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How Something As Seemingly Simple As Your Awareness of Color Can Take Your Business to New Heights

Color allows people to explore new personal options and business opportunities, says this contributor, who's done more than 3,000 'color assessments' of businesspeople over the past decade.

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Most of us take color for granted. We hardly even notice the colors in nature, the colors on our plates, those in our home, on what we wear, even the color in our language. (How often, for instance, do you get "tickled pink"?)

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Related: The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding

Great leaders and companies, however, pay attention to this seemingly insignificant detail and are deeply conscious of their color choices. Early on a Sunday morning, Steve Jobs was concerned enough about a particular shade of yellow that he woke people up, insisting that that "yellow" be corrected immediately. Yes, that really happened, according to Matthew Humphries, writing for

Another story? Google deliberately added the secondary color (meaning it's made up of two primary colors) green to its logo to convey that "They make their own rules," Ruth Kedar, creator of the platform's famous image, revealed in an interview on

Countries even use the "vibrational" energies of color to save lives and uplift communities: To reduce its worrisome suicide rate, Citylab reported, Japan installed soothing blue lights at train stations. The Indonesian government painted a village called Kampung Pelangi in the colors of the rainbow. The purpose was to make the village a hit on Instagram -- which happened -- and to pull families out of poverty thanks to increased tourism, the U.K.'s Independent newspaper reported in 2017.

Then, who can forget the greatest of all color experts, Mother Nature? At its core the scientific purpose of color is to communicate, Eric Muller of Columbia University wrote in the website The Odyssey Online. Color also can keep us from feeling blue, according to research by Emily Rugal from the University of British Colombia, in Vancouver.

Related: How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity (Infographic)

In my own experience, color also tells a story about a person's personality, and for this reason should not be dismissed -- because it actually has the ability to help people.

I have specialized in color therapy for the past nine years and made some interesting and, to my mind, insightful discoveries about how color choices can assist people in increasing their emotional intelligence (EQ). That's important because, as Entrepreneur has written, EQ and a positive mindset are vital for business and workplace success.

Self-awareness and EQ through color

Using a method that starts with a color assessment, I help clients become more self-aware (the first and most important component of EQ). In a one-on-one session, the client chooses seven different colors from a total of 14 colors in glass bottles.

The colors that are selected are placed sequentially into a specific matrix. From the colors' positions and their relationship to one other, I identify the client's array of challenging emotions and negative mindsets, including fear, self-doubt, inadequacy, scarcity or his/her reason for needing to be "perfect." Color therapy also highlights the strengths and skills this person needs to develop to thrive, as well as assesses what he or she should be doing in life.

Having done more than 3 000 color assessments at leading companies in my home country, South Africa, and in private practice, I have no doubt that color therapy is an effective tool for personal development, business growth and dealing with stress more constructively.

After nearly a decade of advising people through the language of color, I have identified the following key color considerations:

Your personal color choices and the order in which you pick them reveal both positive and challenging aspects of your personality. When you begin to know and understand yourself, you can move mountains, even if that starts with a grain of sand at a time. However, many of us are often blind to our shortcomings. A color assessment session helps to make you more aware of the feelings, thoughts or beliefs that hold you back, and can inspire renewed faith in yourself and your abilities.

Color dislikes translate into the stuff that you don't want to know or even explore. The colors that you avoid during a color assessment speak volumes about the unexplored areas of your personality. For example, clients who don't choose orange think or believe that they are not creative. The ones who avoid blue usually steer clear of conflict and always keep the peace often to their own detriment.

Your current favorite color gives you a clear direction. A sudden awareness of a specific color indicates what people need to learn next about themselves, or which new skill they should develop. If a person lacks clarity regarding his or her next business step, a fascination with color can be a guide for the direction to take.

For example, if someone starts particularly noticing yellow in the environment, then the underlying motivation is the desire to become more self-confident and let go of the need to control everything.

Color serves as a gentle reminder. My advice to clients who are easily distracted or lose sight of their "why?" is to associate their purpose with a color (by incorporating it into branding or the workspace, for example). That color can then serve as a gentle reminder of and motivation for why the chooser started a business in the first place and where he or she wants go with it.

Related: What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company (Infographic)

To summarize: Becoming aware of color, or being color conscious, introduces a new way of seeing, feeling, sensing and thinking. Color allows people to explore new personal options and business opportunities. By conducting such explorations, entrepreneurs and others open themselves to letting the magic of color enrich their future in unforeseen and wonderful ways.

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