Embodying the warrior archetype is not about fighting battles with enemies -- at least not external enemies. It is about coming into right relationship with your internal "enemies", facing your fears, and owning your shadow aspects. It's about being honest and honorable, and taking the right action at the right time.
It's about claiming your personal power.
We go to battle with ourselves every day. Every day we fight to overcome insecurities and fears that want to hold us back. Facing those fears, examining them, and discovering their transparent nature is a major step toward being a warrior in your own life.
Fear and courage dance throughout this archetype; well patterned partners, they push and pull, twist and dip. Dance with them, but land on the side of courage. Don't fall into the traps fear taunts you with; disguised as comfort and familiarity, death and abandonment, fear tries to trip you up and hold you back. A courageous heart will assess reality and bolster you forward, past the fears and into alignment.
1. Show Up. Be Present. Be Visible.
If you let the fear freeze you, you've already lost. To be a participant in your life you must show up. But that's not enough. You can't dial it in. You must also be present and allow yourself to be seen.
In your developing your business you can do all the things to make you look like a real business -- get a domain, a website, business cards, a little social media presence, and maybe even a blog like this one. But if you're not actively putting yourself out there, announcing your presence at every opportunity, and taking actual action steps toward building the business you envision, you're only half in.
Don't be a secret agent.
If you don't let your light shine, you are not honoring the spirit of the warrior and you are dishonoring your own power. Believe in yourself and feel the power of your conviction.
On a personal level, showing up and being present means not abandoning yourself when things get tough. When you feel an uncomfortable emotion, that's the time to feel that emotion, not stuff it away or run away from it and toward your coping mechanism of choice. Explore what the emotion is, why it showed up, and honor it, but don't get stuck in it. By exploring our feelings when we have them, especially fear, we can learn what's underneath -- what they may be trying to mask, or "protect" you from. But why do you need protection from your own feelings? If you're able to experience emotion with appreciation but without attachment, you can feel anything without fear. Feel your feelings, honor them, and learn from them to forge an exquisite bond with your emotional wisdom. Being present with yourself will allow you to more accurately assess your fears so you can move beyond them.
2. Be Skillful in Your Communication.
This does not mean you must be impeccable in your grammar, but as Don Miguel Ruiz says, it does mean that you must be impeccable with your word.
To be an effective communicator your words and actions must be in alignment. If you do one thing and say another, no one will pay much attention to you, and in time, you'll pay less attention to yourself as well.
When someone lies about something, big or small, it says that they are not comfortable with their own action. Lying displays internal in-congruency and says that you are unsure about yourself. If you're not sure about yourself, why should anyone else be sure about you? Honor who you are by being honest about who you are. Be intentional with your words and actions. They matter.
To be a leader, your word must be respected and trusted. To develop that, you must have integrity. In The Four Fold Way, Angeles Arrien states that, "When we say "yes" when we mean "no," we lose personal power and becomes victims or martyrs. When we say "no" to someone else when we know the situation calls for us to say "yes," we become stingy or selfish." She goes on with the powerful idea that "the Western mind often believes that the word "yes" means "I like you and agree with you," and the word "no" means "I'm rejecting you, or disagreeing with you."" It's time to recognize that someone giving us a different answer than we wanted is not a personal affront and it is not our job to assuage other people's discomfort if it means abandoning ourselves.
3. Be Willing to Take a Stand.
When you know yourself and what you're willing to accept in your life and for your life, it becomes easier to say yes or no at the appropriate times. Taking a stand means you know what you will stand for and what you won't stand for. Honoring your boundaries doesn't make you a jerk, it gives you integrity.
You can take a stand in private by honoring your commitments to yourself: don't break the diet, get up earlier, exercise, whatever you've told yourself you're going to do, to it. More publicly, you can set a regular end time to your work day or fire the client who keeps asking you to bend or break the rules. Socially, you can speak up for someone who hasn't found their voice, or whose voice is muted by social constructs. Whatever you do, do it.
Shadows of the Warrior
Generally, you can presume shadows are general oppositions to the positive aspects. By neglecting what it takes to stand in your power as a warrior and not owning those aspects of your personal power, you'll fall into shadow which can look like rebellion, issues with authority, or preferring to remain unseen.
As Christina Pratt says, the rebel is a leader waiting to happen. Someone embracing rebellious actions struggles to work with others and prefers to be on their own. Rebels are overacting on their need for space as they fear being restrained or limited. You can find them often as entrepreneurs as they don't want to be told what to do or how to do it. Because they are not team players, they tend to be more out for self and as such misuse their leadership skills for personal gain. The rebel must learn that they are allowed to take a stand and have boundaries to maintain their independence.
This is a fascinating shadow aspect as it's actually more of a light shadow aspect. "Authority issues" sounds like it'd be the same as a rebel, but here it means that the person is not accepting their own authority in the world and in their lives. Instead, they find a leader to follow, someone they project their power onto instead of claiming it as their own. This is where we find hero worship as well as victimhood. Sh*t gets deep in these parts, but this person needs to see their own value and allow themselves to internalize some of the positive traits they see in their heroes, mentors, or leaders.
Hiding / Trying to be Invisible
The misuse of personal power when you try to remain invisible is riding someone's coattails while trying to remain behind the scenes. Think of the assistant who complains in private about lack of recognition because they know how to do all the components of the boss' job, and may even fill in for the boss from time to time (faux power), but they refuse to do what it takes to be the boss themself. They are riding the coattails of their boss while ignoring or abandoning their own purpose and potential. This person needs to take that class, get that certificate, become licensed, go for the promotion, or whatever it is to demonstrate to themself that they have everything they need to be the boss in their own life.
The Warrior Archetype I've been discussing is of a more shamanic, spiritual nature. I chose this version, popularized by Angeles Arrien in The Four Fold Way, because it offers opportunity for continual self examination, at whatever level you are comfortable, and the ability to step into your power and own it fully.
Personal power is not a power over another being or thing.
Personal power is a grounded surety that your actions, thoughts, emotions, and words are all working together in concert toward your full potential. It is a process and a practice, so be patient with yourself.