One of the benefits of working at UTSA and in the Division of Student Affairs is the privilege of attending conferences to network with other university professionals and learn innovative ideas for developing students. I attended the ACUI (Association of College Unions International) National Conference this past week and one of the educational sessions was based on True Colors.
I decided to go to the True Colors session because other sessions pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone. I found it draining to quickly network with a large number of individuals that were new to me. Since I facilitate True Colors, I knew I would be comfortable.
When we broke into small groups based on our dominant color, our group had a lively (read chaotic) discussion with all of us talking over top of each other. There was also much laughing about not getting through the assignment given by the presenter and changing the rules to fit our spontaneous, just do it nature. In typical orange fashion, when it was our turn to present to the larger group we did what any self-respecting dominant orange group would do in an informal setting. We winged it through the sections we had not completed. Had this been a more serious situation of course we would have reined in the hilarity and completed the task on or ahead of time, (competition is our thing).
When you are a dominant orange, others may think conferences and settings full of people, a lot of noise and new experiences would be a perfect setting. For me this is not so; I am orange and I am introverted. After a full day of conference activities and being “on” all day, I want nothing more than to withdraw and recharge in a quiet, people-less place. After four days of being “on,” well, let us just say my orange had dimmed and become more pastel than vibrant. My least dominant and for me stress color, blue had begun emerging. When my blue brightens, it is generally not in the positive, harmony seeking, all-inclusive, caring for others and their feelings way, but slightly (ok, maybe more than slightly) emotional as in I just may sprout unexplained emotions.
Before I knew my spectrum and became a facilitator, I would get very frustrated with my inability to engage people I did not know in witty, intelligent conversation. I would be excited about the opportunity to attend meetings and conferences but would then become embarrassed, stumble on constructing and emitting cohesive thoughts and was afraid of what others thought of me. I still get frustrated that this does not come easily, but I am not as hard on myself now that I understand my spectrum and myself better. I enjoy going to conferences, I enjoy the people I meet and the new information I come back with. When all the sessions and festivities are over, I go to my favorite quiet place for a long run, sit quietly and listen to music or read a book, or work in my flowerbeds to recharge my batteries and allow my orange to become vibrant again. I am an introvert, I am orange, and I am okay with both.
Administrative Services Officer II,
Has your color spectrum changed over the years? How?
Describe those changes to your colleagues. Remember True Colors is a tool to understanding others and ourselves. It is a common language because we talk about it and use it to articulate our perspectives to each other. Keep it going.