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How important is blogging?

How important is blogging?

I have seen precious little evidence that blogging matters. Millions of people are blogging, but who is paying attention? I am guessing that a handful of bloggers have such unique material and compelling issues that they of course rise to the top. The rest of us must be flailing in the wind, blogging to ourselves and a few friends, hoping against hope that what we think and say even matters. Is it possible that Facebook is more effective than most blogs?

Yes, I see some people and organizations stand out like Fast Company, the social media version of it. I’ve recently discovered Gretchen Rubin who is BRILLIANT. How does one complete for attention with those heavies in the marketplace?

Well the answer, I guess, is to do stuff that seems to matter — and, eventually, a few people might care about it as much as you do…and then they’ll spread the word.

Choose Valentine Gifts by “Color”

Choose Valentine Gifts by “Color”

If you want an idea or two for your loved one this Valentine’s Day, here you go.

We know to give presents that our loved ones actually want, and not what we want, right? It’s probably hardest to buy stuff for people so different from us because we ourselves do not place the same value on the gift. For example, my very Orange adult granddaughter wants a new tattoo for the holiday. To begin with, I don’t understand tattoos at all and certainly would never spend any money on one for myself. But that’s the point of a gift, isn’t it? It’s a gift — something truly valuable to the recipient.

If you do not remember what the Colors mean, here’s the link:

Gold Gifts. Who is the traditional, responsible Gold person in your life? They like what’s “right.” Here’s a partial list: tasteful jewelry and clothing, practical furnishings and utensils for the home, the next piece of a cherished collection, gift cards for the right store, or an intimate item that further bonds your relationship.

Green Gifts. Your rational, deep-thinking Green friends and family members like stuff for their minds: cutting-edge software, books, intriguing games, coveted resources, tickets to events around their favorite subjects and hobbies, and useful material things that keep life utilitarian and efficient.

Blue Gifts.Those idealistic, harmony-seeking Blue folks in your life may be the least expensive to shop for just because they can value “the thought” more highly the actual gift. Are you good at making things that you can custom-tailor for your loved one? Can you write something special? How about tickets to music, theater, and concerts? Flowers and arty things? Or a warm piece of clothing they’ll always remember you by?

Orange Gifts. Truth be known, nearly everybody wants to get what Oranges want and usually get. Oranges just want to have fun. They want to enjoy personal freedom. So they get surprises, trips, the latest clothes, cool tools, exciting games, toys, musical instruments, vacation tickets — well, you get the idea.

Here’s my own take on gifting. The best gifts are given with no strings, no investment in the outcome — except in the hope the gift will bring genuine joy — however temporary — to the recipient. Say what you will about the materialism of the day, underneath the colorful ribbons and enormous credit card debt is a desire to enrich the lives of others.

How to Fail Interviews for Top-Paying Jobs

How to Fail Interviews for Top-Paying Jobs

The problem with a great resume is it will get you the interview. A bigger problem is the interview itself. My friend Beth walked into a panel of interviewers who squashed her like a bug with brutal questions that only expert interviewers will deliver. Beth was squashable because she did not prepare for Expert questions. She had claimed to be executive-level material for marketing and ended up in a room full of actual marketing executives. They beat her up.  For example, what books and journals are you reading right now? What would you do if…? Who do you know? Can you prove what you just said?

Expert interviewers are not just “experts” per se. They possess what I call “Expert” personalities whose values reek of geekdom. They live for knowledge and competence and are rigorous about who they work with…and more importantly, who they pay to work with them. Read more about them in Job Interviewers: Get Inside Their Heads. (

If you are reading books that give you pat answers to “standard questions,” throw them away right now. To get a high-paying job, you must be the professional you claim to be. If you did not finish graduate studies in your field, you will not be perceived as professional. If you are not continually reading and learning and gaining recognizably important experience, then you are not professional. Top money is given to top performers. Period.

Do I sound like your dad? Good. Listen up.

That’s right. Colors can’t solve all problems.

That’s right. Colors can’t solve all problems.

A snarky colleague can’t refrain from reminding me that the four classic temperaments (the four Colors) do not solve all of life’s problems.

Of course she is right. In fact, before proceeding, let me recommend an easy introduction to personality theory that covers much more than Colors ever would: Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality by Samuel Barondes. It’s new. You get to find out what today’s psychological community agrees on. But beware you might finally change that major to Psychology before you’re through.

But why is Colors so great? Without answering all life problems?

