Most leaders are aware that their personality has some impact on their success. Our strengths help us win, and our weaknesses can let us down. The more we know and develop our strengths while supporting and planning around our growth areas, the better we can design businesses that serve owners, employees and customers alike. So, have you got the soul of a leader?
The Bach flower remedies are vibrational essences discovered in the early 20th century by Dr Edward Bach. Originally a surgeon, then a chronic disease specialist, Dr Bach became obsessed with finding a cure for disease after a near fatal brush with cancer in his 30s. He came to regard illness as a great teacher – he believed that illness showed us when we had wandered off our life path (the lesson chosen for us by our soul for this lifetime).
He identified 12 life lessons or soul-types that help us understand why we are here and what we need to develop in ourselves to thrive, and he connected them to the zodiac signs. Identifying our soul-type can shine light on our struggles and achievements and help us to identify the particular support we need, whether in team-mates, employees or at home.
Each type has positive and negative traits which are like two sides of a coin, by mastering the negative of your type, you can greatly increase your chance of success and a satisfying life.
The 12 Soul-types
Positive traits: Energetic, passionate, practical
Negative traits: Impatient, volatile, critical
Impatiens types want to get things done and enjoy making things. Preferring to work alone, or with people of similar ability, they find slowness difficult and will often be heard saying “Just give it to me, I’ll do it”. They are more likely to break new ground, as they are less inhibited by what has gone before. They often have explosive tempers and may appear domineering and judgemental. However, if confronted, they often back down without a fight and have the capacity for great gentleness.
Soul lesson: Patience. Learn to forgive mistakes as part of the learning process.
Positive traits: Far-sighted, broad horizons
Negative traits: Doubting, give up easily, lose faith
Gentian types can see what is needed far more clearly than others in a community, family or workplace. However, they often lose faith in their ability to create necessary change and become downhearted and negative. They may need help to believe they can influence others, and to be willing to try. Breaking a task down into manageable components and pairing them with optimistic and upbeat partners will help them get things done.
Soul lesson: Faith. Take it one step at a time and trust you can make a difference.
Positive traits: Intuition, wisdom, self-expression
Negative traits: Easily influenced, self-doubt, feeling of not belonging
Cerato types have access to extraordinary wisdom and insight, but also heightened self-doubt. As a result, they tend to ask lots of people for advice, yet feel unfulfilled by the answers. They often feel out of place, alone even in a crowd. This internal conflict comes out in the different faces they present to the world: sometimes prickly and stand-offish; other times uncertain and needy. However, by acting on their intuition, they’ll find peace in their own skin.
Soul lesson: Self-knowledge. To trust their inner wisdom.
Positive traits: Clear, inspired, grounded
Negative traits: dreamy, oblivious, easily bored
Clematis types when grounded are inspiring leaders committed to realising their visions for a better future. However, when they’re not, they may forget not everyone thrives on change and sometimes miss the signs of distress in others. Their challenge is to balance idealism with the reality of the present and be willing to get on with the nitty-gritty. It’s wise to give up the fantasy that the grass is always greener on the other side and learn that the grass is greener where you water it!
Soul lesson: Presence. To act on inspiration with sensitivity to others.
Positive traits: Tolerant, knowledgeable, involved
Negative traits: Opinionated, stressed, rigid
Vervain types can move home or work and, within weeks, find themselves in positions of responsibility and influence! Championing a cause with energy and detailed knowledge, they’re notoriously difficult to influence and need to beware the desire to convince others they’re right. They’ll often get stressed about the sheer number of things they’re doing, and need to remember we are human beings not human doings, and stop every now and then to see where all this activity is getting them.
Soul lesson: Tolerance. There are many paths to the truth.
Positive traits: Quiet strength, kindness, concern for others
Negative traits: Dependence, allowing others to dominate
Centaury types care deeply about keeping the peace and will often be the glue that keeps a family or office functioning, though sometimes at a personal cost. They go to great lengths to avoid conflict, swallowing things they want to say or do for fear of upsetting others. These people know precisely what they want or need and are very capable. However, for their own integrity they need to make sure they balance their willingness to be team players with an ability to voice their thoughts and feelings.
