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True Colors

October 5, 2011

I started reading this book called “Follow Your True Colors to the Work You Love” By Carolyn Kalil.

It was in the Leadership Center of my college and looked interesting so, I picked it up. It turns out it is an alternative approach to personality assessment, a different perspective to define working personalities.


My colors are Orange, Gold, Green, Blue.

She asks these very important questions to start leading the reader to their ideal career:

1. What motivates you?

2. What do you enjoy doing?

p.s. if you have to imitate someone, you are going against your true self (pp.28).

3. What are your natural gifts and talents?

Carolyn consistently maintains that you must find work which utilizes your natural talents and minimizes use of your weakness skills or abilities.

Later, she lists each color-type’s methods for boosting self-esteem.

“Greens achieve positive self-esteem when they are competent. They want to understand and control the realities of life. Control represents the power to acquire the multiple abilities on which they pride themselves…Blues experience positive self-esteem when they feel  authentic. They must find their real selves and live their lives as an expression of their unique identity. For Blues, integrity means unity of inner self and outer expression… Oranges feel positive self-esteem when, above all, they are free to act on a moment’s notice. Action carries its own reward…Golds enjoy positive self-esteem when they feel responsible and when they belong to a social unit. Regardless of which social unit is involved, they must earn their place of belonging by being useful, by fulfilling responsibilities, by being of service, and by caring for others.”

This leads to the Self-Actualization which Maslow depicts on his pyramid. ‘Green: Power and Mental Competence; Blue: Meaning and Purpose; Gold: Social Status and Security; Orange: Freedom and Spontaneity.’

Just a humorous side-thought. Carolyn also states in a list of things which stress out Oranges “lack of sex”. I got a good chuckle out of that one.

Oprah Winfrey and Mother Teresa are the two best examples of Blue personalities due to their dedication to helping others feel good about themselves. They are also very sensitive, caring, and compassionate individuals. The quintessential elements of the Blue personality is “To love and be loved.” She explains the personality behaviors of men, women, and children who are blue types.

Knowing that I am primarily an Orange, reading this Blue personality type has bluntly demonstrated that all people are a mixture of all four color types. The combination of these traits (as with all personality structures) is what makes each person unique.

Greens are often described as intelligent and clever and prefer intellectually stimulating environments. They have tendencies to be perfectionists.Martin Luther King Jr., Einstein, Aristotle, and Plato are all Green individuals. This personality enjoys problem-solving and takes on challenges. Greens are self-assured and confident. Cool and controlled, they are adept at maintaining a blank facade. The Green woman can be outspoken and brutal at times, which is why she will only have friends of equal or higher intelligence; they understand her. Green men prioritize work, have clever ideas and a fabulous ability to articulate well. Green children are strong-willed and independent.”…Greens have such a great command of language that their words are powerful, and they need to be sensitive to how they can affect other people.”

As I read more and more of these individual personality color traits, I see more and more of myself in all of them. I have reconsidered my color selection at least twice.

While Green and Blue are only 10% of the population each, Gold is approximately half of the population. Golds are dependable and reliable, organized, often workaholics, and enjoy predictability. Their tendency to be detail oriented and controlling can cause anxiety. They are logical and methodical; not as much as Greens but more than Oranges. “Impromptu causes stress and takes the fun out of the trip.” Gerald Ford has a Gold personality. Reading the Gold men, women, and children sections highlighted that I have drawn out the gold part of my long-term partner.

Can I just say, I love how the book has the colors in the exact order reverse of how I gauged myself! The book instructs you to read them however you like, but I read in order regardless. Joan Rivers and Eddie Murphy are Orange individuals. They are spontaneous and entertaining and learn by doing something. Oranges are active and competitive; constantly on the go.

Having read all four colors, I now believe that I misdiagnosed myself. I have decided that I am a Green-Gold or a Gold-Green. I am not positive which, yet. I also have come to believe that we all go through stages of experimentation with these colors to find out who we really are and what makes us happy. We experience this from childhood up through our young adult career development. This growth and experimentation gives us the chance to find out what really means the most to us and then our adult lives are spent actualizing our true colors. Actually, thinking about it, I believe I am a Green-Gold and my partner is a Gold-Blue.

Carolyn says that the best thing you can do for your career to end up doing what is best for you and others is to find work which aligns your true values and your skills. After you identify these things the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the Occupational Outlook Handbook can be helpful. After reading through the Green and Gold sections of true values and talents, I think I am settled with being a Gold-Green individual.

She also feels that it is important to write a life mission statement. It should describe how you want to make your contribution to society. I printed those documents off after recreating them and I now have my worksheets and mission statement in my portfolio for reference. I also took the time to type up the Gold personality traits so I have those at my disposal should I not be able to find a copy of this book for purchase. When I went home recently for the weekend, I shared this book with my Grandmother. She was interested and we spent a whole day, just us girls, discussing and turning the book and its information in our heads. We love to have intelligent exchanges of conversation like that and we have not had a girls’ day out recently so this was our excuse. It was enlightening and a lot of fun. It is a great way for me to de-stress and she had a bad morning so we took the day to relax together!

Kalil moves on to discuss how parents can influence their children’s lives unwittingly and unintentionally, causing friction and unhappiness for the children later in life. She warns about failing to acknowledge your children’s differences and uniqueness which make them who they are, not who the parents want them to be. True Colors is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs; his research uncovered the fact that people who experience a “peak” are listening closely to their inner-self-direction. Carolyn has six steps to follow to reach this enlightened form of guidance:

1. Take responsibility for your life (use the Gold part of your personality)

2. Have a strong desire for your vision (use Green for this)

3. Develop a positive mental attitude (use Blue)

4. Visualize your ideal life’s work (use Blue and use your imagination)

5. Set goals (use Gold)

6. Take action (use Orange)

Be proactive; not reactive. Set goals and take action to reach them. Be positive and believe in yourself and what you want to do that makes you happy!

Here are some websites I would recommend as well:

I would recommend this book to any who felt unhappy at work or with life in general. I am excited to see if I can find this book for sale anywhere because it would be an asset to any bookshelf. And on my closing note:

“Success is not the key to happiness; Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Herman Cain


From → Book Reviews

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