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Commander Divine Talks About His Leadership Archetypes and Leading in an Uncertain World

By August 23, 2017 August 12th, 2020 2 Comments

“Discipline is developed by habituating daily practices of excellence. And that is essential as a leader these days.”–Mark Divine

As a leader, whether in the military or the corporate world, you step into various archetypal roles to achieve your goals. In this solo episode, Mark tells us about the archetypes that leaders must be able to utilize, from the “Warrior” and “Scholar” to the international, world-centric “Sage” role. He also discusses the “Joker,” who can show up wherever he needs to be as a kind of “morale officer” for your team. Listen to this solocast to get further insights into the kinds of tasks and roles that a leader will need to play in our increasingly chaotic world.

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Archetypes of the Leader

Hey folks, welcome back. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for your time today. I really appreciate it.

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Now today, I am doing a solocast, which I love to do every 6 episodes or so. And the topic of today’s discussion is the archetypes of the leader, and the disciplines that go with those archetypes. So the archetypes of a leader and the disciplines that go with the archetype.

The general idea here is that as a leader–depending on where you are in life, and what your roles are–you need to step into different roles or different archetypal attitudes. And these archetypal attitudes include the Athlete, the Warrior, the Scholar, the Hero, the Magician, the Joker and the Sage. And I’m sure there’s others, but those are powerful ones that I’ve identified. And I see them playing out in my own leadership capacity or leadership roles.

And I think it’d be really interesting to kind of go through these and talk about them. And talk about the disciplines of each archetype and the attitudes. And some of the things that we need to do to develop them.

Now, generally speaking these different archetypes also are… kind of accrue as you develop your leadership capacity skills and vertical development over time. For instance, if you’re a young Navy SEAL, then you’re predominantly going to be an athlete-leader until you step into a strong leadership role as a platoon commander or a troop leader. Or, you know, a battalion leader. In which case you’re going to be a Warrior and a Scholar as well.

But you wouldn’t necessarily need to be a sage. You wouldn’t be a sage until you’re more later on in your career and you’ve been kicked in the nuts a few times.


So let’s go through these in order. First the Warrior/Athlete.

Now, regardless of where you are in your leadership career… Again, whether you’re a young Warrior-leader at a SEAL team, or in a new corporate role, or whether you’re a 65-year-old CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you need to embody the archetype of the athlete. What I mean by that is essentially you need to have a disciplined approach to training the body and the mind because frankly that’s the vessel you need to do to project your leadership power and to take strong action.

In this stage we really can’t just rest behind the desk and the longer. We’ve got to have a strong physical body. We’ve got to project power. We’ve got a have… Maintain optimal health. And that translates into a sharper mind, a healthier mind, clearer decisions. And essentially an ability to make better decisions. More powerful decisions.

So what we’ve been proposing with SEALFIT is a lifetime of functional fitness training developing strength, stamina, work capacity, durability, endurance and mental toughness. And this, of course, has to be age appropriate and athletic ability appropriate. So I’m not suggesting that either the 65-year-old CEO has to do the same type of thing and volume of work as the 21-year-old Navy SEAL candidate. But generally speaking the nature of the training is going to be very similar if not identical. It’s a load and the duration and intensity that the scaled. And the point being that to have a disciplined approach to training the body and mind means that you’re going to be training a minimum of 3 times a week and ideally 5 to 6. And every day you’re going to have a practice to move the body and to clear and calm the mind.

Another aspect of the leader as an Athlete is effective fuelling. Now it should be no mystery to you listening to this we’re a big proponent of the Paleo-, Warrior dieting and also wholesome foods. And Ketogenesis and all these things. And intermittent fasting.

So to really dig in and look at fuelling and how it’s affecting your sleep and recovery and to make sure that you’re fuelling your body properly. Because that, of course, will affect your training and your performance. That’s beyond the scope of this podcast, but certainly is something really important to take a look at, because it affects everything else.

Now notice the leader as an athlete, what we’re talking about here is foundational health, foundational functional fitness–so that you can move powerfully and get out into the field and do things that maybe are unexpected of you even. And, also, the ability or the assurance or confidence that comes that leads to self-respect, which also shows up as respect from others amongst your team.

And respect to such a critical part of being a good leader. Respecting others of course, starts with respecting yourself. And it’s hard to respect yourself if you don’t take care of your body and mind. The physical aspects of your body and mind. Through proper fuelling and proper movement and proper recovery.



Okay, enough on that. That’s the leader as the archetypical Athlete.

Second, I want to talk about the leader as a Warrior. This is something we know a lot about at… In my company. Developing Warriors and leaders for 10 or 12 years now.

