Posts Tagged ‘helping’

This Family HAS to Understand Colors

January 1st, 2009

“Hi George: We’re looking forward to being with you in Tulsa next week.  I thought I’d write a note about my four children, each a different color. So meet my family:

Georgia is Blue very involved with her church youth group, has a hard time saying “no” when asked to do something for them, to the point that she’s a little taken advantage of, loves children and just wants to be with them, especially helpful around the house right before company comes. She feels the pain of her friends when they’re having a hard time and just needs to be with them. She makes friends with her teachers and until she feels a friendship type bond with them, she has a very hard time being comfortable in their classroom. She often reaches out to make friends or spend time with people who aren’t the most outgoing.

My Green son Calvin had last years’ Christmas list as a spreadsheet, with rows for each type item he wanted and then the columns were labeled as: most wanted, would be nice, good and ok. In each column where the specific item was listed, he also included where it could be purchased and how much it cost – he found the least expensive place for each item online. Then he went over the spreadsheet with me for a long time. He is planning his high school courses based on what majors he might want in college, which are based upon a solid, well paying job that he’d enjoy. He likes to understand topics and subjects and have lengthy conversations about things. When he was three years old he learned to ride a bike with no training wheels and practiced for days falling off, so he’d completely know how to control a fall so he wouldn’t get hurt.

Martin, my Orange son wants to have fun! He’s not aware of peer pressure in middle school and loves having a good time with people. Deadlines for report? Oh, that’s when you both start and complete it. Likes to play games and always did – even when he was three years old he didn’t care if he won or lost a game, he just wanted to play a game. He’s very sweet and huggy – a bit of blue shining through. When he was a baby we used to call him “Mr. Happy.” He is considered gifted at school in the area of Language Arts.

My daughter Camille is so Gold and so NOT Orange. She likes dependable schedules and to know what’s going to happen when. If I try to change the routine, it really throws her for a loop and can ruin her day. It can take a long time for her to be comfortable with new people and each year before the first day of school, she wants to know what class she’s in, needs to meet the teacher and see where she’s going to sit.  She doesn’t like change at all. She’s VERY bright and wants to always get 100% on every assignment. She takes a long time to do her writing and has a very hard time making a “rough draft,” because she wants it to be a final draft the first time she writes. She gets migraine headaches due to stress that she puts upon herself and can’t understand why anyone would ever break a rule.

My husband is Green/Blue and I’m a VERY high Orange.  It’s a fun household with much respect and appreciation for each other. M.W.

Secret Santa: It’s Your Turn to Pay It Forward

November 1st, 2008

Last year, I shared the story of Larry Stewart and at this time of the year, it’s worth reading it again, as many of his friends have taken up his cause: (

When Larry Stewart died at the age of 58, he was known world-wide as Secret Santa, and someone who gave away $1.3 million anonymously in and around the Kansas City area setting an example of generosity that’s hard to match.

In the winter of 1971, Stewart worked as a door-to-door salesman when he ran out of money. He hadn’t eaten for days when he entered Dixie Diner in Tupelo, Miss. After eating his breakfast, he pretended he’d just lost his wallet. Ted Horn, the owner, reached down to the floor and picked up a $20 bill, saying: “son, you must have just dropped this.”

Steward later shared that this was like a fortune to him. Yes, the restaurant owner had helped him out secretly. But Stewart made a promise to himself that day: “Lord, if you ever put me in a position to help other people, I will.” And the Lord did – in a big way, financially and in business. Steward’s first act was just before Christmas 1979 when he ordered a burger and drink at a local drive-in. He gave the carhop $20 and told her to keep the change. The lady started to cry and just shared the words: “You have no idea what this means to me”.

To Stewart, it became addictive and felt so good he returned to the bank the next day to get more cash, and started to give it way, as well. As he shared many years later: “I see looks of hopelessness turn to looks of hope in an instant. Isn’t that what we were put here on earth for – to help one another?” For Stewart, there wasn’t a strategy, a plan or strict criteria, and all he wanted was to assure he guarded his identity. It was only last year that he went public, after his cancer diagnosis, in the hope that his story would inspire others to carry on his tradition.

I hope we do, in small ways or large, not for the tax receipt, but because it feels great. I have no idea what Color Larry Stewart was, and his story and inspiration work equally well for us all. I do know that following his example will make your day, week or month. But I’ll tell you a learned secret: It’s better when nobody knows who you are – not even the person you’re helping.

Or in the words of my favorite saying from the Choices seminar I keep talking about ( Giving Is Receiving. In life – are you a giver or a taker? Larry Stewart was a giver and he died too soon. But as the restaurant owner, Ted Horn, shared with USA Today: “The Lord needed another angel, so he called Larry home.”

I wish you, your team at work and your family a very merry Christmas.

God bless,


Taking Advantage Of A Blue?

July 1st, 2008

A few months ago, Donna (not her real name) sent me a “venting” e-mail. As a high Blue she was really hurt as she felt totally used and abused by some people in her office. I’m proud of her that she actually gave some feedback to her boss, but like a typical Blue, she was not going to confront the actual people who were causing the problem. After all, Blues believe in “peace at all cost,” even if it kills them. It takes a lot to get a Blue to make a scene, or stand up to the bullies or users.

