Yesterday, I wrote about Erica Ariel Fox’s Big Four inner negotiators as a framework that can be applied to thinking about what it looks like to center oneself as well as improve your self-awareness and self-regulation skills.

Today, I will discuss filtering one’s self-reflection through each of the four archetypes. This can become a very effective way to nurture the inner negotiators that are underdeveloped and underused as well as teach your brain how to value your time spent for a variety reasons other than just having been “productive.”

We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”

Most of us are conditioned to evaluate our day based off of a productivity binary. Did you accomplish a lot, yes or no? If the answer is yes, then we say it was a good day. If the answer is no, then we are likely to say it was a bad day. This is the mindset of the WARRIOR, which values efficiency and a high volume of accomplishment. But, what do the other three negotiators have to say about whether you had a good day or not?

DREAMER: Evaluating your day through the lens of the DREAMER would involve reflecting on how much of your day was spent advancing your ideal vision for the future, imaging and entertaining possibilities for how to live a more courageous and impactful life, and putting in effort that makes an investment in your future self.

LOVER: Evaluating your day through the lens of the LOVER would involve reflecting on how much of your day was spent connecting/collaborating with others, investing in the relationships in your life that positively effect yours and others’ wellbeing, as well as experiencing joyful, trustworthy, and intimate feelings.

THINKER: Evaluating your day through the lens of the THINKER would involve reflecting on how much of your day was spent doing deep work (“professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate,” —Cal Newport).

You could even plan your day or week around these four archetypes to ensure that your day/week is more well rounded and, therefore, you finish the day/week in a more centered, balanced, and integrated way.

Call to Action: Train yourself to reflect on how you spend your time through these four archetypes. Consider how your experiences actually draw on more than one of the big four at once, e.g., are you accomplishing deep work (as opposed to just “shallow work”) collaboratively with others that is meant to advance your shared just cause (all four)? From a self-awareness perspective, which of the big four negotiators tend to dominate how you are most inclined and desire to spend your time?

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