Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Nobody Is Perfect

May 1st, 2009

Nobody Is Perfect

Ok, that’s an old adage, and we know that it is certainly true. But just trying to get to perfection can lead to a lot of stress and health problems, according to psychologist Dr. Gordon Flett at Toronto’s York University.

Greens are generally driven to find the perfect answer, product, research, or solution. Oranges quickly find the fine line (and balance) between perfect, or right, expedient and good enough. Blues are also not that concerned with perfectionism. After all, they build strong relationships, because Blues will let others see them for who they really are, in genuine ways, and will cry with someone, just as easily as laugh with them.

That leaves our Gold friends, who can tend to values perfectionism in themselves. While this drive serves Golds well, it can also lead to challenges if it involves setting unrealistic standards. Flett has even developed a questionnaire for it, but it will end up being Golds who score high in this area.

Flett also believes the drive for perfectionism can be traced back to childhood. But if that is really the case, was it because of high expectations of a parent, or was it already in the Gold child’s DNA to want to draw that picture perfect, and get a little stressed when coloring outside the lines? With a Gold child, it is important to keep reassuring your son or daughter that they are loved for who they really are, and not as a result of doing something right.

This becomes just as valuable at work, with our staff, and in all of our relationships. For Golds to hear and to believe that letting their best be good enough can be really valuable. It also helps when Golds honestly ask themselves whether the need for perfection is necessary all the time. In fact, just learning to ask for help is often a huge positive, because others on our team will feel included and valuable, rather than shut out, and “not good enough.”

Nobody’s perfect. We all know that. But even making the journey towards that goal can come with some harmful side effects along the way. There is a time and a place for everything, but it sure can be hard to find an on-off switch for many of our Colors’ strengths and behaviors.

©George Boelcke, CCP

Inside the Media: Oranges and Blues Everywhere

February 1st, 2009

As I get to do a fair number of media interviews, I’ve been very blessed to meet a bunch of media people in front of the camera and microphone and behind the scenes.

Spend about five minutes in any studio or radio station and you’ll quickly notice that the vast numbers of people are Orange and Blue. Both Colors have great flexibility, a strength that’s crucial in the business, and both share a core need to work with (and help) people. Yes, there’s prep stuff…but both Colors can control how much they do, and being on-time is not optional. It’s why every Orange in the business won’t ever share the typical Orange value of “almost” on-time.

Here are a few stories where you’ll quickly see the persons’ Colors:

A popular radio gardening show host frequently runs over into the newscast breaks. The host has a very soft voice, is incredibly patient, and finds it impossible to cut someone off. He also takes every caller still on hold at the end of the show because he wants to help them, and reward them for their patience. When he recently shared he couldn’t respond to all his e-mails anymore, he seemed on the verge of tears, sharing he felt so bad that he was letting people down as a result.

Before a recent morning interview, I was visiting with the traffic lady at the station who seemed very sad and depressed. When I asked what was wrong, she admitted that she was really concerned about how people would get to work with all the congestion and accidents that morning…

Last year I was scheduled for a one-hour radio show on Colors with a friend of mine. But that day, the station had installed a new telephone and computer system. There wasn’t a soul who could figure it out. Her first words were “OK, this could be fun…” and she actually meant it!

No, the phones didn’t work after the first call, but she unplugged things a couple of times, press this, I wonder what this does, re-booted it, took a call on her cell phone and passed on the question and NEVER got stressed. I don’t mean didn’t let it show – I mean did NOT let it affect her, her tone of voice, demeanor or show.

After my segment, the next guest didn’t show. No problem. She went onto a web site and started talking for 15 minutes on an upcoming theatre production with zero notice, no hesitation, stumbles, or anyone listening having a clue that none of her planned segment was coming together. Whatever the industry or job, that takes talent and you can count on any Orange pulling it off.

Worry Your Way to the Top

February 1st, 2009

That headline sure got my attention – as did the sub-heading of: How insecurity and paranoia can accelerate your career.

It was a short story in Men’s Health where the author shared a story of attending a two-day seminar on positive thinking. It sure didn’t work for him – and won’t for most high Golds. One of the great strengths of Golds is their ability to have a plan A and a plan B. It allows this group to be prepared should something go wrong, have a backup plan, and to think ahead to be ready – just in case.

Half the time, it’s a real blessing and huge strength, but there are also times when it can be a curse. Unfortunately, though it’s not something that can easily be turned on and off at will.

