The following exercise is a respectful, effective way to begin any encounter such as a team meeting, a relationship building session, or a conflict management intervention.

According to Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, four patterns or models of behavior–what he called archetypes–dwell inside our psyche. Working with the four archetypes is a powerful way to explore the issues that drive our behavior and bring us fulfillment. The simple exercise of bringing awareness to these parts of us—and accepting their functioning and impact—helps bring focus and legitimacy to our feelings, thoughts, and intentions. The process is simple: each person takes a turn inquiring into, then articulating, what they are experiencing at that moment in each of the archetypes:

  • the Lover, which represents our feelings,
  • the Warrior, which represents our behaviors,
  • the Magician, which represents our thinking,
  • and lastly, the King (for men) and the Queen (for women), or the Sovereign, a convenient gender neutral expression. The Sovereign brings order to our lives, establishes and follows the rules, watches over people, and honors, acknowledges, and blesses people. The Sovereign is addressed at the end of the meeting. It provides a great way to bring closure, clarity, and good will to the encounter, and can strengthen the relationship or team.

I’ve added some inquiry questions with each of the archetypes which can help us go deeper into how the archetype appears in our lives.

LOVER:

How are you feeling? What feeling do you bring to this encounter? Where in your body do you feel it? How intense is it? (Focus on the “big four”: Joy, sadness, anger, and fear. You can refine these feelings if your wish: excitement, grief, guilt, frustration, worry, anxiety, etc.)

WARRIOR:

What are you doing regarding this issue? What are you willing to do? What challenges are you facing?  What energy can you bring to this endeavor? Have you kept your commitments since our last meeting? Have you been accountable to your personal mission and goals? Have you been accountable to your partner(s) (personal and business)? Have you been accountable to team initiatives and promises?

MAGICIAN:

What do you want to address, discuss, and/or work on in this team meeting? What’s the big issue that would make you satisfied, solve your problems, bring contentment, and/or move team goals forward? What are you confused about? What questions do you want to ask?

KING OR QUEEN (at the end of the meeting, just before adjourning):

What are you grateful for? Who in your life or in this meeting do you want to acknowledge? As a King or Queen, whom do you want to bless and bring honor to (this can include you).

By seeing and honoring these archetypes in ourselves and others we build a stronger, more aware team or relationship that can more easily share and accomplish a common goal and intention.