Good Thing This Family Knows Colors!

September 4th, 2018

I am your Green/Orange lady from the other day. You asked me to email you the Colors of my husband (and kids). He’s a 29 Gold. As a strong Gold/Green, he gives 200% towards work life and most times when he reaches home he is turned off for a few minutes if not clocked out entirely. My mother initially thought he was in the military as he is so direct and assertive; his composure certainly does not disdain that view… As to our three kids in our blended family:

Our 5 year old is very Blue and loves people, until he doesn’t. Our only issue is in the morning when he is “getting ready” for the day. We have to tell him at least six times to stop doodling and focus on getting ready. Of course, he loves being our helper, but it can wait 30 seconds while he plays with his Lego. In daycare and home, he is always the helper, the playful group go getter, the VERY EXCITED loving boy. When he has hit his limit of people after hurt feelings or over stimulation, he will give himself a timeout, go to his room, close the door and hide away until he is ready.

…You have a Blue son? Someone REALLY has to understand his special needs and emotions. That’s super hard for you (Green) and hubby (Gold). I hope there’s another family member around that’s very high Blue! Blue, for a lifetime, have little idea what time it is. Creativity, others need me, want to help, dreaming, dreaming…but on time? Not so much… The black or white, at that age, is emulating his Gold dad. Kids will take on behaviors of parents that have little to do with their Colors! Yes, the hurt feeling with a boy = alone time. With girls it’s more of talking it through.

Our oldest son is 8 year old, and Green/Blue. He was really 45 years old when he turned 5 and wasn’t afraid to prove it either. Yes or no does not work for him. If he asks you a question you best be careful how you answer because, dependent on the answer given, he will almost always have five more at the ready. My son is a people pleaser, always involving others, always making others happy, even if it is at the expense of others (so long as the majority is smiling at him). Sarcasm and humor is his forefront and it is so hard as a Green parent not to laugh when you really should be biting your tongue.

…Yup. You have a little mini Perry Mason living in the house. It’s the reason many non Green parents are a little intimidated by a Green kid. How great that he’s also learning his soft people skills. Soft with people, hard on tasks,  on learning, questioning, etc. is a great combination! If he can maintain that ratio/balance for a lifetime. Green/Blue (once he’s over 15 or so it’d be interesting if that’s how he sees himself as a close score of Green/Blue is about 1 in 700 people…

Our third son is nine and Blue/Gold, but harder to figure out. He’s somewhat of a “deer in the head lights” personality. We are just now getting custody of him from his birth mother. He is a good listener but will forget what you said almost immediately after he gives you a simple empathic remark. He definitely doesn’t like to make waves and avoids conflict, but does do his chores when asked and likes to do the without interruptions. Now that he’s re-learning things like responsibility and independence, we have see great changes with him.

…Ouch. Life’s been rather hard for this little guy. IF he is Blue (feelings) more than Green (logic) this is hitting him really really hard! EVERY Blue thinks it’s something they did to make Mom….etc… If they were just….she wouldn’t have left me. That is a scar he will have for a lifetime, and all you can do is minimize it – but you can’t take that scar tissue away… He’ll be way more sensitive in wanting to be loved (and for a lifetime have a subconscious tape that he’s unlovable and will have real trust issues in adult relationships) and wanting to fit in, and be very accommodating. He’ll also become more sensitive to any conflict, so make sure he always keeps learning that disagreement does not equal rejection!

So thank you again George, not only for your time in this email, but for your knowledge and beautiful words of wisdom. I wish you all the best and in changing lives!  A.

Your Coffee Fits Your Personality Type?

September 4th, 2018

A story published in Inc. Magazine summarizes various research that claims how you take your coffee tells others a lot about your personality type. Oh really?

If you take sugar in your coffee, a study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psycology found that your sweet tooth is more than that: In fact, you’re likely to be agreeable, social and friendly.  The study claims it’s much more likely that you’re a trusted confidante and supportive co-worker.

