How to Offer Words of Encouragement to a Friend

How would you handle it if your best friend was going through a difficult time in his life and he came to you for help?  How can you provide the best words of encouragement to help him?  Many people will find it hard to believe that the first and best way to help a friend is to practice what I call active listening.

You may accomplish this by listening carefully without interrupting your friend, and at the proper pause points, check for understanding by feeding back the pertinent information in the form of a question.  This approach will confirm your understanding of his situation.

The other added value perspective you may use to offer words of encouragement for a friend is by helping him “get” himself first before he seeks to get others!  This is especially important during problem solving actions.  The simple truth rests in the reality of knowing we all have strengths and limitations that are driven by our core motives and these core motives offer us a deeper understanding of why we do what we do.

As an example, one common strength of a White is being a good listener without rushing into the conversation with your opinion.  However, if you’re not a White and are trying to acquire this gift, try to listen longer and check for understanding by paraphrasing what others have said to you first.

If they respond by saying, “yes, that is exactly what I said” and continues his dialogue from there, you will have provided the very best words of encouragement by simply acknowledging your understanding of his feelings.  You will have advanced one more level in developing a positive character.

Finally, this allows him to hear his own thoughts played back to him and correct any misconceptions on either side of the conversation.  It also acts as a point of reconfirmation when the communication has been relayed and accepted in the vein it was intended.

The alternative perspective could also be that when you use the powerful tool of checking for understanding and doing what I call ‘playing back the tape’ your friend may respond with, “that’s not at all what I said.”  This could signal one of those times when we hear something different than what was intended or, the speaker said something that he didn’t really mean and it’s time to clear up the communication glitch.  Here lies the importance of not only meaning what you say, but to saying what you mean.  You simply ask your friend to please do you the favor of repeating the message.   After he repeats the message, take the appropriate pause and ‘play back the tape again’ by saying, “so what I heard you say was…”

Upon confirmation, you will have completed the communication circle and established what I call a good volley in the conversation.  Following this advice will afford you the choice of building great relationship, much like the Blue people of the world are so naturally gifted at doing. A Red personality type may never come to the conclusion that repeating something for clarity would be necessary since they are direct and state the facts as they see them.

By creating a continually flowing circle of conversation while establishing a good volley, sending and receiving messages in a conversation, it sets up the opportunity of helping a friend by offering words of encouragement.  The largest point to take here is that you can’t offer words of encouragement to help a friend if you don’t fully understand the nature of their problem.

Once you have established a good flow in the conversation, you can offer words of encouragement.  Rather than telling a friend what to do, even if he is asking you to tell him what to do, I have always found that it works best to ask enough questions so that he basically answers his own question and determines the best course of action.

Most people know what they need to do in order to help themselves while navigating through the mind fields of life, but their emotions or hurried pace of life can occasionally block their sense of knowing.  I find that removing some of life’s burdens or blocks from a friend’s path will help him see the light more clearly and they can form his own solutions.  Also, I believe that people feel better about discovering their own answers rather than having someone else telling them what to do.

However, there is the odd time, depending on the situation, where a friend may be so overburdened by life’s many challenges that he truly doesn’t have a clue as to what his next step should be.  In this case, it may be prudent to offer words of encouragement. These words often times do far more than you think and create a high level of intimacy!

Offering encouragement is a nice thing to do for others and it is typical of Blue personality types. They thrive on intimacy and go to extreme measures to spark others’ desires to know them.  An added benefit that Blue personality types have is that in offering words of encouragement they are squarely acknowledging others through great listening and validation skills.

The benefit is that people want to know more about you because you have first shown interest in getting to know them.  Yellow personality types are motivated by fun and it is fun to receive good feedback and energy from those who have received truthful and kind words of encouragement from you first.  This theory plays out well for those of us who are motivated by a Yellow personality type as it allows our extremely sociable style to kick right into gear!

Get yourself first, then get over yourself before you start to get others.  The best words of encouragement start and end with the truth!  Speak the truth as you can most fairly portray and share, while offering solution-based thinking with a mind toward obtaining the best results to minimize their problem.  At the end of the day…it’s all about how you leave them feeling!


JessieJesse is a “Blue” and a Professional Speaker, Corporate & Life Coach; Author & Artist He has authored the books How You Leave Them Feeling & How You Leave Them Feeling Live (Apple interactive live version). He has also co-authored the book Life Choices.

