The Hermit Archetype for Consultants

The Hermit Archetype for Consultants

Need alone time to recharge, focus and figure out what you think and feel about something? You might have the Hermit archetype!

In this episode of Profitable Joyful Consulting, you’ll learn how to connect with yourself and access your wisdom by identifying and working with the Hermit, an archetype of inner power.

Archetypes are energy patterns within ourselves, and one of the archetypes that has deeply resonated with my clients – even the extraverts – is the Hermit. It’s the part of you that needs alone time for reconnection with self and rebalancing. In this episode, you’ll learn how to honor and put the Hermit archetype into action in your business with me and my guest, Spiritual Director Christopher Carrick.

Key areas discussed in this episode

  • 0:00 Introduction to archetypes for consulting businesses
  • 3:38 What archetypes are and why they matter
  • 5:00 How I discovered the Hermit archetype for myself
  • 6:24 Benefits of working with the Hermit
  • 7:20 A deep dive into the archetype of the Hermit (and how disconnection from it shows up in your outer world and emotional wellbeing)
  • 11:11 How the Hermit can help you reclaim “me time” for yourself
  • 15:02 Varying degrees of need for Hermit time
  • 16:44 The shadow side of the Hermit
  • 20:02 The counter-intuitiveness of taking time to go inward and experience yin activities for entrepreneurs
  • 24:28 How the Hermit can help us access deep truths
  • 26:15 Practical ways to implement the Hermit archetype in your life and business

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Podcast Transcript

Samantha Hartley Hey there it’s Samantha Hartley of the Profitable Joyful Consulting podcast. This is season 11. We are talking about Consulting Skills. Today I have kind of an unusual one. Before I get to which one it is, I wanted to introduce a special guest. This is Christopher Carrick, who is a spiritual director and kind of a spiritual life coach and works with a lot of my clients on making things happen in their business, understanding themselves better, achieving results and in his own business he works with people who are spiritual seekers self-identified, who are experiencing breaks and block-downs in their lives and helps them to find the meaning in those so that they can feel more connected and clear. You can find out more about him at christophercarrick.com. In addition, Christopher is also my husband and so we do spend a lot of time talking about these topics. 

Today’s topic I think is a consulting skill and it is about knowing yourself better and getting the best from yourself. We are going to talk about something called the Hermit archetype. Hermit is something that you can put into action in your business. It’s absolutely a practical thing even though archetypes can feel kind of like ephemeral and like “what does this even mean?” this is something that you can do in your business. 

Before we get further into that can you Christopher just briefly remind us what archetypes are and why this is even relevant to people in general? 

Christopher Carrick: Sure, archetypes are all those different inner aspects that make up you. We are many different people, we’re different with our friends, we are with our family of origin then we are at work and archetypes are each of those little aspects inside of us which may be very different but they also cluster to create who we are in certain situations.

Particularly for an entrepreneur you’re going to find that there’s a bunch of critical archetypes that all kind of come together to form the gift that you deliver. 

Samantha Hartley Definitely, so some of the ones that we’ll be talking about this season are going to be the ones that I tend to see not just in myself but in many of my clients. I think you’re going to find that from a personal development standpoint and really understanding yourself and how to get the best work from yourself, that these will be more unusual but interesting episodes. They are consulting skills; these are ways that you become more skilful in managing yourself.  

Today why I wanted to talk about Hermit is because of the benefits that it can bring to you. First let me just share that I discovered that I had Hermit archetype maybe 10 years ago or more. Christopher and I were working with the late Jim Curtn, who was a collaborator with Carolyn Myss , who wrote a book called “Sacred Contracts” and in the book she talks about archetypes. Jim Curtin wrote the appendix where he gave a more thorough explanation of what archetypes are and examples of them from film and television just so people could kind of get a better handle on them. When I worked with Jim on figuring out what my archetypes were, which is work that Christopher and I now do with my clients, we identified Hermit and I kind of had this revelation, an epiphany about it, kind of like what my client did, That I mentioned.  

