Why We Grieve the Way We Do

On September 11, 2001 the world watched as the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. On the same day, my own little piece of the world was collapsing. My mother was diagnosed with stage-four cancer and she was in the process of dying. Her life ended on September 20, and it felt as though mine would too. I was devastated, and privately mourned her well. I didn’t show anyone else the depth of my grief, but instead remained stoic. My lack of visible emotion was misinterpreted as at best, denial, and at worst, downright indifference.

At some point in our lives, we all have to face the death of a loved-one, close friend, or even a beloved pet. Suddenly, emotions are high and the most trivial of things can offend. Reactions to our loss can vary dramatically from one family member to another. According to hov.org (Hospice of the Valley), there are two types of mourners:

Thinkers experience and speak of their grief intellectually and physically. They are most comfortable with seeking accurate information, analyzing facts, making informed decisions and taking action to solve problems. Remaining strong, dispassionate and detached in the face of powerful emotions, they may speak of their grief in an intellectual way, thus appearing to others as cold and uncaring, or as having no feelings at all.

Feelers experience a full, rich range of emotions in response to grief. Comfortable with strong emotions and tears, they are sensitive to their own feelings and to the feelings of others, as well. Since they feel strong emotions so deeply, they’re less able to rationalize and intellectualize the pain of grief, and more likely to appear overwhelmed and devastated by it.

Sound familiar?

Of course. Reds and Whites, being logic-based, are the thinkers and Blues and Yellows, being emotion-based, are the feelers.

When a loved-one dies, it is not only important to recognize why you grieve the way you do, but why others grieve the way they do. This will create understanding that will help you to support your fellow mourners and keep your relationships strong during a fragile time.

Reds and Whites—you need to realize that your Blue and Yellow siblings, friends, spouses, etc., need comfort, both physically and emotionally. Do not belittle their open show of grief by telling them to be strong. Let them weep, talk, and express their feeling in a public way. This may not be your style, but it is their need.

Blues and Yellows—you must to be aware that because your Red or White siblings, friends, spouses, etc., appear to be emotionless, doesn’t mean their grief is any less powerful than your own. Do not judge their behavior or pester them to let it out by talking about their feelings, or question why they don’t cry.

Don’t let resentment build because you don’t understand at what depth another is grieving. Assume they are feeling pain, and recognize their need for comfort, whether it’s a hug or only giving them space to be alone.

We experience a rollercoaster of emotions when dealing with the death of a loved one. It is important to work together through the pain, and heartbreak. This can only be accomplished by knowing and understanding why we grieve the way we do. CC


Picture 1Teresa 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.

Test Yourself—The Colors of Independence

To celebrate July—the month of Independence Day, we thought it would be fun to see what some of the more famous signers of the Declaration of Independence were like. Following are a few brief sentences that tell us some of the more common traits of their personalities.

John Adams
Adams was known to be impetuous, intense and often vehement. Adams was, at his core, an author, communicator and defender often arguing unpopular opinions merely to see if he could bend his mind to the task in such a way as to unnerve his opponents and ultimately win the day.

Thomas Jefferson
Known as the “Silent Member” of Congress, he was a reluctant candidate for President. Jefferson was a quiet, but effective manager. He preferred working in the privacy of his own office rather than in the public eye. He did not like to give public addresses, but was more comfortable using his pen than his voice.

Benjamin Franklin
Because of his prodigious writing, much is known about this great man. He was a printer, a scientist, an inventor, a writer, a diplomat, and much more. We also know that he was a satirist, had many, many friends, and was a social butterfly. Franklin was quite a character — known as quite a bit of a party animal, especially when in France

John Hancock
Hancock is best remembered for his flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Indolence. He was quite gregarious, and well liked and therefore he was especially influential in high society, which was important in securing support for the revolution.