Connect with Jesse on Twitter – Jesse Ferrell@jesstalk, Facebook





From This Chair—The Color of Healthcare

ChairAs I write this, I am sitting in a visitor chair at a local hospital. I have been in this chair, and many like it, off and on for six months. From this chair, I have had the opportunity to see healthcare in all its personalities.

From this chair, I have observed nurses in action. They are young and old, male and female, and mostly Blue.

If you have a loved one who is sick, having a Blue take care of them is a true gift and these nurses have my complete and total admiration. They have the natural gifts of empathy, compassion, sincerity, and strong sense of purpose.

When a nurse asks a patient how he feels, she actually wants to know. Not only does she want to know, she feels his pain.

They do anything within their power to relieve the patient’s discomfort. They know a patient suffers from the indignities of having to use bedpans, receive sponge baths, and having total reliance on someone else. Nurses are quick to reassure the patient that they are not alone.

They don’t forget. You might have been in and out of the hospital—sometimes months between visits—and yet they remember you with comments like “Hey, where’s your Green Bay Packer t-shirt?” just as though you’d been there yesterday.

From this chair I have seen doctors come and go.

When a doctor asks you how you feel, they aren’t really interested in how you feel feel. They want to know signs and symptoms. They view your health as a personal challenge. They read test results as avidly as an investor reads the Dow. Their visits never last more than a few minutes in which they provide you with snippets of their wisdom, and then breeze out again. Still, after they are gone, you feel that you are in good hands. They have confidently accessed, decided, and delegated.

To call them all Reds may be inaccurate. Many show signs of other colors—the quiet dignity of a White, the compassion of a Blue, or the sense of humor of a Yellow—but I can’t help but wonder if in medical school they don’t have a class called Red 101, that provides them with the filters of logical tenacity and pragmatism.

From this chair, I watch as dozens of people sit together in a large room and are infused with chemotherapy. Again, most of the healthcare providers are Blue.

One exception is a young man who is Yellow and beloved. Every patient hopes he will have this young man for his transfusion. He is efficient and dedicated, but that is not why he is so popular. He regales his patients with stories, sings show tunes, and remembers the names of grandchildren. He is eternally optimistic and celebrates every little victory his patients achieve. If a patient experiences a set-back, he shrugs his shoulders and says, “that’s OK” and you believe him. When asked how he came to be a nurse he said that a really cute girl asked him to volunteer at a convalescent home. He did and loved it. She didn’t work out, but from that experience, decided to become a nurse. Only a Yellow would make a career choice because of a crush.

From this chair, I reflect that I do not have the personality to be a healthcare professional. As a Red, I appear not to care. I am not a fawner. I am tempted to tell the patient to quit bellyaching and look at the incredible opportunities modern medicine provides. I often grow impatient sitting in these chairs.  But the truth is, I do care and I am filled with gratitude for all of these people who have chosen the career they have and for whom I have observed from this chair.


Teresa Glenn has been working with the Color Code since 2006, where her main focus is product development. She has been in the publishing and product development field for over 20 years. Teresa is a core Red with a strong Yellow secondary.  


Ask the Expert

Dear Jeremy,

One of our supervisors here is a bit challenged working with mostly Blues, she is a Red.  In hindsight, she felt she over did it with the Blues, in being overly nice, praising, and doing all of the wonderful things she was doing to appeal to the Blues.  She said is was awful, as she knows they were thinking “who is this?!” 

She had fallen more into her secondary Blue color and felt she was trying too hard and it backfired. She said she didn’t feel like she could hand out any more lollipops! 

Now she has found a healthy balance in that she is now utilizing her Color Code knowledge with the awareness of what blues need instead of going overboard!  A couple of questions….

  1. Is it possible to over do it? – (She was not being congruent!)
  2. Is it always best to appeal to DCM no matter what!?  Example…an employee has a Blue DCM, however, she acts Red, says she is red (she has a strong secondary red) and appears to be a Red!

Your insights would be greatly appreciated!



Dear Lisa,

Thanks so much for these great questions. Please allow me to dive right in…

Your first question was, “Is it possible to over do it? — (She was not being congruent!)”

Yes. Definitely. I do think that it’s easy to over do it, actually. The truth is that people still expect her to be a Red—she doesn’t need to change who she is (especially in the strengths category) to get along with those Blues.