And I realized I was not getting enough alone time; I wasn’t making the most of a Hermit and it was something that I needed so much. It can be tricky to find ways to honor your Hermit, if you are in relationships and if you have, like I have, a big personality and you really are outgoing and you love to connect with people. What you may understand, if this is you, is how much recharging you need, especially the more outgoing you are, even extroverts we still need to recharge. As Jim and I worked on understanding my Hermit I began to understand myself more. And what I realized was I have to have a certain amount of time where I’m just alone, in silence even. I’m not puttering around with music. It’s a lot about stillness, silence. There can be introspective activities, like journaling, meditation. Those things can take place. I will even consider my dog walks, that I do. I’m walking a dog out in the forest or in a kind of a place where there’s no people for as far as I can see and it’s just a time to connect. Is this a spiritual thing? For many people there is the spiritual connection of going inside and connecting with God or a higher power. I think what’s really helpful about that is that they refer to Hermit archetype as the archetype of inner power. To me it’s when we go inside, and we access those pieces of ourselves that connect us to something more. I would call it centering and being really able to focus, recharging. You had some ideas about emotional well-being for example? 

Christopher Carrick Mm hmm. Well, it’s the part of you that lights the darkness of your interior space. So, you spend a ton of time, especially as an entrepreneur, paying attention to the outer world and your external experience and your deliverables and what you’re trying to create. And this is the archetype that balances that out, that says “you also have to spend time in self-reflection.” And so, when those things in the internal space don’t get honored, they start to bleed out into the exterior.  

A lot of the times it’ll show up as problems in your outer world. It’s like if you want to attend to your internal space, you’ll have less problems in your external space, and you’ll also find answers to results that you’re looking for in the external world. Like, for instance, emotional well-being is one. It’s just spending that time saying, “How do I feel?” If I’m engaged and I’m busy, I don’t necessarily take the time to recognize, I’m not able to notice a lot of what’s going on. Knowing how you are doing requires taking time out. Also discovering a sense of peace, getting away from the busyness. All that busyness needs to be balanced by not being busy. It gives you a chance to reflect and plan your day or reflect on how your day went. To feel more organized. Otherwise, people will describe this sense of like, “what’s next?” And “I had to keep things in my head and I’m not sure” and so. It produces a lot of anxiety about “Did I get everything done?”,  “Am I on top of everything there is to do?.” So, you’re able to check in and create some structure for your internal world, which helps a lot with going forward, Creativity. A lot of times we have to go in there and invoke that part of us that’s way deep in there to have access to it for when we’re going to need it in in the work environment. Inner strength, is another way to spending time with yourself to locate that part that has resolve, that has knowing. A lot of times when you hear that part of you that says, “look, this is your truth, it just is” it allows you to go, “okay, then, I will act in accordance with that.” And, a really easy one is wisdom. We’re all busy being smart but giving yourself the space and the time to let that part of you come up. You gain access to answers you wouldn’t ordinarily be able. They wouldn’t just come to the surface otherwise.  

Samantha Hartley Yeah, definitely. I think what we hear in this are activities in which the Hermit is present. And so I’ve talked so much on the show about the importance of planning your day, reflecting on your day, taking time out not just for thinking. That a third of your time really should be spent on like developing IP and thinking about how you can get better results for your clients and ideation that isn’t a part of anything that you’re doing for your clients are about content creation, just pure ideation. 

And this is the energy that I bring when I’m doing this kind of work. So, it is like Hermit energy. Some of those things that we’ve talked about you might do in a collaborative way. You might start your day with a stand-up meeting with your team. But before that, we need to have, I believe, this alone time to go inside. And as you’re saying, check in and say like, “I don’t know, how do I feel about that? What are my ideas about this?” So, this is why I feel like this archetype is so essential.

And, when I share this with clients, like they will aggressively grab on to this as like, “oh, this is the thing I need.” And I believe it’s because we haven’t a dearth of this in our work. We just don’t get enough of it. And especially as entrepreneurs, you’re probably already overworking. And then so much of our work is for the other clients. And then when it comes time to do work for us, we have to kind of steal that time. On a personal level, when I work with just my friends, I will talk about the Hermit archetype. And one thing that I have noticed, and I had a client who really knows this is that for women especially, you know, the business is a whole aspect of their lives. But then in their lives, especially if they’re moms and wives, there’s always time for the kids. And then there’s always time for parenting, co-parenting because this is a vital part of the relationship. There’s a time for husband or the spouse time. And then there is time for, as my client taught me, time with her girlfriends or her friends. The women would make time for those other people and probably parents. So, you noticed that there’s all of these entities for whom time is made, but there isn’t time for herself necessarily. 

