Discover the 5 Archetypes with Carey Davidson

In this episode, we meet Carey Davidson a world-renowned speaker, author, founder, HR guru and is an expert in the business of self-mastery.
Her groundbreaking 5 Archetypes system is used in companies and homes around the world to dramatically improve the experience of life and work. Her book, The Five Archetypes: Discover Your True Nature and Transform Your Life and Relationships (2020 Simon & Schuster) uncovers what motivates perpetual growth and lifelong purpose.
Carey is the founder of Tournesol Wellness, an integrative healing and education centre in NYC and is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Tournesol Kids, 501c3.


3:44 – Glenn: Give us the two-minute life story of Carey Davidson and how you got to be where you are today.

Carey: Well, if you're going to constrain me to two minutes. I will I'll pin it down to, I would say, the pivotal experience that I could weave throughout my lifetime, whether it was, as you know, a little kid, an adolescent in high school, whatever really was being challenged by not feeling comfortable in uncomfortable emotional situations, so uncomfortable emotional interactions with other people and always curious to improve my ability, not to react to it.

Because when I would react, you know, to someone else's anger or fear or frustration, no matter what, I would always make it worse. So, it was like, there's got to be a better way. So, I would say what got me to where I am now is really has been my ability to pause and reflect on the times and in interpersonal interactions that were the most uncomfortable. And then be able to take that knowledge and expand with it, which is kind of why I am so in love with the five archetypes because it gives that that roadmap, it explains all this misery that I went through my whole life until now.

05:33 – Glenn: You brought up the five archetypes. Walk us through the five archetypes.

Carey: Sure. The five archetypes. It’s a system that combines ancient wisdom and frontier science to really give people an actionable roadmap for how to thrive in the face of challenge.

We humans don't deal with discomfort well, when we do, when our flow is interrupted, we like what the heck is going on and we go into those reactive states or we ignore it, we sweep it under the rug, and none of those tactics really work.

So, what I love about the five archetypes is this actionable, easy to understand system for thriving in the face of even our most difficult situations. So, these archetypes, they’re based in ancient Chinese medicine philosophy, which is kind of a theory for how all things grow and they correspond to nature, the elements in nature, fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.

We all have these forces within us. They help us function on a physical level, cognitive behavioral relationship, spiritual even. But when we understand the balance of the five within our nature, we can better be more self-aware. We can self-regulate really easily. We can become resilient very easily. And at its highest level, we learn. We learn unconditional love really, compassion or empathy.

You know, there's a lot of talk about, you know, being an empathetic leader these days and how do we achieve that? Well, this is the roadmap to exactly how to achieve that for yourself and for others

07:40 – Glenn: Let's unpack the five archetypes briefly and just give me a one or two liner around what each archetype is. And that's sort of dominant characteristics. So, let's run through those five archetypes and then we can start really digging into that juicy stuff around the impact.

Carey: All right. So, fire, people fire. If your primary is fire, your gift to the world is joy and hope and optimism. Your biggest fears revolve around loss of connection or loss of love. You can't easily tolerate uncomfortable emotions. Spoiler, spoiler alert. And fire people. They love and require kind of eye contact and touch and closeness with other people when they don't feel these, these needs being met. They tend to go into panic and big drama over little things anxiety.

Then you have Earth people, earth people. Their gift to the world is unity and compassion, and their biggest fears revolve around abandonment. Like people leaving a union. They can't tolerate disunity, people not wanting to be on their team, people not wanting to be their customer. Things like that under stress. Earth people tend to go into overwhelming worry very easily, and they over care about fitting in and over care about, kind of almost get addicted to, relationship, regardless of the quality of the relationship.

So, then you have the metal people. Metal people, their gift to the world is beauty and perfection. They are designers and architects, planners, metal people. Their biggest fears revolve around making a mistake or being wrong. They can't tolerate change or chaos. They need things to sit still and be the way they’re expected to be, which is not the way the world works. So, it's very hard sometimes when your primary is metal. If you don't have a well-ordered life under stress, metal people can over focus on the story in the past. It’s hard for them to push forward towards the future, towards change, towards momentum and getting out of that uncomfortable state.

