Take the SVSS Survey

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    SVSS Survey
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    Your Results

Get ready to discover a new way of thinking about who you are in the workplace or in your business!

While there’s another typological tool designed to assess group story type (the Kenexa Cultural Insight Survey)—which is more suitable for group administration—you can also use this instrument to look at your organization through a story-based lens. Just think about your group or organization as a person, and answer the questions the way you think that "person" would.

The Professional Strengths, Values & Story Survey (SVSS) is designed to help people understand what's most meaningful and motivating to them in their work lives, and how their strengths and values add up to a "story type" that personifies their professional success factors. Based on the 12-archetype model created by Dr. Carol S. Pearson, the instrument provides a holistic way of looking at who you are professionally by measuring how much you identify with the attitudes and behaviors of 12 mythical or archetypal characters (called story types on this website).

Each of these characters represents a different way of thinking and acting in the world, and has its own unique set of talents, qualities and motivators. You probably have those things in common with the archetypal characters that you identify with most. They are very likely to symbolize your way of being—or the way you'd like to be--in the workplace.

The characters we relate to most give us significant clues about our own strengths and values, the passion and purpose that stirs us deeply, and the great meaning we'd like to find in our work. Ultimately, story typing can help us discover a path that seems most worth living to us—and the surest path to success and fulfillment is living the story we were born to tell.

Finally, we decided to make this instrument available at no charge because it's such an important part of our mission to make the world a better place through authentic expression. The only "consideration" involved is that by taking the instrument, you're agreeing to join our mailing list (which will never be sold to or shared with anyone else). We hope you enjoy hearing from us periodically, and of course, the unsubscribe option is always available once you start receiving our emails.

Get Started

To take the Professional Strengths, Values & Story Survey (SVSS), please read the instructions and fill out the form found below.

As you answer the questions on the SVSS, remember that this survey quantifies how much the strengths and values you identify with yourself also reflect the attitudes and behaviors of 12 mythical or archetypal characters (also known as "story types").

Each story type is equally valuable and each brings with it a special gift. None is better or worse than another. Therefore, there are no right or wrong answers or better or worse answers. This survey will be most useful to you if your answers reflect the things that are truly most like you and most important to you–not just the things that seem positive to you.

Keep the following in mind as you respond to the statements on the following page:

  • Take the survey in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, and allow about 30 minutes to complete it. IMPORTANT NOTE: The SVSS IS NOT currently configured for respondents to complete a portion of the survey or save any of their work for later.
  • Work as quickly as is comfortable; your first reaction is often the best response.
  • Be unflinchingly candid and realistic when rating each item—and be careful to answer questions as you are rather than how you would like to be or as you think others might like you to be.
  • Do not skip any items, as results can’t be tabulated until all of them have been completed. If you are unsure of an item, make your best determination based on your understanding of the statement and then continue.
  • To ensure that you don’t bias your results, take the instrument before you read any information you have or have been provided about the story types.

Answer each question by choosing a number between 1 and 10 to indicate how much you agree or disagree that the statement describes you. For this instrument, 1 would mean you believe the statement is not at all like you while 10 would mean it's exactly like you$ndash;and all the numbers in between reflect a varying degree of agreement between those two points.

Answer Guide

To avoid flat or undifferentiated scoring results, be sure to use the full range of numbers on the scale! The more discerning and nuanced you are in your ratings, the more useful and authentic your results will be. Again, remember that giving yourself a low score on a statement or trait that seems positive to you (or that you admire in others) does not make you a bad person. It just means you emphasize other ways of being and doing in the world—ways of being and doing that make you the unique and gifted individual that you are.

Fill Out This Form to Take the SVSS Survey

Answer Guide

Values & Story


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Here's a quick snapshot of your highest-scoring story type. After reading it, you may want to think about or write down answers to the questions in the next section. If you'd like to compare this profile to the other 11 story types, you can download a comparison chart here. If you'd like to know more about applying the SVSS in your workplace or business—or schedule a session to review your scores on all the story types and the implications—get in touch with us.