And I hope that a lot of the people who work with me and who listen to me have come further in this. In making and giving themselves permission to have “me time” specifically and to find a place for that. But I notice that that hasn’t necessarily always been the case. One of the things that I’ve shared with some of our friends, Christopher, has been when I’m talking to a partner in a relationship and they identify that they have Hermit archetype because this will come up because I’ll mention mine, I will say, you know, it’s really helpful if you can involve your partner in the conversation about Hermit archetype because I get to say, “Hey, I need some me time. I don’t need time away from you. What I need is time with myself.” And what’s been spectacular in my relationship with Christopher is that because he understands that it makes me a better version of myself. And he can say, “When are you taking Hermit time this weekend?” Or “What’s your plan for Hermit time this week?” And I told the story to some of my clients, and one of them mentioned that a lot of her Hermit time was taken while she was out running. And having a run was time for thinking and just being alone with herself. And I always love when you cannot combine Hermit time with another activity, like running or gardening or whatever. But nevertheless, like however you take that Hermit time, as is your choice, she said that her husband would sometimes suggest when she was a little bit frazzled, Hey, I noticed you have a little gap here. Maybe you could go out for a run. And so, our partners can be incredibly supportive when they know how recharged we get from that Hermit time.  

Christopher Carrick I would add, by the way, it helped me to realize that I should occasionally volunteer to go away. I mean, for myself probably, but also it shouldn’t always be your responsibility to go away or first to close the door. Sometimes, I should give ground. I should let you have this space that’s super.

Samantha Hartley Now, as someone who doesn’t have Hermit archetype, what’s like how do you not have it? Like what? What’s your relationship to alone time and how do you see my Hermit archetype different from, like, how you are? 

Christopher Carrick Yeah, it’s hard to say, actually. I think one thing that can be true is, you kind of touched on this before, is that there is the balance of extremes. People whose energy is way out into the world and way in front of people need to balance that by going way back. Not always, but a lot of times there’s that. And I don’t have such a forward personality. My energy is not so engaged in the outer world. I think I don’t need the extreme. So probably I spend more time kind of in the middle and a little bit out and a little bit in. And also, I would say I don’t have no relationship to Hermit. Probably everybody has some relationship to it. The question is, is it kind of in your inner circle where it’s a need to or is it a one that’s farther out where it’s nice to or you need to recognize like, hey, once a month or this time period in your life, this is going to be really important.

Samantha Hartley Mm hmm. That’s so helpful, because I don’t I you know, it’s hard to imagine what we’re not and to hear kind of your relationship to it and how forward I am in the world. Yeah, I do have a very, you know, “out there” personality. One of the funniest things Christopher ever said was you could– the way you knew that I had Hermit archetype was that no one would know I had Hermit archetype because I think people experience me as like a big personality and very extroverted. And the fact that when I’m not in public being extroverted and being a big personality, I am zero. I’m there’s. Stillness. Quiet. There’s me on a path with a dog. And that’s like, you know, it’s a lot of a lot of alone time. And I am I’m totally balancing that.  

That’s the thing that I wanted to bring up, the– how Hermit archetype shows up. There’s like a light side and a shadow side. And I kind of want to just start with the shadow side. It took me years to realize that I needed this amount of alone time. I will begin with telling you about my very first consulting engagement, that was a nightmare experience for me. I was doing a branding of a project for an event, and it took place on a ship where we all lived during the course of the project. There was nowhere to go away from the work and the people that I was working with, and it was exhausting, and I really just wanted to go somewhere and close the door. I had a roommate who, thank goodness I adored, but I was I just like the detox from that particular engagement was insane. 

A thing that I did a lot of, and a similar engagement was naps. I would be just like I have to go away from this. And then when I would go to the room where I wasn’t alone, I would say, I just need a nap. And letting me sleep was a thing I think that other people would think, well, you know, the person needs to sleep like we get that. So napping, I still think, you know, all of us need to recharge and some people recharge by napping. And so again, this is really individual. I’m not saying this is necessarily this, but sometimes I think that napping can be a shadow way of stealing Hermit time that you need. I’m bringing that up because before I realized that I just need a lot of alone time, I was a serial napper, like 3 to 4 hours in the afternoon, almost every day napper and I know I like, almost never nap like never, ever, ever. So did I. Am I just better rested? No. I think that what I am doing now is I’m taking Hermit time and resting and recharging more often because I don’t need to steal it. To me, that’s a way that Hermit archetype can show up. You know, I guess you can just like get in the car and drive away and leave for three or four weeks. That’s another way. 