Then you have water people. Water people, their gift to the world is deep meaning and peace. Water people are amazing listeners. They're amazing problem solvers. Their biggest fears revolve around being misunderstood because they are so wise, they're so good at gathering knowledge. The opposite is, is, you know, is frightening for them. The idea that that all this knowledge they have is meaningless to some, to other people. When they feel stressed, water people go into over isolation, and they can. They're prone to depression because they can really pull themselves away from people. They can hide.

And then we have wood people. Wood people, their gift to the world is freedom. They are trailblazers. They have endless momentum. They initiate new ideas. They make change for the rest of us, wood people their biggest stress revolves around confinement, anyone or anything getting in their way of getting things done fast. They like speed. When they don't feel that they can move things forward fast, they are their stress states, our anger and frustration. They can go quickly into anger and frustration the same way they can go quickly into creating and trailblazing.

But they are also quick to recover, and sometimes the rest of us don’t recover as quickly from the anger that Wood expresses. So, there's a lot of like relationship stuff to really understand in order to bring this stuff to life. Those are the five basics.

12:47 – Glenn: So, when it comes to our people then and thinking in the context of customer experience, how do we then identify, If we're thinking about that human-to-human interaction? What can we do to help our people have better interactions with our customers using something like the five archetypes?

Carey: Well, I've done I've done this exercise with companies where they all, a whole team, like a sales team, for example, will take the assessment and measure their relationship to the qualities or requirements of a good salesperson.

So, a good salesperson needs to be able to take the initiative to not take no for an answer so easily to keep moving the ball down the court, to build relationships, to make eye contact, to stay the course right and to actually schedule time to keep it moving forward.

So those are all like very wood, little bit of fire, and a little bit of metal requirements. And so, if you take your scores and you compare them to like, hey, I need to have a lot of wood to be a good salesperson and your lowest is, wood you know, that's kind of that's a way that I use this with companies to be like, hey, there's a reason why only 20% of your sales team are rock stars because everyone else has low or medium wood. And so, they are really empathetic, compassionate ways to teach people to have more of that wood energy in their nature.

Each of us has a different learning style, you know, and if wood is your lowest or is close to your lowest, you naturally cannot tolerate sales like behavior. It’s uncomfortable. You'd rather do anything else than ask for someone to buy your product. And so, it's really interesting and eye opening to understand and then have compassion for this person in this job. Like, how do I then, you know, appreciate and empathize with their relationship to asking for a sale and build that ability in that person?

So, like, if you're working with your internal team and you're trying to build a skill, understand what nature, which archetype corresponds to the skill that you're trying to build in them and then measure, compare your staff scores to that particular skill set and then you can see where is the, you know, what bridge do I have to build to train my staff? You could be spending time and money and effort on one size fits all sales training that you're still not going to impact people who don't have high wood. They just won't, they’ll close the door, learning that skill because it's intolerable.

Glenn: Yeah. So, when we understand what makes people tick, we can then invest more wisely in coaching and training them about how to get better interactions and better outcomes. In essence using their own superpower rather than this is how we sell.

Carey: Yeah, it's a very fixed mindset, so, you talk about like, how do we connect with our with our customers, how do we, you know, II think not only now, but years leading up to now that we've pretty much been in this epidemic of disconnect. Like, we don't know what we need. We don't know how to be in relationship. We don't know how to talk to people anymore. Most of us, like a lot of the people on the planet today, we're born with like an, you know, a device, a device that they look at more than they make eye contact. So, a lot of the people we're hiring today don't know how to interact with customers, you know. And so, we're talking about like, what is sales about, what is connecting about it? I think we kind of need to relearn it. You know, it's been I think it's kind of a lost a little bit of a lost art. But yeah, and I think we're all we're suffering because of it. Work. The workplace is suffering. You know, our internal teams, our external relationships, our home relationships. And, you know, so that is so important now.