Needs milk in your coffee, or prefer caffe lattes? Professor Durvasula of California State University, and the author of the book You are Why You Eat, thinks you’re much more likely to be people who go out of their way to help others.

She also states that decaf people attempt to change the natural order of coffee. In her view, that can indicate tendencies of attempts to control and an obsession with details.

What about people who mix their coffee? Half this and half that? Juliet Boghossian, founder of Food-ology claims it’s an indicator of someone who has trouble managing or choosing tasks, and may be more prone to procrastination.

Drink your coffee black? Black coffee couldn’t be simpler, skipping all the accessories. But findings from the University Of Innsbruck claim they’re more likely to find pleasure in the misfortune of others. We (as I’m in this coffee-type group) are likely to be the people who enjoy others getting called out for minor infractions.

What do I do now? Nothing about my indicators, because of my black coffee preference, are accurate. But would it make me nicer if I switched to cream or sugar, instead? Next coffee break, look around at the people on your team. Does any of this coffee-analysis match the Color of your teammate?

The Mind-Body Connection

September 4th, 2018

This was a story in Family Health, written by Dr. Robin Reesal, a professor of psychiatry. The story drew some great connections between what our mind experiences and how it manifests itself in our bodies. And yes, there is a proven connection.

First and foremost, it’s always critical to rule out any physical symptoms. But often there’s more to it – and the reason doctors often (should) ask what’s really going on in your life. In other words, what are some of the internal stressors that may be sending a distress signal to the body?

Of course, we often use denial to keep our emotions in check – but I believe strongly what the mind suppresses, the body expresses. And the more we ignore these signals, the early warning system of our body, the more likely it is that the body is left with no option but  to physically tell us (yell at us) that there’s trouble.

At least once a month I meet someone, usually a high Gold or Blue, who finds him or herself in exactly this position of starting to show physical symptoms of stress, hurt, anger, burnout or suppressed feelings of frustration. But it’s important to learn and practice a powerful saying coined by Thelma Box, who facilitates the Choices seminar I keep raving about: Feelings buried alive never die!

In the words of the article’s author, “We turn our emotional suffering into physical symptoms to avoid facing our troubles.” And that’s often after many people try sleeping pills or alcohol as an attempt to find a tool to relieve these stresses.

Four Short Insights

July 12th, 2018

I recently ran into a super high Orange buddy that I only get to see about once a year or so. I was standing at the back of a ballroom listening in on a seminar when she saw me on her way out the door. She had her phone out, gave me a quick hug, and asked if I’d be “right here” for a few more minutes until she got back? 45 minutes later – she wasn’t… How would your Color react? When I saw her next, she asked, very innocently, why I hadn’t waited? She absolutely didn’t recall the time-frame of getting side-tracked for 45 minutes!

My graphic design guy is as competent as he is Green. I recently needed to get my business card logo tweaked and sent him an e-mail to see what he could do when he had a chance. I didn’t hear back from him for weeks until I realized my mistake: Greens will always choose to work on something intricate, challenging, original, interesting, or complex. My small logo work was never going to make the list until I give him a deadline to get it done.

Twice in a month I ran into a high Blue staff member of a client. Both times it certainly seemed to me that she wasn’t being herself. Two e-mails later, the person finally e-mailed back and shared that two close friends had recently passed away. That was after a couple of “everything’s fine.” With Blues, you need to hear what they’re not saying! While Blues want to be heard and not fixed, it is OK to e-mail back some feedback that other Colors likely shouldn’t immediately do when you are meeting them in person.

A new Home Depot ad does a really great job of targeting high Golds: The TV ad has a man with a very conservative haircut shopping at Home Depot for his basement renovations. His line: “I’m not very good, but I want it done perfect.” The end of the ad shows his finished basement with huge clock above his fireplace and a framed flag on the wall. The quote, flag, clock and haircut might be staged, but they’re huge clues to a high Gold. If you know someone with a big clock in the kitchen or family room that isn’t high Gold, let me know – it’d be rare…

Or the slogan Lowe’s has been using in a number of commercials: “My to-do list is now a done list.”