It’s simple.  Just the act of identifying ourselves with one of four Colors tells a lot about our personal values and needs. And most of us understand the focus is on how great we are, rather than what might be “wrong.” By seeing ourselves in one of only four groups, it’s hard to get paranoid or “invaded” when it’s clear there are millions of other people “just like us.”

And there’s more good news. With the simple day-to-day tools that are part of personality studies, you and I see real hope that we’ll get along better with others and communicate more effectively.

Still, a small percentage of my clients feel even the Colors program is more invasive than they like. They say they don’t want their test results shared with the rest the team. Occasionally such folks get excused from a workshop.

I know what they mean. As I am combing through Barondes book a third and fourth time, I literally sweat about my neuroses and examine my life deeply…well, like many of us did as young religious children. Here’s hoping you won’t read my notes before I’m dead. LOL, as they say.

The reason I do the workshops is this: The old ways, the moralistic ways, the religious ways, even the fully scientific psychological ways look harsh and invasive to most folks. The four classic temperaments as seen through the four Colors, the Four Windows — allow us to think and talk about ourselves safely and still make big changes without embarrassing ourselves.

Guess a stranger’s temperament – right now!

Guess a stranger’s temperament – right now!

Guess a color. Right now? Everybody wants me to reveal how to spot a person’s Color (temperament) without a test or survey. Better yet, they would love to be able to guess a personality type in just a matter of minutes. Think about it. How great would it be to assess people during a short business meeting or over that first drink at a bar!?

FYI, if the stranger next to you now wants to actually take the survey, it’s free. Go to

How good are YOU? Do you think you yourself are pretty good at guessing a person’s Color the first few minutes you meet? Here is “my take” here and PLEASE let me know if you agree, disagree, or have something to add to the conversation.

The bad news is I will get laughed off the stage if I sell tickets to poor souls who actually think I am good at guessing Colors.

Sizing folks up for temperament can be a tough call.

Don’t know what the four Colors mean? Go to

Greens. I get Greens wrong all the time – those clever clones of Sherlock Holmes. Countless Green rationals develop diplomatic social skills and pleasant tones of voice, shrouding tough logic and demanding connectivity of concepts. However, they do give themselves away by wearing highly efficient and job-oriented clothing rather than the fashionable. It’s no surprise that the corporate garb in “Greenland,” e.g., at Google and utility companies, favors jeans and t-shirts. They will be the least self-conscious about geeky eyeglasses, index cards in shirt pockets, and tools attached to belts.

Blues. Blues are pretty easy to spot. Blue body language can be gentle, welcoming, and vulnerable. The clothes they choose tend to be soft, flowing, unique, and highly comfortable rather than efficient, trendy, or “expected.”

Oranges. Oranges stand out like the artists and athletes they tend to be. They do care about how they look – a lot. Orange body language screams pride, energy, movement, and comfort with their own sexuality.

 Golds. Obedient Golds wear the corporate uniform, whatever it is. If you ask them, they want to fit in and do so with taste and care. Gold body language is rarely flamboyant.

 How good are the odds now? So much for first impressions. With the information you’ve just been given, you just might be right about 30-50% of the time.

 Have more time for a first impression? If you actually get to have a conversation with these folks the first time you meet, other clues pop up.

 Greens. Greens may freeze up with small talk and will prefer to deliver facts and carefully considered analyses. You know that they have found you interesting if they keep asking questions as you speak. Otherwise, don’t waste your time feeling sorry for yourself if they clam up or find an excuse to move away from you.

Blues. Blues enjoy light conversation, including personal stuff and philosophical flights of fancy. They move easily from topic to topic and tend to listen as much as talk. Don’t be surprised that they look into your eyes more than the other types – and even touch you from time to time.

Oranges and Golds. Oranges and Golds (75% of the population) tend to get queasy if abstract conversations (preferred by Greens and Blues) begin to take a lot of time. Both Orange and Golds prefer dealing with concrete ideas.

Oranges normally prefer action over conversation, but will engage if the talk is lighthearted, funny, fun, or somehow riveting, such as with sports talk. Oranges are more likely to use “colorful” language than the others.

Golds enjoy process talk, like a Grisham novel, in which they remark about the way things work, the steps of a story, the highlights of a trip, the design of a house, … you get the idea.