18:16 – Glenn: What are those tells in and around each of the archetypes, so that if you start interacting with a customer or a potential customer, you can pick up on in and around the individual dominant archetypes.

And with those archetypes, how would you then recommend that people start or continue those interactions with them? and how can we tell in those first few interactions? Well, it's so funny, I love I love what you're saying first, you're talking about observing people. And that's even a skill that many people don't take the time to do because it's slow. You have to sit there. It's not about action, it's not about moving. It's about listening. It's about water. It's about peace. It's about sitting. Still, until you can notice something about someone. So, the first step to doing what I'm about to tell you is, can you get still enough to pay attention to these subtle differences in people? Because a lot of times they are subtle, but as soon as you start to understand it and know it, it pops, and it'll pop more easily.

But it's not because it's popping, it's because you're more quiet, you’re more still, you appreciate the skill of listening more. So, selling you a TV? All right. So the difference between noticing a wood person and a metal person. Wood people tend to take up more space? You know, they tend to there's a forward and upward energy about them, so, they might move through the store, taking up more space or with more speed. They’ll be more direct. They're going to be. Tell me about this. You know, like, tell me around this T.V and you know, they want to they want to engage. They want to also sometimes they could. You could feel challenged by them, depending on your type. We all have a have like these split seconds judgments we make on the others. So, if you're feeling pressed or pushed or challenged, you’re likely talking to a wood person and then you have metal people. Metal people are kind of opposite or one of the opposites to wood, and they're very they tend to be skinny, taller, they tend to hold themselves with, like, very specific posture.

They will ask questions about data. Give me the data on this TV. How long does it usually last? Do you have a warranty? How long is it? You know, how long is it going to last me? Is this the right TV to get? And how many people buy this? You know, they want the data, they want the details. They want to know they're buying the best TV and they want to know you're the smartest person in the store that can answer all these big questions. Very important. And they are also they in terms of like the way they move and the speed. So, if wood is the fastest, metal is all about stop. So, if you're if you're a salesperson, if you're the salesperson, you want to move the deal, you want to make the sale happen, metal won't let you move. So, you if you're the salesperson you're trying to like, you can engage with the wood person. They’ll spar with you. Metals like, no, now I don't want you to sell me. I want you to tell me the data. And so, they won't move forward until they feel that they've gotten enough of the best information and they're making the best choice. Mm-Hmm. So, and they dress a little differently. They take up a little less space. They stay pretty still. They’re direct rather than kind of, you know, taking up more space and forward moving.

22:41 – Glenn: So would Wood be more about, what do you want to use it for or what sell the dream? You know, getting out there and imagine this in your media room, sell the vision verses somebody metal is, I want to know how many pixels that is. Is it fit for purpose? I already know exactly what I want. I want you to prove to me that you know enough about it, that it's the right thing for me.

Carey: Yes, 100%. Wood is, wood is our visionaries! They can imagine how it's going to look, how they're going to use it in the future.

Glenn: Mm-Hmm. And, and are they not necessarily set on a particular size screen model? I’m just using the TV analogy. Yeah. Metal, Metal do their research first, come all prepared, and it's about validation.

Carey: Yeah. Well, no, it's cool because wood cares about being best first. They care about winning. So, they might go out on like here in the United States, we have a Black Friday right after Thanksgiving, everyone goes to, you know, get the big, the biggest and best deals. So, like a wood person would be there at 4:00 be the first one in line to get the newest version of X Y Z TV and then tell all their friends they've got it. And like, it's a big deal that I got the best, biggest TV. You know, the first one out, they only made 200 and I got the first one like that's that makes a wood person feel good.

So, if you're selling to a wood person, you know if your client is wood keep them abreast of what's new, what's best. Hey, you can get this before anyone else does. You know, metal doesn't care. Metal wants… actually, would prefer that it have proven results for some time before they go and bite the bullet like they want to see the performance data?

