a quick look into the characteristics of each of these patterns.

The self archetype shows our personality perfected. As opposed to us being caught up in a world of duality, the self is characterized by finding a harmonious balance among opposites (Boeree, 2006). It is the type of personality we encounter when a person is most at peace. This archetype is embodied in the great spiritual leaders, such as Jesus who the Bible describes as being as comfortable directing his ministry towards prostitutes as to holy men (Matthew 21:31, 32). The Buddha also fits into this category, as seen by his frequent teachings of the necessity to transcend opposites in order to see the essential unity of all things (Hanh, 1997). Both of these men are talked about as being equanimous, self-assured, and exceptionally loving despite external circumstances. There are times when we all channel this energy. Christians call it being Christ-like while Buddhists call it living with the Buddha heart, but Jung described the experience as the archetype of the self.

The shadow is that energy responsible for action which escapes our consciousness and seems fateful, unpredictable and uncontrollable. All basic survival and reproductive urges fall under this archetype. Because its source remains unseen, the shadow’s surprising actions also explain our capacity for what we call evil (Boeree, 2006). It is represented powerfully by the concept of the devil. The devil is all those things that man is incapable of facing within his own self and therefore seeks to project externally. Although Jung described the shadow as being amoral, just expressing out of instinctual drives, our insistence on duality causes us to see the shadow as bad, something to be avoided, repressed and overcome. Anytime unconscious urges manifest in our behavior in such a way as to upset our self-image or world image (e.g., an uncharacteristic demonstration of road rage upon being cut-off in rush hour traffic), we see the presence of the shadow. The shadow wishes to be revealed and integrated, but because it is the part of ourselves that we bury and turn away from, it expresses in ways which we often find sudden and painful.

The anima and animus represent female and male tendencies respectively. These are not necessarily male and female in terms of gender but more along the lines of the Chinese concept of yang and yin, aggressive and receptive. The anima is the mother, the daughter, that energy which seeks to nurture and be nurtured and is able to connect with knowledge superceding logic and reason. The animus is the aggressive force within us that seeks order and expression through directly physical channels (Boeree, 2006). Using somewhat exaggerated examples for the sake of illustration, Mother Teresa, who made it her life work to take in, care for and nurture those in need, embodied of the anima, while Malcolm X, who aggressively sought equality for African Americans, sometimes through forcible means, portrayed the animus energy. Again, neither of these energies is specifically male or female in the sense of gender, but rather they depict behavior that could be considered aggressive or receptive in either gender.

As stated earlier, Jung discovered many other archetypes such as the hero, the mother, the wise old man and the trickster, but for the rest of this paper, I focus on those particular archetypes that lend themselves to application in the business world and which are of special interest to entrepreneurs.

The King and the Entrepreneur

            In the practice of psychology, archetypes assist in the understanding and discernment of the behavioral patterns exhibited by clients. A commonly used archetype is the king, which can be described as

the part of us that attempts to establish lawful order and moral virtue by developing and asserting our individuality and authority. Our King makes clear distinctions between “right” and “wrong” and addresses social problems and issues with clear, discriminating thinking about moral ideals such as justice and freedom. It is King energy that devises, enacts, and enforces rules via a hierarchy of authority, whether in business, law, education, government, or the family. (Raffa, 1999, ¶ 3)

By applying an understanding of the kind of behaviors a king typically expresses, a therapist can evaluate a client who seems to be exhibiting king-like behaviors and predict what issues might be causing an internal conflict. Someone having problems over perceptions of injustice in her life may be overly attached to king ideals. This realization could cause a therapist familiar with the archetype to help her healthily reframe the perceptions using the perspective of a grounded and confident king. In short, it gives the therapist a way to meet the client on her own terms, seeing the world as she sees it. Archetypes are universal; that is, they transcend geography, gender, age, time, even life (Agatucci, 2005; Jett, n.d.). As such, they provide a tremendous blueprint for understanding behavior. Furthermore, archetypes are extremely fluid, meaning that although a person may tend to exhibit behavior fitting a certain type most often, every action is still subject to its own evaluation within an archetypal context. This is important because it basically gives any practitioner skilled in the understanding of archetypes a way to assess the deeper motivations behind an individual’s actions, thoughts and feelings.

