‘What Do you want to be when you Grow Up?’–Your Vision Quest and Archetype Helpers


A vision without a task is a dream,

a task without a vision is drudgery,

but a vision with a task can change the world.

– attributed to Black-Elk, Oglala Sioux.

In order to Live Your Dream, Now! you must know what that Dream is, and set a Vision for your adventurous quest. This week’s Life Mapping prompt, “When I Grow Up I Want to BE…” allows you to seek a Vision and also helps you orient to the character traits you are aiming to develop.

When my sister was 8, she answered the proverbial question of what she wanted to be when she would grow up with delight: “a Bunny Rabbit!,” she replied. She is 55 now, a highly successful CPA and the primary family caregiver for our elderly mother, and she is much like a Bunny Rabbit, to me, in several ways. She is bright, cheerful, extremely productive, and at the same time she is sweet, friendly, and quite engaged with friends, family, work group and community; hopping about her many-dimensional life activities with cheerful skill. Like a Rabbit, she is an Idealist and a Nurturer.

Compare how you might have answered this question as a child, and then Now. Did you want to become a Superhero who saves the world and then studied to be a Doctor or became an Emergency Vehicle driver–or a writer about such characters–who saves lives? Did you want to be like Mother Theresa and now you are or aim to be a Teacher or a Healer or a nurturing mother? All of these kinds of persons or roles are character Archetypes.They represent significant aspects of your psychological personality makeup, whether you actively express them in your job or family life or they remain submerged ‘inner voices’. Like Walter Mitty in the new film being released, we all have multiple aspects of self with their own traits, goals, and fears. In the Life Mapping process I call these archetypal parts of Self your “ensemble cast of mythic characters”.

Like the characters aligned with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, your inner and outer archetypes each have their own needs and hopes and goals. Your opportunity, if you choose to accept it on the Yellow Brick Road of creating Better Endings in your life, is to befriend these parts of your own Total Self System, to get to know them so you can enlist their Strengths in assisting you to realize your greatest Life Dream. Because ultimately, they share this goal with you and fuel its vitality.

In the Life Maps Process which I will share in its entirety with my upcoming book and self-help handbook, LIFE PATHS, I will provide you with a complete “Archetype Mapping” process and with a six-step “Archetype Dialogue Process” to help you to identify and come to understand and develop your own archetypal Inner Assembly. I will introduce twelve “primordial archetype” figures that everyone can relate to. For this Blog version of Life Mapping practice activities, it is enough to consider what sorts of character traits show up when you answer this week’s prompt: “When I Grow Up I Want to BE…”. Go ahead, make a list of possible answers and beside each one, identify the character strengths or traits you are tapping into with this response. Just by way of example below, I will list some possible ways I might answer the prompt myself:


As a Child:

(1) a Cowgirl (like Linda Craig, a children’s lit Western character) —  [Role Traits: Adventurer, Free thinking Idealist];

(2) a Detective (like Nancy Drew) —  [Role Traits: Using the mind, Communicating, Solving Mysteries]

As an Adult/ Now:

(1) an inspirational author and speaker — [using Teacher and Communicator traits];

(2) God-Realized during this lifetime (ok, this is no small dream!) — [developing Mystic and Healer traits].

Carl G. Jung stated in his major work on Archetypes that: “For every typical situation in life, there is an archetype corresponding to that situation.” The situational roles that you gravitate to, or that you enact day to day–like being a teacher or a writer or a nurse or a spouse or a nurturing parent, or any role at all–each invoke qualities which you inherently choose to express. As a cultural anthropologist, I recognize our everyday roles and statuses as basic frames which call upon these archetypal dispositions, so you do not need to believe in or invoke a mystical or metaphysical approach to accept Jungian archetypes as very basic to our social makeup as well as to our psychology.

Of course, not all archetype energies or traits are positive or fully developed as Strengths. Some may be in Shadow mode and in fact they can pull you down or hold you back from facing your fears or from going after your deepest goals and Life Dream.

In a later Life Mapping activity I will share in this Blog, I will provide a Meet Your Archetypes journaling activity. For now, reflect lightly on your various situational parts of self or alternative goals and perspectives on life. Next week I will coach you to actually start mapping the sorts of situations in which your personal ensemble cast and crew are already actively engaged.


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Thank Everyone who is Following and linking to this blog! Better Endings to you all! – Linda