Christopher Carrick Yeah, yeah. I mean, disappearing avoidance be becoming unavailable, creating blocks, all those kinds of things. Yeah. Shadow can also show up as the opposite. It can show up as never taking me time, which is more often what happens. Yeah. Then the thing to look for is how that archetype is creating is showing up in shadow in your life. For instance, I was talking with somebody recently who has a lot of trouble sleeping and what she realized was that morning time before everybody else got up, was so precious to her that she slept with a lot of anxiety. It trying to anticipate getting up early so that she could have that time when she realized that that’s when that’s what empowered her to take that time to say, this has to be here and I’m going to protect it. Yeah. Right. She’s recognizing the things, showing up in the Hermit, showing up in the shadow, shows up as lack of sleep. And it’s really easy to deprioritize this because it’s the internal world, because you’re so focused on getting results and what other people need and all the stuff you have to do. And it’s very easy to rationalize not taking downtime. But the way I think of it, again, it’s very much about opposites. It’s about balancing the dark with the light that the dark is the yin of the interior with the yang of the exterior. And another way to think about it would be somebody who was really into fitness and exercise or bodybuilding. The shadow of that might be they don’t take the rest and recuperative time. That’s part of the bodybuilding, if not just doing the work, it’s letting your body then adjust to that and make the changes it needs to get the result you want. It’s really recognizing that you have to honor this other side, which it’s easy to say this has no value.  

Samantha Hartley Yeah, and a great example of that to me and then something that I have been doing more of and I encourage my clients to do is a buffer day after travel, for example. We just did a retreat with my clients and the day you come back; you have to take off that day so that you can reintegrate into your life. I also when I travel for these things where I’m the client, I will actually stay over a day specifically to reflect on what I heard, what I experienced, kind of to, you know, detox is a mean word, but to balance all the people time with some non-people time ,to process. I think those are, you know, really good ways. You know, I’m a big believer in the things. My client is doing. And the thing that I do, which is I don’t take client meetings on Mondays and Fridays, it’ll be a rare exception. And if I end up having to take one, then I’ll swap it out for an afternoon. If I have to have a meeting on a Friday for 3 hours, I’m going to take 3 hours on a Thursday and go, you know, to the beach with the dogs or something. So making sure that you’re creating balance in your life, you can hear the ways that it’s not optional. And I think we’re all because of the pandemic, we’re all more aware of the idea of self-care. And what I’m specifically introducing here is the idea of caring for yourself in this particular way with this kind of alone time. Because self-care can be, you know, family time or friends, you know, whatever you need to do. I want you to also look at ways that you as Christopher saying this kind of like go inward, more yin activities. You wanted to talk about this being a little counterintuitive.

Christopher Carrick Yeah, well, especially for an entrepreneur, because you are the job, so you are all the jobs. And you know, what I’ve been able to see from your clients is it’s very easy to get into the habit of feeling like work is never done. And so the rationalization of, I don’t have time for this. I can’t, be screwing around over here and you devalue it. You know, it’s easy to cut out when you are talking. One of the things I was thinking was it requires a lot of discipline to honor this part. You really have to constantly remind yourself this has a lot of value. And so giving yourself that time means having the discipline to say this is equally important as that. 

Samantha Hartley Yeah, even when you’re behind, I mean, this is the thing that I think is especially counterintuitive is I’m behind in my work. I don’t– like I have a lot to do. I don’t have time for rest. Like the disproportionate effect of an hour of thinking time, walking, Hermit time on– you will be more productive than just one hour. You’ll be, you know, magnificently more productive if you just take that time. And that has been my experience just over and over.

Christopher Carrick Mm hmm. Yeah. It’s, you know, we talked before about how it’s a way of accessing creativity and answers and reducing things like irritability. It helps to make you more efficient, be a better version of yourself.  

Samantha Hartley And make better decisions. If you think of yourself in that kind of overextended way, and you are looking at a pile of work that needs to be done, it just makes me feel frazzled thinking about it. Now, if I take an hour, I feel like I don’t have an hour to waste on rest or whatever. But when you come back to your work, you’ll find 30% of it doesn’t actually need to be done, 25% of it got resolved by not you, because while you were away and resting, so-and-so answered their own question or whatever. And then the rest of the things you’re able to just boom, boom, boom go through. To me, that kind of ability to focus and access your own wisdom. And again, I will just say on the spiritual note, you know, just connecting to that God aspect, if you can connect to God and feel like, oh, okay, I just got my priorities rearranged for myself, suddenly, you know, colors are brighter, sounds are clearer, and my brain is working better. To me, it’s just one of the huge benefits.

