Knowing Yourself—The First Key to Success

Knowing Yourself: The First Key to Success


In one of our Constant Contact issues we spotlighted Dearborn YMCA and their GED program.
We had so many success stories from the Dearborn students that we wanted to continue writing about Dearborn and one of their students:
Travis Jones.


Candace Barnes shared the following story about Travis:
“We were asked to accept a participant from another program.  When asked why the participant was being exited from their program, the response was, “ Let’s just say, he’s not a good fit.”  This indicated to me that he didn’t get along with his peers, and or teachers.  As I observed the participant during his first week, I concluded that his personality type was probably green because he always wanted to know the purpose of assignments, and asked many “why” questions.  This could easily be perceived as rude behavior and testing your knowledge.


It was no surprise to me that the participant’s “Smart Colors” were green, orange, blue, and gold.  The participant’s eyes lit up with joy and smiled when he discovered this because it explained why some people always misinterpreted his intentions.  I recognized that he gained a new sense of self respect and acceptance of himself.  He once said to me, “ Ms. Barnes, Smart Work Ethics is a gift of a life time,”
and I responded with “I know sweetie”.”


This story highlights one of the basic foundations of Smart Work Ethics – we believe that the first key to a successful future is knowing yourself. In the first Smart Work Ethics class we help students discover their personality type. We use a process called Smart Colors which is based on the Myers Briggs Interest Inventory.
Smart Colors uses a four color system and each student goes through a self assessment process to identify a unique personality or temperament profile. This profile is used constantly throughout the Smart Work Ethics classes.


We have found that many of our youth do not know who they are and this translates into an inability to set goals and work toward positive futures. The Smart Color profiles help students identify their skills and lists many possible job or career opportunities. For the first time our students discover that they are good at something – in fact many things. By knowing what skills they naturally possess students can begin to select career goals that will fit with their talents and skills.


Students learn how to handle on-the-job stressors based on personality type. By understanding the Smart Colors philosophy students will be more successful on the job. Students learn that not everyone is like them. What was a frustration in the past becomes an acceptance of the different personality types.


Travis Jones’ experience demonstrates the power of knowing yourself.
He said that Smart Colors taught him about himself and other people.
Smart Colors gave him permission to be himself. Sometimes people would get upset when he asked “why?” He explained it was because he did not understand and he wanted to get it right. Travis now realizes that he needs to be more careful about other people’s feelings and he can be more careful about how he says things. Travis told us that he wants to be an accountant and plans to join the National Guard to pay for college. His motto: “Don’t accept anything less than success.”


Travis has had a such positive experience with Dearborn YMCA, he told us, “I really can’t have a bad day here because everyone is trying to help us all.” He likes to come on days when they do math. Even though he has passed the math portion he likes to help other students.


He wanted us to mention Ms. Mann one of the teachers at Dearborn who helped him with reading and writing. We want to congratulate Ms.
Barnes who was able to recognize that Travis is a smart talented and caring young man who has a great future ahead of him.

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