The Establisher

One of the main tasks of becoming a person is to form an identity. As we go through various experiences in life, we discover more and more about ourselves. In doing so, we become increasingly aware of who we are as an individual, separate and distinct from everyone else.

This process of developing a sense of ourselves—of our selfhood—normally begins within the first two years of life, in what psychologists call the autonomy stage but is better known to parents as the “terrible twos.” It is often heightened again during adolescence, when teenagers typically push against parents and society to forge their own path. We sometimes see it again during middle age, at which point it is referred to as a ‘midlife crisis.’ Yet throughout life, in various degrees and in various ways, we can be engaged in a process of establishing ourselves, that is, of distinguishing our own, unique place in the world. For some people, though, the process of establishing themselves is central to their personality. They fit what we call the Establisher Shadow Type.

Establishers are typically oriented more than most people toward defining who they are and expressing their uniqueness. Their need to stand out and be special can result in standing apart from others, which sometimes leads to loneliness. Even when they join groups, they are often the ones who do things differently, or who play the rebel, or who may even show up as the one with special needs. One way or another, they will usually find a way to distinguish themselves.

The Establisher Shadow Type is likely to the non-conformist of society, the individualist who take the road less travelled and follow the beat of a different drum. By extension, Establishers are often trailblazers, innovating new products and technologies, designing new fashions, creating original art, and so on. They may be drawn to making their environment a work of art, to dress distinctively, and to gravitate toward unusual, tasteful possessions. They are also likely to be successful, because success builds identity: When someone has succeeded at something, he or she is entitled to say, “I am a _____ business person, leader, athlete, artist.” All of this makes a statement: Here is a person who is creative, who is successful, or in some other way, a person who is distinctive. Through any of these means, Establishers are seeking, ultimately, to know themselves, to be established within themselves.

Note: For in-depth understanding of the Establisher and the 11 other Shadow Types, please contact a Shadow Types Educator.