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the essential skills necessary to

successfully develop character

Taylor Hartman, PhD


This guide may not be copied, reproduced, dismantled, quoted or presented without the
express written approval of Color Code International. The Color Code, The People Code, and
Color Your Future are the intellectual property of the author, Taylor Hartman, PhD.
No part of this publication covered by the copyright herein may be reproduced, stored in a
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2012 Color Code International


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866-4-MOTIVE |
The Color Code laid groundwork for the next step in your
journey, which is the process of developing character. The path
to developing character began with your exploration of the Color
Code, the identification of your driving core motive, and your innate
personality. Chances are, the Color Code process helped you gain
remarkable insights about who you are and confirmations of the
highest in you. You also gained critical understanding about key
relationships in your life: what makes some of them “work” better
than others do, and why you naturally gravitate to some people.

You will remember Motive is inborn while character is learned and

developed over a lifetime. Obviously, Motive plays a significant role
in developing ones’ character. Throughout the process of developing
character, you will be challenged to regularly “look in the mirror”,
to really explore why you do what you do, why you choose your
behaviors and communication patterns, and why you choose the
relationships you do.

What you have learned to this point gives solid foundation for the
charactering process. To become fully charactered you will need to
demonstrate proficiency in six basic competencies: clean up motives;
value self; seek truth; discover balance, focus commitments and serve

Likewise, there are essential skills or competencies necessary to

successfully develop character. A competency is a skill that a person
demonstrates with proficiency. To achieve becoming charactered, you
must become proficient in the following six competencies.

Color Code 3
Serve Seek
Others Truth

Commit- Clean
ments Motives

1. Value Self means appreciation of your own gifts. This skill comes
most naturally to Yellows.
2. Seek Truth requires you to confront whatever facts will enable
you to see yourself as others see you.
3. Clean Your Motives is to acknowledge what motivates your
choices. Are you motivated to create win/win results in your
relationships or do more often seek win/lose, lose/lose, or lose,
4. Discover Balance helps you recognize your priorities and assists in
assuring they are balanced. This is most natural for Whites.
5. Focus Commitments is a way to decide on which priority to focus.
You will not easily be pulled off into distractions when you
establish what is most important. This is most natural for Reds.
6. Serve Others means just that. Share your many gifts to ease the
burdens of others. This is most natural for Blues.

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Just as each of us come pre-packaged with a set of strengths
and limitations, we also come with a natural propensity for
some competencies, and a natural struggle to achieve the other
competencies. Being naturally adept at any of these competencies
does not mean there is no work to do in that area!

As you study these six competencies, you are likely to note parts
of each skill you have already have achieved. There will be other
dimensions of each in which you will be weak. As mentioned, there
are no shortcuts to become charactered and there are no developing
these competencies. The competencies are formed into a circle to
remind you that this is an ongoing process. You will find yourself
revisiting these competencies repeatedly as you work through new
personal and professional growth challenges. Each time life poses a
new challenge, or each time that your life circumstances change, you
will feel the need to review these competencies.

rve Focus Discover Clean Value Seek

hers Commit- Balance Motives Self Truth

Competency #1—Value Self

To understand your inherent value you must comprehend who you
are and what you are capable of doing. Valuing self is essential to the
process of developing character. People who value themselves have
the unique ability to accept themselves as they are. They not only
appreciate their gifts, strengths and natural talents, but also to accept
the things that they don’t like about themselves. They accept that a
person can work past those flaws by using one’s natural gifts. That is
the key.

Color Code 5
Self Esteem and Self Confidence
The terms self-esteem and self-confidence are often used inter-
changeably but they are distinct gifts and integral to developing

Self-esteem is the marker of a person who simply values self. Self-

esteem is not about measuring your own worth through your resume.
Self-esteem is not about measuring your worth based on the express
views of others. Self esteem means valuing yourself simply because
you exist. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is a belief in one’s
ability to conquer any challenge, task or obstacle. They can always do
the job and achieve the desired results. However, having one does not
mean you automatically have the other.

Self-confidence is natural for Reds, while for Yellows self-esteem is

a natural gift. A person’s secondary color also plays into this picture
and can easily influence the natural capacity for self-esteem and
self-confidence. If the traits of your secondary color are strengths
they can help scale both these mountains. For example a Yellow with
secondary Red is more likely to have self-confidence than a Yellow
with secondary White.

To become fully charactered, you must scale both the mountain of

self-esteem and the mountain of self-confidence.