Please note: if you see more than one story type profile listed, it simply means that you received a tied score.

Story Type: Creator

Creator individuals are most fulfilled by seeing new ideas take shape. Naturally expressive, original and imaginative, they enjoy demonstrating their inventiveness and are often able to motivate creative thinking in others. They're usually excited and challenged by opportunities to express themselves or advance new ideas.

Creator organizations are often most successful at developing distinctive, original products and services and/or innovating new solutions or expressive means.

Creator types need to be careful about overloading themselves with constant new projects and tendency toward perfectionism.

Subtypes include:

  • Artisan: Gives expression to visions/thoughts/ideas
  • Innovator: Generates ideas for new approaches
  • Inventor: Devises objects or ideas that perform new functions
  • Builder/designer: Makes new forms/objects/processes/structures
  • Dreamer: Envisions ideas and sees world through imaginary lens

Story Type: Caregiver

Caregivers individuals are most fulfilled when they can make a difference for someone else. Naturally compassionate, nurturing and dedicated, they enjoy demonstrating their supportiveness and can motivate others to provide better service or care. They're usually excited and challenged by responding to need.

Caregiver organizations are often most successful at providing consistent, high-quality service or care; creating stable and nurturing environments; and advocating for others at a very high level.

Caregiver types need to watch their tendencies toward martyrdom and enabling others, and for burning themselves out while always putting others first.

Subtypes include:

  • Supporter/advisor: Lends a helping hand, support or counsel to others
  • Advocate: Stands up to others on behalf of those in need
  • Nurturer: Provides comfort, kindness and compassion to others
  • Service provider: Provides consistent, high-quality service or support
  • Altruist: Gives selflessly to make a difference for others

Story Type: Ruler

Rulers individuals are most fulfilled when they can demonstrate leadership, orchestrate complex situations, and/or use their influence to make things work better. Naturally confident, competent and responsible, they enjoy demonstrating their savvy and motivating others to maintain high standards. They're usually excited and challenged by opportunities to take charge of a situation.

Ruler organizations are most often successful when they can make decisions that benefit others, use power to creative positive outcomes and make order out of chaos.

Ruler types need to be careful about dominating others, getting bogged down in policies and procedures, and becoming overly hierarchical or political.

Subtypes include:

  • Leader: Takes charge of people/situations; takes responsibility for the good of others
  • Powerbroker: Uses power/influence to get things done
  • Conductor/Orchestrator: Directs complex systems/processes/structures and/or creates order
  • Role model: Sets standards for others to follow
  • Peacemaker: Finds common ground among disparate individuals and/or groups

Story Type: Hero

Hero individuals are most fulfilled when they can rise to and overcome a challenge. Naturally determined, achievement-oriented and focused, they enjoy demonstrating a winning attitude and can often motivate others to achieve their goals. They're usually excited and challenged by the opportunity to prevail against the odds.

Hero organizations are usually very successful at producing consistent results; creating teams and systems that fulfill objectives; and giving their all to achieve a goal.

Hero types need to be careful about seeing others as enemies; responding to stress by working harder and harder; and rushing to action instead of thinking things through.

Subtypes include:

  • Competitor/winner: Energized by overcoming obstacles and competing with others
  • Dragon slayer: Energized by besting adversaries
  • Crusader/rescuer: Emphasizes making a difference for others
  • Achiever: Consistently produces results and succeeds through discipline/focus
  • Coach: Shapes individual or team performance by bringing out the best in others

Story Type: Revolutionary

Revolutionary individuals are most fulfilled when they can change something that they feel needs to be changed. Often unconventional thinkers who can develop cutting-edge new approaches, they enjoy challenging the status quo and motivating others to think differently. They're usually excited and challenged when they can take on tried-and-true methods or ways.

Revolutionary organizations are often very successful at developing truly radical ideas, products and services of all kinds; leading reform of all kinds; and/or serving as the contrarian voice in debates.

