The Altruist

The Altruist

In a literal sense, Altruists are the most selfless archetype because their identity is inextricably bound with that of others. (For this reason, their secondary archetype can be especially helpful, providing a more complete picture of who they are as individuals.) If they’re parents, Altruists will routinely prioritize their family’s needs. However, Altruists might also subjugate their personal concerns to those of their romantic partners, friends, employees, and associates.

Altruists remain focused on family life for their entire lives. They define success as a multi-generational endeavor and deliberate over how their decisions will impact their families' future well-being, unity, and happiness. Although they want to use their wealth to furnish opportunities and advantages for their children, they are fearful of the corrosive influences of wealth. They worry that their success could hamper their children’s ambitions and seek resources to help them raise responsible stewards.

Here's how Altruists would define their life's purpose, stories, and legacy:

"Purpose" – Altruists are devoted to building a happy, healthy, tight-knit family and improving their communities.

"Stories" – Altruists cherish relational stories about their children, parents, and loved ones rather than their personal achievements or experiences.

"Legacy" – Rather than seeking a self-driven legacy, Altruists want to leave behind an enduring and successful lineage. They want to be remembered for their philanthropy and good works.

Professional

Strengths

Altruists are purposeful and deliberate. They excel at planning, detailing the strategy for achieving an objective, and outlining people’s roles in accomplishing it.

As leaders, Altruists are “player-coaches” who serve alongside their team.

Because they generously share credit for wins and shoulder blame for failures, Altruists typically inspire loyalty and trust.

Challenges

No matter how valuable their contributions, Altruists sometimes go unnoticed because they aren’t in the spotlight. Ultimately, this lack of recognition may lead to resentment.  

Because Altruists treat their colleagues like friends and family, they sometimes do a poor job of compartmentalizing these different relationships. Employees are friends; friends are family, etc. As a result, Altruists may feel compelled to take on their colleagues’ personal problems as if they were their children’s. And, should a direct report leave for a better role elsewhere, the Altruist might experience it as rejection.

Because they prioritize harmony and teamwork, Altruists can be overly conservative and even prone to groupthink, discouraging creativity and individualism.

Relational

Strengths

Altruists give their all to their relationships. Their children, romantic partners, and friends are at the very center of their lives.

As parents, Altruists don’t just “think about the future;” they make detailed, actionable plans for transferring their values and resources to subsequent generations.

Altruists are adept at finding common ground and uniting families, friends, and communities.

Challenges

With their hopes and dreams invested in their children, Altruists can inadvertently subject their children to unhealthy pressures, tight controls, and unrealistic expectations—all of which can backfire rather spectacularly.  

Altruists may experience many (if not most) of their relationships as lopsided. While they pour their love and attention into friends and family, they don’t receive them in full measure.

Investing one’s identity in others is frequently an invitation to heartbreak. When Altruists let others define them, they lose agency over their own lives and happiness.

Personal

Strengths

Altruists have the gift of a clear and compelling purpose. Unlike other archetypes who may work their entire lives to discover what makes them whole, Altruists know that it’s their families and closest relationships that bring them true happiness.

Altruists aren’t distracted by material pursuits because their priorities are clear and simple.

Gratitude comes easily and naturally to Altruists because seemingly little things, like a baby’s smile or dinner with friends, provide endless amounts of pleasure.

Challenges

There’s a fine line for some Altruists between selflessness and martyrdom. Those who slip into the latter may blame loved ones for their self-inflicted unhappiness.

When their children grow up and move out of the house, Altruists will need strategies to maintain family unity and connection.

Altruists can be overcome with worry about those they love—especially when they contemplate a future in which they might be distant or even absent. This fear can be crippling and steal joy from the present moment.

Opportunities to
contribute and grow

Engaging in philanthropy together can help unify the family in shared good work, provide a non-Thanksgiving reason to get together and collaborate, and provide a forum for defining and sharing the family’s values. If the family establishes a private foundation, trust, or donor-advised fund, that charitable vehicle can enshrine and convey these values to future generations.

Recording the family’s history and stories in an R360 documentary or Lifetime Memoir can help transmit them from one generation to the next.

Exploring their individual identity and interests through the six forms of capital may seem “selfish” or unappealing to Altruists. Still, self-development can create a more balanced outlook, yielding profound benefits for themselves and their families.

Complementary R360 Archetype: Altruists can look to Olympians as inspiration for pursuing individual passions rather than living for others.  

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