Each color can have difficulty when it comes to truly developing self-
esteem and self-confidence.

Yellows are most inclined to believe that self-esteem alone is enough

to succeed in life. They equate self-esteem with self-confidence. That
belief can inhibit them from working to ensure they acquire self
confidence as well.

6 Color Code
Reds, conversely, believe that having confidence in their own abilities
is enough to achieve. They equate self-confidence with self-esteem.
This belief allows them to hide their lack of self-esteem and minimize
its importance.

Blues sometimes fall into the trap of being a victim or martyr. They
rely heavily on the opinion of others to determine their worth.
Self-doubt bars them from developing either self-esteem or self-

Whites can struggle with the motivation to develop either self-

esteem or self-confidence. If they don’t see the logic in working for a
change, they will be inclined to leave well enough alone. They prefer
remaining comfortable to the disruptive results of changing.

These challenges notwithstanding, each motive type is capable of

developing both self-esteem and self-confidence. The benefits of
acquiring both are myriad. Think of the successful people you know.
Not necessarily the people who have accomplished or contributed
a great deal. They may have both self-confidence and self-esteem in
abundance but don’t be fooled by their vita. Look to those, regardless
of their circumstances, who have a sense of self that is a part of all
they do. There is a calm strength that assures they will always come
out on top, no matter what the challenge.

Challenges to Valuing Self

Each motive type has particular challenges when it comes to valuing

Reds, with their core Motive of Power, tend to value themselves based
on their productivity. Their worth is reflected in their success.

Blues, with their core Motive of Intimacy, struggle to value self with

Color Code 7
the belief they can never measure up to their own high standards.
They often depend on the express appreciation of others to feel

Whites, with their Motive of Peace, often pay a high personal price
in order to preserve a peaceful atmosphere and feel comfortable. They
must learn to value themselves to speak up and share their thoughts
and ideas.

Yellows, with their core Motive of Fun, have the most natural ability
to value self. They truly like themselves simply because they breathe.

What Keeps People from Valuing Themselves?

Many people believe they are fully self-aware. They believe they have
complete knowledge of and are entirely in tune with themselves.
The true test of being fully self aware is in the application of that
knowledge. It is not enough to be self-aware if you are not also
applying that knowledge to create positive change in your life. Some
spend a disproportionate amount of time focused on the questions,
issues and problems rather than seeking and working toward answers.
To value self requires a solutions-orientation to life for positive change.

People who profess to be highly self aware, are often unaware of their
impact on others. When a person values self, a sincere interest in
others accompanies the trait. They want to know how others perceive
them in order to improve relationships. One of the most difficult
and, yet, instructive exercises you can do is ask for feedback from
those around you on how they see your strengths and weaknesses.
The insights gained can create an invaluable dialogue that can
support change.

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One sure sign that a person truly values him or herself is their ability
to take 100% responsibility. They understand and accept that each of
us is 100% responsible for the nature of our relationships. Those that
don’t value self find ways to blame others for flawed relationships. It
is much easier to focus on the behavior of the other party to explain
the issue. For example, if he would just communicate more clearly, I
would know how to move forward on this report.

Those who value themselves, do not blame or feel like victims. They
willingly admit they are wrong and understand that the relationship
is more important than being right. The concept of being 100%
responsible is critical to valuing self.

ocus Discover Clean Value Seek

mmit- Balance Motives Self Truth

COMPETENCY #2 – Seeking Truth

The concept and skill of seeking truth begins with an understanding
of the difference between universal truths and personal truths.
Universal truths, are commonly accepted realities. The sun rises in
the east is an example of a universal truth. There are truths that go
beyond the limited boundaries of personal or cultural bias. Universal
Truths are constant and consistent.

Personal truth, on the other hand, refers to the specific way or

manner an individual chooses to frame their life experience. Personal
truths are reflective of our own individual style, and are colored
by our personality. It is in our nature to seek personal truths that
resonate with our core. A simple example will help illustrate.

Color Code 9
Universal Truth: Healthy bodies are physically fit.

Personal Truth: I play basketball to stay physically fit.

When we begin to explore and seek truth, it is infinitely easier to

see others failure to see their personal truth than it is to see the same
failure in ourselves.

