My material – the articles I write, the presentations I give, and the workshops I facilitate – about how to be successful in business is a work in progress.

The more I explore the world of creating successful ethical-based businesses, the more I learn, and the more my work and message evolve.

Why am I telling you this?

Because, recently I learned something that fundamentally shifted my perspective about how I will be presenting material.

Let me explain.

I participated in a webinar for writers like me who want to increase their online following. John Meese, the Dean of Platform University, was the presenter.

He talked about an interesting concept: That there are three archetypes that each describe a unique voice that a writer can speak from. The idea is to identify the one that you are most authentically aligned with.

The importance of knowing your archetypical voice enables you to write from a more congruent, or aligned, place – always a good thing.

Now for a peek at the archetypes:

• The Sage – an established expert in their industry, typically recognized by a third-party authority. This would include Nobel Prize winners, New York Times best-selling authors, and those who have won top awards in their field.

The Sage’s credentials provide the credibility that assures the reader of the validity of what is being presented.

• The Sherpa – an expert who has “climbed the mountain” and come back to teach everyone else how to do what they did. This archetype includes writers who are sharing what they learned and are offering a successful template for those who are on a similar path.

The Sherpa’s credibility comes from the sharing of personal stories that resonate with the reader.

• The Struggler – someone who adopts an attitude of “we’re in this together” and shares their progress while pursuing a goal shared with their readers. This is the voice of writers who are blazing uncharted territories and bringing together online communities.

The Struggler’s credibility is rooted in the authenticity and transparency of what he or she is communicating.

Before we go any further, let me say I am not a fan of the “Struggler” title – and not just because that is the archetype that most represents my voice.

It rankles me because although I do represent someone who is sharing my progress, I am not “struggling.” I am engaged and curious. I go out into the world and inward to my process, and then report back what I have discovered so others may learn from my experiences.

So, I am not sure what title to use to frame my archetypical voice.

I have achieved a great deal – and I am grateful for it – but I have my sights set on a rare form of success where I simultaneously earn well, make an impact, and maintain a balanced life. I know this dynamic exists because I have seen many people live within it – but so far it has eluded me.

Where am I going with all of this?

The archetype exercise helped me to see that in the past I have wavered between the Sherpa and the “so-called” Struggler voices. I now realize that this happened because I had subconsciously bought the cultural story that speaking from “having achieved” is the correct stance of a professional – even though in some important areas I am still in process.

Do you see why this insight is important to me?

The cultural “should” is not what is important – speaking from exactly where we are is what is important so that our messages are authentic.

Before I close, I have a couple questions for you:

What term do you think best describes my archetypical voice?

And, what best describes yours?