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Shamanic Healing Art

The Five Values of Shamans
How to Apply Them to
Personal Power in Business

By José Luis Stevens

Master shamans are extraordinary people acting as leaders of their indigenous communities on every continent of this planet. They are the movers and shakers of their worlds effectively producing results for their people despite massive obstacles and unfavorable odds. Dedicating their entire lives to learning, discovering, and walking the path of power, these shamans achieve excellent results with a minimum of negative consequences. They are thus the world's foremost experts in the ways of power and in walking the challenging and fascinating trail that leads them to become what they call a man or woman of knowledge.

Shamans have more in common with business leaders than anyone might expect. Within the indigenous traditions is a vast and deep knowledge waiting to be tapped by the businessperson who is ready to undertake the next step in developing personal power.

Shamans learn to exercise power in a great many ways. Some use it compassionately and productively while others use power for negative purposes. The power itself is neutral and as shamans move through stages of personal development, they learn to wield it with ever more effective results.

What is true of shamans is true of anyone. It would be naive to assume that every shaman is a master, a wise teacher, or an exceptional person. Like everyone else, shamans come with different skills, talents, value systems, and motives, and they exist in different states of evolution vis-à-vis their own calling.

Shamans differentiate among themselves who is an apprentice, who has average skills, who is good, and who is a true master. They use four criteria to determine this:

  1. Talent
  2. Skill
  3. Experience
  4. Values

The criteria that distinguish the expertise of businesspeople are the same. Here the focus is Values.

Values have to do with what a shaman regards as meaningful and important; values determine how a shaman uses their powers, skills, and knowledge. By understanding the different value systems of shamans, we can see parallels with the values of businesspeople. Understanding these sets of values is a key to understanding power.

Specifically there are five sets of value orientation that influence the behavior of both shamans and businesspeople:

  1. Survival-oriented
  2. Rule-oriented
  3. Success-oriented
  4. Relationship-oriented
  5. Philosophically-oriented

The truth is that shamans are like everyone else, some mediocre, some great. We want to know what makes a master shaman because then we will know what makes a great business or organizational leader.

These five sets of values step up the ladder of a person's evolution, moving to higher levels of sophistication, knowledge, and power.

Survival Oriented

This is the first and most primitive value system. Shamans that are primarily survival-oriented tend to be highly superstitious, deeply fearful, and willing to do anything to survive including murdering opponents, planting curses, and engaging in black magic to harm people and promote their own selfish agendas. They are absolutely ruthless and do not understand the concepts of service, love, and selflessness. They develop a primitive type of power but are not "truly" powerful according to a master's definition and always self-destruct in the end.

Similar types exist in the business world: psychopaths, utterly ruthless con-artists, people who deal in harmful substances, and corrupt individuals who bribe and cheat to carry out their business plans. They create conflict and discord, and inevitably, in ruin and disgrace, lose what little power they have.

for acting
with power

Act with integrity and honesty

Treat others as you want to be treated

Assist others to survive and prosper

Rule Oriented

Similar to evolving from infant to toddler, the next step up is the rule-oriented shaman. These shamans tend to be rigid, orthodox, and inflexible, not deviating from what they have been taught and doing everything according to an exact, established set of rituals. They are not psychologically sophisticated or insightful and tend to blame problems on external forces. Their concrete way of thinking causes them to perceive others as enemies and to justify retaliation against them.

The business world is filled with small-minded bureaucrats, inflexible in their thinking, attached to traditional but outmoded methods, protective of their turf, and inclined to blame all problems on external forces. They attempt to maintain the status quo even as great changes happen all around them. They do not fare well with the forces of change, trying to hang onto their security, and resisting what they do not understand. The results, of course, are ultimately weakness and ineffectiveness.

for acting
with power

Be flexible and expansive in your thinking

Anticipate change and be proactive about it

Let go of the delusion of security

Success Oriented

Next in development comes success-orientation, akin to the interests of a latency-age child. Success-oriented shamans tend to focus primarily on reputation. What is meaningful and important to them is being known, having the most powerful influence, and being highly successful, regardless of the means. They are often adept at psychological warfare, taking advantage of others' weakness, and are politically sophisticated, promoting themselves shamelessly for their own success. They want to win at all costs and will gladly sacrifice others on the altar of their own drive for achievement. For a success-oriented shaman, appearances are everything and they are often quite good at manipulating physical forces to appear powerful.

In business there is a difference between those whose primary motivation is to win at all costs and someone with an even higher priority on quality and service. The purely success-oriented business type stops at nothing to win the game, even if the outcome robs the public of the best quality or most advanced products. From the master shaman's perspective, this false appearance of power will always exact the high price of a loss of "real" power and ultimately whoever practices it will be brought down in humiliation and disgrace.

for acting
with power

Focus on what has heart and meaning

De-emphasize appearances and focus on quality and value

Adopt a win-win approach

Relationship Oriented

The next step up the ladder of a shaman's evolution is to become motivated primarily by a desire to be of service to others. Here the child has grown to young adulthood. The shaman is now more relationship oriented, and success at all costs gives way to a desire to heal, empower, and support those who need it. This shift in values represents a major power increase because at this higher level of understanding, a shaman can operate from a position where differences between themselves and others fall away.

The relationship-oriented businessperson is a new breed of manager. Increasingly, the business world sees the influence of this value orientation in people who seek to shift management from a vertical to a more horizontal style. They value the worker and sense that long-term profits are far greater with policies that lead to employee satisfaction and morale rather than to policies that bring about virtual slavery. Relationship-oriented business leaders care about employees, work side by side with them, and place a high priority on high-quality communication. The result of course is an increase in power for everyone involved.

for acting
with power

Look to see where to be of service

Develop solid relationships based on trust

Develop a relationship with yourself

Philosophically Oriented

These are the master shamans, the truly great leaders who stand out head and shoulders among their peers. The young adult grows into the wise elder and achieves such personal power that they no longer expend any energy on self-promotion. They can discover solutions simply by looking within for confirmation of what they suspect is true and they realize that blaming others for anything is pure folly.

Philosophically-oriented master shamans are aware of this important truth: To achieve a desired end, they must let go of their attachment to the outcome. They are not powerful because they want power; they are powerful because they are unattached to their own power and are willing to relinquish it if that is what they perceive as the right action. They are disciplined yet relaxed, dominant yet submissive, strong yet humble, deadly serious yet have a twinkle in their eye.

Philosophically-oriented business leaders are, in many ways, no different in values from master shamans; they are in reality masters themselves, simply in a different costume. They have a strong focus on the truth; are powerfully attentive and disciplined yet appear calm and relaxed, even easy going. They are not attached to convention and are always willing to take risks and abandon old systems and methods for new ones.

Philosophically-oriented business leaders have natural authority and command attention and respect even if what they say seems to defy convention. They are not afraid to be alone, to meditate, to reflect, and to take swift action in the name of their inner authority. They have access to true power and are the finest role models for everyone to emulate.

for acting
with power

Develop your intuition and rely on it.

Be ruthlessly unattached to the outcome.

Be impeccable with your thoughts, words, and deeds.

Jose Stevens is the author of The Power Path: The Shaman's Way to Success in Business and Life and Transforming Your Dragons. He is an international speaker, executive coach, team builder, and co-founder of Power Path Seminars with his wife Lena. 1-505-982-8732,

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