The Importance of Congruency with Self

There is often a gap between how we see ourselves and how others
see us. We look in the mirror and see the person we think others see.
Our perception is our reality. However, there is often a disconnect
between our reality and that of others around us. For example,
someone who was slender in their youth continues to see themselves
as a size small, despite gaining a significant amount of weight. For
others, seeing this image of a size large in a size small shirt is not

The process of looking in the mirror and seeing what others see can
be painful but also very instructive. Embracing flawed perceptions
only proves to promote defective habits and facilitate the persistence
of detrimental behaviors. The result of flawed perceptions is the
status quo. Nothing improves. On the other hand, the discovery and
acceptance of the truth about ourselves is an opportunity to shift
our personal paradigm to more accurately reflect truth. That reality,
or truth, can set us on a path of building character and receiving
the satisfaction that comes from lifelong learning and progression.
Figuratively speaking, we can either lose weight to become a size
small or live happily wearing a size large.

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Perception Reality

One of the best sources to bridge the gap of perception to reality is

receive feedback from those around us. To truly seek truth, you must
be willing to hold yourself under a microscope and gauge if there is
validity to common perceptions about you. For example, if you, as
a Red, consistently receive feedback that you are arrogant, will you
dismiss it because that is not how you see yourself or will you accept
that feedback and make needed adjustments?

Seeing with New Eyes

As mentioned previously, this path to become charactered is a
constant process of self-assessment. One cannot change what one
does not see or acknowledge. Some of what you are coming to grasp
about yourself may feel foreign. You are literally being challenged to
see yourself with new eyes. The concept of seeking truth requires that
you peel away the protective layers, and develop the capacity to shift
your personal paradigm. It means assigning new, different meaning to
things we have been ignoring, buried, or simply have been ignorant
of knowing in our lives. (In this case, ignorance is NOT bliss!)

This idea of seeing with new eyes often means beginning with the
development of new attitudes about others and ourselves.

To see with new eyes you must accept the following:

• We cannot change what we cannot see. We cannot become
congruent if we don’t see the ways in which we are incongruent.
• Congruent people live in their strengths, and align their

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thoughts, feelings, and actions with their commitments to create
• People who are congruent live and behave according to what
they truly value, and according to their core Motive.
• If you are not aligned, you create competing forces within
yourself. The lack of congruency sends ineffective and mixed
In the search for truth, there are those who have to face the fact
they are a different core motive than they previously thought or
wanted to be. Often, personality filters sometimes block a person
from recognizing his or her core Motive. This can happen when
the strengths of their driving core motive are not valued in a key
environment or relationship. Here are a few of those filters:
• Other colors are more valued by a parent
• Child abuse
• Major medical conditions
• Authoritarian parent
• Low self-esteem
• Dominant religious beliefs
• Significant secondary color is more valued
• Moving a lot as a child
If your core color doesn’t seem to fit it is likely due to one of these
filters or another not listed here. Another possibility for a disguised
core motive is a strong secondary color. We cannot change what we
cannot see. We cannot change what we have not identified. A person
who refuses to accept unpleasant truths will eventually pay a serious
price, personally and professionally. A fuller life awaits those who will
see themselves more accurately and make adjustments where needed.

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Confronting the Brutal Facts
Jim Collins, in his book, Good to Great, addressed the importance of
confronting brutal facts. We can confront the harsh realities about
ourselves and make the painful, seemingly risky adjustments for
greater success and character or dismiss those facts and maintain our
status quo with the same results as always.

The idea of brutal facts can conjure very negative images and the
response can be fight—with defensiveness or flight--with denial.
However, the brutal facts are simply terms meaning to dig deeply for
honest answers and use that information in a constructive way.

Another way to approach this idea of confronting the brutal facts is

to ask “What would the nanny-cam tell me about myself?” In their
absence, parents are able to keep a watchful eye on their children’s
caregivers. Imagine you were under surveillance 24 hours a day for
an extended period of time. What would the camera see? Would
you be proud of your every action? Would you show up as a person
who behaves and communicates in a way that is consistent with your
espoused life principles and values? Or, would you be hoping that
the camera suffered some kind of glitch and failed to capture some of
your less than proud moments? What would others see if they were
to watch an entire, unedited series of your nanny-cam recording?
To confront the brutal facts about yourself you must be willing to:
• See yourself as others see you
• Accept the truth by avoiding deception and denial
• Make the necessary adjustments to improve

Avoiding Truth
There is a strong temptation to focus on the performance of others

Color Code 13
and see where they need to improve. It is a quick, easy way to keep
the attention off of our own need for improvement and is best aided
by the twins: deception and denial.

