We’ve worked with leaders all over the world and these high-achievers often fall into common unconscious patterns that stifle their creativity and limit their growth. We’re exploring the three dominant leader personalities with us: controlling, avoidant, and indecisive, to uncover the emotional triggers and unconscious fears that may be holding back your potential. In this episode, we discuss:
- The meaning of success from a Jungian perspective
- 3 persona types that affect leaders
- How to transcend these patterns for true success
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Welcome to CreativeMind SoulSessions with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado, founders of CreativeMind. Explore personal growth with us through Jungian psychology, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience in a deep, practical way. Let’s begin.
Debra Maldonado 00:21
Hello, welcome to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind. I’m Debra Maldonado, here we have Dr. Rob Maldonado. Before we begin, if you don’t want to miss an episode, if you’re watching us on YouTube, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel, click the button here. Or if you’re listening to us on Apple, iTunes, Spotify, any of those great podcast services, make sure you subscribe, because this year is going to be the best year of Soul Sessions, I think. We have some a lot of great interviews lined up with some experts in Eastern philosophy, Jungian analysts coming on, really exciting. We’re gonna go deep. But this series that we’re introducing right now is about leadership, whether you’re in corporate world, or professional, if you’re an entrepreneur and looking to have that success in your life, whether you’re a solopreneur, or whether you’re running a small company, a small startup, these lessons are going to be so valuable for you over the next couple of weeks.
Robert Maldonado 01:35
We’re gonna start the series looking at the shadow, because we always begin individuation with the shadow. What are the common shadow traits that a leader, a business owner, or an entrepreneur, or somebody in the corporate world moving up in their profession, what are the traits they have to consider in reaching that success they’re going for?
Debra Maldonado 02:07
We’ve worked with leaders from big multimillion-dollar companies, to celebrities, to new entrepreneurs, women in the corporate world, men in the corporate world, people that run non-profits. What we found is that the things that are available out there for these leaders, when I was in the corporate world and when I started out as an entrepreneur, it was a lot of mindset work of changing your behavior and your thoughts. Even in the leadership, it’s about changing your personality or your patterns and behaviors. We’re going to approach this, and the shadow work is really a different way. We’re teaching this because we’ve worked with people on these topics for a long time. We’re going to put our spin on how to approach leadership in a deeper, more profound, spiritual and psychological way.
Robert Maldonado 03:08
The work has evolved. When we look at the kind of people that are attracted to our programs, they’re leaders, they’re people that are doing big things, they’re developing their own teams, their businesses, their ideas, very high achievers, very motivated. They’re visionaries. The psychology Jung brings in the concluding the Eastern philosophy really fits their personal development needs because it is not just strategy, although that’s important. It’s also what do I do for myself? How do I develop my mind in order to achieve those bigger goals? It’s a psychology that fits the time and space we’re in culturally.
Debra Maldonado 04:10
I want to start off by saying that a lot of people are really successful. They’re default. In the beginning of life, we have a formulation of our personality. Jung says that’s the ego development phase. Then at midlife, all those things that we relied upon as our go-to’s and our default behaviors now become a burden to us. Maybe you have achieved a lot of success, a lot of our clients achieved incredible success but they’re overwhelmed, they’re stressed out, they’re not fulfilled. It’s about how to bring in other aspects of myself and integrate parts of myself that I’ve had to push aside for that success in order to become whole spiritually connected, grounded in myself. That’s really what this is about.
Robert Maldonado 05:03
I got a quote by Swami Vivekananda, one of our favorite Eastern philosophers. He says “Take up one idea, make that one idea your life, dream of it, think of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscle, nerve, every part of your body be full of that idea. Leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” This is the way great spiritual giants are produced. It’s more than financial success. What we’re talking about is self realization, making your dreams come true in a creative way, where they fulfill you, they fulfill your spiritual needs as well as your financial freedom needs.