Soul lesson: Assertiveness. To stand up for themselves.
Positive traits: Steadfast, a clear thinker, strategic
Negative traits: Indecisive, confused, judgemental
Scleranthus types may have one of the biggest lessons of the modern day. They face the challenge of discernment – to be able to judge the true value of things and people. These individuals are our pathfinders through this often-confusing existence of 24-hour news and social media. Intellectually astute, they are motivated to find the best and most fair solutions. Emotionally, this can be hard because there isn’t always a ‘right’ choice, and over thinking can lead to analysis paralysis. Getting out of their heads will help!
Soul lesson: Steadiness. Learning to access inner guidance.
Positive traits: loving, championing, making people feel special
Negative traits: selfish, controlling, emotional blackmail
Chicory types value those they love above all, keeping them close and wanting a say in everything. They create a powerful sense of being part of something special and exclusive, but the tendency to demand assurances of love and loyalty may push people away. They may say things like: “how can you do this to me, after everything I’ve done for you?”. In business they may fall into the trap of creating an echo chamber, where colleagues don’t feel able to present alternative points of view.
Soul lesson: Let go. People come back when you set them free.
Positive traits: inner peace, laughter, wisdom
Negative traits: addictions, inner torture, denial
Agrimony types are the life and soul of the party, they appear happy and carefree, yet, under the surface may be in great pain. If you ask, they most often say ‘I’m fine’ and laugh it off. They help others make sense of their lives, but often fail to find the meaning in their own suffering, fearing to be alone lest they drown in their own feelings. They may numb feelings with addictions, even apparently healthy ones like compulsive exercise. Developing a circle of trusted friends and advisers with whom they can be completely honest will help them.
Soul lesson: Authenticity. To accept and learn from their feelings.
Positive traits: Empathy, bravery, go with the flow
Negative traits: specific fears, lack of empathy, control
Mimulus types offer wonderful contradictions! They will order their lives and work so that they don’t have to confront their specific anxieties, with little regard for how it will affect others or the overall goal, and yet have a tremendous ability to take risks and trust things will work out in other areas of life. They can empathise without judgement, but when their fears take over, may lose this ability and start controlling their environment obsessively. Preparing for different eventualities can help enormously.
Soul lesson: Trust life. Keep trying new things and get help when you need it.
Soul-type: Water Violet
Positive traits: wise, self-sufficient, thoughtful, happy to help
Negative traits: isolated, withdrawn, proud
Water violet types are highly sensitive and usually quiet. They speak clearly and less often, and their reserve can be mistaken for being proud or aloof. Often talented, they can take on responsibility sometimes to the detriment of their enjoyment but may have a melancholy outlook and benefit from being around others who have a lighter approach. Innately self-reliant, they are great at looking after their own needs, which may sometimes cause offence to others if they don’t communicate that is what they are doing.
Soul lesson: To lighten up. To balance responsibility with fun.
Soul-type: Rock Rose
Positive traits: courage, adaptability
Negative traits: living in survival mode, extreme fear
Rock rose types experience a base line anxiety that often has no outward sign; yet if you ask them about their experience, they may describe a continuous, low-lying fear that spikes whenever something new or unexpected happens. They crave security and comfort but often adapt to new situations very well after their initial fear has passed. Rock rose types need space to process requests and expectations and may freeze if put on the spot. Given time, they are generous and thoughtful in their responses and have an almost psychic insight to offer.
Soul lesson: Courage. Facing into life and growing consciously to realise potential.
The original ‘Have you got the soul of a leader?’ article was published in Brand You magazine. Click here to download the article as a PDF.
Click here to book a private Bach Flower’s consultation with Joanne Sumner in which you’ll explore your soul-type and be equipped you with tailored flower essences to help you on your life’s journey.