Each Motive type has the potential, in his or her innate limitations,
to avoid seeing the truth, or to manipulate situations to his or her
own favor, as part of the pattern of deception and denial .

Reds can avoid seeing or grasping the truth when they are wrapped
up in their need to be right. Their need to be right can quickly
exclude other points of view, and creates a dynamic of “I am right,
therefore you are wrong.” Reds’ need to hide insecurities tightly can
prevent them seeking feedback from others.

Blues readily accept difficult truths about themselves because they are
already self-critical naturally. The challenge comes in what they do
with the information after they receive it. They must use the feedback
constructively or they can be overwhelmed and immobilized by their

Whites avoid seeing truth because of their natural tendency to be

contented. If the truths revealed require significant changes, the peace
and comfort they long for will be disrupted. Why face facts that will
create disruption?

Yellows naturally avoid facing facts. They so easily like who they are
that it is particularly difficult to hear there is ‘trouble in paradise.’
Yellows too often think that others will forgive their limitations
because they are so charming.

14 Color Code
Serve Focus Discover Clean Value Seek
Others Commit- Balance Motives Self Truth

Competency #3—Cleaning Up Your Motives

Cleaning your motives is essential to a charactered life. The skills of
valuing self and seeking truth are foundational to this competency.
None of the colors naturally excel at this competency.

There is an important distinction between driving core motive and

the motives we discuss in this competency. Your driving core motive
is the inborn, fundamental drive of each color: Power, Intimacy,
Peace or Fun. Your motives, as discussed in this competency, refer
to the intentions or purpose behind your day-to-day choices and
interactions. Ultimately, the motives or the why that drive your
actions determine the level of character you achieve in life.

Clean motives are always rooted in the concept of Win/Win. You

have a clean motive when the purpose of your actions or behaviors
is for everyone to win or succeed and gain from the decision or the
relationship. Keep in mind, your interest in creating a win/win does
not mean you can guarantee that outcome. The other party can
always make choices the will cause a different result. Clean motives
derive from a personal sense of emotional security, sincerity and
genuine concern for others.

Dirty motives are actions or behaviors that set up the imbalanced

result of Win/Lose, Lose/ Win or even Lose/Lose. Dirty motives
are always based in fear usually born of personal insecurity and/or

Color Code 15
In short, Clean motives benefit everyone. Dirty motives always
benefit one party over another.

Motive Styles of the Four Colors

The innate characteristics of each core color can give different reasons
for operating with dirty motives. Let’s review some of those traits.

Lose/Win means that one party chooses to lose enabling the other
party to win. This is most natural to Blues. Out of genuine concern,
they will often sacrifice or sublimate their own needs for the sake
another. However, if a Blue feels taken for granted or, similarly,
taken advantage of, the Lose/Win backfires. The Blue can fall into a
martyr mindset very quickly. Resentment builds as the Blue feels they
are always giving and no one returns the depth of concern evidenced
in self-sacrifice. When a Blue suffers a perceived wrong, unforgiving
Blue can punish the other party indefinitely.

Lose/Lose means that if one can’t win, they will make sure the other
party doesn’t win either. Lose/Lose is most natural to Whites. At
their worst, Whites can set up this result by refusing to engage. The
White may want to avoid conflict or that refusal to engage could be
their form of retribution for past offenses. Whatever the cause, their
capacity for stubborn silence can be a substantial stumbling block to
achieving resolve in any direction. The White loses in this scenario
but so does the other party.

Win/Lose means that through one’s actions, one party will win at
the expense of another party. Most natural to Reds and Yellows, win/
lose is based in similar limitations: selfishness and self-centeredness,
respectively. Reds can be arrogant, selfish and competitive so will win

16 Color Code
at any price. Yellows are sometimes vain and self-centered so they
don’t see what harm there is in things going their way. Both colors
assume that the other party has an equal opportunity to manipulate
the situation for their purposes. If the Red or Yellow is better at it,
whose fault is that?

Win/Win is the optimal result. Everyone involved succeeds or gains

from the decision or the relationship.

Clean vs. Dirty Motives

The same action or behavior can be either clean or dirty – fully
determined by what is driving that behavior. Here is an example of
what this means. The boss gives his secretary flowers as a gesture of
appreciation. His motive is clean if the flowers are an expression of
appreciation for the extra hours of overtime she has given to complete
a project on time. However, if the flowers are a way to thank her for
covering for him the afternoon he took off to go golfing, the motive is
obviously dirty.