The king archetype is used here for an important reason. In a very simple sense what a business owner or CEO does can be compared to what the ruler of a kingdom does. A king has his subjects, his national goals, his advisors, his wealth, his military and his image. An entrepreneur has his employees, his financial plans, his chief officers, his budget, his security department, and his brand. In a real way, today’s entrepreneurs are the very embodiment of the king archetype which makes it indispensable for understanding their behavior, good and bad. It is at this point that the concept of archetypes starts to make a difference for the average businessperson. This is also where the concept starts to get a bit more esoteric. An archetype is a habit of action in nature, which means that if we see a person exhibiting what we call king-like behavior, they are channeling that particular energy which we call the king archetype. However, we only call it the king archetype because the king is a very commonly expressed and known manifestation of that energetic pattern. Today, if we were to rename the archetype, we could just as well call it the CEO or entrepreneur archetype because more people might relate to that descriptor than to a monarch. The king himself is not the archetype; rather, he is just a common expression of that archetype, a simple descriptive label. This is a very important designation because it basically states that it is not the station that makes the king, it is the actions. Therefore, anyone who acts like a king is manifesting the king archetype, or perhaps more appropriate for our discussion, the entrepreneur archetype.

Just as with kings of times past, some may believe that quality leaders are just born that way. While it may be true that some show natural gifts towards creativity and leadership early in life, they still have to practice and apply those skills in a systematic way to become great leaders. By observing the qualities and practices of strong leaders, we come to see the various manifestations of this archetype. These manifestations hold the key to success for aspiring entrepreneurs and the key to growth for established entrepreneurs. An archetype is like a script that can be followed. Once an archetype is understood, it is as if you have unlocked a secret code. In this case, the code is the mind of the successful entrepreneur. There is a pattern of energy that all of these entrepreneurs are consciously or unconsciously channeling which is facilitating their accomplishments. This knowledge is more than what one gains by just picking some successful businessperson and seeking to imitate his or her behavior. This is a deep internal awareness that comes from realizing that there are common elements underlying the success of all businesspeople which can be adapted to your personal situation.

It is important to note that some Jungian psychologists talk about archetypes as having a full, balanced expression and also an incomplete shadow side expression. In the case of the king, the shadow side can be exemplified by the tyrant who is destructive instead of creative and exploitative instead of supportive (Moore, 1993). History has provided us a long list of both beloved kings and tyrants, and today’s business world has given us almost as many examples of strong, creative entrepreneurs as selfish, destructive ones. In order to get the most use out of this archetypal model, you must understand the manifestations of both sides of this archetype.

The obvious question then is how does one harness such energy and translate it into positive action? The first step is to become strongly acquainted with and able to recognize the qualities, both good and bad, of the king/entrepreneur archetype. After that, to make sure you know your starting point, it is necessary to make a realistic inventory of your personal attributes, desires and dispositions. You then compare those to the archetypal qualities which will allow you to discern where you may be lacking as an entrepreneur and how you might improve. The third step is to make a plan for implementing practices which will allow you to start nurturing those aspects of the entrepreneur which are still undeveloped in your attitude and behavior. And of course, the final step is to execute and evaluate, taking the proper actions while constantly checking on your forward progress. To assist you in this process, what follows is a closer look into the qualities of the king archetype. This explanation will allow you to use the above steps to evaluate your own thinking and behavior to assess where you may be strong or lacking according to the archetype. As you read, it may also be helpful to reflect on how other entrepreneurs you know compare, to gain an even deeper understanding of how the archetype manifests in real life.