24:48 – Glenn: So, what sort of things can we do with our people and our teams to help bolster their skill set in and around, let's just say, we want to use the five-archetype system. What sort of things can we do to help them be better at their jobs and give ultimately our customers a better experience?

Carey: Well, I would say the first thing is, if they have ten minutes, they should take the assessment. It’s free, it's online and they should look at their water score just as just like a tip of the iceberg. Place to start Look at your water score. Water reflects your ability to listen and to problem solve. And I think that, you know, if I look at most people that I work with, unless your primary is water, water is one of your lowest, if not your much, lowest. And here we are today scrambling to get things done, scrambling to fix problems. We can't tolerate disunity or being wrong or being slow or uncomfortable feeling. So, we race to the finish line to try to solve a problem.

But what we we don't honor the beautiful benefits of pausing for a second and listening to what's going on inside of you. Like, am I reacting right or am I taking brilliant action because I'm aware of all these opportunities that came to me while I was sitting there quietly thinking for a minute, like even if it's a minute or five minutes before you jump in to make a decision, it actually opens up more opportunities that if you react in a moment of discomfort, you're missing out on, like all these other ways to solve a problem.

And so, I would say that's the top thing I would suggest to anyone on the planet at this moment is to do that because I see that, and I have to teach it every single time I do a workshop. I, when I look at people's scores, it's the number one challenge, and without that, you can't really do any more work. There is a hierarchy of like healing or growing abilities and in these interactions and communicating, connecting with your clients and your staff. And the first, the bottom, the bottom thing you got to do is learn water, learn how to listen.

Glenn: So that's what a little bit of that slowdown to go at a faster pace to get to the end.

Carey: Mm hmm. A little. I'm not saying like a week every time to make a decision. Literally minutes can make a huge difference.

28:02 - Glenn: I know that you have spoken at some really, high-level Tony Robbins things as well. And I look at Tony Robbins and I look at what he does, and he just absolutely knows his lane. He absolutely, deeply understands the people that he connects with and connect with him. The actual experience of being there as an observer must be sort of out of this world, to see what he can create for his core audience talk, if you can, talk me through that.

Carey: Yeah. Well, so, you know, a second ago I was talking about there are split second ways that we see all the other archetypes think. Each of the other archetypes will kick up in us in our experience.

So, hold that for a second because I'm going to use that.

But Tony is a very wood energy. He’s all about challenging you to be your best. All the time. And there are people in this world who want that, who are really driven to be like, ‘I need a coach’. that’s like a… Wood types are actually coaches. They are people who remind you that you can do your best and be your best. They teach you to attain freedom. Freedom, to do what you want, when you want, how you want to do it, to get things done.

And so, if you have a person who has a platform as big as he has, I mean, he's a celebrity. People see him on the internet, they see his videos, they hear him speak. So, he's able to, you know, have this megaphone out there talking about like, Hey, if you want wood qualities, I'm the dude to teach you. And so, people who are lacking that… those qualities, really know that's what they need to succeed will all be drawn to attend his events because that's the place to learn these qualities.

And so, I'm primary fire. My second is Earth. Wood is my third? So wood is kind of it's there. It’s not that it's like my lowest, but when I'm around, wood energy, am I, wood is also my parent energy. So, I will feel like, wow, I need to make sure everyone here thinks I’m serious because I know wood people can think that fire people are too silly. They’re not serious enough.

So, I will naturally go into this. I want them to make me make, you know, I want them to hear what I have to say and take me seriously. But at the same time, I want them to experience what it feels like to not only not, just not take me seriously, but to empathize with the fact that there are five ways of engaging with information and with the world.

So, I wanted to play a little bit with that relationship. And so, I was very fiery and a little silly. And I went up and I asked for, like all the wood people in the room, you know, to stand up. And I said, this is probably like five minutes in and like, raise your hand, raise your hand. If all of you were wondering what’s the point and when is she going to get to it? I wanted to get to it fast. And like most of them, raised their hand like that. That is key. Keep that in your mind, as wood people. You’re going to feel that about most other people in the room and in that space and that energy. That’s a sign. That's the universe knocking on your door, saying, hey, bring in some water here.