Christopher Carrick Spiritually, I think it really takes focus and discipline, but being willing to sit with the stillness in the silence and drop in allows you to access a deeper voice, whether you want to call it your soul or your higher self. And that’s not going to give you the same answers as your ego. A lot of times what I’ll tell people about that deeper voice is one of the symptoms is it doesn’t always agree with or like the things that you want it to. If you want to know a deep truth, that’s the best way to get to it. In the same way that if you want to get to a really sophisticated rich answer for a client, it can take letting yourself sink down into the part of you that has access to that information.  

Samantha Hartley Yes, yes. Have been there. Awesome. I want to talk about some practical ways that you can implement. And we have referred to them. When should we call on Hermit?

Christopher Carrick Well, as I mentioned, it requires discipline. What I would advise is that you don’t wait to call in it, so. If you schedule out and the more you get to know if, the more you’ll know how much you need, but that you allocate time upfront for it. But the other time, I would say, is, look for your own symptoms. You know, when you start to get grouchy, when you start to get overly confused, when your time is too full. Right. That’s counterintuitive. You don’t feel like, “hey, it’s time to go away.” But that’s actually usually a shadow symptom of you’ve got a lot of clutter building up and it needs your attention, and it needs your time. Yeah.  

Samantha Hartley Definitely. So, for me, I’ve mentioned the Mondays and Fridays. I have about 90 minutes at the beginning of the day. That’s a combination of Hermit time during which I will do freestyle journaling, just brain-dump style journaling. I will, if I feel like I’m done, like sometimes I’ll need a whole hour for that. Sometimes I feel like I’m done after 15 minutes and I’m ready to jump into my day and then I’ll work on my number one priority. 

Christopher Carrick I brain dump is really good because it can feel like, “oh I’m just putting stuff down the paper.” I’m never going to read it again. But what you’re doing is you’re clearing out the garbage in a sense, so you can realize, “oh, here’s the answer.” 

Samantha Hartley I love hearing you say that, because that is exactly what happens. And it’s a very business thing to realize is that the more you do that kind of thing, the more you get stuff out of the way. And if you do happen to look back at it and this is the thing that I do from time to time, is I scroll back on those brain dumps and I’ll be like, “Oh, I’m noticing a pattern here.” Here’s the thing. Here’s the source of my anxiety. I’m anxious about this thing because I keep writing about it or I keep thinking about it. In the afternoon, I think is another really important thing. You know, there’s a reason why cultures have siestas or, people will take a walk after lunch or something like that. And I think going outside and breathing at some time between lunch and the end of your day is a first of all an incredible way to recharge and it just will help you reset and get perspective before you move on into the afternoon. So that’s another a little trick and you can start with a five or ten-minute little walks outside before you come back in the house. And again, I do these four seasons so it can be like a 20-minute bundle up in the wintertime. But it’s incredible to just get that fresh air and get just a little time to be like, “okay, here I am, it’s me again.” I’m returning to myself and rebalancing, reconnecting with what I want, with what my goal is, what my focus is, and things like that. Any last words of encouragement?  

Christopher Carrick I would say there’s a there is an act of discernment in that a long time about whether you want to do activities or not. So it might involve gardening, it might involve journaling, it might involve prayer. It also might involve not doing anything. So that’s a kind of know thyself and feel into when are you giving yourself a distraction to it and say that it counts as that or when is this actually helping you like relax your mind and letting you sink in.  

Samantha Hartley Such a great point. Okay, so the card deck that I use with my clients that we use to help our clients to identify what their core main archetypes are, and the information about the book by Carolyn Myss called Sacred Contracts, and Contact Information for Christopher will all be at all my website you can find it at Samanthahartley.com/super it’s where I put all the bonuses from the show now and I would love for you to go and check that out and you can always reach out to me any time and share with me what your archetypes are. I love to hear from other Hermits. Ironically, we Hermits need to stick together and with that.  

Christopher Carrick What really stood out to me was, I thought people would need persuasion to realize that they were a Hermit. And how many of your people raised their hand so quickly? What that really tells me is that it needs validation. You gave them permission by bringing it up to say, “Oh, I recognize that.” And then it gives you a chance to say, “This is valuable, this is important.”

Samantha Hartley And the Hermit is like, “I need time to myself.” Yes, super. 

All right. Thank you so much, Christopher. It’s been amazing talking with you on this topic, as I love this topic. And with that, we are both wishing you a Profitable and Joyful Consulting Business.

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