The Many Faces of the Angel

I've noticed over my career that most people have very well developed inner critics, pushers, put downs, yes-butters, saboteurs—really, all kinds of inner gremlins—and very poorly developed angels or inner coaches. It is easier for most people to hear their inner critics than to hear their angel voices. Focusing on developing a strong cast of angel characters can only serve you.

There are many forms, voices, and faces that the angel can take. You'll find examples of a few below.

The angel who:

  1. Cheerleads: “You can do it, [insert your name here]. Stay focused and you'll do just fine.”
  2. Believes in you: “Take your time to look inside. You'll find the answer if you get quiet and curious.”
  3. Takes credit: “Hooray for me. I worked hard to do this and I was successful. Whoopee.”
  4. Believes in work/life balance: “You've worked hard. Now take some time for yourself to relax.”
  5. Perseveres: “Take this impediment as a challenge. Breathe, relax, and solve the problem creatively. Be persistent and you can overcome the issues that seem like blocks right now.”
  6. Plays: “You've worked hard enough. It's time to play. Who shall we find to have fun with or what shall we do to enjoy life?”
  7. Provides courage: “Okay, [insert your name here]. Your fears are stopping you from moving forward. What is the worst that could happen? We can deal with it! Since the forward action seems like something valuable and good for us, let's move forward even though we are afraid. Courage means that you are afraid and do it nonetheless.”
  8. Quiets you down when you get triggered: “Take a deep breath and relax. You will be able to come up with a better response if you are centered and calm. Reactivity only creates problems. Keep breathing and relaxing and the part of your brain that can think creatively will come back.”
  9. Sees the humor in life: “Hey, [insert your name here], when you can laugh at yourself, all is not lost. All these things that are happening seem pretty funny when you aren't in a stressed state. Let's chill and laugh at the pickle we're in.”
  10. Nurtures you when you're down: “Yes, you are suffering and you feel horrible. Imagine that we are being held gently, that all will be okay, that we will survive and thrive, and that gentleness and sweetness are called for.”
  11. Provides strength and assertiveness: “Take a deep breath and ground yourself. Stand up tall in your own shoes, believe in yourself, and assert your position. When you feel confident, there is no need to be aggressive. You can remain calm, clear, and express yourself self-responsibly. Remember, you are allowed to have a voice.”
  12. Apologizes: “You need not try to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. It is okay to admit that and apologize. Others appreciate it and it will help you feel good that you are actively nurturing your relationships.”

These are just some of the many faces of the angel. If you have questions about any possible inner angel characters, send an email and I'll provide some suggestions for how you might cultivate those characters.

Remember that characters show up in different genders. You may be male but have angel characters that are female. If you are female, some of your angel characters may be male. Some characters could show up as animal guides. So, without shaming or blaming yourself, allow the characters to emerge as they do.


Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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