That's like, can you pause and listen? Maybe there is some opportunity in this connection and this information. Maybe I need to be more compassionate. Maybe I need to make more eye contact. Like all these fiery things, maybe I need to inject joy and inspiration into this coaching method I'm building.

So, it was really interesting to be like a fire in the room filled with wood people. And yeah, it was. It was pretty wild.

32:42 - Glenn: I want to dig a little bit deeper into that? Because that environment, that atmosphere, and I'll call it the… the hype in the room, it doesn't just happen by mistake. And it's very sort of, I'll say, curated in regards to, ‘this is the journey we want to take the audience on’. What are your observations in and around that around how that experience was created for the, for the audience? Because for me thinking about the customer experience or the registration, you know, that person that's registered for they that event. How did they create know what sort of little things did they do to create that, that hype and I know it's all about, you know, Tony and things like that, but there are just little nuances that that make such a big difference between a good event and a great event. They’re little, any little things that you notice that you're like, ‘Wow, that's really clever’.

Carey: Yeah, yeah. Well, it's interesting. So, wood people, they're drawn out by fire. So, it's they feel they cope through fire when they feel stressed. So, it's a release you know, fire feels good to them, and fire is about music celebration, even sometimes like intuition, joy, playfulness and so.

So, it was very interesting the way that it wasn't all work, right? And really, it was a lot of work. It was hard. People were really there to learn and grow, but they really injected playfulness and music and dancing and fun throughout the day so that people really got to enjoy each other and to build connections with each other, which is all fiery.

That was like the biggest thing that struck me how well they used fire energy. Because wood gravitates to fire, it's drawn to fire. And so, even in the midst of all this hard, you know, relationship building structure we're going to do. They vary. And I don't know if they did it because they knew about the archetypes or because it was just a natural. I mean, these are all natural. They're based in nature. It's how we engage. So, we do innately know these things and do some of these things.

But they were able to really ignite the fire of connection in a way that made people feel, I think, more bonded, rather than just talk to about here are different strategies for being better at these things. So, I think for me, that was that was a big eye opening like Bravo moment for me.

35:57 - Glenn: If you could finish with one piece of advice for, let's call it, a salesperson or an account manager, somebody in that customer facing role that is looking to be a better version of themselves and really just smash it out of the park, what would you encourage them to do to become better, and better who they are and what they doing?

Carey: Well, I would say the first thing would be to… I know I'm going to go back to listen, but this is about listening to yourself when you start to feel emotions kick up. Whether it's anger or frustration in the face of an interaction with a client like someone didn't return an email after a week or someone showed up late for a meeting, or someone bashed your PowerPoint and didn't think it looked good, and so, they're going to go with another sale.

You know, when any of these interactions kick up, uncomfortable emotions don’t do anything right away. That is, your emotions are only there to pinpoint unmet needs for safety. They are important. Don't sweep them under the rug. You don't do anything yet. Don't blame anyone for your emotions. Don’t take action, but just see if you can sit in that uncomfortable space and identify what needs for safety haven’t been met.
And that's where you start to build your toolkit for like, ‘oh wait, I didn't proofread it.’ There were spelling errors like, I wouldn't buy from me either if I had sent that. Now, what do I need? I need an extra week. You know, in the beginning of my sales process to proofread all of my stuff, or I need an assistant who can proofread, right? So that emotional space leads you to identify. It gets you quiet. Look inside like, what do I really need to be better?

So, it's almost like reframing rather than emotional leads to I'm firing my team or whatever. It’s like, hey, can you really get quiet enough and pause in that emotion enough for it to give you new opportunities and new tools?

Where to find Carey Davidson:


Carey’s Book The Five Archetypes: Discover Your True Nature and Transform Your Life and Relationships

The 5 Archetypes Test

If you want to understand your customer feedback better, talk to the team at Touchpoint Group.


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