 Be more accurate. Go with TWO Colors. Okay, there you have it. If I could recommend anything, I’d say try to guess a person’s first TWO Colors. That way, you can adjust the conversation to the strengths and values of both Colors and probably find you are being well received.

Your turn to chime in. What do you think? What is YOUR experience? Write me at

Fitness for Blue People

Fitness for Blue People

Most of my Blue friends who happen to be wiry and fit tend to be ascetics. Inge, for example, eats only veggies, teaches yoga, and sees herself as a teacher and healer. I know it’s her spiritual discipline that drives her. Everybody else in the family tends to be obese.

Elizabeth is more of a mainstream person raising three daughters. Because she feels she made too many bad choices as a teenager, her life goal is to be a role model for her children in a thousand ways, including diet and fitness.

Governor Jerry Brown of California, called “Governor Moonbeam” by his detractors, appears to be an ascetic altruist – an atypical politician. Non-pleasure-seeking by nature, this Blue leader has looked fit in all eras of his career. Brown is all about ideas and would probably say, if you asked him, that he doesn’t want his body to get in the way of his mission.

Now I am Blue but have struggled with fitness issues all my life. I belong to a very large group of Blue “types” who have tons of friends who love to get together, especially to share food. You add the tendency to never say “no” out of fear of hurting people’s feelings and you get a recipe for life-long chubbiness. Groan.

Compound the dietary challenges for Blue folks with emotions. More emotional than the other three temperaments, Blues can be poster children for “emotional eating.” We eat when we’re happy, when we’re sad, when we celebrate, and even when our worlds crash in on us. High or low in self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence – it’s doesn’t matter. We eat.And that’s not all. Blues do not like taking decisive action. Blue people are often too satisfied with the simple “idea” of something – to the point that decisive action rarely seems as exciting as seeking pathways in the head.

So let me tell you about Martha. There is hope for us all. Back in college, she was svelte and petite. In a Facebook photo 18 months ago, Martha sported double the body on that still very small frame. Today she is only about five pounds over her younger woman’s weight.

You guessed it. Martha is Blue. She’s a cook who feeds a large family and dozens of friends every single day. She had no idea now to say “no.” She used to overcommit and leave half her projects unfinished. She always wore her emotions on her sleeve – happy or miserable, you heard about it at the same decibel levels. And food stood permanently in arms’ reach for purposes of celebration or self-medication.

So how did she lose the 50 pounds? Here’s her report:

Step One. She leveraged her most natural tendency. She loves to be part of groups of people, so she joined a group dedicated to fitness. The members represented all four Colors – Blue, Green, Gold, and Orange. She insisted on this kind of temperament diversity so that she would not be stuck with a crowd that might lack food discipline and decisiveness.

Step Two. Martha wrote down who she wanted to be as a slim person. A true fitness program is a long slog – no matter how you slice it – so the end product needed to be important enough to make the sacrifices every day for a year or more. She affirmed that her main purpose in life was to keep improving herself and helping others be the best that they could be too. For this, she needed to be and feel attractive, to have high energy all the time, and to depend on a body that supported all her endeavors instead of dragging her down. Here image of herself became a slim, light, lighthearted, easy-moving, pretty, and effectively persuasive woman whose work changed people’s lives – hers and others’. She would meditate on this image every morning and every evening. And she would journal about it.

Step Three. She took control of her environment. Martha’s world was filled with limitless food and friends and family who loved to eat. In her circle, there were no athletes, dancers, or “healthnuts” of any kind. Other people could not be expected to change, so she had to set up her own limits and try to enlist everyone else to support her. In short, she announced that only she would influence what went into her own mouth and she expected all her loved ones to back her up – especially not tempt her or make fun of her. Most importantly, she learned to turn the word “no” into a positive statement – always with a smile on her face and an honest reason behind it. What a breakthrough for a Blue!

Step Four. She found exercise-loving friends. In a neighborhood devoid of fitness freaks, Martha sought them out. She joined a gym and the group classes they offered. She started going to the park and seeking out tennis partners. At work, she got on the wellness committee and joined colleagues for lunchtime walks. Although she was leery about yoga, she took a class and enjoyed it more than expected because she felt so welcome there long before she got skinny or genuinely flexible. And what worked best for her was to join an online competition where she had to weigh in every Saturday. The community on the internet gave her friends, free advice, support and – most importantly – the energy of competition that you never get working alone. Today she still walks around with a digital pedometer whose results appear on her iPad and iPhone to remind her to stay on track.