Your intentions or what your purposes, not the behavior, determine

whether a motive is clean or dirty. Even the best-looking motives
can be dirty. Take your pick of any of the following dirty motives
masquerading as legitimate ones: trying to please others, keeping
the peace, hoping others will like us, wanting a favor. What’s more,
even the best behavior can be tainted by dirty motives. Consider
these examples of good behavior with dirty motives. Going to college
to please your parents, getting married because you want financial
security, or even taking a job because it’s the only thing out there.
The truest test of your motives is whether or not you are operating
out of fear. If you’re doing something because you’re afraid of

Color Code 17
someone’s reaction, to hide an insecurity or to satisfy a selfish need,
then it is not a clean motive.

Five Steps for Cleaning Your Motives

The beauty of understanding the concept of clean and dirty motives
is you can self-check and correct those motives that do not result in
win/win. The foundational competencies of valuing self and seeking
truth will help you in that process. Appreciating who you are gives
you strength to do an honest appraisal of your own motives. You
know how to take 100% responsibility for what your appraisal
reflects and you are prepared to implement the five steps to clean up
your motives.

Step 1—Own It. Be honest with yourself about what is driving your
choices and interactions. Ask yourself “How are the strengths and
limitations of my core motive affecting my decision and what are the
consequences?’ Whether it is clean or dirty, be 100% accountable for
your motives.

Step 2—Identify the motive as being clean or dirty. Determine if your

choice is driven by fear. Check to see if the outcome is a win/win.
Then verify that you are in congruence with your core Motive type.
If so, are you working in strengths or limitations? You may catch
yourself trying to justify your intentions. You must want to recognize
and stop self-deception. You may further ask yourself, What do I gain
from self-deception?

Step 3—Recognize that you can’t change what you can’t see. Seek out
the perceptions and opinions of others about you. Be humble enough
to hear these truths, even if they hurt at the time.

18 Color Code
Step 4—Replace a dirty motive with a new clean motive. It’s time for
the rubber to hit the road. No more theory. Keep in mind dirty
motives are reactive. Clean motives are proactive. You should be
exploring win/win options. Take time to describe what a clean motive
would look like in the particular situation. What options are available
to you? How can you reframe your thinking?

Step 5—DO IT. Write specific goals. Review them and build in an
accountability system: find someone to be your police officer, use
a journal tracking system, use a coach, actively seek feedback. The
process of changing one’s motives, of re-aligning one’s life to a clean
motive requires commitment and accountability to be successful.

Successfully Cleaning Up Your Motives

Remember, your current habits, attitudes and behaviors have been
with you for a long time! Your role models may not demonstrate
clean motives. However, you are not doomed to follow those
ineffective patterns. You are fully capable of establishing new patterns
and making different choices. It takes awareness, time and patience
to make that happen but it is well worth the effort. The price to
be charactered with clean motives will yield benefits in all your
relationships. Opportunities will increase as the respect of your co-
workers and supervisors grows. Think of someone you know who
has integrity. Others trust and admire them. You can operate with the
same level of congruence and legitimacy.

Assess your progress regularly. Appreciate new insights gained and

renew your commitment to clean up your motives. You need to be
open to the feedback from others. They will flag your old behaviors
so you can learn more quickly. This is not an easy journey but well
worth the effort to arrive at the final destination of character.

Color Code 19
Serve Focus Discover Clean Value Seek
Others Commit- Balance Motives Self Truth

COMPETENCY #4—Discover Balance

Discovering balance is a highly personal journey with significant
ramifications. It requires the perseverance of the Reds, the
compassion of the Blues, the clarity of the Whites, and the optimism
of the Yellows. Balance consists in an honest review of our highest
priorities and creating alignment accordingly. Whites are most
naturally adept at achieving and maintaining balance.

Definitions and Difficulties

You will find that each color has a different definition of balance.
Your driving core motive determines the measuring stick you use
to decide if your life in balance. Reds measure balance in terms of
productivity. For example, a Red’s life is out of balance if he/she
is not as productive as they need to be. Blues use connection with
others to determine the balance of their lives. Whites see balance as
independence and feeling good inside. If those two circumstances
don’t exist in proper proportion, their life is out of balance. Yellows
require appropriate amounts of freedom and discretionary time to
feel their lives are balanced.

As we interact with each other, it is vital to recognize and understand

the way other colors define and measure balance. There is no need to
impose your definition of balance on others.

