With the rise of digital media, change has become the only constant. A tsunami of new ideas and information has flooded the airwaves, dissolving old cultural boundaries and transforming capitalism forever. There have been many names for the emerging generation leading this shift—the creative class, cultural creatives, and conceptual age workers to name a few. Whatever labels we use, one thing is clear: these creative capitalists are changing the world from the inside out while conventional thinkers stand around wondering how.
According to our research at Worldview Thinking, this shift is being driven by an increasingly influential market segment that we call the Warriors. Filtering market data gathered from 2008 to 2013 through the Voice Code lens (click herefor more on this equation), we reverse engineered the normal segment discovery process to define this new cohort from the inside out. The resulting profile starts at the invisible mental roots (framing metaphors, values and beliefs) and grows outward to the visible behavioral fruits (industries, demographics & lifestyle choices) that define this enigmatic group.
The Warriors are the unknown creative engine of commerce today across all sectors—and they are just now waking up. They have not yet been discovered by mainstream marketers because this segment is primarily defined by a way of thinking rather than by traditional demographics. In this article, I introduce you to the key demographics, dilemmas and drivers that define this mighty cohort to help you better understand and engage them to achieve your goals.
The Warriors represent a fast-growing 18 % of the adult working population in the United States. The men and women within this segment are generally between the ages of 33 and 54 with a bachelor’s degree and an average salary of between $80 K and $100 K annually. At present, males who fit the warrior profile outnumber women by an estimated margin of 55% (Warrior men) to 45% (Warrior women). But interestingly, women Warriors have historically been the more active, outspoken members of this segment. But this appears to be changing. The sustained rise in business inquiries from male executives for our services dovetails with a variety of 3rd party trend data to suggest that the male warriors are finding their Voice.
Warriors span the spectrum in terms of geography, vocation, political affiliation and religious preferences. The most typical Warrior lives near a major urban center where he or she works in a relatively traditional white-collar job. He or she is slightly biased towards the progressive end of the political spectrum due to an instinctual dislike of fundamentalist strains of moral conservatism. Warriors are not typically religiously devout nor are they usually attracted to “woo woo” spiritual ideologies. They are generally open to the concept of spirituality and often report having experienced episodes of transcendent oneness, similar to what Abraham Maslow called “peak experiences.”
Viewed through a traditional marketing lens Warriors are virtually identical to mainstream peers. While they look relatively normal, beneath the surface Warriors are the most diverse, dynamic, emotionally complex, socially insightful, creative, elusive, and predictably confounding group one could imagine! In many ways, paradox is the Warrior’s brand essence. For example, they are:
Creative Conventionalists: They leverage their natural creativity to excel in their work, but often choose careers in fields that are not considered creative.
Bold Neurotics: They have an unusually high sense of self-esteem and competence, but they are more likely than most to see themselves as failures.
Authentic Manipulators: They have a heartfelt aversion to manipulation in any form; yet their heightened sensitivity makes them the best manipulators in town.
Stabilizing Deviants: In stable organizations, they often buck conventions. But when turbulence arises, these same rule breakers emerge as leaders with the presence of mind to motivate compliance with conventions and provide stabilizing structure.
Beneath these seeming contradictions, lies the key difference that makes Warriors more effective (and sometimes more unstable) than their colleagues: their practical conscious mind stays open to their creative unconscious as they go through their day. Because of this, they can’t “tune out” their own higher order needs for meaning and fulfillment—no matter how hard they try!
Warriors experience a relentless and mostly frustrated yearning to become fully self-actualized, counterbalanced by an equally strong desire for security.
No matter how much they may try to be practical, they have a relentless inner call to greatness that never goes away. This inner call is what we call their “Voice”—an instinctual knowing that is nudging them to stand fully for their gifts and thrive without compromise doing what they love.
In time, the Warriors inability to resolve competing tension between inner drives and external needs becomes a painful life dilemma. This is when many Warriors begin to question their chosen career and experience themselves as social outsiders trapped by golden handcuffs. To deal with unmet higher order needs, Warriors may turn to conventional leadership workshops, retreats, coaching, therapists, spiritual practices like meditation and mindfulness training, or all of the above. Conventional solutions often alleviate the symptoms, but fail to produce lasting results because they don't help Warriors consciously recognize & remove the inner cause of their condition.
When Warriors finally grasp the inner map that explains how they keep recreating the same basic dilemmas day-in and-day-out, the lights go on. When they follow their inner Voice guidance to produce real world breakthroughs—all bets are off. With self-generated evidence that their inner Voice knows best, Warriors start to realize that they are sole authors of their personal reality. As they learn to stand for their inner knowing with unwavering conviction, they begin to thrive without compromise in today’s economy. This is the inside out path to thriving that today's top game changers are paving to change the world, doing what they love.
The Warrior's Mantra*
I choose to honor my inner Voice not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because this commitment serves to unlock my deepest gifts, organize and express my full potential, because this is a challenge that I am willing to accept, one that I am unwilling to postpone, and one which I intend to win.
What Warriors yearn to accomplish more than anything is full life engagement. They want material success and security achieved through a life of passionate contribution. Nothing else will satisfy. For this reason, traditional solutions usually lack the sophistication, nuance and depth to capture their interest. To Warriors, the key driver is never money or even future success—it’s the experience of full life engagement on an internal and external level with no compromise whatsoever. They yearn to unleash their greatness with practical, intelligent solutions that help them break frame lock to satisfy their higher order needs, while also producing breakthrough external successes.
For this reason, the Warriors love any new tools that enable them to create practical breakthroughs from the inside out. Going forward, if you wish to engage this mighty segment don’t try to sell them anything. Instead, help them escape the orbit of compromise. Offer an unconventional “both/and” solution to the challenges they face and give them a chance to take it for a test run with the support of a community of like-minded peers. The results they produce will be all the evidence they need to become your most loyal supporters and advocates.
To make our worldview profile more actionable for engaging this emerging niche, we generated the 7 C’s of Warrior engagement below. This list represents the 7 key drivers that distinguish Warrior buyers from their demographically similar colleagues. If this list resonates, guess what? You are a Warrior too! Stay tuned for my upcoming book The Voice Code: How to Be a Force of Nature helps you master the same inside out mindset that your fellow Warriors have used to change the game in the new economy.
7 C'S of Warrior Engagement
Contribution: Warriors need to make a good living while also making the world a better place. Either/Or is not enough—they want it all and are unwilling to compromise.
Challenge: Warriors need a big aspirational ‘Why?' anchored by a vivid, actionable and deeply compelling vision of personal and collective thriving.
Change: Warriors need to lead change. Instead of struggling against the status quo, they aspire to create new models that render old models obsolete.
Conviction: Warriors need to believe in their “both/and” vision of the future so fully that they see setbacks as learning opportunities en route to success.
Captivation: Warriors need to be captivated and be skilled at captivating others, opening hearts and minds to embrace new possibilities.
Connection: Warriors need to see, feel and understand how others see the world, “sensing into” their inner reality to achieve shared vision.
Completion: Warriors need to see the simplicity behind complexity to access and honor a deep inner sense of wholeness and completion.
(*The Warrior's mantra was adapted from John F Kennedy's "Man on the moon" speech for use in Worldview Thinking leadership curriculum.)
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