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Leading Change From Inside Out Part V

The video explores the concept of the theatrical mask as a persona, delving into topics related to self-presentation, authenticity, and the impact of automatic behaviors on interpersonal relationships. The author encourages reflection on personal personas and shadows, presenting real-life scenarios and workshop insights. Emphasizing that being confined to a single role, whether MacGyver or another archetype, can lead to burnout and disempowerment for oneself and others. The video is geared towards fostering self-awareness and the ability to consciously break free from established patterns. Key tags include Archetypes, Persona, Self-reflection.


Back in the ancient Greek days of theatre, right? The actors carried masks. On a stick. Right? You’ve seen those? They had a mask here and here and here. So one actor could play three roles. It was economics. Save on the cast cost, right? Plus, women couldn’t be on stage. You saw Shakespeare in love. You know what I’m talking about. So? So you would know how to relate. You didn’t relate to the person you related to the mask. You knew who the you knew what was happening by looking at the what, at the mask and guess what the Greek word for mask is persona. Isn’t that interesting persona from which we get words like person, personality, and so forth? So you put on that mask, the actor would put on a mask. There’s one there. This is my persona. Warm, you know, helpful. Ready? Kind of a guy. My persona character is MacGyver, you know? In our workshop, we invite people to take on a certain character. You know, a personality. Character. Macgyver is my guy. He’s. He’ll help you. You know? He’s resourceful. Great guy. You love being around him. That’s my persona. And then yours would go there. So we’re going to take a minute here and see who your persona might be. Oh, isn’t that going to be fun? Okay, here we go. This is all a part of what runs me. Because what runs me is when I wake up in the morning, up comes this persona, the Audrey doll, the John doll, the Marcus doll, the Janine doll. You know, here we are. And we go out and we face the world. And we have to keep a little bit of pressure in that doll, right? Keep it inflated. And we’re looking at. Are they buying it? You know.

I was doing a workshop once for this executive and his executive team. This is 25 or 30 years ago before I knew about this stuff. And I looked down. He was at the end of the table, and I was doing some stuff, and he was going like this. So I’m like, you know, pumping this thing up. And at the break, I tried to be casual and I walked up and I said, so how is this going for you? And he said, John, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my.

So. So you know.

What we tell people in our intensive is this: you can just let that thing go. Just let that doll fall down and let people see who you really are. They’re going to love you. Except when they don’t. Welcome to the human race. Okay, this is the way it is. Think of the energy we put into pumping that thing up all day long. My goodness gracious. Thanks a lot. So think of two archetypal characters that you admire and a couple of words, you know, for them, like, let me, I think I have another one up here. Like, here’s some popular ones over the over the years. Oprah, Joan of Arc, Einstein. You can see each one represents a kind of a certain strength or quality. Gandhi. Wonder woman. Remember her? Lynda Carter with her bracelet. James bond. Indiana Jones is a whole raft of them. Now, with the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, you can get a whole bunch of characters. The Bible, any archetypal characters? Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, President Obama. Okay, let’s go back here. So I also want you to think of after you do your persona to people that you can’t stand, not real people, archetypal characters, you know, like, I don’t know, Darth Vader or, you know, I don’t know who in Poland they’ll say any Polish politician quite often is what they’ll say. And then what are a couple of words to describe them? And that is what we call your shadow.

So this is the last conversation you’re going to have with this partner. So make it a good one. All right. Because when we come back from the break, I’m going to ask you to, to move your, to change your position in the room and change partners. So 110% with each other. I’m going to give you a little more time for this, probably 5 to 10 minutes. So let’s do this. Take about 3 or 4 minutes for one person and then do the other person like finish up with one person, and I’ll ring the bell when we’re halfway through the time. Okay. Is that a deal? Yeah. Okay. Go for it. Yeah. Now here’s the deal. What you need to understand is that your persona, which is your default, just pretend for a minute that in some way you have been, in a sense, portraying yourself as that character. Just take it on as a mental exercise. If you were going to create a play, let’s say, with Bruce Wayne in it as the main. Well, I’ll keep it safe. If you were going to write a play with MacGyver as the central character, what would you have to have around MacGyver for him to stay in character? What kinds of people and situations? Challenging situations, people that need help. People that are not as smart, not as resourceful as some bad guys. Okay, okay. You got that? Now, what does Bruce Wayne need? See how that.


All right. He needs. Right. He needs an enemy and all that. Right? And if you think about Bruce Wayne, there’s a kind of mysterious quality. Nobody knows for sure what he’s capable. He’s capable. He’s actually doing stuff that nobody knows that.

All right. He needs. Right. He needs an enemy and all that. Right? And if you think about Bruce Wayne, there’s a kind of mysterious quality. Nobody knows for sure what he’s capable. He’s capable. He’s actually doing stuff that nobody knows that he’s doing. So you have to ask yourself, well.

I wonder.

How some of that going. So this just kind of a crazy exercise I got from my gestalt training. Like, isn’t it interesting that you pick that particular character. See like wow. That’s interesting. Like, why did I pick MacGyver? Oh, I can see it all over the place now. Just to go the next level here is the advanced class. What’s the downside of having to be your persona all the time? If all I have available to me is MacGyver, and I have to be MacGyver all the time, the one who solves every problem helps everybody. Yeah. What’s the downside for me? Burnout, right. Here’s an interesting question. What’s a potential downside for the people around me? The upside is a lot of people get help. The downside is look, I’m disempowering. Yes. The other MacGyver is and the Batman’s and all the other heroes in the room. You understand what I’m saying? So if I’m unconscious, if I’m on automatic, if I’m being run by this operating system and not conscious, we’re going to get to that later. If I haven’t broken the pattern, I walk into a room. I have to be MacGyver, and it just puts everybody in a different in a in a role. And I’m telling you, if you can’t break that pattern, the people around you, if they don’t fit the role, you will find a way to either force them into one of the characters that you need to have in your casting call, or you will find another place to be.