The foremost theorist on the king archetype is Jungian analyst Robert Moore. Dr. Tallman (2003) summarized some of Moore’s work as he describes the qualities of the king

Noble … high ethical standards … magnanimous … digni[fied] … genero[us] … above lowness and meanness … concerned for the welfare of all those below him … not threatened … at peace … responsible for the success or failure of the organization … does not shirk, blame others or make up excuses … keeps the big picture … represents stability … neither fickle nor rigid … has a vision for his organization and relentlessly pursues it … equanimous … develops their talents and rewards genuine achievement … goes out of his way to make each one feel important … just and fair, does not play favorites, physically, mentally and spiritually well … prosperous in an ethical way … rules by respect and love rather than force. (p. 4)

As a point of contrast, consider also a few more qualities of the shadow king:

The Tyrant leader is fearful and suspicious … condescending … rule[d] by fear … disordered … uncentered … prioriti[zes] around himself and his own prosperity … threatened by the power of others … constantly fears a ‘palace coup’ … suppress[es], transfer[s], fire[s] all those who he perceives as a threat … , self-aggrandiz[ing] … easily slighted … wants adoration and worship … ruthless … intimidat[ing] … ignore[s] injustices or justif[ies] injustice through twisted thinking … over-controlling and authoritarian. (Tallman, 2003, p. 5)

As stated earlier, by studying these qualities carefully and then committing to implement the positive attributes while carefully steering clear of the negative attributes, you can start to walk the path of many successful leaders throughout history.

By doing a thorough assessment of your skills and behaviors you can make a significant impact not only on yourself, but on your business, which potentially includes the lives of many people. This is no small feat because it also makes an impact on the business community as a whole. There are many books available which promise to improve leadership abilities through adherence to a particular expert’s system as well as many that detail how to navigate your way through particular industries, but what is much more difficult to find are guides which advise you to deeply know yourself first, before subjecting an entire kingdom to your reign. Strong, effective, respected leaders take the time for personal development, especially as it applies to their business and social skills, constantly seeking out other exemplary leaders from whom they can learn and associate. The king archetype, because it is simply a pattern of behavior found in nature unbounded by time or place, has been at the core of successful leaders since before the era of kings and will continue beyond the time of CEOs. The archetype will always be there to inform and to guide even when and where books and even other people are not available. Native people did and still do look to nature to find examples of how to behave as a human. The Native Americans consider the bear, the cougar, and especially the eagle, excellent examples of leadership and use their qualities as a basis for their own conduct. (Burke, 2006; California Raptor Center, 2002) The point here is that archetypes are beyond fads, systems, theories, experts and conventions; they are the foundation of all of these and why they are able to exist. If you are looking to become more successful as an entrepreneur, or to begin on the road to success, start first by seeking to understand the natural patterns of leadership that are expressing all around you and work to bring yourself in line with the qualities you observe. Once you are in sync with the archetypes, you will be able to create your own system, form your own theories and chart your own path through the unexplored territories of the business world. You start with a compass and then build a map.

Conscious Business – A New Paradigm

            Business in this country, and the world, was significantly changed during the Industrial Revolution. Before mechanization, work was done using basic man, animal and naturally powered tools such as hammers, plows and waterwheels. Men dominated work requiring physical labor. But machines brought a new precision and efficiency to work that could not be matched by these older methods. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly for our purposes, machines allowed for a lower level of skill in the average worker, which created huge growth in the workforce. With machines increasingly being able to compensate for the inabilities of the workers, industrial managers were able to find capable employees in places previously not possible. Suddenly, women and children could work alongside able-bodied men, and in many cases, with just as much effectiveness and efficiency (Hooker, 1996; Montagna, 2006).