In the words of the author of the article: “I’m sick of people being positive to my face. It’s not helpful, or in step with reality. Fact is, most of the time there’s no objective reason to see the glass as half full. Sure, there’s a place for a can-do attitude and a hearty grin in face of adversity. But mostly, I agree with Andrew Grove, a former head of Intel, who’s famous for the jolly slogan “Only the paranoid survive.” This may or may not be true, but it’s certainly an effective position from which to fight the daily battle.”

Where Are the Blues?

January 1st, 2009

According to well-known behavior psychologist Dr. David Keirsey, in his “Presidential Temperaments,” there has never been a primary Blue President of the United States. And the recent election didn’t change that. Are you surprised? With the awesome traits they would contribute, most wouldn’t be interested.  This ultimate position of leadership forces constant compromise and almost all decisions will offend and affect vast groups of people.

How sad, but these are two huge drawbacks for a group that readily admits one of their biggest stresses, even in management, is doing staff reviews. They’ll rarely even watch the news as most of it is negative or violent — two things to be avoided at all costs. But then, the Blues in the United States are also less than half of what they are in Canada or even the U.K. It does show – in many, many ways in society, charities and measurably in companies of all sizes.

The largest number of Presidents have been Gold. But in the interest of fairness, here are four from the other three Color groups:


George Washington, Jimmy Carter and outgoing President Bush, as well as his father (and Margaret Thatcher in the U.K.)


Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower


Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

Helping Golds: Line Up Efficiencies

October 1st, 2008

One of the biggest stresses for Golds are lineups and to be delayed in their mission to finish their to-do list in a timely manner. Oranges very much share this stress, but they’re much more likely to just leave, instead of getting stuck in the line for what can seem like forever. Golds don’t have that option because leaving just puts it onto tomorrow’s to-do list, so they’re way more likely to stick it out while their brain is exploding and their stress level is elevated.

And we sure spend a lot of time waiting and in lineups. Author Tom Heymann, in his book: On An Average Day, claims that Americans alone spend more than 100 million hours a day waiting in lines! Never mind the billions of dollars in lost sales when merchandise is just abandoned at the cash registers (that was a story from last year).

There are two different types of lineup management models. Airports and most banks use the one-line system. Everybody gets into one line and a slow clerk or customer doesn’t kill the whole system. The other one is the multiple-line system. You find a line and take your chances that the whole world in front of you isn’t paying by check, doesn’t need a price check, or have a snafu of some kind – or you’re going to celebrate your next birthday right in that lineup.

According to management science professor Mahmut Parlar the single line is most efficient. And it appears many retailers agree as even the supermarket chain Whole Foods has started changing over their system. Even if it’s just a psychological thing, it gets my vote, but you have to see it to believe it. One of my favorite stores is the U.S. electronic giant Fry’s who have upwards of 100 cashier stations. Of course, they’re not all open, but on a Saturday you might be 80th in line, but it’s amazing how quickly it moves and I’ve yet to see anyone bail. Now if I could just find an efficient way to solve the “walk in or drive-through” dilemma…

But to go to a single-line system you need the space for cashiers and aisles. I guess this is where the Greens come in to get the stores built properly in the first place…

Orange Mom versus Gold Kid

September 1st, 2008

“Hi George: I checked with my daughter to make sure it was okay that I share her story and she said that it was actually kind of cool. So here it is:

My very organized fourth grade daughter’s homework comes home every Monday and is due back Friday morning. When this started, I was “helping” her organize what she would do each day by labeling tasks with color coded Post-It notes. Being rather Orange, I had her do a little vocabulary, a little math and a little reading each day throughout the week, because that seemed more fun to me.

We spent hours doing homework and at least once a week had stressed out tears and I was at a loss how to help. It was dreadful! About a week after I got home from my first Colors seminar, my daughter asked if she could color code what she wanted to do each day. I was looking for anything that would help and readily agreed.

I was surprised to see her color code her homework completely differently than I had been doing. She chose one subject to do from start to finish each day. So Monday was math, Tuesday was vocabulary, etc. What was even more amazing is that she gets her homework done in a fraction of the time it used to take and with very little stress! All I could think about was: Wow – Orange mom, Gold kid!

I cannot thank you enough for opening my eyes to her personality and how I can best respect that; when to step in and, more difficult for me, when to let her do her thing.” S. W.