Sometimes if you try too hard, it just flat out comes off as insincere—especially to Blues with a built-in meter to gauge for that. 🙂

When that happens, it feels more like you are trying to manipulate or trick others into compliance. What should happen is that people should appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to connect and communicate in a way that they feel respected.

We don’t have to act like Blues to get along with Blues. She should be whom she is, but try to focus on her strengths while being aware of when her limitations creep in (with a wrecking ball in tow).

However, it’s obviously still important that she use the insights provided by the Color Code—or what’s the point, right?! I see this happening when people increase their sensitivities to what other people “need” and “want” and when they tailor their communication patterns in an appropriate (but not over-the-top) way. For example, instead of rattling off orders in Red, “Drill Sergeant” style. She should remember to be more polite and ask people to help, and thank them (instead of just expecting them to do it because, “Are you kidding me?! That’s why we PAY you, so we don’t have to ask!).

She should try to be more sensitive, more caring, more appreciative and “warm”, but without feeling like she has to enable poor performance or to “hand out lollipops” instead of addressing the facts.

Your second question was, “Is it always best to appeal to DCM no matter what!?  Example…an employee has a Blue DCM, however, she acts Red, says she is red (she has a strong secondary red) and appears to be a Red!”

Trick question! Okay. So the simple answer to the question is “yes”. It is best to work to appeal to a person’s Driving Core Motive as opposed to their Secondary Color. It is always going to be more significant and will produce better results generally.

The reason I think this sounds like a trick question is that I wonder how you know she is for sure a Blue and not a Red? I would start with that because even though she has test results, those results need to be self-validated. Of course, she could be deceiving herself, in which case others might more objectively observe that she is not a Red (other Reds would have an especially good read on this one).

It’s a little uncommon, but I do see people from time to time who take the test from a flawed perspective and are scored as a Color that was not their DCM. It’s not a problem with the instrument, but rather with their ability to answer the questions truthfully (or perhaps to follow the instructions). That said, you have to take that possibility into account.

Thanks so much, Lisa, for sending in your questions. I truly hope this helps.

Very best of living,
Jeremy Daniel
Training Director
Color Code International



Jeremy Daniel (Core Color: Yellow) has been working with the Color Code since 1998 in various capacities from training in the field personally with Dr. Taylor Hartman to designing customized corporate solutions and new training programs for various industries.  To ask about Jeremy’s training or speaking services, please email and inquiry to

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”Robin Williams

Those of you who have read my previous “confessions” know that I am a Red. What I haven’t mentioned, to the best of my recollection, is that my secondary color is a strong  Yellow. I find my Yellow creeping out at odd moments. Once, I convinced a coworker to ditch work for a couple of hours to go see a movie we were both excited to see. She, being a Yellow purist, didn’t take much convincing. We jumped in our cars, saw the movie, and headed back, ready to work. My Red kicked back in and I put in extra hours to make up for my lapse into Yellowdom. Still, I didn’t regret it for a minute.

Spring brings out the Yellow in me. I am thrilled to watch my bulbs peek their little heads out of the soil and stretch to the light of the sun. I love to watch the birds building their nest in trees that have yet to leaf. I am, literally, distracted by shiny things. I find myself wanting to ditch work and go play. I feel as if all is right with the world.

My Blue husband is a bit different. While he is happy for spring, so he can resume golfing, he is also overwhelmed with the thought of all those chores that come with the changing season. He worries about the sprinkler system, firing up the air conditioner, cleaning out the pool that has sat dormant for eight months, etc, etc, etc, (these etcs could go on, but I’ll spare you, the reader). I understand these things have to be done, and, thanks to the Color Code, I understand his Blue nature to worry about them, but I wish he had a bit of the Yellow he could channel to enjoy the season the way I do.

Spring is a time of renewal. We see it all around us. It is the awakening of life after a long cold winter. Perhaps it’s time to celebrate by awakening ourselves. Forget your worries for an afternoon and spend time doing what you enjoy. If you Whites feel like a lazy afternoon, give it to yourself—guilt-free. Read a book in the park. Take a nap in the garden. If the Blues out there enjoy chores, do them! Spring clean your house. Paint a room a joyful color. Reds—go hiking. Jump out of a plane. Then, when you get back, think about other renewals. Renew the resolutions you’ve let slide since January. Renew friendships and other relationships that, like winter, have grown cold and are ready to bloom again.