So the Warrior is disciplined. The Warrior has… approaches discipline not as something that’s just a gift, but it is something that is developed. Discipline is developed by habituating daily practices of excellence. And that is essential as a leader these days. There are so many skills and so many things that are required of you as a leader that you really need to have a daily look at what are the narrow range of skills that you’re that you’re developing. How do you master them in our crawl walk run fashion?

And that not only requires but builds discipline. And through discipline we employ another principle we call, tapas or burning through resistance and finding new 20x thresholds.

When you are a disciplined individual… A disciplined leader as a Warrior–of course, foundationally, this includes the Athletic aspect or archetype we just talked about– then generally speaking you’re going to have more trust from your team largely because you’re more trustworthy. Because you’ve disciplined the habit of follow through, accountability, doing what you say you’re going to do, being a man or woman of your word. And essentially this trust then expresses itself as honor. So that you’re willing to step up and take a stand and make decisions that are honorable.

And what that means is sometimes the consequences are a little bit sticky, or unfavorable for you personally. And something you may not desire at a personal level but it’s the right thing to do. So you step up and do it. And that’s honor.

Honor for the CEO is really… Let me use an example of the recent airline fiasco where people were thrown off United. It happened at a few different airlines and it was just a real disaster from a public relations standpoint.

An honorable and disciplined approach to handling that, one that would’ve been tendered trust would’ve been to the CEO’s of United to immediately acknowledge that a horrific mistake was made. To offer the passenger who was thrown off his flight a lifetime of free flights. And to immediately enact a new code of conduct and training for the entire airline. And to accept 100% responsibility for the failure. That’s honorable. We need to see more of that. That’s a Warrior archetype for the leader.



Another archetype or discipline of the Warrior is to develop serenity. Meaning that they need to be the calm person in the midst of the shit storm. When everything’s speeding up and chaos is ensuing. And we know that business these days in the age of acceleration is just controlled chaos… The leader as a Warrior is calm in the middle of that chaos. And this calmness is developed through a daily practice of silence. Some sort of meditative or mindfulness or breathing practice done every day. Such as our box-breathing or our concentration training that we offer in Unbeatable Mind.

So the Warrior develops serenity and his leading by example, and his presence–which is serene and calm in the midst of the chaos–brings a lot of calmness and reduces anxiety amongst the team.

Another attribute or discipline of the archetypal Warrior-leader is simplicity. Finding the simplicity on the other side of complexity as my friend Captain Schoultz says. That is an advanced skill, and one that accrues from that serenity. So if the leader is taking time in silence every day, what happens is he’s going to be able to recognize patterns that kind of fall out or emerge from the chaos and the complexity. And those patterns point to simple solutions and simple decisions. Simple actions.

So finding simplicity on the other side of complexity is a very powerful attribute of the Warrior as the leader. Or as leader as a Warrior.

And certainly the Warrior is committed to self-mastery in service to his team. And in doing so, what they end up doing is setting security for the team. This is a really important principle.

The Warrior sets security. Meaning, just like a SEAL team will go into a building to capture someone or collect intelligence, when they do so, they’ll set security to make sure that they consolidate the gains, and they protect the individuals who are exposed. Now, when you embark upon a mission in your business organization, you’re exposing everybody to potential problems, you know? There’s gonna be competition. There’s going to be unknowns. Or like Donald Rumsfeld said, there’s going to be the knowns, the unknowns and the unknowables.

And so you as the Warrior-leader must set security for your team and to protect them. Cover down on them. Make sure that when the inevitable failure or breach or ambush occurs that you take care of the team and you don’t let them hang out there to dry. Or take the hit for the company.

So you’ve gotta set security and make sure the environment is okay to fail in. And okay to try things new. Okay to innovate and to ride the red line, because otherwise, everyone will just fall back into a mode of covering their own ass. And not taking any risk.



So that’s the leader as a Warrior. Now we’ve talked about the leader as an Athlete and the leader as a Warrior. Those 2 are transcended but included when the leader becomes a Scholar.

So this is where–as you develop the vertical skills that we just talked about of the Warrior–which are really about your character. Now it’s incumbent upon you to also continue to develop competence in new areas and new skills so that you can lead in this dynamic world. And that is an important thing.

It’s actually fairly common–I just wanted to point it out–that… cause some people stop learning. And they think they’ve got it all figured out.

But leadership competence and the skills to run an organization are always available for you. You’ve gotta empty your cup, and approach learning with kind of a new eye and a new eagerness to learn how to lead today.

And so one great example of that is learning how to lead Millenials. It’s not a normal skill that the 65 year-old CEO or VP of Marketing has. And so that’s another area of competence you can develop.