Just as each color has its own definition of balance, so does each have
their individual challenges to achieve balance? The following provide
insights into each color’s challenge with balance.

20 Color Code
A Red who insists on productivity to the exclusion of relationships
and/or time for reflection may wake up one day to realize the
only thing he/she is valued or known for is the work he/she was
responsible for. What happens at retirement when there is no more
business projects awaiting you? What if you are incapacitated and can
no longer work, what will fill the void? Where will find your self-

Blues for whom in-depth relationships are critical must take care to
not become overly involved in or focused on the difficulties others
face. The danger is that the time spent on those relationships can
come at the expense of productivity. Or a Blue may become overly
concerned with details in an effort to ensure quality and lose sight of
a deadline.

Whites may spend an inordinate amount of time inventing solutions

to serious problems and never get on with the work of actual
creation. There must be a balance between both aspects of a project.

Yellows are very good at living in the moment but they must find
balance against the need for effective planning and goal setting to
ensure that, in the end, they meet expectations over the long haul
and deliver the final product.

Work/Life Balance
Understand that work/life balance does not mean equally balanced.
There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for creating effective work-
life balance. It is a personal definition and varies over time, as your
life circumstances change. The right balance for you today will likely
be different for you tomorrow, if you start over in a new career, if you

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get more education, if you marry, if you have children, or when you
are closing in on retirement.

In the book, Good to Great, Jim Collins describes a particular level 5

leader, Gillette’s CEO, Colman Mockler. He was most responsible
for Gillette’s remarkable transition from good to great and yet. . .
“maintained remarkable balance in his life. He did not significantly
reduce the amount of time he spent with his family, rarely worked
evening or weekends. He maintained his disciplined worship
practices. He continued his active work on the governing board
of Harvard College.” (pg. 61 of Good to Great). He understood
balance. Mockler surrounded himself with good people, people he
respected and could trust. All of his waking hours was spent with
people he loved, doing what they loved and who loved one another.
He had a balanced life and everyone noticed.

How Balanced is Your Life?

Balance does not occur in retrospect. To that point, a study was
done on a group consisting of participants ninety or older. Their
responses can serve as a model for discovering balance. After months
of reviewing their findings, the research team placed the respondent’s
‘regrets’ into three distinct categories. They are as follows:
1. They would have contemplated more throughout their lives.
2. They would have risked more throughout their lives.
3. They would have left a more meaningful contribution.
In the closing scenes of your life, what will be your regrets? What
priorities are you neglecting currently? How do you justify that

22 Color Code
Each color has a different connection to these sentiments:

Reds are typically willing to take risks. Likewise, their natural gift for
vision and focus on productivity help ensure a lasting legacy. They
must be careful the legacy is balanced between accomplishments and

Blues and Whites typically won’t regret time spent in contemplation.

By their nature, Blues and Whites are more introspective. Neither
will Blues have the regret of not having left a legacy or contribution.
They naturally endeavor to make a positive difference in their sphere
of influence.

Yellows share with Reds in that they too will not have the regret of
not having risked enough in their lifetime. By their nature, they
willing accept and take risks.

From your current perspective, which of these regrets are you most
likely to have? Is your current life consistent with your priorities? Life
is made up of moments in the present, not past losses or future goals.
If we are not clear about our values and what we are all about, we
may discover too late that we missed the mark.

Another balance check is to find out what are the if – only statements
that you make. Or “When things aren’t so crazy I will…” Or
“Remember when we played tennis together?” What do these
statements tell you about your life in the moment? What are you
willing to change to make the if – only statements become realities?
Are your if – only statements restricting you in your expectations and
acceptance in life? For example, “If only my supervisor would express
more appreciation for my contributions to the team. . .well, he/she
doesn’t. Can I change that? No. Can I accept it? Yes.

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Your life balance is about where you put your energies, what
consumes you whether it is good or bad.

Like water dripping on a stone, our daily choices carve the legacy of
our lives. The way we spend our time and energy will determine the
balance we create in our lives. Tremendous energy and significant
lives are wasted simply because they don’t stop to reflect on the
alignment between priorities and behavior.

Listen for those times that you find yourself expressing “if only”,
or “life would be perfect if…” Those statements are your clue that
something is missing, or out of place in your current picture of life.
The concept of 100 % responsibility teaches that you get what you
deserve. If your life is out of balance, you created it. But you also
have the power to bring it back into balance. Rebalancing may mean
letting go of some things to make way for others that are more in
keeping with the overall balance you want in life.

