Orange and Happy

I was fired in October of 2010.  The only reason I wasn’t walked to the door, was because I had been there for almost 6 years, helping the company go from being worth a little to over 100 million dollars.

They were classy enough to let me walk out on my own. 

Before I left, I gathered up the few personal belongings from my office, noticing how incredibly messy that office was.  It was terrible. 

I then did something that could “technically” be considered unethical.  I forwarded a half written email to my yahoo account. 

I did this because I was 15 minutes into a follow up email to a client/franchisee when I was summoned for the pink slip party.  I needed to finish it as I thought that was the “ethical” thing to do.

I drove home, 25 minutes, in silence.  Once at my house, I flipped up my laptop and finished the email. 

Then I went to the bar.

Oh, that desk was messy, I thought to myself as I gulped down my first IPA.  And as thought about the state of my small abode, I realized how much that space was also in disarray. 

Being fired is being rejected.  So, naturally, you start to think about all of your shortcomings and how bad you suck. Or maybe that’s just me. 

I thought of many shortcomings that day.  But being disorganized was the one that really bothered me.

The truth is, I was happy to be gone.  And I knew it wasn’t based on performance.  I proved that through the lawsuit I filed, and the trial I went through. 

But that moment, that day, and for several days and even weeks after, I felt like a failure.  And most of the feelings of inadequacy had to do with my messy desk, home, car, life. 

Chaos, controlled, and I could always prioritize, but man was I a terrible list maker with a calendar full of blank spaces.

Two weeks after the axe fell on me at the worst led company in America, my mom received some really bad news:  She had A.L.S. 

If you don’t know, and many folks don’t, this is arguably the worst disease you can get.  I mean, it would suck to get Ebola.  And you would suffer.  But you would be dead within one week, and the suffering would cease.

A.L.S. attacks you slowly.  Not in all cases, but in many, if not most cases, it goes something like this:  First you can’t walk, then you can’t move your arms, then you can’t talk, then you can’t breathe.  I don’t need to go any further as you know what happens next.

Fifty percent are dead within 3 years.  Ninety percent depart within 5 years.

My mother and I had never had the best relationship.  Basically, we just didn’t talk much.  Our communication waves weren’t exactly parallel. 

And now she was going to die.  I was unemployed.  And on top of all of this, mom had been caring for my disabled father for many years, which meant that he would not have his beloved wife to count on in the very near future.

I drank a lot during that time.  And my home and car became even messier.

Mom and I took a road trip in December.  And we did more talking. 

In January, I learned her color spectrum, her Goby.  Okay, let me back up a bit.

Within 10 days of learning about mom’s disease, I met two people that changed my life. 

Bruce and Kathy are their names.  They met in graduate school, each earing a Ph.D. in Education, before getting married.

Kathy and Bruce had developed what many might label a “Personality assessment.”  I set a meeting with them at a coffee shop, as I had heard about their assessment tool.  I was starting my consulting business and I wanted/needed something to separate me from my competition. 

As we sat at the café, talking about this tool and it’s many applications, and within minutes of my learning about my Goby, my color spectrum, I thought about my mom.

“I need to learn this asap”, I said to Bruce and Kathy.   

We set up a date for my 1.5 days of training to be certified.  This training was awesome.  It provided me the knowledge necessary to apply this tool and allowed me the rights to assess anybody I desired.

Mom and Dad were my first victims.

Sitting on that couch, after learning their Goby, is an evening I will never forget. 

Mom was Blue/Yellow/Green/Orange

Dad was Yellow/Orange/Blue/Green

I am Orange/Green/Yellow/Blue


“Mom, as a Blue (Harmonizer) and a secondary Yellow (Organizer) you are a person who likes to see everybody get along by following rules.  I, as an Orange (Energizer) and secondary Green (analyzer) am a person who struggles with following rules and does not need to accept things the way they are.”

I went on to explain that I am who I am and it doesn’t have a ton to do with how I was raised.  I learned to be on time or early because of her and my sister, who is a primary Yellow.    But I also took advantage of my mom because she is primary Blue and that is easy to do to a Blue.  I was a messy kid, and I didn’t like to follow rules. 

As I got older and I struggled with choosing a college major, and then a career, I could tell it frustrated mom, and that caused some friction between us.  Because she was Blue, she would never say, “Jason, get your act together, and figure out what you want to do.”

I mean she sort of tried to in a Blue sort of way, but regardless of how she communicated it to me, she learned quickly that I was going to do what I wanted to do………..

We talked about all of this that night, sitting in the living room.  I saved my analysis of Dad, because I knew mom was only months away from being unable to communicate.

She died in a nursing home that June, 10 days before the official start of Summer.

Dad departed in August, unable to recover from pneumonia.  He lived only 78 days without her. 

In another post, I will talk about Dad’s Goby.  But I wanted to let you know that a simple little 7 minute assessment allowed for the healing of wounds between mother and son, as well as provided for some fun and laughs as we talked about our personality, communication styles, preferences, and our Goby.

Oh yeah, back to all of this messiness and chaos.

During the tragedies that occupied the summer of 2011, which included mom, dad, and grandma dying, as well as a failed relationship, tension with a business partner and a few other things I have happily left in the rear view mirror, Kathy and Bruce were extremely instrumental in helping me understand how to cope with it all.

As an Orange, I could handle the chaos better than many others.  I didn’t need a shrink, although I did see one for a few sessions, and I think they are always helpful.

I really just needed to accept who I was.

Sort of messy.  Sort of disorganized.  And I learned that that was Okay.  I started to accept who I was, not make excuses for it, but by learning my Goby and embracing my spectrum, it allowed me to do the following since that terrible summer.

-Start a business consulting/coaching company and allows me the freedom that an Orange desires.

-Develop and foster a partnership with an awesome marketing company.

-Win two golf club championships by using my Goby to help me rather than hinder me.

- Bought the rights to Kathy and Bruce’s assessment and started and a movement that will help all who want to change their best, change their culture, and be elite.

At age 39, halfway through my tenure on this earth, I figured out who I was.  The why is a question that may be answered when it is all said and done.  But knowing who I am truly changed my life.

Stay colorful. 

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