I’m not one for inspirational or motivational speakers.

I’m not one for inspirational or motivational speakers.

And if they’ve written a book – forget it. No way. Nope. The authors of such books always have that manufactured look about them. Perhaps I’m just too cynical, but I just don’t trust them.

But Candy Whirley... here’s someone I found myself liking quite a bit when I met her last week.

Whirley, a former Kansas City Chiefs Chiefette, has written a little book called “It Takes 4 to Tango.” It’s 72 pages. And her photograph shows a pleasant, unassuming and humble person that I felt I could trust – or at the very least tolerate for an hour.

She spoke at last week’s Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce luncheon. When she took the stage, I felt I knew what she was going to say: be positive, be grateful, be everything you’ve always wanted to be – and then join the United States Army.

Surprisingly that’s not what she said. She was funny and quirky, and her message (what I felt was her message) was more about the ingredients that make life with people a bit difficult at times but also the same things that bring people together.

The key, she suggests, is recognizing that there are four distinct personality types and corresponding traits: there’s the chameleon, or risk taker, the one that loves change, the one that talks a lot and likes to work with people.

Then there’s the lion, or leader, the one that makes quick decisions, loves organization, getting to the bottom line.

The lamb is open-minded, great at working with a team, helping others, making peace.

And last, but certainly not least because I’m one of them, is the owl – task and detail-oriented, thorough, list-loving, a bit solitary and not so much a team player.

So everyone broke up into groups and made lists. We did what owls don’t like to do – make enemies, ruffle feathers. In this case, we had to identify our animal adversary, which is the chameleon.

And for whatever reason, the group chose me to be the speaker, which is no small feat. I’m shy most of the time, a bit reluctant to reveal myself. I wanted to say no. After all, Todd Pelham, assistant city administrator for the city, was in our group – he’s used to the attention and has appeared on television, for goodness sakes.

So I said: “We owls do not like the chameleons.” Why? “They change just for the sake of change.”

For the next half hour or so, we jotted down what we thought were our best and worst traits; we guessed which animal was our adversary (we guessed right, as did they); and we explained what it takes to communicate and reach us in the real world.

A lot of the information I knew already (just like an owl, I know).

For instance, I knew almost immediately where Mayor Carson Ross would stand – with the other lions, of course, where, of course, he served as spokesperson.

But the various techniques in how to deal with other people – that was a bit new for me, and I learned how to better communicate with people who aren’t like me, and I learned how to recognize personality traits and how they could benefit me.

When I finished making a fool out of myself, Candy even gave me a free copy of her book – and I’ve read it. It’s the first time I’ve read such a book.

I even like its tag line, and I can’t believe that I agree with it so much that I actually use it in public.

“People are not difficult, just different.”

In the end, I like being an owl; out of the four animal types, we have the best view, after all.

For more information about the author, visit www.candywhirley.com.