Debra Maldonado 06:05
We have ego needs and desires, which is “I want to have great success, I want to have a beautiful home, I want to be able to help people, I want to write books” all these great things thought leaders want to do, maybe to take the company to another level. All those things are great, but if it’s coming from ego, it actually works against you after a certain amount of time. What I’ve seen over and over again, being around entrepreneurs for 20 years, is that there’s always this point where they have the stories they tell, it’s the dark night of the soul. They say, “I’ve been having success, then something happened, I got sick, or someone took money from me, or a key employee left.” There’s always some kind of friction, they had to basically start over again. It’s because we need to embrace those things, not push away and say, “Let’s put up the barriers and avoid that from happening again.” It’s like, “Why did it happen in the first place? What is it in me that needed to be disrupted?” These disruptions are actually gifts. When I’d share that with my colleagues and friends, they were like, “I didn’t ever think of it that way.” It’s like, “How do I build up barriers against that happening again and check all the boxes so I can avoid that.” But if you’re listening and that has happened to you, maybe you reached a really great level in your career, then you got laid off, that’s what happened to me, or you had a successful business, then COVID happened, or some kind of economic struggle happened. You’re like, “What’s going on?” It is always an opportunity. Some of the things we can do to avoid that big shift shaking up is to start examining it now, so it’s a smoother transition into your true self versus a shock to your system.
Robert Maldonado 08:12
This topic is interesting because it takes us into new territory as far as the podcast topics we’ve worked with in the past. Often people don’t associate success, entrepreneurship, leadership with the Jungian model. But it’s an integral part of how to be successful in the right way, for lack of a better word.
Debra Maldonado 08:47
Or fulfilled. Success with fulfillment. Because a lot of people have success, but they don’t have fulfillment. Success alone isn’t going to make you happy.
Robert Maldonado 08:58
When you act out of ego, out of your conditioned past, you’re acting again to create more defense mechanisms, more walls against the fears in your unconscious mind. Our aim is to give leaders, entrepreneurs, creative people, the ability to use the challenges of business, even one person coach that’s developing their practice, give them the ability to use those challenges to develop their self, their mind, and be in a creative mindset. With that said, let’s get into it. Looking at what the challenges are that we can see. As we’re going through these, think about your own personal challenges in success and your work, also perhaps people you’ve seen and worked with that were in leadership positions, what they were struggling with. These are three different types of traits that show up in leadership positions. We want to see how the shadow plays out.
Debra Maldonado 10:32
They’re more like ego traits or persona traits. They’re default traits. We’re going to talk about what they are, why would someone be that way, and what would be in their shadow.
Robert Maldonado 10:45
We want to normalize these. Every one of us has some of these qualities, you’ll recognize them in yourself, perhaps. We’re not talking about pathology, we’re talking about pitfalls that we tend to fall into and that we want to be aware, so that we can start to learn from them and find ways to use them in a creative way. First of all, the controlling type, the avoidant type, and the indecisive type. They only become really problematic when the leader gets stuck in using one type to respond, a rigid way of responding in their leadership style.
Debra Maldonado 11:55
Like a hammer and nail, you just look for nails. You’re using the same strategies to deal with everything.
Robert Maldonado 12:04
The controlling type, let’s begin with that. Controlling behavior is part of our human behavior. We all want control. We all want to predict what’s going to happen.
Debra Maldonado 12:21
It’s the ego’s tendency. It has a false sense of control in a way, it feels like it’s exerting control in your mind, it’s trying to gain control.
Robert Maldonado 12:38
The way it plays out in businesses, in leadership positions, in teams is that there’s a rigid adherence to rules and procedures. Now, rigidity is subjective, sometimes you need that, you need structure, you need rules and procedures. The problem arises when the leader becomes very rigid in seeing things from that perspective, we can only do things a certain way.
Debra Maldonado 13:17
Many companies say, “We’ve always done it this way”, but no one questions it, it has to follow protocol, something terrible is gonna happen if we break the rules.
Robert Maldonado 13:37
It becomes a rigid way of responding to all the circumstances of the company or the team. What that does, it stifles creativity and innovation, it’s a killer for companies, for teams, for small businesses.
Debra Maldonado 13:58
I see in startups, even if you’re in your own company, you’re a solopreneur, you’re just launched a coaching business or a service-based business, you may not have this, because you don’t have any structure. The opposite of that would be, I’ve worked in many dot-com startups back in the 90s, when the internet first started becoming popular, way before Facebook. It was chaos. There was no structure at all. It’s not that structure is bad, but there needs to be a balance.
Robert Maldonado 14:34
Again, what’s going on psychologically here is that the person’s, the individual’s ego, the one that’s in charge or playing the role of the team leader, the manager, the owner of the company, the CEO, their ego and shadow is playing out big time there. They’re projecting their shadow onto the business.
Debra Maldonado 15:09
The shadow would be chaos, the shadow would be un-organization, or things that are out of control.
Robert Maldonado 15:18
I’d say it’s a fear of losing control. But why do we want control? There must be a pressure in the unconscious mind, a pull towards the fear of losing control.