Revolutionary types need to be careful about coming across as reckless, shaking things up endlessly/needlessly, and becoming stubbornly oppositional.

Subtypes include:

  • Troubleshooter: Sees problems/drawbacks/defects in current ways of doing things and ways to improve them
  • Radical/rebel: Lives/thinks outside the bounds of conventions and/or takes action or risk without waiting for others to agree/catch up
  • Challenger/contrarian: Questions the tried & true; presents opposing points of view
  • Populist: Believes in the premise of giving "power to the people"
  • Game changer: Initiates radical innovations that change the rules of the game or the realities of the marketplace

Story Type: Magician

Magicians individuals are most fulfilled when they can see a vision realized. Naturally intuitive, insightful and inspiring, they're able to see and appreciate multiple perspectives and motivate others to believe that anything is possible. They're usually excited and challenged in times of great transformation.

Magician organizations are often very successful serving as catalysts for change; turning problems into opportunities; and creating flexible, win/win solutions for all involved in a situation.

Magician types need to ensure they don't use power manipulatively, always expect a miracle, and lose patience with those who aren't as visionary as they are.

Subtypes include:

  • Catalyst/change agent: Sees opportunities for change or provides impetus for innovative transformation
  • Envisioner: Sees possibilities and develops a clear vision of the future
  • Healer: Effects individual or group healing
  • Intuitive: Uses synchronicities/hunches/serendipity to set a course
  • Wizard: Has a talent for unexpected, serendipitous results

Story Type: Jester

Jesters are most fulfilled when they can use their ingenuity and wit. Naturally playful, spontaneous and humorous, they enjoy light-hearted truthtelling and can motivate others to see the value of fun. They're usually excited and challenged by opportunities to lighten up stressful situations.

Jester organizations are usually successful at brainstorming and thinking outside the box; finding clever ways around obstacles; and having fun while getting work done.

Jesters need to be careful when it comes to staying on task and getting routine work done; using humor in hurtful ways; and coming across as unable to take anything seriously.

Subtypes include:

  • Entertainer: Helps others have fun or a good time
  • Wit: Uses ingenuity and resourcefulness; lives by his/her wits
  • Wise fool: Sees the absurdity/hypocrisy of life and rises above it
  • Holy Fool/Zen master: Emphasizes living life in the moment
  • Jovial truthteller: Satirizes or parodies current thinking

Story Type: Everyperson

Everyperson individuals are most fulfilled by helping others belong and fit in to the group. Naturally empathetic, unpretentious and resilient, they often demonstrate their common touch and can motivate others to try hard to do their best. They're usually excited and challenged when everyone needs to pitch in and solve a problem.

Everyperson organizations are often very successful at providing a sense of belonging and human dignity to others; creating hard-working teams that take pride in their work; and creating real camaraderie among workers.

Everyperson types need to be careful about playing the victim, creating an "us vs. them" mentality, or and being too protective of their own turf.

Subtypes include:

  • Egalitarian: Believes in the inherent worth and dignity of all
  • Realist: Believes life is tough and people should band together to survive
  • Communitarian: Seeks and builds community in all situations
  • Comrade/pal: Likes to be one of the gang
  • Democrat: Believes in the concept of "all for one and one for all"

Story Type: Lover

Lover individuals are most fulfilled by building relationships. Naturally appreciative, passionate and committed, they enjoy creating consensus and motivating others to see and utilize their own special gifts. They're usually excited and challenged by opportunities to enjoy the richness and fullness of life.

Lover organizations are often very successful at building real partnerships among employees and clients; seeing the possibilities for greater quality of life inside and outside of the workplace; and establishing harmonious ways of working together.

Lover types need to be careful about cliquishness, emotional intrigue/drama, and conflict avoidance.

