More and more frequently we see headline posts, be it in-house e-zines, newsletters, linked-in or social media, that the way of leadership is changing, and that we need to be prepared and ready for it. It’s true, it is changing and changing at a faster rate than maybe ever before.
The thing with leadership is, that it is always evolving, always has and always will, that’s the nature of it. Just as trend spotters frequent the outer edges of society to see what’s emerging, so too do leaders need to have one foot in the corporate cultural conserve and one foot out of it. The art is being able to tune into the emerging new, and then translate those abstract signs into workable goals and outcomes.
I like to think of leadership in whatever shape or form as much like being the captain of a ship, specifically needing to know how to read the signs of nature and how to navigate the deep ocean currents. Maybe today we have technology to do that, but it still pays to follow that intuitive hunch.
In times gone by, the ancient leaders looked to their Gods and Goddesses, the stars, and their medicine men and women for guidance and inspiration. They knew how to read the signs and be guided by these invisible winds of change.
Pythagoras and Plato from Ancient Greece were two such inspirers. Pythagoras and his mathematical formulas continue to guide us in many areas today, and Plato amongst many other things inspired us with archetypes. An archetype is something original, a blueprint, it can be copied and replicated but will always remain pure in its original form and essence. An archetype gives shape and form to patterns of behavior. The Ancients for example, embodied their Gods and Goddesses with archetypal qualities, and it was these eternal larger than life beings that were seen to influence and guide us mere mortals.
It was in the early 1900’s that eminent Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung brought back to life again the idea of archetypal forces at play. Jung’s teachings about archetypes showed us a way of making sense of a “bigger picture” and that something deeper was expressing itself through our ways of being.
The 1981 film “Clash of the Titans” with Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith, loosely based on the myth of Perseus, shows one particular scene set atop Mount Olympus, the Gods and Goddesses play a game of chess, the chess pieces represented as the complete story of Perseus’s quest. This scene symbolises how Jung described the influence of these larger than life patterns of behaviour. They are, if you like, our very own chess players.
It is the Hero archetype that gave Luke Skywalker, in the 1977 film Star Wars, the strength and determination to let go and surrender to those infamous words “Trust the force Luke”.
If you love listening to stories or reading them to your children, well then, you’ve been in the good company of archetypes. Myths, stories and film are filled with these Universal players.
In the corporate world, Carole S. Pearson brought archetypes to the fore with her book “The Hero and The Outlaw – Building Extraordinary Brands Through The Power of Archetypes”
Whilst many know of Pythagoras’s mathematical formula, he’s also recognised as the father of numerology. Great importance was given to dates, be it a birth date, the year, and even the date to commence a journey or start a specific task. Numerology is an ancient system for making sense of the world and our individual place in it. Today, for some it is relegated to the world of “new-age fluff”, for others it’s considered an important component when decision making. Interestingly though, we still accept and use various personality type indicators, such as the Myers-Briggs method, to guide and support us in finding our place.
So, what’s colour got to do with it?
Quite a lot actually, for colour too is regarded as an archetype. It may have many shades and tones, be called by different names, and have various cultural associations, but still with all of these nuances, colour is a universal phenomenon.
Somewhere over the course of time, Pythagorean numbers also began being symbolised by colours. There seems to be no one person or one group of followers that started this, it just seems to have happened over time in different parts of the world. That’s the beauty of archetypal evolution, something evolves seemingly independently in different parts of the world at more or less the same time. The art is being able to notice these and then translate them into the day to day.
2023 according to the Pythagorean system is a 7 year (2+0+2+3 = 7), symbolised by colour it is a Violet year, in turn violet symbolised in archetypal form relates to The Sovereign (King/Queen). As a navigator you might say that the forecast for the coming months ahead are underlying currents of power struggles overlaid with winds of sovereignty.
How might we translate this?
On a personal level more so than any other year, this is a call to step up and reflect upon such questions as “Who does the world need me to be?” This is not about what I was told I should be, as defined from the outside in, but more about “Who was I born to be?”
When we ask and reflect upon these types of question, we reconnect more with our organic nature. As Carl Jung said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”
The privilege is in the fact that when we start to own our truth, we automatically begin to thrive in sovereignty. This then spontaneously spills over into all areas of life, both workplace and home benefit and become inspired – I like to call it positive contagion. As we step up, we step into serving humanity. The invitation in the question “Who does the world need me to be?” is always about serving something bigger and greater beyond our individual story. We grow up in order to grow down.
Try some these suggestions as a way of making a connection with your own Sovereign archetype; you could for example experiment with wearing different shades and tones of violet, this includes purples such as royal purple and lilacs and lavenders too. You don’t have to dress head to toe in it, it can be the simplest and most unobtrusive item of clothing, it’s not what it is, it’s more that you know what it symbolises.
If that doesn’t appeal how about a pen, a phone case cover, or an image as your screensaver.
The idea of wearing or using any of the violets simply just did not do it for James, however, symbolising it with a watch had much more appeal. It was for him the ritual of sliding the watch over his wrist each morning that represented stepping into his sovereignty. In his words, he became a more compassionate king, instead of feeling the need to rule by authority out of a well-hidden place of “imposter syndrome”.
Hala chose to meet and develop a relationship with her inner sovereign through drama and storytelling, then in times of need she imagines how her queen would manage the situation and responds as if she were her. Seeing her change in stance and confidence in meetings was to witness her finally owning her crown and rightful place in the boardroom.
The call to leadership is always there waiting in the wings, however, in this Violet Sovereign year, the invitation to own that role, in whatever shape or form it may take, is centre stage, returning to and repeating the same question again and again. “Who was I born to be, who does the world need me to be?”
The invitation is to step onto centre stage, pick up the crown and let the story, your story, begin.
“In the space between the world as it is and what we long for it to become,we are called to “live as if” the possibility we aspire to is already present. Our job is to make it more visible, more vivid, more definingly true.” John Lewis (US Congressman)
In Color PsychoDynamics® we guide and support people in revealing, becoming and living the answer to that question. Through color, dreams, drama, film and storytelling, we enter into and explore the world of archetypes. These crafted methods allow these ancient and Universal human patterns of behavior to merge into the everyday, making the ordinary just that little bit more magical and that little bit more extra-ordinary.
OPINION PIECE: Color Specialist and Global Color Ambassador Mark Wentworth
Mark has been studying and working with the transformational power of color for thirty plus years. He is the creator and developer of Color PsychoDynamics, a methodology integrating color psychology with the collective and visionary worlds of depth psychology and expressive arts.
Mark lives in the UK as well as travelling internationally teaching and sharing his love of colour. He is the author of Add a Little Color to Life, which is available in 8 languages.