Debra Maldonado 15:32
In the first how many years of our business, it was a very small team. Every time we’d start to grow, I’d feel this sense of not wanting to hire too many people, because they’d be doing things I’d normally do. It was exhausting me because I didn’t like to handoff things, I always wanted to be micromanaging everything. You’d have an idea and be like “Let’s do that,” and I’d be like “We don’t have time”, because I was basically trying to do everything myself. Just micromanaging, the one person on the team. It was really hard for us to grow and to be creative, because it was just my need. My fear was that if I handed it over, chaos would ensue, or something would fall through the cracks. Now that we have a team of 16 people, I don’t have that fear anymore. We trust our team now. I had to work on that fear in order for us to move. If you’re feeling like your business isn’t growing, or your career isn’t expanding, or people on your team aren’t reacting or responding to you, or your feel it’s all on your shoulders, it’s checking in with what this controlling thing is about. It’s not changing behavior. It’s not “I’m just going to be less controlling. I’m going to be non-attached.” We have to really find out why, the emotional part.
Robert Maldonado 17:14
Often people want to jump to the change of behavior, because they see that it’ll give them the quickest result. If I simply show up in the office and now impose the opposite behavior, which is let’s be creative, let’s loosen up the rigid procedures and rules, I’ll be on the right track. But that’s not the point here because the individual hasn’t checked into the emotional component of it in the shadow.
Debra Maldonado 17:55
What’s really interesting for me, I’m being very transparent right now, but what really happened is I never created a lot of structure because in my mind, I knew where everything was in my head. I didn’t even have a structure or a system I could empower people to take on. What ends up happening if you are trying to control it all yourself, you actually create chaos, you create more chaos, more fires to put out, and more stress for yourself. It’s not that your controlling avoids chaos, it actually creates more, you get the opposite of what you fear. I had to really get into the motion of what that chaos is. What if things fell through? Rob and I coach each other all the time. You were like “What are you really afraid of? What would happen if everything fell through the cracks?” I really went down to it. When I realized it was nothing, it was just this illusion, black smoke my ego was throwing up like this dark and terrible thing’s going to happen. You’re able to face it, then you can find the balance between structure and creativity. It’s about balance. It’s not about stopping controlling, you do want to have an element of control because you want to be successful and structured. It’s like Jung would say, it’s the tension between the opposites and finding the integration of both.
Robert Maldonado 19:25
That balance is achieved internally. It’s not about delegating different things to the team. It’s about the the person, the CEO or the person in charge, really examining what the roots of that fear of losing control are and dealing with them, integrating them. It goes from insight, first of all acknowledging that this is happening, I am falling into the controlling element of the projection, then moving towards finding the source within the psyche.
Debra Maldonado 20:10
It’s easy to look at every thing when things don’t work or things get out of control, you’re triggered. Sit with it instead of trying to fix it right away. I sit with it, I’m like “Why am I feeling this way?” What I used to do until I did the emotional work, I’d just try to run away from the chaos, keep going and going. One day eventually, I can get so far away from it, it never catches up with me. That’s what a lot of people do. They run away from their fears, they create alternate behaviors to keep us away from feeling those things. That’s the ego, our patterns are created through avoiding the unpleasant feeling. What we do is have people sit with the trigger of that chaos and get clear first, then you can take action, then you can decide. But you have to look inward first.
Debra Maldonado 22:10
Let’s go to the second one.
Robert Maldonado 22:12
The avoidant type is avoidance of conflict, it’s a classic one. The individual avoids any hint of conflict, any discomfort of making the other person uncomfortable. Therefore, what happens when a CEO or a leader is in that position, things start to get swept under the carpet. The emotional environment of the team becomes nothing is spoken of openly, which means everybody is stuffing their feelings about what is really going on, they’re not able to express it because there’s a lack of confrontation. Often people, especially the avoidant type, read confrontation as totally bad. If people are arguing or disagreeing, they’re uncomfortable. They don’t want to have this in the team, therefore they shut it down.