To end this article the way I did the last two weeks, it’s important to point out that the secret to success might be to borrow from the natural weight-loss tactics of Colors other than your own. You can leverage your own Color’s strengths, but suffer from innate weaknesses, e.g., a Blue giving into a foodie crowd, being less decisive, etc. As you see above, Martha sought out other Colors for inspiration and guidance. She got competitive like the Oranges. She used high-tech stuff as Greens would. She changed the logistics of her home as Golds do. And of course she leveraged the best of being Blue: joining groups, journaling, finding pathways, helping others, and so much more.

Fitness for Green People

Fitness for Green People

My friend Alex carries a Fitbit on his belt – a digital device with wifi. A year ago, Alex shot up with insulin before every meal, took meds for cholesterol and high blood pressure, and seemed to be severely depressed – like all the time! Today, he is 90 pounds lighter with no high blood pressure or diabetes. He believes that using the Fitbit saved his life.

Every day the device counts steps walked, stairs climbed, miles covered, and calories burned. Fitbit also monitors sleep patterns, the hours slept, and even the calories burned overnight.  The wifi feature shows him results on remote computers and even lets him share results with fellow fitbitters. How about THEM apples!

I own and use one of those geeky tools myself and aim daily to walk 10,000 steps, climb at least 10 floors, burn 2400 calories, and sleep 7 or 8 hours.

This article is not an advertisement for Fitbit. The aim, instead, is to illustrate Green thinking when it comes to taking on challenges like losing weight and getting fit.

Greens ask what works. Then they want to know what the smartest systems and tools are to get good results. They do the required research. It’s possible they will adopt a proven system, but it’s more likely they will custom-design a system that seems to work best for them.

Efficiency and practically rule for Greens. For example, the $100 tab to buy a Fitbit turns out to be cheap compared to wasted hours self-monitoring with forms, pen, pencil, etc.  A Green will find a way to stand up to work at a computer rather than sit, and may even purchase one of those new desks that have treadmills where chairs used to be.  For people who care most about competence and knowledge, our Green friends rely first on science and technology.

Successful fitness is intimately tied to who you are. For Greens, “who they are” is often linked directly to protecting the brain with a fiercely healthy body that oozes high energy and rarely gets sleepy. Even the fitness program itself must fulfill Green requirements for the efficient use of time and resources. Many of us multitask while exercising, but Greens can take it to extraordinary levels: listening to books and lectures on an iPod, entering data and ideas while on a treadmill, reading, practicing presentations, figuring out difficult math problems, or even engaging in mindfulness exercises about body functioning and mind control.

If we have not been successful with our own fitness programs in the past, maybe it’s time to try to get fit by borrowing ideas from the other Colors. I know it’s true for me (a Blue). The Green approach makes perfect sense to me and has been a key factor in getting me closer to optimal health. Both Green and Orange thinking work for me. So what about you? What have you not tried before that might work for you now?

You Get Fired Because They Don’t Like You

You Get Fired Because They Don’t Like You

“You get hired because they like you, and fired because they don’t.” Have you heard that before? You can read all the books about personnel practices till the cows come home, but the truth is that likeable people probably trump difficult folks most of the time.
Think about it. Between two average employees, all things being equal, the annoying person will get fired first.
And it’s not hard to end up being labeled as “an annoying person.” For example, an overly spontaneous, lighthearted Orange accountant can be driving the fastidious Gold folk nuts. The Gold accountants can be so focused on keeping their Excel sheets perfect that they see Orange flippancy and breeziness as a threat to order in the office – never mind that the Orange work output itself may be measurably perfect.
So what to do? Long before we would face something as drastic as a layoff, we all might want to monitor how we are being perceived by others. Being an appealing person pays off in raises, opportunities, and even the best parties, wouldn’t you say? To get back to the example above of the overly-lighthearted Orange accountant, he can probably learn to separate office behavior from off-the-clock behavior. He needs to be himself, of course, but also find out what behaviors get the best results for himself and for the team. Ironically Golds and Oranges speak similar “concrete” languages, but Golds definitely want to hear the language that best adheres to social norms. Sometimes a “behavior adjustment” is only a matter of small adjustments and can be more comfortable than expected. Besides, every Orange person soon knows who his allies are in the workplace and who he can let his hair down with – both on and off the clock, right?
So the lesson here is that just a little behavior monitoring every day can pretty much guarantee you a warm spot in the hearts of hirers and firers when times get tough.