Benjamin Rush
Dr. Rush was handsome, well spoken, and a very attractive figure and was beloved by the community where he practiced medicine–extensively amongst the poor. A popular and much loved man, he was nonetheless a fallible character–he liked to gossip and was quick to rush to judgement about others.


Ask the Expert

What do these Colors mean anyway?

I recently had a person ask me if I could better explain what these four Colors are so that she could better understand how this whole system works and how to apply it to her life.

Most people, she said, just hear about “Red,” “Blue,” “White,” and “Yellow” and then a few behavioral qualities that describe what each type is like. She also wanted to know what the Colors themselves mean.

I thought this was such a great question! It’s at the heart of Dr. Hartman’s theory, and I probably too often assume that everybody understands it already.

So here’s my quick lesson on MOTIVES.

Whenever I deliver a Color Code workshop, there are a couple of points that I like to share right up front. They are:

  • There is no Color that is better or worse than any other Color. (Period).
  • Each Color brings wonderful strengths to the table and can be encumbered by terrible limitations.
  • There is no “right” or “wrong” Color combination between people in a relationship.

In other words, any Color can work with any other Color in a professional setting, and any Color can be in a meaningful personal relationship with any other Color. Every relationship combination under the sun requires work. Every relationship combination has the potential to be wildly successful or absolutely devastating.

The key is understanding what makes people tick—what motivates them to do what they do.

From there, you can understand what to expect or not to expect, how to communicate, how to inspire, how to express love, how to grow, etc.

So what do the Colors “Red,” “Blue,” “White,” and “Yellow” mean, anyway?

It is important to realize that the Colors in and of themselves don’t mean anything at all. Just because I’m a Yellow, for example, doesn’t mean that I like the color yellow, or look good in the color yellow, etc. The Colors are just a simple metaphor to communicate a more complex meaning.

The key bit of information here is to remember what MOTIVATES each of the Colors. In other words, what is the driving force behind they way that they think, behave, and feel. We call this the “Driving Core Motive” or “DCM” for short. Here is a list of the DCMs by Color Code:

Reds are motivated by Power
Blues are motivated by Intimacy
Whites are motivated by Peace
Yellows are motivated by Fun

Let’s take a moment now, to define what each of these DCMs mean, because once you understand that, this idea of “Colors” and “Motives” and what to do with this information should be a lot more meaningful to you as you evaluate the various relationships in your life and ponder on what is working well and what requires improvement.

What does it mean to be motivated by Power, as a Red?

Sometimes people think about power in terms of control. While it’s true that Reds do like to be in control of their circumstances and are attracted to leadership opportunities, that’s not a very complete picture of what Power really means to Reds. To Reds, Power generally means that they desire the ability to move from “point A” to “point B”—and they want to do it in the most direct and efficient way possible.

I like to think about the Spanish and Portuguese translation for the word “power” as a verb. The translated word is “poder” which means, “To be able to do.” That, to me, is a very fitting description of what Power means to a Red. They want to be “productive and efficient” in my Red wife’s description.

Next, let’s consider what it means to be motivated by Intimacy, as a Blue.

Being motivated my Intimacy means that Blues like to connect with others on a deep and meaningful level. Just ask any Blue how they feel about people who are fake/superficial, and I guarantee you will get quite a strong reaction. They want nothing to do with those kinds of people, because Intimacy for a Blue is about truth, legitimacy, integrity, loyalty, and sincerity.

Another fun question to ask Blues is simply, “How many friends do you have?” It’s a simple enough question, but most Blues will immediately come to the conclusion that there is a real difference between friends and acquaintances, and they’ll process this on a very serious level. At the end of their contemplation, most Blues will tell you that they can count the number of their friends on one hand, because those are the people with whom they feel that real, intimate connection.

Incidentally, if you ask a Yellow the same question, they will probably quote you their Facebook stats. 😉

The next look we will take is at the Whites who are motivated by Peace.