24 Color Code
Serve Focus Discover Clean Value Seek
Others Commit- Balance Motives Self Trut

COMPETENCY #5—Focus Commitments

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items
in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large
empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks
about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar
was full.

They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of

pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The
pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The
students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full.

They agreed that, yes, it was. The professor then picked up a box
of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up
everything else. Finally, the professor poured whatever water would
fit in the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that
this is your life.

“The rocks are the most important things in your life – your health,
your family, your children, your friends – anything that is so
important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.
The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller
scale. The pebbles represent things that you make time for each day,
like your job, house, or car The sand symbolizes the things we want
to make time for, hobbies, sports, education etc. Water represents
everything else you may want in your life.

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“If you put the sand, pebbles or water into the jar first, there is
no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend
all your energy and time on the small stuff – you will never have
room for the things that are truly most important.” What is the
cost if you continue to put the sand in your jar first? To live a great
life and become charactered, it is necessary for you to focus your

Both of these words, focus and commitments are important for your
journey to become charactered. Don’t let your good effort to this
point be wasted with a lack of focus and commitment to action!
Focusing your commitments is the ability to move from insight to
action. Reds have it easy with this competency, being naturally adept
at both focus and commitments.

As people become more self aware and are more informed about the
charactering process, there is a huge tendency to want a complete
overhaul of their lives. It is analogous to remodeling a home. Rather
than try to overhaul the whole house simultaneously, it is advisable to
prioritize your projects and select one room you will start with. You
then develop a sense of how you want the new room to look, to feel,
how it will be used, and what overall value it will add to your home.
It is exciting to capture your dreams on paper

The real work of the remodeling project begins when you start
putting the specific details into place, realizing the cost of the project,
and identifying the step-by-step approach that will need to happen,
so that you can continue living in your house, while also carrying
out the remodeling work. Even at this stage, your dreams are still on

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The reality of the new room starts to take form the moment you sign
the loan papers and tear down the first wall!

Your pursuit of the charactered path follows the a similar format.

Every aspiration you have identified to this point, every goal you have
identified to become charactered is still only wishful thinking until
you commit those ideas to action. The famous quote by Antoine de
Saint-Exupery, said it well, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

You must have a specific plan of action and commit to complete

those actions for a successful remodeling project. So it is with
building your charactered path. To be effective, you can only work
on one figurative room at a time rather than remodel the whole
house of your life. The added value to your life comes incrementally,
one room at a time. Oprah Winfrey is quoted as saying, “Energy is
the essence of life. Every day you decide how you are going to use it
by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal and
by maintaining focus.”Too many people spend a lifetime focused on
the pebbles (unrewarding obligations) instead of their real priorities
or, rather, the rocks. How do you fill your jar each day? Which are
you putting in first? Can we be so blind about who we are and what
we were born to become? To experience life without passionate
commitment is to merely survive. To walk the charactered path, to
live life fully, requires focused commitment to yourself, to universally
held principles and to serving others.

Commit to Yourself
Commitment to self is not selfish or self centered. Rather,
commitment to self is a dedication to your own priorities. A refusal
to allow the pebbles to go in the jar first. Reds most naturally

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understand the importance of committing to themselves. They make
plans and set goals like a duck takes to water. Reds recognize that
the best defense in life is a great offense. They will not be denied an
opportunity to passionately pursue their commitments in life.

The adventurer John Goddard was true to his Red personality, as

well, when he committed at a young age to embracing life as a full-
blown adventurer.

Highly motivated as a youth, John listed a hundred life experiences

he wanted to achieve before he died. His list included a variety of
events such as navigating the Nile, reading the bible, and hot air
ballooning across Europe. John continues to work on his list, having
accomplished seventy-five of his original hundred experiences and
since adding twenty-five more he hopes to achieve. True of all healthy
Reds, Goddard is greatly respected for his focused commitment to
himself and the lifestyle, at a young age, he vowed to experience.

As you review your highest priorities, note what adjustments you

need to make to more fully commit to yourself and the things you
value most.

Commit to Universally True Principles

Committing to ourselves is just the beginning in mastering this
important competency of becoming charactered. The charactered
path simultaneously requires a commitment to principles of universal
truth. Principled people are empowered and capable of empowering
others to passionately live committed lives. Obedience to principles
lays the foundation from which we earn other’s trust and respect.
Principled living provides consistency. We sleep better knowing that

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the sun will rise in the morning and that a charactered friend will not
change his heart and reveal a shared confidence.