Donna works with a number of high Oranges who were complaining that: “I don’t do stuff for them, like wipe their nose and kiss their feet.” I felt pretty sad that they’d say untrue things and they’ve ratted me out pretty badly.” The only thing Donna did do was to skip an office party they were having because “I don’t want to hang around people who stab me in the back for no reason.” (Yet who was punishing whom by her not attending?)

Instead, I e-mailed her back a note of what she should have said. It made her feel better, even though she didn’t – of course.

Dear Orange friends:

I’m sorry that you believe I don’t do enough for you. I know that you hate paperwork and all the little details that have to be done, because they’re not going away, but you want someone, anyone to do them for you. But here, just like at home – you’re accountable for your own actions and work.

I’m high Blue. My DNA includes always wondering if I do enough to start with. I do! But it’s not helpful when you push that button, oblivious to my Colors, and inaccurate to start with. But I’m also learning the difference between helping and enabling, and you’re asking for enabling and babysitting.

I’m always here for you and so love being part of the team and doing what I can, when I can, within reason. It’s a huge self esteem builder for me to be helpful, whether it’s part of my job, or I choose to chip in and help. But this quickly turns to a nightmare when you become unreasonable and simply avoid what you need to do in order to become more successful.

What We Share:

March 1st, 2008

With the different strengths and stresses of our colors, there are some definite common denominators that are shared. It is always a matter of looking for the value and the positives. Here are some of examples:

Blue & Orange: Are both very people oriented, good negotiators and problem solvers. They share a sense of optimism and see the brighter side of things. Both value being liked and recognized. Blues verbally and in meaningful personal ways – Orange through concrete rewards like money or prizes.

Orange & Green: Enjoy competition – Green with themselves or systems – Orange with anyone if they have a chance to win. Both are independent and need their space to perform. They like new ways of doing things – Greens for ingenuity and mental challenges and Orange to avoid boredom at all cost.

Gold & Blue: Are both very socially responsible and give back in time, talents or money. Golds through service clubs and organization, while Blues gravitate to causes that involve people or animals. Both relate well to others and are great caretakers. They are helpful and cooperative and excellent team players.

Green & Blue: Both tend to see the big picture first instead of the details. They are more interested in the process than the result. Both are very creative – Blue in artistic ways and Green through their talents of innovation. Blues help people, Greens help people become more efficient and grow their knowledge.

Gold & Orange: These two share a strong sense of impatience. Gold wants it done and completed so they can move on with their to-do list, Orange wants to get on with something else because this is probably getting boring. They are both task oriented, existing in the here and now, and may miss the big picture. Both enjoy productive teamwork where things actually get done instead of talked about.

This Month on TV: Rachael Ray

February 1st, 2008

High Blue Rachael Ray is the host of a number of cooking shows on the Food Network. While a new cooking show isn’t a news flash, she has become a media darling in the U.S. where there’s just such a low percentage of the population who are Blue. But the buzz is also the many media questions wondering how she always finds a way to look at the positives of every subject or how she could possibly be so cheerful, helpful and upbeat all the time.

In fact, Time magazine’s Joel Stein calls her “America’s kindergarten teacher.” In another interview, high Green Larry King definitely had that “what makes you tick” question on his face during his interview with Ray.

Of course, the anti-Ray blogs are merciless in attempting to cut her down by harping on her cutesy catch phrases and the likes. Even the Time Magazine story ended with a shot at her by wondering how many people secretly watch for the moment she’ll crack and in comparing her to a popular girl in high school who is impressively nice to everyone, but everyone secretly kind of hates her, and who’s probably a little bit phony.

During her show she actually serves the audience herself and has an incredible ability to make people feel welcome and included while her style is to chat and connect with people and not to lecture. Small wonder right now she has a waiting list of almost 20,000 people – for a 110 seat studio audience!

Even outside the studio, Ray is totally accessible to her fans, loves to hug and chooses to focus her show more around her guests and not the celebrities. There aren’t any teleprompters, earpieces or cue cards. She doesn’t even have writers on the show – just herself and a huge sense of being herself.

Thus it’s no surprise that Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions is actually quarterbacking her show. In the words of Oprah Winfrey: “The most important quality a host needs to have is the ability to be themselves day after day – on camera.” And that’s what she has.”

At the End of the Day – Being Blue Does Pay

December 1st, 2007

O Magazine recently had an extended section on authenticity. What an awesome feature from Oprah Winfrey, herself a huge Blue.

One of the features was on former US President Jimmy Carter. It started with the following sentence: “The qualities that were so maligned during Jimmy Carter’s presidency – his modesty, his faith, his collaborative approach to problem solving – now define his reputation as a remarkable man.”

What most of his critics interpreted as weakness during his presidency are actually his huge strengths, for that very same reason! (Remember that in the US, Blues are less than 12% of the population vs. almost 30% in Canada).

But then, that view is in the eye of the beholder, and it would have been very unusual for the media, opposition, or even most electorates to find the powerful values of a high Blue attractive in their President. No wonder Blues seldom get elected to be President or Prime Minister. The process is just too ugly and negative.

These days, the real Jimmy Carter can do what he values and feels passionate about, and that’s very much focused to making a difference in the lives of others and helping people. He volunteers to monitor elections in third-world countries, the training of farmers and promotes many programs to foster peace and health.

He now has a platform from which people will listen and the time and resources for the work he and his wife Rosalynn do with Habitat for Humanity. Gentle, soft-spoken and kind wasn’t what the country was looking for in their leader back then, but it’s the most powerful contribution he makes today in so many ways.