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SELF-COACHING EXPERIMENT: Rebecca's Nepal Mount Everest Trekking Diary 15/19: SHOW ONE'S TRUE COLORS

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

"To show one's true colors" is a German saying and means as much as: confess to one thing or to openly say your opinion. The expression comes from card plays and has been common since the 18th century.

In Nepal we find many color confessions. Every few kilometers we discover a prayer stone with mantras, prayer stone or flag in many beautiful colors. They are usually on suspension bridges or so called stupas. This is a Buddhist structure, usually on a hill or cairn, and symbolizes the Buddha himself and his teachings, the Dharma. The tip of the structure shows the eyes of Buddha. If you see a stupa, believers go left around, turn the prayer drum left direction and murmur a mantra.

The prayer colors have a certain meaning, like everything here. They will be exposed to the wind by believers so that their prayers will be brought to all heaven direction. These flags are found in the area of Tibetan culture, in Himalayas including the entire Tibetan plateau and partly in neighboring regions, at every mountain pass and at every summit. Usually, with the order of left to right or with star hung flags from inside to outwards in the colors blue, white, red, green and yellow. The number five plays a central role in Buddhism and embodies the four directions as well as the center (stupa).

The colors all symbolize another element: - Blue for heaven (space, emptiness), embodies reliability - White for air (the clouds, wind), embodies wisdom - Red for fire, embodies compassion - Green for water, embodies fearlessness - Yellow for earth, embodies equanimity (more at:

Everywhere, in every tea-house or door entrances we discover these flags and colors. It's an open color commitment. A commitment to faith, values and attitudes. As if they would say: "Look, I confess to reliability, wisdom, compassion, fearlessness and equanimity. I live and strive for these values, open and visible to everyone."

How many people do you know who always openly confess and "show one's true colors" in life? I often meet executives who do not have the courage to show their true colors because they are afraid to lose their job or to risk too much if they openly say their opinion. In our coaching they tell me that instead they "play" a role as expected from the company and hide their true values or even bend themselves. And very often they are unhappy with that.

But what if these managers would actually trust themselves to show their true colors openly, say their opinion, openly express their values and attitudes? Would that be so bad? Yes, that requires courage and perhaps a certain risk-taking. But wouldn't it be a huge relief to finally live and work authentically? No longer a need to bend into a role, but to do tasks out of conviction? Maybe this would even make them happier... And who says that businesses always want their people to bend themselves into someone else? Perhaps it would also be much better for them if one shows oneself authentically and not "playing" something that doesn't really fit. This way one seems to be much more reliable, more honest and perhaps the work and cooperation is even much more productive. But employers often do not know what someone really stands for and what the values are if one does not show it openly and expresses it. So maybe it's worth openly showing one's true colors...

And after, if the values do not fit at all, this is a great opportunity for constructive criticism, a chance to change, development or perhaps a job switch within the company. And if that all doesn't help anything, you should honestly ask yourself if this is the right employer...

Hand to heart! Where in your life you really can always show your true colors, or maybe you play a "role"...???

* (reference: Wikipedia)

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