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Irene Myers -- Career and Life Design
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BY INTRODUCING YOU to the concept of Life/Work Motivators, or "Archetypes of Calling", I am inviting you to see your life as a demonstration of the patterns of motivation that are typical for you.

The concept goes back to 1995, which held for me two pivotal experiences. One was a trip to Sweden with a chance to visit members of my extended family and observe how much they were like my extended family in Minnesota where I grew up, despite almost no communication between the two branches. The second was the work of organization consultant Rebecca Chan Allen of Calgary, Alberta—her theory of archetypal life journeys, archetypal travellers in life and archetypal travelling companions. Layers of learning, experience, and influence prior to these include the work of career development experts Bernard Haldane and Richard Bolles with their emphasis on looking at people’s patterns of using their favorite strengths, and Carl Jung—for his typology and the aspect of archetypes in his psychology.

Life/Work Motivator (LWM)

WHAT DO I MEAN by Life/Work Motivator? It’s the idea that behind our actions each of us has our own primary set of basic natural impulses—patterns of motivation that are universal in human experience—that direct our energy and attention in certain ways for particular purposes. ("LWM" will be used to stand for "Life/Work Motivator” throughout this site.)


It is my belief that in creating a satisfying life for ourselves and our families, including a work life that gives us some psychic as well as economic benefits, we all have a desire to preserve our separate identity, our sense of individuality. And particularly when navigating a career transition, it is critical to have this sense of your uniqueness to distinguish yourself from others. The language of LWMs serves this purpose and says something about your goals, values, and style of operating in a way that is more whole and alive for you. This sense of uniqueness is the fundamental fuel cell that can drive us to create in the world the outward expression of our natural talents (see definition at top).

Life/Work Motivators or Archetypes of Calling ™

You can add to your sense of what is unique about yourself by looking at patterns of behavior that seem to be universally observable in human experience.

  "I did it my way."
—Frank Sinatra

An archetype in the traditional sense can be described as one of the ways humans operate as a pattern (Ruler, Jester, Warrior, Sage, Hero, etc.) These archetypes are universal patterns and are not specific to one person's life only. What is specific to you is the particular set of archetypes most clearly operating in your life.

  "Look for you own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else and out of your self create, impatiently or patiently … the most irreplaceable of things."
—André Gide

With Life/Work Motivators or "Archetypes of Calling" I have taken a further step related to the concept of archetypes by suggesting that there are patterns of behavior related to how one is most motivated to do and achieve. Here the influence of the archetype is toward a goal that is relatively specific, involving skills and abilities that can be named. In this way the theory of archetypes connects with the realm of the workplace, shifting from the abstract to practical reality. There is now a bridge between "This is who I am." (being) and "This is how I prefer to be consciously active in the world." (doing) Naming and consciously drawing on these larger and primary forces through the language of Archetypes of Calling can help people clarify the direction of their career path and chart a life course that is rich and more fulfilling.

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