Level 4 – Hero

…or heroic mode. From early childhood on, we form our own personal stories that help us define our perspective on the world and ourselves, sometimes even our very sanity.

In these personal myths and life’s journey, the archetypes that we hold on to, or let ourselves be defined by in high stakes situations, play a substantial role. Since your life is a story, you are quite allowed to see yourself as the hero in it. That’s why these archetypes are also called your “Heroic Mode”, in David Kantor’s language.

There are three:

  • The Fixer
  • The Survivor
  • The Protector.

Each has a light, a grey and a dark zone. In the light zone this mode is what makes you feel alive, authentic and real. In the dark zone, mostly brought out in high stakes situations, this is what connects you to your own dark side that you have built up since childhood, your demons, if you will.

  Fixer Survivor Protector
Light Fixes Endures Shields
Dark Boundaries Abandons Blame

The Fixer has a deep drive to preserve harmony, so he fixes things. On the dark side, we could add the by-line: … at any cost. This is why when the fixer gets into hot water, s/he has a tendency to cross boundaries. (“Wall? Which wall? I do not see a wall?” and then bulldozers through it.)

The Survivor usually has a long-term goal in mind and focus, so does not mind navigating and making some concessions along the way. Until… it’s enough. On the grey end, Survivors are good at checking out mentally. On the dark side, they abandon. (Seven years of a dysfunctional marriage ends with a sticky note on the fridge: “I am outta here.”)

Protectors shield who and what is important to them. When that comes under threat, in the dark zone, they will blame others or themselves for failing at that.


It is easy to simplify these things. Each person has some aspects of these three Heroic Modes in her/himself. Only through serious work (e.g. psychotherapy) you will learn the true intricacies of this about yourself. Also, people in business have a strong drive to suppress a lot of this, because they are required (by themselves and each other) to appear temperate and in control….

  • The action level stance (Move, follow, oppose, bystand, level 1)
  • Language (power, meaning, affect, level 2)
  • Operating system (open, closed, random, level 3)
  • Heroic mode (fixer, survivor, protector, level 4)

play a major role in how you behave, every day.

Which hero do you feel most drawn to?

This post is the final one of a group of five. The earlier ones are the preceding ones in the timeline. They draw on David Kantor’s work around archetypes.

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