Debra Maldonado 23:24
They think conflict is bad but conflict creates change. When there’s a conflict, it’s always an opportunity. Let’s talk a little bit about where this comes from. Let’s say your parents never let you speak up, or you have witnessed your parents fight. Remember, this isn’t pathological. We all have patterns our family taught us about how to be human, we learn from them and are shaped by them. If conflict was denied, I worked with so many of my clients that said “No one spoke of anything”, or “My parents never argued.” But there was always this undercurrent of frustration and anger. Like you’d said to me, you don’t have to tell young children anything. They don’t have to witness it. They have intuition and they know what’s going on in the family. There’s an unspoken rule, an assumption that confronting people are bad. Or you watch people fight and you don’t like it, all that anger in the household. I want to smooth things out. Whatever you individually experienced, how you interpreted it, how you decided it was the best way to be, that could be what led you to the avoidance.
Robert Maldonado 24:45
What ends up happening in this situation is there’s all this unresolved tension building up, which leads to passive aggressiveness. People have to resort to underhanded. Instead of openly stating what they need or what they feel, it’s implied in a passive-aggressive way.
Debra Maldonado 25:18
If you’re in a team meeting or conference executive meeting and someone throws you under the bus or makes a snide comment or jokes around, but they mean it like a jab, I see it happening, especially in the corporate world. Now that a lot of entrepreneurs have remote teams, it’s not as prevalent but maybe it’s because all of our team members talk to each other. It could be that gossip. Like, can you believe Mary, she’s here today? That team member won’t confront the other person, but they’ll talk about them behind the back. Of course, that doesn’t happen in our company but in many corporations I’ve worked with it was all that standing around the water cooler, complaining about the boss, going out to lunch complaining about that other department. No one’s really talking about what’s going on. It’s “It’s not my fault. It’s their fault” projection.
Robert Maldonado 26:22
What I’ve seen is all of these tendencies lead companies to becoming bureaucracies. A bureaucracy is when people are no longer passionate about their work. They’re simply doing the procedure, the rule, whatever it is, and checking out. Very little work gets done. It’s primarily about justifying your position and keeping up the appearance of work. That’s a bureaucracy, that’s where companies go wrong. What we want is a vital team that’s really investing in the business, everyone is passionate about what they’re doing. It’s a creative team, that’s the creative mind process. The third one is the indecisive type. The indecisive type is someone caught up between the controlling and avoidant time. When it comes down to making decisions, they find it difficult. They’re both afraid of being wrong and making a mistake or even being right, both afraid of success and a failure. This leads to procrastination.
Debra Maldonado 27:54
That indecisiveness is “I’m afraid to make a choice because I’m afraid of failure, I’m afraid what if I make the wrong decision.” I fell into that trap, too. Here’s the quality of that indecisive type. They’re very hard on themselves for their mistakes. We call it the animus possession for women. It’s hard, negative beating up with words like “you’re no good”, “I can’t believe you did that” when we make a mistake. We do the indecisiveness because you really don’t know if a decision is good or bad until you take the action. Your mind is in this stalled place because it’s trying to say “How is it going to play out?” You do not know. You’re trying to make a decision that’s going to win all the time. That’s not how you make decisions. You make decisions in order to make a step forward, then you see what happens. Then you redirect and redirect, you don’t just wait until you are perfectly clear in your mind that this is absolutely the right decision. I can tell you that there’s times where you can be only deciding and not thinking at all. It needs to be a balance. You can’t be just saying “yes” to everything or saying “no” to everything. You have to have that self inquiry. I always say the best way to look at indecisiveness is what’s the worst that can happen? You have to get to the emotion of it. What am I really fearing in this decision?
Robert Maldonado 29:49
When this takes hold in the team or in the company, it leads to frustration among team members because nothing is being decided in a clear cut way and often leads to missed opportunities. When opportunities arise, often it’s not going to last, it’s like a window that opens up. If the decision isn’t made, then it passes, it’s gone. You might recognize all of these in you, or your teams, or bosses that you work with. We’re not saying these are rare or only happening in this way, we all exhibit some of these traits or types periodically. What we want to know is what to do when these show up. As we recognize these patterns showing up in our teams and companies, how do we start to move in a creative way? The principle is insight, we first start to step back, take a breather and ask “What’s going on here? What’s the pattern that’s playing out?” That insight then allows us to move towards finding the root of that fear, which is typically in the unconscious mind.