In this new, much less limited, technological environment, many of the laws that had once governed production no longer seemed to apply. On the farm, for example, no matter what types of tools or workers were used, production was still subject to the cycles of the seasons, the daily weather, as well as the health of the soil and the crops. The same applied to people working in the business of animal husbandry who despite great methods or tools would still be limited by animal lifecycles, health and fertility. Even those people involved in merchant trades still had recognize the bounds of their ability to craft or find new wares to sell which maintained a certain level of quality while also managing the limits of their energy and health for continued work. However, as mentioned earlier, machines could compensate for the limits of people, and in some cases it seemed, even for the limits of nature. A machine created to weave could do the work of several laborers at once, with the added benefit of only having to be concerned with the maintenance of one machine, not the health of several humans (Hooker, 1996). Through technology, lights could replace sunlight in food production and animals husbandry. Fertilizers and machines could allow crops to grow in cycles and places dictated by the human producer not the earth (Montagna, 2006). These unprecedented developments also brought with them a new mindset for employees and entrepreneurs, a mindset that has continued beyond the Industrial Revolution and into our present day.

Because of machines, managers could begin to turn their focus towards pure production and profit, or as we put it today, the bottom line. Entrepreneurs, managers and workers no longer had to worry considerably about the quality or consistency of the product; the machines took care of that challenge (Hooker, 1996). In addition, the human workforce had increased so dramatically that people, like machines, could easily be replaced. After all of those traditional problems were solved, the only obstacle to greater profits was the efficiency of operations. With this change of focus, workers increasingly found themselves burdened with the expectations of machine-like efficiency. They were required less and less to think and interact, as the jobs were made very simple, specialized and routine, which in turn required more and more management to maintain the continuity of the entire operation (Nardinelli, n.d.). In this structure, knowledge of the operation came from the top-down whereas previously it had been in the hands of the person directly handling the production of the product, such as a farmer or artisan. To further improve consistency of operations, just as the machines were assigned blind tasks to repetitively fulfill, workers were also given basic, unquestionable instructions which they were expected to follow. Efficiency replaced creativity, and control replaced autonomy. With higher production output capacity and lower production costs, profits were being realized such as had never been seen before (Porter, 2006). With the promise of such unparalleled profits staring would-be entrepreneurs in the face, the race was on to see who could create products and operations as efficiently as possible so as to realize the greatest profits. This atmosphere of competitive business was the beginning of the profit-first model we see in many businesses today.

As the efficiency-centered spirit of the Industrial Revolution evolved into our day, it spawned increasingly sophisticated operational models. “McDonaldization” is a term now used by lay person and expert alike to describe the elaborate systems, procedures and controls used by some companies to produce a certain consistency of products throughout the world. This term comes from the McDonald’s corporation which has prided itself on its a high level of standardization, having rules and accountability for every resource that comes through their restaurant, governing even how many ounces of cleaning fluid an employee should use in their bathrooms (Ritzer, 2004). But this exacting method of operation has drawn much criticism, and some who feel business should be conducted differently have started to create companies which use a markedly different approach to commerce.

While the Industrial Revolution helped us to find the means to produce at a level many had never dreamed imaginable, it also had the hugely negative side effect of making many lose touch with the human aspect of the production. The destructive effects of this era can be seen even today because the profit and efficiency oriented model of business is still the primary method of operation. This model has produced hundreds of what are now almost clichéd stories of mass layoffs due to downsizing and implementing more cost-effective and efficient technologies to replace more expensive workers (Uchitelle & Kleinfield, 1996). The efficiency approach has ignored and underutilized the one resource that many entrepreneurs today are claiming to be the most important tool businesses have, the creativity and loyalty of their workers. However, there is movement within business today which seeks to restore the balance between production and people, a movement some have called “conscious business” (Kofman, 2006). Instead of technology and procedure, conscious business relies on personal awareness and the creative power of people to create economic value. As opposed to being a complete redirection of the methods that grew out of the Industrial Revolution, the conscious business approach is more of an evolution of those ideas.