Further the Scholar–the leader as a Scholar–learns how to focus. And this is a really important thing. How do you focus so that you can do the deep work? The deep work of really creative thinking. Innovation. Writing, you know? Say writing a book or whatever your creative outlet is. Or your creative imperative is for your organizational needs or your leadership role.

You gotta learn how to deeply focus and do that… what my friend Cal Newport calls “Deep Work.” And this is the work of the leader as a scholar. So making sure you take time to get away to the cabin in the woods like Thoreau did. To do the deep work and to prepare for the next stage of the business’ growth.

Or to have time everyday–and it can be around your time for silence and developing serenity–to where you sit with your journal and you think. You think. You use mental models. And you think and you plan and you envision the future. You do that deep work of focus so that you can bring that newness and those new ideas back into your organization.



And eventually we step up to be a Hero. So this is the leader as a Hero. Now, the Hero is full of courage. But the courage comes from a deep commitment to the mission.

Now you could also try to lump these into the Warrior, but not all Warriors are Heroes. Warriors are a long, slow, disciplined process of cultivating self-mastery and service.

But it’s the Hero who steps out boldly to go where no man or woman has gone before, or to step up boldly to expose himself at great risk–like my teammate Michael Monsoor and some of my SEAL team buddies who have exposed themselves to great risk as Heroes to protect their teammates.

Well this is where the leader as the archetypical Hero commits with a “burn your boat” type of commitment to a mission, or to salvaging an operation, or to protecting and covering down on an organization that’s experiencing cash flow… There’s any number of ways the Hero can show up. And that commitment then breeds courage. And the courage has been stoked because over the years, the leader has also been a Scholar, a Warrior and an athlete. So they’ve got a lot of energy and momentum that gives them this courage to step out and to do bold things, and to take risks.

So that boldness is an attribute of the Hero. Commitment and boldness and courage. And ultimately the Hero–because the Hero is not afraid to fail–develops wisdom. So that’s not an attribute you often see with the Hero. But it’s wisdom that comes by stepping into the unknown and learning something completely new. And often times you have these paradigm shifting, radical insights that accrue when you step into the unknown and you try things that are completely new. Blue ocean strategies, right? Or just stepping into complete unknown and saying, “All right, team. We don’t really know where this is leading, but we’re going to go here. Because this is what feels right.” So we use our intuitive skills. Are instinctual skills. We tap into the insight that comes when we’re sitting in silence, and the greater awareness that comes from being able to recognize patterns.



Let me talk about now the Magician. Oftentimes the Hero will step out into the unknown, slaying the dragon and all of a sudden they come across an obstacle that seems in surmountable. The market evaporates, we have a financial crisis. The product doesn’t work. It’s not received by the marketplace. It could be any number of things.

So now the leader goes from Hero and must step into the Magician phase. And the Magician is the archetype where the leader must engender hope. Must bring hope to the team.

And also, maybe some illusion, right? I’m not saying deception, but I’m saying illusion. Setting the illusion that things are a lot stronger or maybe hopeful, or secure than they actually are. Cause the Warrior in you is setting security, but it’s the Magician in that’s gotta engender and keep that hope alive with your team in the face of the insurmountable obstacle.

And the illusion is that things are a lot stronger and better than they are. And what you’re asking for by holding out this hope and by communicating clearly the vision of how to get through the challenge is that everyone pulls a little bit harder. And everyone stays on the team, right? Connected. As a team. So the morphogenic field is not broken.

And it takes a Magician quality, and archetype of the Magician to pull the Hero through to the next stage. And what happens typically is in that stage where the team is carrying the load while the Magician is making the illusion that things are stronger, then the Hero steps back into the Scholar role and the Warrior role to develop new competencies and new skills for the team and for himself or herself. So that they can spring forth and then move on and move through the obstacle to the next stage.



Now, at this stage, the leader will step into the Sage archetype… the wise Sage. This is the statesman or stateswomen who oftentimes is interfacing with political community or international peers. And providing service at a world-centric level. World-centric.

Now this is really important. Especially everyone who’s working at a global level knows how important it is to have a world-centric point of view, where we respect all cultures. We respect all leaders. And we don’t have to reduce ourselves to their values or even like them. But we need to respect them and work with them in a global community. A global world-centric community of statesmen and women.

So this is a service to humanity stage of development and archetype. Where everyone must benefit from our actions, no matter what size organization you’re leading or else it’s just not worth doing, right? If you’re hurting anything, then you’re hurting the system and the whole, which means you’re hurting yourself.

So the world-centric Sage is someone who can take perspectives on other individuals and other cultures and meet them where they’re at. They truly are an integral or integrated person. They’re able to travel all stages or plateaus of consciousness. And they maintain their vision through that, but they can also communicate that vision to people of different cultures and different levels of development.