When I ask people what they think Peace means to a White, they usually come up with a definition that centers around a general lack of conflict. While it is true that most Whites are not typically big fans of conflict, their definition of Peace runs deeper than that.

To a White, Peace is all about inner harmony and balance. They don’t like to have that equilibrium disrupted. That’s why they try to change the subject if you attempt to talk about something that makes them feel insecure. They don’t want to stir things up inside.

Think about how centered and consistent the Whites you know can be. They don’t get overly excited about things, and they don’t get really depressed about things either. They are consistent, even-tempered, and steady, because on the inside, they seek harmony and balance.

Last, but not least, we come to the Yellows in our discussion. Yellows are motivated by Fun.

Let’s talk about what that means, because most people misunderstand this about Yellows. Fun does not simply mean that Yellows are seeking endless frivolity and that they never take things seriously. (If that were true, I would NOT be writing this article, because to me writing is definitely not fun. Haha.). People incorrectly assume that Yellows don’t like structure, when in fact, they crave it. It only looks like they resist it because most Yellows don’t know how to create structure on their own.

Fun to a Yellow actually means “living in the moment.” It means that they enjoy the process of what they are doing far more than the end result. That’s why Yellows are generally so engaged and “present” when you are with them. They are focused on the here and now and nothing else. Carpe Diem or “seize the day” is a Yellow way of life.

In a work setting, Yellows simply find a way to enjoy whatever it is they are doing – no matter how mundane. They’ll focus on the camaraderie, the experiences they have, the social interaction their work provides, etc. They tend to think very optimistically, and if they can be positive and enjoy their work, they will find it easier to commit and excel in whatever it is that they are doing.

So there you have my brief, introductory lesson on the Colors themselves and on the DCMs that drive them. One last little lesson I’ll leave you with is this…

When you consider the four DCMs of Power, Intimacy, Peace, and Fun, please take note that none of these motives are positive… nor are they negative. Power, Intimacy, Peace, and Fun in and of themselves are all neutral. The APPLICATION of Power, Intimacy, Peace, and Fun is what makes them positive or negative.

I hope this overview on the four motive styles helps you better understand the people around you. All life is about relationships. There are no areas of life that are NOT impacted by relationships, so please study these patterns. Seek to understand motives and you will be far more effective in all areas of your life.

Very best of living,

Jeremy Daniel
Training Director
Color Code International


JeremyDanielJeremy 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 jeremy@colorcodetraining.com.


Tackling Father’s Day

Last month we discussed how to celebrate Mother’s Day based on each driving core motive. This month, we’ll tackle Father’s Day.

This will be a bit more complex, because we have to allow for what I call the “man filter”.

What is the “man filter?” It is the socialital imposed filter that says, “boys don’t cry”, or “tough it out”, or “real men don’t eat quiche.” You know what I mean. They have learned the need to be strong and unemotional, regardless of their Color Code driving core motive.

I know, I know…we all have filters—including women. But, for this article, we will include this particular filter where applicable—which makes describing Father’s Day a bit more challenging.

The Red Father

Your Red father has always been the unquestioned leader in the home. He is resourceful, responsible, and always provides you with good advice and direction. However, there is no doubt he is in control. His leadership is absolutely unquestioned. He loves you, but doesn’t always show it. Your father can be quite demanding and expects you to live up to his demands.

Be careful when you ask your Red dad what he wants for father’s day. Remember, he is literal, logical, and a bit selfish. He just might out with “a Callaway Men’s Big Bertha Alpha udesign Driver” to the tune of $600. I mean, he did give you LIFE right? Instead you might just say, “How ‘bout we go golfing on me?” Just don’t be offended when he criticizes your swing. If you give him a t-shirt that says “World’s Greatest Dad”, you might just catch him using it as a chamois.

The Blue Father

The Blue father is the biggest victim of the “man filter”. He is motivated by intimacy, but does not want to appear weak by showing too much tender emotion. If you are his daughter, the filter may not be a problem. If you are his son, you might find your father to be judgmental and hard to please. Don’t be fooled. He loves you a lot. He worries about you. He brags about you. He wants nothing more than to see you happy and settled.

