Now You Know Your Colours Part 1

Now You Know Your Colours Part 1

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Many of my clients are nearer to their great colour choices than I was, leaps and bounds nearer. They may be wondering which runway is theirs, but they’re at the right airport, or close by.

They know that it feels better to express our real selves, in the same way that the web is an extension of the spider; they give each other meaning.


The video is also here on YouTube.


Now that we’ve had our colour analysis, palettes in hand, we browse in stores and try new lip colours.

First day out with the new look. Reactions range from zero to 100.

How do we chart progress in the real world?

Change has to bounce off of something and come back. If it just lives in our head, it’s like it never happened.

We need others to inform us about how the world perceives us, aligns with us, or appears to be on another track altogether.

Asking them, “Do you think the colour of this blush suits me?” brings too much ‘what does she want me to say’ into the answer.

Asking ourselves brings too much personal override into the answer.

Compliments are The Hall of Mirrors.

Family? We need people who can view us dispassionately. Family view us passionately unless they have special training.

How to get mirrors to show true?

We all have a subjective reality.

There is also an objective reality that most people live in.

That’s where open lines of communication await.

I see reality located approximately where everyone else lives, in a place where their choices and reactions carry more weight than their words and opinions.

How do we test for it?

Psychologists have an operational definition, meaning some specific condition that can be seen and measured by any other researcher who wants to test for the condition.

Colour analysis is like a sequence of operational definitions, a system that tests for certain conditions in the same way by all colour analysts. Reality contains too many specific conditions and other researchers be defined that way.

The first answer is to have our colouring analyzed in a calibrated system of comparisons. By watching and listening to the PCA process, we learn to make the best use of feedback.

Changing Identity

Change takes time. We talked about working through changes in hair colour in the previous post.

The book Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra (here at Amazon) is a place of practical wisdom for anyone committed to lasting change. Its focus is careers, but the ideas work with how people are and how the world is, in any context.

You’ll find an excellent synopsis here at Harvard Business School. Ideas to bring your own colours into your everyday life:

1. Begin with small but deliberate steps. Expect to experiment. We can’t think our way to our new look. For reality to return its priceless insights, we have put new energy out there. If you have not worn cosmetics, buy a sheer lipstick and eyeliner. Then stop and check in with how that feels. Small steps can show us that change is safe.

 “What we make of events is more important than the events themselves.”
-Herminia Ibarra

2.  Reflect upon the changes you’ve made and planning the next one. Keep making moves. Wear the black you own in different combinations for a few months while you become expert in your blues and browns.

3. Keep everything you own for 6 months or a year.  Don’t pressure yourself to overhaul the closet. Avoid snap decisions. Pull a few things out every now and again. What could work, what won’t be missed, these will clarify on their own.

If your PCA showed you that, under your face, sky blue on the hanger becomes a non-colour, while Tiffany and Birks blue look normal and so do you, wear the sky blue with your new makeup. We have no point of reference when everything shifts at the same time. Doesn’t Cartier have an iconic peacock blue of some sort? There may be a reason for the repetition.

4. There may have been an adjustment you weren’t expecting. Postpone the correction until you can be out of reaction about it or you may overshoot. Focus on everything you’re doing that works. If the present hair colour is too dark and looks like someone else’s hat, pull it back, choose a shorter style, until you’re ok saying, “It just is. This is not about me, or my hair. It’s about hair dye. I can change it anytime by choosing two colour swatches to the left of this one.”

5. Without criticism of who you were or who told you to be that way. Be an observer of yourself. You see this person in an airport.


In this excellent talk at Tedx, Professor Ibarra discusses authenticity, both true and untrue, and how to tell them apart. (Video also here on YouTube.)

6. Was releasing past choices easier than you expected? Not wearing black didn’t feel less professional. People might even have been less defensive. Your white was easier to find than you thought once you knew what to look for. The eyeshadow that wasn’t dark or contrasting enough to contour your eyes was easy to replace with one with that did open your eyes and looked better next to your eye colours. Nobody reacted like you were overpainted. They were looking at you, not looking away.

7. Take your time. The success of change can become addictive, especially in shopping malls. Pause. It will all be there for you.

8. Be curious about the mirror of others and why they react as they do. Your insights into other people will amaze you as much as your own.

This may be getting near the source of my addictions, which is why these posts are so long. I have more thoughts on the topic for next time.


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