Debra Maldonado 31:30
It’s not something you can think about rationally. A lot of people want the quick fix, like “I got this. Now, tell me what I need to do.” We have to notice what our major trigger around leadership is right now. What is happening in my own mind, what triggers me about my team, or my business partners, or my consultants, or whoever we’re working with and creating our success around? What’s triggering response? Then what am I doing? Am I controlling? Am I avoiding? Or am I indecisive? Is it related to one of those things? Then we have to ask: What am I really like? Why am I behaving this way around this trigger? I can tell you that for control is the fear of chaos and being out of control. For the avoidant, it’s usually anger, afraid to get people upset, afraid of anger, then indecisiveness is a lack of trust in your own self. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to trust the decision, you have to trust that whatever decision you make, even if it fails, you’re gonna be okay. That’s freedom. But if you’re always looking at it like “If I make that decision and it fails, it’s going to be the end of the world”, every time you make a decision, you’ll be in that indecisiveness. It’s about examining the emotional part, your own triggers and what your fears are in these situations.
Robert Maldonado 33:10
It’s very similar to the individual’s work in the creative mind process. It begins by observing and acknowledging what you’ve created. The circumstances you find yourself in are reflecting your own psychology, your own unconscious mind. Once you do that, then the external becomes instructive to you. Because if it’s a reflection of your psyche, it means you can learn from it directly, you can observe. What have I created? What are the circumstances of the company, the team? What’s going on? That’s a clear reflection of my psyche. Then I can work with that, I can say, “I can see myself in these elements. If I can see myself, it means I can start to work within it, internally.” Working internally then changes the external. This is the difference between the Jungian model and a cognitive behavioral model, where the emphasis is on changing the action. Here the emphasis is on the inner work of the individual, changing the mindset, then taking the action after that.
Debra Maldonado 34:42
Any outer conflict is pointing to an inner conflict. I want to mention that some people that listen to our podcast are coaches. We have our coach training, or aspiring coaches, or other service industries that maybe don’t have a team. I want you to think about this with the clients. How do you work with your clients, whether you’re a consultant or a coach? Do you have that controlling, do you want the client to get results? Are you hanging on and overly structuring the client’s path versus allowing the client to do their own path? Are you avoiding it with the clients, not telling them directly? When I started coaching, I always wanted to please, I was like “I really want to say this to this person, but I’m afraid they’re gonna get triggered.” I was avoiding triggering my clients, when sometimes asking a really direct question can really help them. Then indecisiveness, you’ll see that in your clients, if you’re indecisive, you’ll see them maybe mirror that. That indecisiveness will trigger you and you’re not even aware of it. It’s not always that the shadow is the opposite. But what happens is that people that show up in our life, whether it’s our team, or clients, or anyone we work with, or the companies we hire to do consulting with, they all reflect our mind. That’s really what individuation is. It’s like seeing parts of ourselves that are showing up. Like Jung says, the world is your unknown face, or filled with your unknown face. Reclaim all that power back and don’t feel that you have to get rid of this thing or avoid these types of people in order to have a fulfilling career and a fulfilling life. It starts inside, not by changing your organization, or changing your team, or changing your clients. It’s about what is it that this situation is reflecting in me?
Robert Maldonado 36:45
The principle is that you want to get the ego out of the way. What we’re describing here in controlling, avoiding, and indecisiveness, the ego’s been taking the center stage and running the show. Ironically, we don’t need the ego to do our best work. On the contrary, it stifles our work, because ego is going by past experiences, past conditioning. It doesn’t really see the moment in this fresh creative way. When we’re able to get the ego out of the way through this creative mind process, we’re able to act upon the opportunities of the moment. Even the difficult situations then become opportunities.
Debra Maldonado 37:42
You have to think that your ego isn’t going to let you die, it’s good to have, it’s a good safety valve. But you can’t let that safety valve make all the decisions in your life. Individuation is about transitioning the power from the ego which had power in the beginning of your life, and connecting, or as they say in yoga, yoking yourself to the big self, your true self, which is all the parts you’re not conscious of that are your potential. That’s the shift. We have so much to cover every week, we’ll go into more topics on this. If you have an idea you’d like us to talk about, whether it’s leadership or entrepreneurship around the Jungian creative mind method, please post in our comments, send us an email, we’d love to hear what you’re interested in so we can continue to bring you the best content for you and your life. Thank you for joining us. We can’t wait to see you next week in the next series on leadership. In the meantime, before we go, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel if you’re watching us on YouTube. On the podcast, make sure you subscribe on your favorite service. We want to see you every week in this great new year.
Robert Maldonado 39:10
See you next time.
Debra Maldonado 39:11
Happy New Year. Bye bye.
Thank you for joining us. Don’t forget to subscribe to CreativeMind Soul Sessions. Join us next week as we explore another deep topic where you can consciously create your life with CreativeMind Soul Sessions. See you next time.