Your Blue father will be gratified at any acknowledgement given for his part in your success in life, your happiness and well-being. If you give him a t-shirt that says “World’s Greatest Dad”, he might not wear it to work, but he’ll wear it when alone and puttering and will always remember when you gave it to him.

The White Father

Your White father is quiet, but observant and the most enduring of parents. He wants you to have the best life possible. When you ask, he will give well thought-out logical advice. It will be with no judgment or demands. If he is disappointed in you, he won’t lecture, bluster, or punish. He’ll sit in his lazy-boy with a soulful, disappointed look and shake his head. You will feel very small indeed.

Spend some quiet time with your dad on Father’s Day. Don’t make a big production out of it. If he comes to your house for the celebration, don’t be offended if he seems to be in a hurry to go home, where he is most comfortable. If you give him a t-shirt that says “World’s Greatest Dad” you will find it in his closet many years from now, with the tags still on it.

The Yellow Father

Your Yellow father is energetic and full of life. He loves adventure and wants his kids to love it, too. He is inclusive of your friends…the more the merrier, and your house is the most likely place to congregate. He isn’t very good at commitments or discipline. He might threaten in the heat of the moment, but seldom follows through. He might be the dad who will spend his last few dollars taking the whole family to dinner and a movie, only to have the heat turned off the next day.

Call your Yellow dad and ask him what he wants to do. He won’t have any qualms about telling you. He’ll want to be surrounded by those he loves. Figure out a fun adventure that everyone can participate in. If you give him a t-shirt that says “World’s Greatest Dad” he will wear it with pride.

So, no matter what color your father is, the only thing he really wants is to know that he did well, and that you are happy. Be sure and give him what he wants.

Happy Father’s Day! CC


Picture 1Teresa 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.

Boxing vs. Shakespeare

My dear Blue father strongly dislikes the fact that, here at the Color Code, we refer to the Blue and Red personalities as “heavyweights” and the Yellow and White personalities as “lightweights”. Perhaps there is a negative connotation associated with one or both of those words for him—or he just never liked boxing… Regardless of why, in honor of Father’s Day, this article will attempt to give my father—and anyone else who may benefit by it—another, perhaps more palatable and “Shakespearean” if you will humor me, way of viewing this aspect of our different personalities.

To Seek Control or Avoid Control—That is the Question.

We use the term “heavyweights” for Reds and Blues because, bottom line, Reds and Blues feel more comfortable in situations where they are in charge and can direct others to do what they feel is appropriate, than when they cannot control their circumstances or environment. In other words, they typically seek control because they feel more “at home” that way. It doesn’t mean that ALL Blues and Reds need to be in control to be happy but it is definitely something that needs to be considered.

Whites and Yellows get the term “lightweights” because they typically prefer to spend their lives refusing to be controlled by others, and feel more comfortable taking life as it comes by allowing themselves and others the freedom to make their own decisions. In other words they prefer to avoid control because that is what makes them feel most “at home.” Again, this doesn’t mean that ALL Whites and Yellows are this way, but you would do well to be aware of this.

That’s it.

So, whether you’re fine with the boxing analogy or prefer the “Shakespearean” version, the important thing to remember is that, no matter how you describe them, each role is invaluable to the game of life. In fact, each requires the other to function! One is definitely not better than the other. Both have strengths and limitations that enable them and society to survive as well as contribute. Each enhances the other’s life. And, frankly, each would be lost without the other. Perhaps you can relate this idea to “opposites attract” with your significant other?

One more amazing thing to remember about this is that each personality type serves as a role model for the others in specific areas of character building. Each color gives balance and perspective to the full spectrum of relationships. In fact, did you know that the “antidote” for your weaknesses as a Blue can be found in the strengths other colors?—but now I’m getting ahead of myself.