If you don’t know how to celebrate spring, don’t despair. Put your fate into the hands of a Yellow friend. They’ll know what to do!


Teresa Glenn has been working with the Color Code since 2006, where her main focus is product development. She has been in the publishing and product development field for over 20 years. Teresa is a core Red with a strong Yellow secondary.  


Thinking about Telecommuting? Some Color Consideration

More and more, the idea of teleworkers is appealing to companies both large and small. They can hire talent anywhere in the world without the cost of relocation and providing workers with a physical workspace. The company might have a salesman in Seattle, a web designer in India, a technical writer in New York.

The teleworker can work from anywhere that has a plug and wifi. Go into any coffee shop and you’ll see industrious employment at work. A win-win, right? Well, before you go talk to your boss about your new “office space” or let your employees head for home, we’ve got a few things for you to consider.

These are all observations made using the innate strengths and limitations found in each color of the Color Code. They may not apply to you. If, for instance, you are a Yellow that has been raised with a strong work ethic, the filter might override your natural tendency of distraction. Consider only those observations that apply to you.

Okay, here we go!

1. Self-discipline and setting your own hours.

  • Reds are good with this. They sit down, make a list, perform the task, and cross it off the list. They charge the exact hours, confidant that it is fair, and turn off their computers when the workday is over. They might prove to be inflexible about working extra hours or covering for someone else.
  • Blues will buckle down to work, but will be concerned that their employer might not believe they have put in an honest day’s work. They will undercharge their hours as not to appear to have taken too long on any given task. They will have a tendency to pick up the phone or answer emails long after their workday is done, interfering with their home-life.
  • Whites who’s natural tendency is procrastination, might feel that they can put off certain jobs until the deadline is upon them, then spend all night working to complete the task. This could become a pattern that is frustrating to both the employer and employee.
  • Yellows might be tempted to look at Facebook, Twitter or other social networks, and lose track of time. If a friend calls for lunch, they are too happy to go. They could end up missing deadlines, and making excuses for why this happened. They might require extra communication from the employer in the form of deadline reminders.

2. Lack of socialization.

  • Reds don’t mind being alone with their work. They feel they know what needs to be done and like to do it their way. On the other hand, Reds need respect and they like to lead, both of which is difficult to achieve when telecommuting
  • Blues need people. After all, they are motivated by intimacy. Blues are interested in the day-to-day lives of their coworkers and often form long lasting bonds coworkers. Technology such as Skype won’t give them the same satisfaction as face-to-face interactions.
  • Whites, like Reds are content with their own company. Even when working in a typical environment, Whites often shun the inherent social bonds. Whites may miss the motivation that company meetings and progress sessions provide.
  • Yellows, like Blues, need the socialization that workmates provide. They are more likely than Blues to be satisfied with technological communication, because it is brief and can be spontaneous. I/Ming is perfect for the Yellow who likes the gratification of sending and receiving replies instantly.


  • Reds might be criticized for their communication skills. Their emails are often to the point and can be considered gruff. They won’t spend a lot of time with small talk and prefer to get straight to the point. Many Reds have a sarcastic sense of humor that doesn’t translate well in written form, causing misunderstandings.
  • Blues have a tendency to over-explain what they are working on. Conversely, they require frequent and positive feedback on their job performance. They might try to build an online relationship with the email recipient. Blues will always send a thank-you email in response to an email sent to them.
  • Whites have a tendency to under-communicate. They will give you the work when it is done, and not bother with updates along the way. If a progress report is required, they will likely do it, but not until they have to. They will not include extraneous information.
  • Yellows love communication. They might pick-up the phone and call with updates rather than complete all those boring forms. Any job that requires communication and public interaction is the perfect job for a Yellow telecommuter.

Remember, these observations are only pointing out the inherent behavior in the Color Code’s colors and may not pertain to you, but are clearly food for thought. Not everyone is happy working alone from home. You will need to make your own decision if it is right for you. Best of luck!

Ask the Expert

Dear, Jeremy:

Is there a compatibility preference for each color? Like Whites interact better with Blues and Reds, etc.?




Dear Tim.

What a great question! Thanks for taking the time to ask. When we teach our workshops or deliver keynote speeches, this is one of the questions that almost comes up in every single group, and rightfully so! All life is about relationships, so this is a very important question to ask.