When efficiency is the primary focus, the desire is to get as much out for as little in as possible. Therefore, as it applies to machines, you work it as long as you can with as little maintenance as necessary in order to reap the greatest profit from its production. Because human workers are often seen as just another tool of production, they too find themselves being worked according to the machine model. But the conscious business paradigm suggests that we recognize that humans have potential far beyond even complex machines and that this potential can pave the way for still greater advances in efficiency and productivity. This approach then, like the efficiency centered model, still looks to get goods to the market at the lowest cost and with the highest profits, but the primary difference is the idea that people can produce even more and be more effective when they are allowed to use their natural gifts and talents. The conscious business model still seeks to get as much as possible out of every worker, but it does this by attempting to evoke the full range of a person’s abilities (Kofman, 2006). Essential to this model therefore, is the need for workers and managers who are in tune with who they are what they have to offer. In other words, the conscious business model has created the need for self-aware and personally responsible people in positions of responsibility. Entrepreneurs operating out of the conscious business model look to their workers for valuable input, realizing that the collective minds of those on the front lines far outweigh their own ability to creatively problem solve. Such entrepreneurs also realize that workers who believe that they are being fully utilized and appreciated for their diverse abilities are far more likely to make significant and consistent contributions to their company than those who believe they are not. Therefore they seek to find ways to connect personally with their employees so they can understand exactly what motivates them to be their best.

Those companies which have made the switch to or established themselves from the beginning as conscious are often pointed to as examples of the future of business. We take a look now at one particularly notable example to emphasize the importance of expanding one’s perspective to include the consciousness model in order to stay competitive and be successful as an entrepreneur today.

Southwest Airlines is recognized as being one of the most influential companies in the industry, significantly changing the ways airlines have done business since its inception in 1971 (Ritter & Jenkins, 2004). From the beginning they have had a unique approach to doing business which has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and lectures. What is so unique about their business model? Let the founder and former CEO, Herb Kellerher (1997) explain:

We’ve always believed that business can and should be fun. At far too many companies,            when you come into the office you put on a mask. You look different, talk different, act         different — which is why most business encounters are, at best, bland and impersonal. But we try not to hire people who are humorless, self-centered, or complacent, so when they      come to work, we want them, not their corporate clones. They are what makes us         different, and in most enterprises, different is better. (¶ 4)

This people-first attitude is also responsible for their unorthodox advertising which in the past has featured slogans about how Southwest “loves” its customers, such as “How do we love you? Let’s count the ways” and “We are spreading love” (Schwartz, 2006). As Kellerher mentioned above, humor is a big part of what Southwest looks for in new employees, asking questions like “Tell me how you recently used your sense of humor in a work environment?” in interviews (Friedberg & Friedberg, 1997). Southwest’s philosophy is the perfect example for the conscious business model. But how effective is this philosophy in terms of dollars and cents? In the early 90s, when the rest of the airline industry experienced a 12.8 billion dollar loss, Southwest alone recorded profits. In fact Southwest is the only airline to record profits every single year since 1973 (Friedberg & Friedberg, 1997). And the success of Southwest does not stop at income. From 1992 to 1996, the company won and unprecedented 5 Triple Crown Award from the Department of Transportation which means that each year they were the first among all airlines in being on time, protecting baggage, and having fewer customer complaints (Schwartz, 2006). More amazing still is the fact that Southwest’s employees are the most efficient in the industry (serving twice as many customers as the next closest airline), yet they still post among the lowest employee turnover numbers in the industry. It is no wonder they have been voted in the top 100 companies to work for in the US (Friedberg & Friedberg, 1997). The attitude which has created this environment is one which stands in stark contrast to the paradigm of mechanistic control that began during the Industrial Revolution.

Again, Kellerher (1997) elaborated

If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control …         the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing         basis, the fewer hierarchs and control mechanisms you need … We’re not looking for        blind obedience. We’re looking for people who on their own initiative want to be doing    what they’re doing because they consider it to be a worthy objective. (¶ 5-6)

These words hold an excellent lesson for all entrepreneurs seeking greater success through unleashing the human potential within their company. Remember, this new conscious model of doing business is about contribution, both to customers and employees, which means the leader of the organization must be the model of service, looking for ways to empower these groups, not control them. Southwest has shown that not only is control of people unnecessary, but it is actually counterproductive in running a successful operation. Their vast army of happy workers and customers serves as further proof that this is true. Southwest showed great human self-awareness by building caring, heart, fun and personality into their business plan. In so doing they created a multi-million dollar empire that serves as an example to the entire business world.

