Until a few weeks back, the butterfly to me was just another insect albeit sometimes beautiful. I never really gave much thought to it. But all that changed after I went for a leadership course. My entire perspective of this little creature changed. Butterflies are natures way of telling us that behind everything beautiful, there is struggle which can be overcome with hope, optimism and courage. It is typical of we humans to associate beauty or success with luck but what we often forget or not visible at the surface is the hard work and struggle that has gone in to create the finished product.
Every year at the start we all come up with resolutions to change ourselves as well as the world around us. The first few months tend to disappear due to procrastination assuming there is still enough time available. Before we know the year is coming to an end soon. What seemed originally as a realistic and achievable goal now suddenly becomes a big mountain and impossible to achieve. Typical responses include either compromising goals what we originally set out to achieve or give up entirely and perhaps hope we can start fresh on it next year. This little image I recieved through WhatsApp beautifully captures the gist of my message
Does this resonate with you? Have you ever wondered what is the difference between the minority few who manage to achieve their goals what they set out for while the majority end up not achieving it? The general success factors often attributed to people who achieve their goals include focus, perseverance, commitment, hardwork, passion etc..The funny part is for most of us if we were to reflect back on these attributes, we will be able to relate with them. Perhaps we can even identify instances in our own life when we excelled in one or more of these attributes. Why are we not able to employ these attributes at will now? What is stopping us from moving ahead with our goals now?
The reason is we often tend to focus more on the HOW and either seldom or not enough on the WHY. The answer lies in the question WHY. Once we understand Why we want to do something, the success attributes follows. The Why feeds the success attributes and keeps it alive to accomplish the goal. Many a times, people assume they understand the Why for their goal. However, if the Why is only superficial, it will not be able to feed the success attributes long enough to sustain them. On the other hand, the deeper you can get into the Why, more gigantic the success attributes manifests into. Let me share with you an example to illustrate my point.
Many people often have weight reduction as one of their goals. To achieve this goal, they come up with a list of items to focus on for eg, going for a jog every morning, joining the gym, stay on a diet plan, buying advanced fitness trackers etc. While they start on all this with great deal of enthusiasm, it eventually dies off in a couple of week or month’s time. The reason being their actions were initially driven by superficial Whys (for eg, to recieve compliments, show off to friends and colleagues, to be able to fit into a certain dress, follow the band wagon because friends are also into it etc) and not an authentic, strong Why (eg. impending health reasons, a promise to be upheld for someone special, innate desire to look good or pursue adventure etc).
Now the question is how to get deeper to identify our stronger, authentic and unique Whys. This can be done by improving our own self awareness. For each person, this journey will be unique. For some this would mean spending more time reflecting about oneself, understanding one’s thoughts and actions and the link between the two. For some it could mean taking up meditation, yoga and other similar activities that help calm the mind and focus thinking. For some this could mean hiring a coach who can facilitate the self awareness and the reflection process to help you identify your unique Whys as well as the change management process.
Consider a butterfly: the butterfly begins its life going through stages of growth and transformation. It begins as a larva, then a pupa, and then it becomes the familiar caterpillar. I’m sure you’ve delighted, as I have, in the process of metamorphosis as a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly, ready to spread its glorious wings and fly. Now here is what’s important thing to learn: the caterpillar does not change its outward appearance alone—it does not disguise itself as a butterfly; it does not turn into something it was not—it experiences transformation/metamorphosis!
Similarly, whatever name we chose to give our creator, the important thing to understand is that we have been created on this earth with a unique purpose, a purpose that is often not always obvious to everyone. We may not always understand the reason behind the challenges and the struggles that we face every other day. But what is important is to listen to and follow our heart and not shy away from the changes that the heart desires. Perhaps who knows, what if that change you are avoiding, is the one that gives you wings? Embrace change and Dare to become the butterfly!!!