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We all have the power to become leading actors on our own stage.

leadership realms and archetypes

THE transformation that participants undergo on Richard Olivier’s mythodrama courses is something of a mercurial process.

Using tales from mythology and Shakespeare, he helps people to explore their own characters in order to change their personal story.  The son of Joan Plowright and Laurence Olivier has spent the last 17 years helping people unleash their potential both in their careers and their personal life. 

Yet Richard admits he is constantly amazed by what people can achieve during the coaching process:  “This is the closest thing to legal magic that I have come across,” he says.  “I see people reveal things that they have no logical way of knowing.

“After a career as a theatre director and working in personal development I think this is the most fulfilling work I have done.”

He recalls how a former soldier turned business consultant admitted, during one course, that fuelling his own ego had led him to put colleagues in physical danger.  On another occasion he worked with a woman from the marketing and advertising industry who had risen to a senior position.  She had always prided herself on developing others and yet, in doing this, held herself back.  He encouraged her to be become more of a renegade and explore her own creative impulses.

“This isn’t just about the idea of leadership but the notion of leadership of one’s own life – of being a leading actor on your own stage,” says Richard.  “It’s about the notion of bringing the soul back into the centre of life.

“The more that we can live a life that feels ensouled the more we will have the ability to withstand the ‘slings and arrows’ that the journey throws our way.”

Course participants are asked to examine the different personality archetypes such as Transformer, Warrior, Strategist, Dreamer - most people are a combination of several of them.  The group works together to consider what habits they have developed and what they can do to alter their own story.

Richard’s work has taken him around the world and has also worked extensively with Robert Bly, a leading figure in the American mythopoetic men’s movement.  When he began coaching it was involved with people whom he describes as “used up and thrown away by a relentless system”.  However he then realised that in order to make a real impact it important to also work with the people higher up the professional chain; these were the people whose decisions were having such an impact on so many lives.

He says he believes that unless our leaders and powerbrokers change the story, society will struggle to move forward.

“We have leaders who claim to be heroes but in fact are retreating back to what their audience knows.  They are not being bold.  These are all people who are ready to jump back to the old story – Brexit – Trump saying: ‘How can we get back to us?’

“The old story has outlived its usefulness.  We need to move to a new story.  We cannot have the few dictate to the many but it’s going to take a long time to shift that.”

Richard Olivier runs Olivier Mythodrama and will be teaching on Leading with Soul – Authentic Leadership for Troubled Times from May 7 to 11.