That’s how it happens. All right, all right, let me see. What are we going to do here? You got that? Yeah. That’s question number three. So when we come back, we’re going to go to question number four, which is what calls me if you’re not on the planet, if I’m not on the planet to run around being MacGyver and pressing everybody all the time, then why am I here? That’s the question I asked Ingrid. I guess I’m glad I asked it, Ingrid. That’s one of those you don’t really answer. You just keep living it out. So what? I’d like you to thank this partner. And then we’re going to take. Question. First of all, what’s question number one? Great. Question number two. Question number three. Question number four. Fabulous. If if you’re not on the planet to run around pumping up your persona and impressing people with being James Bond or Hugh Hefner or whoever it is, then why are you here? You know what? If what if, what if that has got you to this point? What if there’s more? And what’s really interesting that that more comes quite often from your shadow. Yeah. That’s scary. So my shadow for a number of years was Vice President Cheney.

He’s scary.

And what happened was I was watching a newscast, and the news reporter said, Mr. Vice President, you understand that 80% of the American people think the war in Iraq is a mistake. And he said so. And I got so upset about that. And then the minute I got angry, I said, okay, he’s my new shadow. See, when you hate somebody, you got something to learn from that person. I’m sorry to tell you this. I’m really sorry. I’m serious. This is this is a heavy lesson right here. Now, why did I have to take him on? Because he did not care about what people thought about him. And I realize I care too much about what people think about me. If I’m going to be the the co director of an international consulting firm that has as its slogan, transforming the world at work by unleashing the human spirit, I better every now and then be able to say, we’re going to do this. And I don’t care what you think about it, not all the time. Right? I don’t have to turn into Dick Cheney. We had a former Navy Seal in one of our intensive programs. Very shy guy. You definitely want him on your side in a fight, for sure, but don’t ask him to talk too much. Very shy, quiet guy. And it was very hot. Kind of like here in the air conditioning wasn’t working. And so here’s a group of about 12, 14 people. And he said he said his his shadow character was John McEnroe. Remember the tennis player that threw his racket and screaming. And so he said he said I’m getting kind of hot here. And I don’t know, I was thinking about maybe opening a window. Would that would that be okay with people? And of course, people in groups said.

I don’t know.

You know, they were of course playing with him. You know, I don’t know. What do you think? He said, okay, okay. That’s okay. All right. And I said, how would John McEnroe handle this situation? And he stood up and he said, I’m sweating like a trooper, and I’m going to open the daggone window. And if you don’t have, you talk to me after the thing, you know, and the group went, yay!

And he went.

So I worked through the last few years of being power, using my power more directly. So I kind of that one’s kind of gotten quiet. And then recently in one of our intensives, somebody said, what would be the worst thing for you, John, in the whole world? And I said it would be to be a useless failure. Oh, Lord, help me. And the minute those words came out of my mouth, I thought, oh, no, not enough. No no no no no, please, not that one. And that’s my new shadow character. To go and be somewhere and be totally useless, or to try to help and be a failure, be the worst thing in the world. Now look at MacGyver and look. What does the useless failure have to offer, MacGyver? What is a useless failure? Really good at doing nothing. Not helping everybody all the time. You see what I’m saying? So your shadow character has something to teach you. Some years ago, Osama bin laden was quite popular as people’s shadow character. And then they get really upset and I said, well, what is he really good at? I mean, squeeze out? What if he was on the side of world peace, see, what are his skills? What is he good at? Oh, you get people that are willing to die for your cause.

That’s motivation. I mean, you understand this guy is knows how to inspire people. Some years ago, when President Clinton was president, this guy had Bill Clinton as his shadow. And when I said, this guy is going to be your teacher, this guy got up, slammed his notebook and said, I’m out of here. He said, that guy is a total immoral, whatever, whatever. And I said, okay, hang on, hang on. That’s fine. You can leave if you want. Let me ask you a couple of questions. If you squeeze out everything that you think is bad, what is this guy really good at? Oh, he’s not good at anything. Right, right, right. And so I asked the group, I said group, and they just started, you know, what is this man really good at? What are some of the things I mean, he’s never met a stranger. He knows how to work the crowd. And I said, look, as you hear these things, ask yourself, are these things developed in you or not? And he said, busted. He was a very he was like an analytical type guy. I didn’t know how to connect with people. Bill Clinton never met a stranger.


This insightful video delves into essential survival skills for navigating today’s workplace challenges. Covering skills seven to ten, it emphasizes the importance of developing courage to face challenges (symbolized by “tigers”), mastering cross-functional teamwork, adapting to rapid change, and finding purpose beyond routine tasks. The author encourages readers to view their work as contributing to a larger purpose, urging them to quit a mundane job and discover work that aligns with personal passions and makes a meaningful impact. With a focus on personal development, organizational growth, and effective teamwork, the video provides practical advice for thriving in the dynamic modern workplace.

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