Orange Learning Styles

July 12th, 2018

From the corporate world to the school system, high Oranges are really misunderstood when it comes to the way they learn and study.

The largest Color group are Golds who need to study in a quiet space and alone (as do Greens). But that’s exactly the opposite of how high Oranges tend to learn – and it can lead to real challenges, especially with high Gold parents “making” an Orange kid have that alone-time and long blocks of study time.

Orange are social by nature and learn best in short bursts, together with their friends. They also have no problem studying with a television on, or stereo playing in the background. Gold parents know their Orange child is bright and highly intelligent, yet their marks don’t always reflect this. But often, it’s a Color clash in the mindset of the “proper” way parents believe their child “ought” to study. After all, that’s how I did it and that should work for my kid, too. But instead of creating success, more often than not, it causes conflict, rebellion, stress, dropping marks and rule-breaking behavior.

The best way for high Orange to get their marks up, or to learn new material for work, is to study with their friends. The more time they’re forced to study alone, the worse it’ll likely get. High Orange are very verbal and social, as well as performers who learn best with the freedom to move around, talk something through with their friends and listen to their stereo or Ipod. Having friends over makes studying a competition or social interaction and allows them to use their great verbal skills.

And if you want to take it one step further – make it a game and a contest. Even the most successful Orange sales staff don’t get seriously motivated about a contest until they can see the finish line. In every sales seminar I ask this hugely successful and highly intelligent group when they get seriously motivated about a one-year contest. Without exception, they’ll tell you it’s about September, October or November and not on January 1st!

So if you’re choosing to give your kid a reward for success, make sure it’s something for THIS week – not the end of the school year. That day is way to far off to generate any type of interest or motivation.

Oh, and one more thing: Ask a couple of high Orange at work, or in your circle of friends, how long a work meeting should last. They’ll always tell you it should be 15 or 20 minutes, tops. Yet think about how long classes are in high school, or even how long you’re asking a high Orange kid to sit still and do his or her homework.

If You Do Really Well, You’re Going to Be Punished

July 12th, 2018

That sentence sure doesn’t sound right, and it isn’t what was said or meant. But it’s what the high Blue felt was being said to him. So often, for our different Colors, perception is reality and we hear things in very different ways. For Greens, it might be the question, “are you sure?” For Oranges, it’s telling them they “have to,” and Golds it might be asking for a progress report. For high Blue Steve, it was very similar:

Steve had an incredible month. By the 20th he had recruited nine people onto his team. For his office, ten was the record for a single month, a record he was clearly going to break. When Steve reached nine, his manager was thrilled, and certainly wanted to motivate Steve to keep going. So he told Steve when he reaches the record, he should be doing some of the office training the following month.

But that innocent, and seemingly motivational comment, wasn’t how this high Blue heard it. It was very scary to Steve. Standing up in front of the whole office and talking about it (bragging) was not going to happen. So Steve immediately stopped working for the rest of the month in order to avoid that situation at all costs. Steve’s manager saw it as a chance for him to get the limelight, while Steve “heard” he would be punished.

What happened? While the comment was genuinely meant to motivate and reward, it had the opposite effect on Steve, because he is an introvert high Blue! What would have motivated Steve, instead? What would have been a way to reach a high Blue? To communicate with him in ways he wanted? Would a high Blue view the following as a reward or punishment?

“Steve, you’re having an awesome month. When you reach our office record, I’m going to give you a $500 restaurant gift card. I want you to take this new group out for dinner, on me. They’re not just numbers, they’re part of your team, and I want your team to have the time to really get to know each other. I want to help you to make these awesome bonds happen! And when you feel like it, let me know, we’d be really blessed if you want to share some of your tools with others to help them to grow as well.”