In today’s competitive business environment, it is becoming increasingly clear that seeking profits without fully tapping the full human resources of a company is no longer enough (Gordon, 1999). Not only that, but people are not as willing to work anymore in environments where they feel on par with the manufacturing equipment. Expectations are higher both of employees and employers which is prompting everyone to step back and take a look at what they truly have to offer. Knowing whether or not you as an entrepreneur have the qualities necessary to be an effective and efficient leader could be aided by evaluating yourself thoroughly against the entrepreneurial archetype. The older industrial models of employer-employee relations gave little to no attention to introspection for the purposes of improving the bottom line of the company. The conscious business approach encourages self-awareness as a direct means of gaining personally essential self-knowledge to serve the ends of your company. Therefore this new business model is perfectly in line with the type of self-reflection encouraged by this research. By committing to practice and embody the archetypal qualities demonstrated time and again by successful entrepreneurs, you can make a huge difference in your life and the lives of your employees. You will likely notice your desire increasing to help your employees feel as fulfilled as possible in their work, just as you seek to be deeply fulfilled in your own. Most importantly, you can find yourself being able to get the most out of your workforce by giving them what they look for most in a company and employer.

A New Vision for Business

            Churches operate according to a non-profit business model. Charities and other social programs also operate according to a non-profit business model. What often goes unrealized, however, is that all of these organizations can actually be substantially profitable (Billitteri, et al, 1999). Because of this misconception, and because non-profit organizations also include some of the country’s most important universities, social programs, and hospitals (which are often seen as essential to the public good), it is not uncommon to hear that non-profits are somehow more virtuous and public-centered than for-profit companies. It is not hard to understand when one is comparing Save the Children to Microsoft how someone might believe the former more deserving of social praise. That brings up the question then, is a non-profit really more socially beneficial than a for-profit? Though Microsoft sells its products hoping to gain a profit so that the company can grow (as do non-profits), where would the world be without the technology Microsoft has pioneered, technology which has, in large part, made possible the existence of so many of these non-profits? The point here is that the virtue of a product or service depends not on who delivers it, nor whether it is delivered for profit or for free, but the degree to which a good or service is of benefit to the peoples for whom it is intended.

What follows is a new idea for entrepreneurs, a new way of seeing yourself within the business world. It is for those men and women who have the desire to create sustainable, profitable and virtuous organizations for the betterment of society, and more importantly, as a means to express their deepest gifts and talents in order to share them with the world. Following the lead of the consciousness movement within business, it is time to bring together personal good and public good. Instead of seeing your business as simply a way to make money, it is time to consider it as a vehicle for self-discovery. By doing so, you open up the possibility for your business to become a channel through which both you and the public can find and manifest their fullest potential, which, I believe, is the most significant work any of us can do.

Assessing oneself according to an entrepreneurial archetype is simply a way to get in touch with who you are as an entrepreneur. It is an important step, but it is really only a first step. In order for this step to truly gain power, the personal information gained must be put into practical application, for business is a practical science. Just as an artist shows her mind, beliefs, gifts and individuality through creative expressions, so too is business an expressive medium for the entrepreneur. Your business is an extension of yourself, whether you are aware of it or not. This is what makes the first step of knowing oneself so important because we are completely reflected in the things we create. Those who are not aware of this truth often produce negative results in their lives which seem unexplainable to them, like parents baffled by the actions of their unruly children whose behavior is a direct reflection of their own bad habits. Just as with families and relationships, it is possible to do great good through the creation of a business. But if as an entrepreneur you have not made yourself fully aware of your personal shadow, you will only perpetuate those unseen parts of yourself on a much grander scale. Jung is commonly quoted as saying, “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate”.