So keep reading here and I’ll break it down for you.

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the personality dynamics you will find in the various relationship combinations.

First of all, each Color complements or “adds to” every other Color, so when looking to build relationships, it’s more about what kinds of dynamics you want and/or need. In other words, your own personal preference, your unique blend of strengths, limitations, secondary Color dynamics, character development etc. are all going to come into play here. That’s why there is no perfect relationship combination that you should seek nor is there a combination that by nature is doomed for failure. They can all work or fail depending on the effort that is given both individually and together.

It is true that some Colors are opposites but appeal to each other for a sense of completion and to make them feel whole. These very natural fits are what we call “Complementary Opposites”. You see this in either the Red-White or the Yellow-Blue connections. One of the reasons that these connections can seem so naturally compatible is that they share the same logical or emotional orientation, and there is leadership present but no real power struggle.

For example, Reds and Whites are both logical types of people, so they connect there. Further, Reds likes to take charge, be in control, and provide leadership, while Whites are more non-controlling, go-with-the-flow types. Reds and Whites enjoy a practical orientation to relationships and rely on fact and common sense to illuminate their way. They share similar perceptions of power, excitement, and leadership.

Blues and Yellows are the other “complementary opposite”. They are both emotionally driven. The Blue in the relationship likes to be in control and provide the structure, while the non-controlling Yellow is free to bring lots of energy and positive, carefree attitude. The mutually seek a close, personal connection.

The next types of relationships we’ll discuss are the “Complementary Similarities”. These generally aren’t quite as effortless as the Complementary Opposites, but still do pretty well together naturally. In this category you will find the Red-Yellow relationship and the Blue-White relationship. In both cases, the risk of a conflict over power and control is very low; however, both relationships will experience the ongoing hurdle of emotion vs. logic.

In the case of the Reds and Yellows, the Red wants to be in control, and the Yellow is happy to not have to have the added responsibility that that often brings. Reds are, logical creatures, however, while Yellows are more emotional. All in all, there are many ways in which they can be naturally very similar. For instance, they both share strong verbal skills, insensitivity, and positive-action orientation.

With Blues and Whites, on the other hand, the Blue wants to be in control, and the White is fine with that as long as that control doesn’t extend too destroy their own sense of independence. Blues are driven by their emotions, and Whites are highly logical, which can potentially create a disconnect. However, they are very similar in their nonverbal preference, sensitivity, and desire to accommodate each other and even others outside of the relationship.

Next, we’ll turn to the Yellow-White connection, which we call “Comfortable Opposites”. In this relationship style, both parties really like each other and are therefore quite comfortable. Even though they have different orientations toward logic and emotion – Whites are the logical ones here, while Yellows bring the emotion – there never really seems to be any major power struggle for who will be in charge. In fact, the problem is quite the exact opposite – NEITHER wants to be in charge and take control; therefore, leadership, urgency, growth, and progress in general will suffer. Because of this dynamic, Yellows and Whites are actually far less likely to connect than Reds and Blues, even though the Red-Blue relationship experiences far more conflict.

Speaking of which… we call the Red-Blue relationship “Non-Complementary Opposites”. Remember – that doesn’t mean that this relationship can’t work. Actually, it can be the most dynamic relationship if they can get over their differences. However, it does generally take a lot of work because the potential for conflict is quite high. The reason for that is because they both want to be in charge and seek to control each other. Further, there is a logical – emotional disconnect. Reds are logical, and Blues are emotional. Interestingly enough, this is one of the most common relationship blends both in personal relationships and in business. It happens because they both share the desire to make things happen, to commit, and to show up.

By way of conclusion, in any relationship blend, life can be wonderful or it can be terrible. It all comes down to knowing yourself, seeking to understand the other person in the relationship, and from there being willing to appreciate them for who they are (as opposed to trying to force them into being more like you). Last of all, remember to learn to speak the other person’s language so that you are communicating in a way that they like to hear and understand.

Tim, thanks again taking the time to write. I hope that these insights will help you as you continue to build new and existing relationships throughout your life.

Very best of living,



Jeremy Daniel (Core Color: Yellow) has been working with the Color Code since 1998 in various capacities from training in the field personally with Dr. Taylor Hartman to designing customized corporate solutions and new training programs for various industries.  To ask about Jeremy’s training or speaking services, please email and inquiry to