This is a high, high skill. And it’s something we endeavor to develop at Unbeatable Mind in our Unbeatable Mind online academy as well as our inner circle. The Sage is incredibly important and generally speaking, it’s a latter developmental stage. This is a culmination of many, many years of leadership development



Last but not least I might mention the Joker. I probably could have mentioned the Joker before the Sage, cause developmentally… you know. It may show up before the Sage. But also, the Joker can show up at any one of these levels.

But the Joker is the morale officer. I would say that a good part of motivation theory for me comes down to the Joker. And that is the ability to really make people feel good about themselves. To bring a smile to their face. To be positive. To feed the Courage Wolf. And the Joker… contrary to popular belief… people think maybe the Joker is arrogant or egotistical. Or a screw up.

It’s not true. I’m talking about a sophisticated archetype here where with great humility you’re able to lighten the load. Or bring lightness to your team.

So you can be deadly serious about achieving the mission. You could be working as a Hero and a Sage and Scholar and a Warrior. You’re Athlete body/mind system providing the respect and the trust. And maybe you’ve had to step into the Magician to provide a little illusion and hope that things are better than they actually are.

But it’s the Joker in you that keeps everyone smiling and happy. And light. And feeding the Courage Wolf.

Cool hunh? So that’s the… those are the archetypes of the leader. Leader-Athlete, Leader-Warrior, Leader-Scholar, Leader-Hero, Leader-Magician, Leader-Joker and Leader-Sage. Ultimately culminating as a Sage where you transcend and include all of those attributes that we talked about. Every one of them.

And you deploy those skills and those disciplines as necessary. Both situationally and through a daily training and readiness type practice.


All right. So hope that was interesting to you. Of course, you can do your part by committing to your morning routine of movement and breath and checking in with your ethos so you know where you stand. Sitting in silence. And journaling. And maintaining a positive attitude and going about your day with gratitude. This is winning in your mind before you step into the battlefield of your day.

And then during your day, taking moments… little pockets of time… to do what we call “spot drills.” Spot drill could be 50 squats, 100 burpees. Could be 5 minutes of box breathing. Could be a couple of sun salutations. It could be a moment of just pure gratitude. It could be just sitting in the sun or taking a walk. Or having an authentic conversation with one of your teammates.

So in this way, your practice is extended throughout your day in the busy-ness of what we do. So that you can practice being in the midst of your doing.

And then the evening ritual is where you seal the wins in from the day. You reflect upon the wins and you note them so that you maintain that positive momentum. And also, you look back and visualize the day as it went, and you see where you kind of messed up. And where things didn’t go so well. And you look for the silver lining. You look for the lesson. And you note that down and you learn from it.

And then the most important part… is you let go of the energy of regret or failure or screw-up. And you let that go. You forgive yourself and you forgive whoever else was involved and you just chalk it up to life, right?

Being human is sticky. Sometimes we win, sometimes we fail. It doesn’t matter. As long as we’re moving forward and learning and growing. And that’s how we develop an Unbeatable Mind.

So train hard. Stay focused. Do the work.

I hope to see you in the Unbeatable Mind online academy. Go to for information. And we actually have a 30 day free trial. So if you go to that should work. And if it doesn’t work, then let us know. I’m pretty sure that works.

That just popped in my head. I wasn’t planning on saying that. But we do have a free trial for you to check out.

We also have our Unbeatable Mind annual Summit–formerly called the retreat–coming up the first week in December. We’re already more than halfway full with that. It’s an extraordinary event. Should be a couple hundred of us coming together in Carlsbad, California to learn from some great speakers, who all possess an unbeatable mind of their own. Who cover different aspects of the 5 mountains. Physical, Mental, Emotional, Intuitional or Spiritual development.

And we also train together and learn together and develop our plan for the next year. So the idea being that we’re going to spend time learning and growing and communing. And then also planning for an unbelievable 2018.

So that’s the Unbeatable Mind Summit.

And one last thing is we have our final SEALFIT/Unbeatable Mind Academy of the year. Now this Academy is our 3 day academy. It’s found on the website under And it’s really our executive leadership event where we go deep in developing Warrior leadership. The Warrior/Athlete. The Warrior/Leader. And the Hero’s journey. So this is the one event that I personally spend an enormous amount of time at. Along with my SEALFIT coaches.

And we really go deep on all the Unbeatable Mind principles of breath and concentration and mental control and understanding how to access flow on demand and all these things. And then we test it under pressure with some of the SEALFIT methodologies. In the ocean and in the mountains and that type of thing.

So it’s really an extraordinary 3 days. Definitely transformational. Our last one of 2017 is coming up in October, along with our last Kokoro.

So if you’re on the fence, get off it and join us.


Hope to see you soon. Thanks for your time.

This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast checking out.


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