What goes around comes around. At numerous places on the

charactered individual’s path, one must pay his/her dues. The farther
we journey without covering our debts, the higher the price will be.
We must not let self-deception convince us that lunch is free that
just this once our lunch is free. When we search our lives and admit
our dysfunctions and/or dirty motives on a regular basis, we stay
humble and more empowered to improve. Coming clean is one of
life’s most freeing experiences. There is always a price and charactered
people pay their dues.

Finding a Cause to Serve Others

Replacing innate limitations with charactered principles challenges
us to the very core. To overcome our limitations we must have a
cause, something to inspire us when fear threatens to prevent us
from moving forward. A worthy cause gives us a reason greater than
ourselves to pay the price required. We cannot lift another unless
we get to higher ground. It sounds counter intuitive, but having an
external purpose to our internal focus lends greater commitment
to walking the sometimes rocky path of character. For example, a
conflict-averse, White manager works to more effectively face discord
on his/her team to reach their fundraising goals. That manager is
more willing to sacrifice his/her own discomfort with conflict for the
higher good of fundraising for a worthy cause.

Finding a cause can require persistence. The dictionary defines

persistence as “going on resolutely in spite of opposition, to persevere;
to remain fixed in character; to be insistent in the repetition of

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a position, or a question, or an opinion.” To show uncommon
persistence requires an uncommon cause. There is no greater cause
than serving others. That service is worth a total commitment to be
more charactered.

The following lists provide possible limitations each color must

successfully overcome to focus on a cause and be of service to others.
• Their abrasiveness earns disrespect from potential companions.
• Their pride.
• Their self-importance makes it hard to begin at the bottom or do
menial tasks.
• Their perfectionism (“If it can’t be perfect, why do it?”)
• Their focus on personal limitations.
• Their low self-esteem diminishes the chance to implement
creative ideas.
• Their preference for isolation.
• Their distress at the effort needed to prove their point (they can
be lazy).
• Their indecisiveness and hesitancy to risk.
• Their fickle loyalty breeds contempt.
• Their disorganized lifestyle, which lacks focus.
• Their self-centeredness and their need to seek instant
Our greatest gifts will always require our total commitment. Our

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most meaningful contribution can be given only after stretching to
embrace the strengths of the other colors. It matters little what your
life has been. It matters a great deal what it will become. As with
those committed individuals who have gone before you, you will
become less concerned with others’ permission to take a chance, and
more enticed by your opportunities to serve.

Serve Focus Discover Clean Valu

Others Commit- Balance Motives Sel

COMPETENCY #6—Serve Others

The best way to find yourself is be of service. Service is the optimum
motive that drives the charactered life. Without the opportunity
to give to our fellow human beings, we would remain limited
and empty. Mastering each of the five preceding competencies is
essential to serving others. Each competency you gain along the
charactered path moves you closer to becoming a person who is
capable of genuine service to others. As you have probably noticed,
each competency stretches you beyond your innate personality and
learning to serve others can be the biggest stretch for some. Blues
are the most naturally adept at this skill. is based on the emotional
quotient (EQ) skill of empathy.

Sharing Gifts
You can’t change without developing patience, especially patience
with yourself. You have to allow yourself time to grow. The
encouragement and advice of others is vital to this process of change.
If you insist on trying to make these changes alone you are much
more likely to fail.

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Each color has unique needs as well as gifts that can be offered to
others. As you look over this chart, consider ways your innate motive
can best serve and be served by others.

Serving others invites clean motives. Or, rather consistently creating

a win/win in all our relationships. To serve others means to share
their happiness and success. Uncharactered people resent other’s
success. That resentment stems from a focus on their own pride and
insecurity. Serving others frees us to refocus away from ourselves and
look to the needs of others first. We are then more able to share our
unique gifts for the benefit of those around us and, in so doing, find
our greatest satisfaction.

The beauty of developing character is that, although it requires
individual introspection, the results of that growth have far reaching
consequences to teams and organizations. Everything we have
discussed to this point and every step of the process to become
charactered can be done in teams, as well as individually. Just imagine
how much your organization could improve if every team member
were committed to developing character!

Nothing of value comes easily. As you face your own flaws and
take responsibility for minimizing them, you will have newfound
confidence and capacity. Your relationships, both business and
personal, will improve and your potential as a leader will be
enhanced. Life, after all, is about relationships. The challenge is to
make them as rewarding as possible.

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