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Leadership Coaching with Colours

A friend of mine who is a shaman, a healer and a world class didgeridoo player told me a story about the importance of being my most authentic self and letting go of needing to please others or seek their approval. I often tell this story when leadership coaching with clients. It begins with 3 colours: green, yellow and orange.
The green represents when someone really gets who you are, it’s the people you click with. They see and know who you are at your best and worst and they really like you, heck they probably love you. Think of your best friend, chances are you two are green for each other (or at least I hope so). I really like Oprah, I’m green for Oprah…I’m a fan and I like who she is. She doesn’t know me, but if she did, I think she’d be a green for me too! These people are your tribe, they believe in you, will advocate and support you, they are your fans.

Orange represents people that really don’t get you, perhaps they even dislike or hate you. They reject you or your message. Often people feel this way about politicians like Obama or David Cameron, and some people may feel that way about you…but only if they really get to see who you are. Not surprisingly, these people are not your tribe…they belong in someone else’s tribe.

And then there is yellow, which is pretty neutral. Yellow represents when people are uninvested in you but they like you well enough. This happens mostly when we are playing it safe and trying to please people and seek their approval. We may tone down our viewpoint to be more appeasing, or alter ourselves in appearance, opinions or other ways that mean we fit in to those around us. These people are not our tribe and we are not theirs…and we don’t get to find our tribe if we are creating yellow. It is safe here, but it is not authentic.

I thought for a moment. I don’t like oranges because I like to be liked and I work hard to avoid rejection. I like greens…who doesn’t? Yet I see where I have created yellow in my life, a lot of safe comfortable yellow.

My friend then said “Rachel, the point of life is to get rid of yellow”.