The importance of determining whether or not you have the entrepreneurial personality has already been established therefore, this new model for entrepreneurs begins with a thorough self evaluation. One of the primary ways we learn about ourselves is by doing. For entrepreneurs then, business becomes a direct source of personal understanding. There can be potential problems however, if as an entrepreneur, your level of self-knowledge is relatively low upon starting your business. Though you will still learn about yourself, your talents and your failings, so will your entire company. Furthermore, your failings will immediately become your employees’ and customers’ problems as well. To avoid this damage, you will want to have a strong connection with yourself before you begin your business. This does not mean that you have to become a completely enlightened individual before you found a company, but you do want to have put in some time getting to know yourself apart from an organization.

One of the easiest places to start is with an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths are wasted when they are either not realized or expressed while our weaknesses create great problems when they slip through the cracks in our awareness. To help bring both of these to light, start by considering what deeply moves you as a person and what stands in your way of expressing that passion. Your passion is the gateway to your desires and gifts. Ask yourself, “apart from owning and operating businesses, what other things rouse my spirit and enthusiasm? During what kind of activities do I notice a high degree of happiness and fulfillment in myself? If I could be doing anything, and money were no object, what would I spend my day doing?” Even if being an entrepreneur is your greatest high, there is still something more there that longs to be expressed. For example, although a performer’s biggest love is performing, he or she is also roused by the content of the performances. One may find great joy in doing comedy while others go out of their way to be in or create pieces that address those social issues which are closest to their hearts. Even when people are not particularly talented at the things they love, because they love them, they have no problems spending countless hours immersed in them, which eventually brings out a level of skill sufficient to find success in that endeavor. Connecting with what makes you feel alive brings out a power in you that constitutes your most valuable gift to the world. By understanding these strengths, and owning them, you can then give them away.

But as mentioned earlier, passion and strengths are only of use when they are not blocked, and our weaknesses present the biggest obstacles to that expression. Hence, as you ask yourself the questions above, it is also important to consider the following questions: “What are the most frequent complaints I have heard loved ones express about me? What comes up in my mind when I notice myself shrinking back from pursuing what I really want? What habits, ideas, or beliefs are often at the source of my contentions with others? What thoughts come up when I am at my most frustrated?” If you do not know the answers to these questions, it means that you are not in touch with your shadow side. This ignorance, if allowed to continue, is guaranteed to be revealed within your business, just as an ignored flat tire is guaranteed to be revealed on the road. Immeasurable money and manpower can be lost if you do not face those personal issues that can lead to poor business decisions. Even the best business plan can still be displaced by your unconscious reactions to fear and pain, making this work of self-inspection an essential part of being a successful entrepreneur.

Once you have invested the time in personal introspection, the next step is to find a means to share what you have with the world. Even though it may seem like doing what you love is primarily benefiting yourself, a closer look reveals that it may also be the most selfless act you can do. Just as you have fingerprints which distinguish you from all other human beings, so too does your unique combination of gifts and abilities. Though having a unique fingerprint may seem unimportant, it is important to realize that no one can authentically express that fingerprint in the entire world but you. Taking this analogy a step further, based on your uniqueness as a human being, you have a combination of skills and talents which does not exist in any other human anywhere on Earth. This understanding of your individuality brings with it an essential responsibility because it means that you are the only one on Earth who has the capacity to express that exclusive positive combination. To state it more clearly, you have a unique gift that is uniquely yours to give. By sharing it with the world, you are giving away the most special part of yourself. This is the essence of selflessness.

It is important to note here that selflessness can, and must, coincide with self-interest. Notice that self-interest is not selfishness. Selfishness is acting with concern only for oneself. Acting with self-interest acknowledges the desire within yourself, but it does not mean acknowledging only yourself. Even the Mother Teresas of the world, who shine as examples of selfless giving, still operate out of the personal interest of relieving the suffering of humankind; because their self-interest coincides with their charitable actions, the world benefits. Even though it may not seem like their first motivation, givers always act out of the personal desire to give first, which then results in a benevolent act.

