One day a caterpillar decided that he was sick and tired of crawling. It was time for him to fly! So he jumped...
off a tree branch, tumbled through the air and landed with a thud in a pile of decomposing leaves and snarled tree branches. (The caterpillar-supply store had no parachutes in stock so he had decided to wing it.)
"Ouch! That was painful," the caterpillar exclaimed. "I thought if I dreamed big and had courage and took action all of my wildest dreams would come true."
Fortunately -- just at that moment -- a friendly butterfly alighted on the branch next to him and asked what had happened.
"Well, I had decided that I was really going to make a change in my life and stop walking in circles at the ground-floor level so I jumped off this tree," the caterpillar explained.
"But caterpillars don't fly, they crawl," the butterfly kindly replied.
"So I'm just hopeless!" the caterpillar moaned. "I'm destined to crawl all the days of my life."
"You're not hopeless if you're willing to change who you are, not just what you do," the butterfly said. "I used to be a caterpillar too."
"Really?!" the caterpillar replied with a gasp of disbelief.
"Really," the butterfly said with a kind bend of her antennae.
"So what happened?" the caterpillar prodded. "How do I become like you?"
"Well, you'll need to take some time away from the hustle-and-bustle of forest life so you can shed your caterpillar skin and develop your new form," the butterfly began. "Then, once you've experienced the inner healing and transformation, you'll need to struggle to shed the cocoon so you can fly free."
"I understand the part about having some rest while I change inside and outside," the caterpillar said earnestly. "But why do I need to struggle to get out? Shouldn't cocoons have a zipper or an emergency exit door as required by federal insect law?"
"I appreciate your ingenuity," the butterfly said with another flick of her antennae. "But you must struggle to get out of the cocoon because that strengthens your wings and allows them to develop properly. Without the challenge of getting free, you would have wings but no strength to experience the benefits of your new form."
"Hhhhhmmmm...... This is quite a bit to think about," the caterpillar said with a wrinkled brow. "This process of inner transformation and then outer strengthening sounds like a ton of work. But I don't want to give up on my dreams and continued skydiving attempts don't seem like a great option so maybe this butterfly deal is worth a try."
How about you?
Have you been a skydiving caterpillar who keeps getting hurt from the impact of trying to change your actions without first trying to change yourself?
Or have you been surrendering to the uncomfortable process of true transformation that looks different than normal, feels wrong based on your past experience, and yet is the way to revealing your new true self?
If you've undergone the inner transformation, have you stayed stuck there in a place of weakness?
Or have you also strengthened the external skills to support and manifest your new power and abilities in your outer environment?
Take a bit of time to ponder these questions. Your answers could lead to a future far better than you dreamed possible!
About Real Life E®
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through training programs.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review recently published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Lifehacker, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and the 99U blog on productivity for creative professionals and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.