Conditional behaviour of Purple types
The general belief I am not good enough the way I am / something about me is wrong creates a doubt in Purple types: I am afraid I am not legitimate vis-à-vis my system of values.
Thus, the conditional behaviour that I will exhibit as a Purple type, the condition that I impose on myself to try to calm this doubt is to be highly demanding of myself AND sometimes of others.
Despite these high demands, I still sometimes don’t feel legitimate, and this just proves to me that I was right to think that there is something wrong with me.
As a Purple type, I need to behave consistently in line with my value system and I need to feel legitimate. What I believe, I do. Unlike Blue types, these high demands are only for things that are essential in MY eyes.
When Purple types are promoted to new jobs, they always have the inner sensation that there must be someone who will notice that they aren’t up to the task! This is what we call the Impostor Complex in coaching. Even though everyone thinks that the Purple type is totally legitimate, Purple types themselves feel this inner doubt!
Example: A Purple type manager just put together a team that is meeting for the first time. In his presentation, he brings up the subject of spelling mistakes: “I’d like to ask you to be particularly vigilant that there are no spelling mistakes in the documents that leave our section. Other sections can do what they want, but in our section, spelling must be perfect!” The subtext is that if someone on her team makes a spelling mistake, the Purple type’s legitimacy to be manager will be called in to question.
If the people around me, my loved ones, my collaborators, my colleagues, prevent me from feeling legitimate, THEN I will place those same demands on them.
The pressure felt by Purple types is one of overflow: It isn’t that I want you to be like this or like that, it’s that I don’t want you to prevent me from feeling legitimate and in line with my value system, so therefore, I put on the pressure.
It isn’t at all like Blue types. The process for Purple types is a lot more irrational, and based on their own internal system of values. This internal system of values (what counts for him or her) is individual, and can vary from one Purple type to another.
Example: A father’s daughter has an 80% average in math, and she’s in Grade 6. Her father says: you’re intelligent, this isn’t the grade you deserve, you can get 90%. So I am going to make you work, but if you don’t want to work with me, it’s okay, we’ll find you a tutor. No matter how we get there, I’m sure you’re able to get 90%.
When Purple types commit, they really commit! Therefore he’ll make his daughter work hard. And one day when she comes home from school and says, “Dad, I got 90%”, he’ll respond, “Well then, you’re able to get 95%!” Let’s look at what happened: While his daughter was working extra hard, the Purple type realized that she was getting 90%, and she kept on working, so the Purple type readjusted his objective. That’s what it looks like on the outside. What we don’t see is that Purple types do this with themselves all the time, and this is what creates the pressure.
Purple types create goals and as they get closer, they adjust the goal to be even further away. They never attain the goal they have in their mind. They attain all the goals that others set for them, but the ones they set for themselves are always just out of reach.
Example: A self-employed Purple trainer is making an annual salary of 80,000 euros. His banker congratulates him, but he thinks he’s a failure because he had set an goal of 100,000 euros (which he didn’t reach), even though his initial goal was 40,000 euros.
Purple types tend to buy the most expensive and best things when it aligns with their value system (they will buy brands, XXX???, a sure thing, they will purchase “trust” and “security”).
How can Purple types get out of their conditional behaviour?
They need to learn to celebrate success.
Example: If during the first year of my work as a self-employed trainer I set a goal of 40,000 euros in earnings, I write it down in a notebook where I keep track of successes, and I write how I am going to celebrate my success when I meet this goal (open a bottle of champagne, go to a nice restaurant with my family, etc.) and I do it.
The first time that a Purple type does something like this, they won’t like it and they’ll think: “this is ridiculous”. Because it’s hard for them to enjoy their success.
That doesn’t matter – they just need to keep it up until they really take pleasure from their success and are able to feel the physical relaxation that it brings about.