Making profits in your business can either be a selfish or a selfless act. Because the nature of existence is flow (try breathing in without breathing out), selfish profits cannot be sustained indefinitely. A truly successful business must create value for its employees and customers while serving the financial, creative and contributing interests of its creators and supporters. As shown above, it is impossible to engage in selfless giving without benefiting both parties. The challenge then becomes creating a genuinely selfless business. Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to lay down all of the details for such an adventure, the place to start is with your unique gifts and desires. Once you have a connection with those things you desire most to give, the question is only how to deliver them to your customers. Profits are the natural result of a valuable service well delivered.

It is helpful at this stage to meet with friends, family, trusted advisors, mentors or even potential customers to determine how to find your market. Outsiders are often able to see your product or service in ways that you cannot, which allows them to be valuable resources for developing unique methods of marketing and distribution. No business exists without a strong support structure; there is no such thing as a one-man show. In his book, “The Millionaire Mind”, organizational consulting expert Thomas Stanley (2000) reported from interviews with thousands of self-made millionaires that having a team of advisors is a critical part of their success. Translating desire into reality, especially for a profit, is likely to be the most difficult part of this entire process, which makes having people to help guide and inform you an indispensable part of your entrepreneurial success. In fact, when analyzing the causes of the overwhelming number of small business failures, researchers have shown that many of the top pitfalls could have been avoided with the help of experienced advisors (Longley, n.d.). Of course, sidestepping mistakes of ignorance becomes even more critical when you frame them within the context of missing the opportunity to share your unique gifts with those who need them most.

Finally, no matter how many times it has been stated before, it can never be emphasized enough how important it is to never give up. This process is not just one of building a business but of self-discovery. It is not possible as you are learning about yourself and giving birth to something of such great value that there will not be growing pains along the way. Trials are not only a test of the viability of your business, but the strength of your character and the firmness of your resolve. If you do not see the value in continuing forward despite the constant presence of obstacles, then you have not yet seen the true value of your offering. What’s more, you have not yet proven that you are ready for or worthy of delivering it. It is only by perseverance that you can build within yourself the strength necessary to nurture and protect such a delicate and high-maintenance entity.

Capitalism has been denounced because of its obsession with consumption, accumulation and selfish profit, to the detriment of natural resources, people and the environment. I believe this great imbalance is the result of trying to hold to a paradigm whose time is long passed. It is no longer necessary for wealth to be separated from social awareness, contribution, meaning or fulfillment. But in order for it to be different, it is essential to make a critical evaluation of thoughts and actions which might serve to grow this chasm. People hurt people when they act without awareness. Groups of people acting without awareness create greater damage still. A destructive business cannot exist without the blindness of large groups of ignorant people to support it. We all come to know ourselves by doing, by living out in the world. Every conversation, every interaction, every moment reveals another part of who we are. That which you do the most will reveal the most. For an entrepreneur, this great illuminator is the business. Use your business to know yourself and use that knowledge to make a positive difference in the world. Whether they believe they do or not, everyone participates in the economy, everyone is responsible for how it positively or negatively impacts the world. The destructive influence of business cannot be blamed on others. We all have the ability to make a difference and it starts by opening our eyes and minds to the attitudes and beliefs that lie within, attitudes and beliefs which are being expressed in every waking hour.

If there is one thing I hope you take away from this discussion, it is that business cannot be conducted responsibly or sustainably without conscious awareness. Understanding the attitudes and actions of those who are successfully operating businesses and seeking to apply these in one’s own life is a major step in the right direction. The next step consists of working to embody this archetype so that you in turn may serve as an example and inspiration to another generation of entrepreneurs. Real riches come from real contribution. Use your business to make a difference in the world. In so doing, you gain true abundance.


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