Subtypes include:

  • Partner/intimate: Forms close bonds; finds ways to make others feel special
  • Harmonizer: Ensures that relationships are harmonious and pleasurable
  • Connector/matchmaker: Brings together people/groups who are well suited for each other
  • Aesthete: Appreciates/creates beauty and beautiful environments
  • Bon vivant: Lives life with passion and enthusiasm

Story Type: Innocent

Innocent individuals are most fulfilled when their lives are based on their deeply held values and beliefs. Naturally idealistic, optimistic and hopeful, they often demonstrate perseverance in the face of obstacles and motivate others to trust that everything will turn out well in the end. They're most and excited and challenged by opportunities to put their personal values into action.

Innocent organizations are often successful at ignoring and moving through barriers that would stop others; seeing what's right in almost any situation; and maintaining faith in their ideals.

Innocent types need to make sure they're not in denial about real problems that need to be faced, resistant to change/innovation, or too loyal when loyalty is not deserved.

Subtypes include:

  • Idealist/utopian: Lives through belief in the perfect world or set of ideals
  • Traditionalist: Remains loyal to and maintains faith in simple values and virtues
  • Perseverer: Stays the course and goes where "angels fear to tread"
  • Optimist: Believes in the power of positive thinking
  • Cheerleader: Encourages and cheers on others

Story Type: Explorer

Explorer individuals are most fulfilled when they can seek out new approaches and perspectives. Naturally independent, authentic and curious, they're able to follow unique paths and motivate others to explore unchartered territory. They're usually excited and challenged by the opportunity to blaze a new trail.

Explorer organizations are often very successful at staying current with trends, encouraging individual initiative, and providing others with the opportunity to learn and grow.

Explorer types need to be watch for an unwillingness to settle down or commit to a course of action; forgetting to coordinate their others; and overlooking the needs of others.

Subtypes include:

  • Trailblazer/pioneer: Sees or scouts for new opportunities/possibilities
  • Adventurer: Emphasizes adventure and/or new experiences
  • Seeker/wanderer: Searches for a unique path or solution
  • Iconoclast: Places great value in being different and/or independent
  • Individualist: Maintains personal integrity and authenticity in all endeavors

Story Type: Sage

Sage individuals are most fulfilled by finding the answers to great questions. Naturally intelligent, knowledgeable and reflective, they demonstrate the value of thinking things through and motivate others to seek the truth. They’re usually excited and challenged by situations and problems that need to be better understood.

Sage organizations are often very successful at developing significant expertise; gathering and analyzing information so that it’s useful to others; and contributing knowledge to almost any situation.

Sage types need to be careful of ivory tower thinking, dogmatism, and coming across as lacking feeling/empathy.

Subtypes include:

  • Expert/guru: Develops own knowledge and expertise to highest level
  • Philosopher/contemplative: Uses deep thinking to seek and create clarity
  • Mentor/teacher: Shares wisdom with the world
  • Investigator: Researches and gathers information
  • Analyst: Thinks things through and synthesizes learning

Understanding Your Story Type

The SVSS is meant to stimulate your thinking about your identity, your strengths, your values, and how you may or may not show up in the world. So, here are some thought-starter questions about your highest-scoring story type.

  • Are you surprised that this is your highest-scoring story type? Why or why not?
  • Which of the subtypes are you most like?
  • Do other people see you this way? Do you wish they did? Why or why not?
  • How are you most like your story type?
  • When are you most like this professionally?
  • How do you feel when this part of you is front and center?
  • Could you bring this part of yourself out even more professionally? How? What would it feel like if you could do that?
  • If you could be even more like this character professionally, how could that help you be a stronger leader? A better communicator? A more motivated contributor?
  • What do you wish the world could know about this part of you?
  • If this part of you could write a professional vision, mission or purpose for you, what would it be?


  • Why would your clients or customers want to do business with this type of person?
  • What promise can this part of you always be counted on to keep?


  • Why would your clients or customers want to do business with an organization filling this kind of role in the world?
  • What promise would an organization fully living this role always be counted on to keep?