Legendary Leaders Are Like Butterflies

I just heard a little story recently that really grabbed me, and I wanted to share it with you, as it has powerful lessons that apply to leadership and life in general, and shows how strength comes after the struggle.

The Butterfly Story

A man was observing a butterfly trying to get out of its cocoon.  He noticed that it had been struggling for hours, so the man cut the cocoon open, making it easier for the butterfly to emerge.

The butterfly made its way out effortlessly but had an enlarged body and shriveled-up wings.  It fell to the ground.

As the man watched the butterfly crawl around, he kept waiting for it to fly.  But that never happened.  It spent the rest of its short life crawling around on the ground. 

Although he had the purest of intentions, he didn’t realize that as butterflies squeeze their way through the tiny opening, fluid is pushed out of the body and into the wings, so they would be full and strong and ready for flight.  

The struggle was an important part of the process and was precisely what was needed to give the butterfly a long and robust life.

When natural processes are interrupted, sometimes we do more harm than good.

Life Lessons

The butterfly story delivers a powerful message.  

Let’s face it, struggling isn’t easy.  We’ve all been there at one time or another, and probably wanted nothing more than for the struggle to be over.  But sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed in order for us to develop strength.

Great leaders know how to embrace the struggle. They have a belief system rooted in the idea that life is happening for them, not to them. They know that growth comes out of discomfort, and that strength doesn’t come easy.

They know how to loosen the reins and let their team operate autonomously, so they can discover their greatest strengths.  And they know how not to jump in and play the role of the first responder for everyone around them, as they may be disallowing others to stretch and grow in a new way.  

Sometimes the best thing we can do for others is to be a silent observer of their reality, and let nature and its magnificent processes govern.

Reflection Questions

In what ways can you reframe your struggles into growth opportunities?

Are there any areas of your life where you are jumping in and rescuing others?

What did you learn about yourself during your greatest struggles?

Embrace the struggle, my friends.

If you’d like me to help you turn your struggles into strength, click here