Finally, remember that secondary colors and filters always play a role in our personalities. A Red with Yellow will approach “control” very differently than a “White with Blue” would, so it’s important to understand the “whole picture” of yourself or those you are in relationships with—but that’s for another time.

Until next month, here’s to a Happy Father’s Day and a better world through understanding and appreciating each other. CC

PS.  In October of last year we published a great article written by Color Code trainer Brittany Barhite entitled In the Ring: Heavyweight vs. Lightweight where she describes the Color Code’s use of the words Heavyweight (Red and Blue) and Lightweight (White and Yellow) using a boxing analogy. If you’re interested, feel free to check it out at http://blog.colorcode.com/in-the-ring-heavyweight-vs-lightweight/.

joeJoe England has known about the Color Code ever since 1994 when his Grandpa caused quite a family controversy by “quick coding” everyone.  Luckily, Joe could see the value in what Grandpa Don was going for and years later, when the opportunity arose to work for the Color Code, Joe jumped at the chance. He is a Yellow, enjoys Swedish Fish and typically gets along with children better than adults.



Ask the Expert

Dear Jeremy,

My “ask the expert” question is this… I am a Red with 25% Yellow; I find that at work there is a good blend of Red & Yellow. However, as soon as I get home, my Red goes away and I’m just Yellow. I would like to be more Red at home, but haven’t figured out how to do it. Any suggestions?



Dear Donitta,

What a great question! Thanks for bringing it up. I hear this with other Reds, actually, so please know that you are not alone.

To answer this, we should first have a quick review on the two types of motives that we talk about in the Color and Character Codes. Then, we’ll dive into what the motives are behind your lack-of-Red-at-home situation.

So… motives. The first kind of motive that we discuss in our trainings is your Driving Core Motive (DCM). The DCM is all about your “Color Code type”. Reds are motivated by Power, Blues by Intimacy, Whites by Peace, and Yellows by Fun.

As you know, that is what we primarily teach and focus on in the Color Code.

Next, we have the ordinary every day motives that are behind our daily actions and activities.

Consider the father shouting at his children. Has he finally lost every shred of patience and resorted to yelling and threatening to intimidate them into compliance? – Or – Is there some kind of imminent danger that he is warning them about?

Those every day kinds of motives, we focus more on in the Character Code, of course.

So let’s talk about you. The answer to your question lies in understanding WHY it is that your Yellow takes over when you get home from work and you can’t get your Red DCM to take the same kind of action it does when you are at work.

If you can understand the answer to that question, you can begin to formulate some ideas and strategies around what to do about the situation.

Many of the Reds that I talk to say two things that may be relevant here for you (as idea starters):

1. They say that they mellow as they mature. For many Reds, they tend to be very hard-charging, and believe that they are always right (and everybody else is wrong) during their 20s and 30s. Later in life, however, they learn to let that go because they’ve learned better ways of dealing with things. Consequently, they may be a lot more passive in their approach to getting things done at home than they used to be.

2.  They say that they go to war at work every day and bring their A-game. However, by the time they are done with work for the day, they are tired of running the world and want somebody else to make the decisions and take the initiative when they get home.
I don’t know if that applies to you or not, but it is an example of what other Reds have said in the past.

Once you discover your reason why, then you can make changes.

One general tip that I would be happy to share, however, is to make sure that you have a separate daily to-do list at home. In other words, use your Red gifts to set goals for your home life just like you do in your work life. Prioritize those goals and put due dates on them.

It may actually be helpful to make that daily list and do that goal setting in the morning right after you set your professional goals for the day. That way your mind is already engaged in that Red-conquer mode. Then, when you get home at the end of the day, the list is already there and you have already committed to doing it.

Good luck, Donitta. I hope that helps.

Very best of living,

Jeremy Daniel

JeremyDanielJeremy 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 jeremy@colorcodetraining.com.