What is Discover The Leader Within? And Why is it Valuable to you?

Over the past few years, we’ve led several Discover the Leader Within (DTLW) sessions, both in the Twin Cities and in beautiful (and hot) Charleston, SC. Using Leading from the Helm (LFTH) as its foundation, these sessions are more of an introduction than anything else, but they’re always some of our favorites to run. It’s rewarding to see the growth that participants experience in just a few hours, and how quickly they apply their new knowledge and skills. We believe that everyone and anyone who is open, willing, and desiring to further understand themselves and others will benefit from this event.

To understand what DTLW is, it’s important to be aware of the goals of 4 Colors of Insights. Ultimately this day is about discovering yourself. What insights can you discover that will help your relationship with others? How can you learn to sympathize with those who think in a different way than you do? How can you utilize this information at work and in your everyday life? These are the types of questions we wrestle with and personally uncover.

Since these sessions run about four hours, there is no way we could cover everything in a short blog post. So, we’re simply going to touch on three sections of the session: perception, the four-color energies, and the profile.

Perception is a concept we discuss in depth, and is something that we believe is crucial to completely comprehend. It is the active choice to desire the truest communication and it makes a night and day difference in understanding the genesis of others knowledge and ideas.

A famous (and humorous) example we often share in our sessions reflects on a speaking engagement to a group of college students a few years ago. To get everyone’s mind up and running, we brought up Leonardo Da Vinci and asked for what he was best known. While most people would respond, The Mona Lisa or The Last Supper (both pictures we had positioned on the next slide), and sometimes the more diligent student would mention his work as an engineer, we were not expecting one young man to shout out, “Titanic!”. We’re sure he perked up at the recognition of the uncommon name or had maybe just seen his – at the time – recent appearance in Inception, but regardless, even though he answered the question incorrectly, it was not entirely wrong. It’s his perception that is important to understand (a blog for a later time). Criticizing him for mixing up the two would only stunt his confidence and willingness in future participation. Plus, to his credit, in this day and age, actor and environmentalist, Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be more of an icon than the famous painter and polymath; It’s not a surprise his mind went there.

Think of this example next time you run into a misunderstanding at work. Instead of a battle of right vs. wrong, ask yourself: what kind of lens am I looking through? How about my colleague? Understanding where the information is perceived from can turn a potentially uncomfortable conversation into mutual understanding.

We’re very aware that no one wants to sit through an information dump at eight o’clock in the morning, so after we hark on perception and do some debriefing, it’s time to get the blood pumping and start applying concepts. In the middle of the room is a big mat that consists of the four-color energies (and their catchy names) that make up Insights: cool blue, earth green, sunshine yellow, and fiery red.

The rest of the day is almost entirely spent with discussions and activities centered around these colors. The Card Game is the first little activity we do, and it seems to be a crowd favorite as well. It goes like this: each participant is given twelve cards, three of each color. Each card is based on the four-color energies and has a trait that the color identifies with. The participant gets to keep three cards (of any color) that they think best represents themselves and then hand the remainder of their cards to people they think their extra cards apply to.

Now, we know this sounds a little complicated especially if you are not familiar with everyone in the room, but it’s a really cool exercise in seeing how others initially perceive you. We had a woman in a recent session whose hand consisted solely of yellow cards at the end of the game, meaning that others had perceived traits in her that fit into the yellow spectrum: sociable, enthusiastic, demonstrative, etc. Whether or not she thinks these traits are true about herself is irrelevant – this is an important exercise in how others initially perceive you. For example, if you’re transitioning into a new job, is there a particular way you want your employer to perceive you? Do you come out loud and ambitious? Or fidgety and quiet? Enthusiastic and determined? There isn’t a right or wrong color energy to lead with – that is important to understand. Try to take a step back (or ask your friends) “How do others see me?”

Even though we swear by our Card Game, everyone is most excited for and anxious to get their profiles. It’s a fun part of the day, and while they vary too much for us to divulge any sort of pattern, we will say that these profiles are a fantastic resource for yourself, and – if you choose to share – others. A comprehensive, thorough report, your profile gives you transformational insight on your strengths and weaknesses, personality, management style, and much more. We always recommend that you print off a copy and show your boss or manager – discovering how they can best manage you will be beneficial to all parties. But whatever you do, take time to reflect. Reflect on yourself. How do the traits/energies that you exhibit affect your relationships? How do they affect your career? Or the way you perceive yourself? The profiles that are offered through these programs allow you to step back and look at yourself as objectively as you can.

As we mentioned earlier, we love leading DTLW sessions. It gives us a chance to meet and reach a wide variety of people and help share some Insights magic. It’s a rewarding experience for everyone involved, and it’s a session that is always open to anyone wanting to better understand themselves.