Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Symbol for Change and Transition

The butterfly is a life symbol for change and transition.  When I was a student with Martha Beck we used the analogy of the butterfly to learn our coaching tools.  The little caterpillar (client) is moving along happy in the world and then BOOM chaos hits (change for the client) and they feel the need to build a cocoon (work in a safe place).  Once they are in the cocoon their little bodies melt down into goo and that goo reorganizes into a butterfly (client works on limiting beliefs).  The butterfly struggles to free itself from its cocoon (client struggles with the new dream) and emerges bright, beautiful and winged (client changes).   We imagine the beautiful butterfly taking flight into a new world of hope and possibilities (client lives their new dream).  I do love butterflies and I love how they transition but this analogy for coaching clients just did not click with me.  Why?  It just wasn’t messy enough.  I chose the frog and here is why.
Frogs are born as tadpoles.  Tadpoles are like little fish with gills and tails.  For the first few days of life they hide from predators by living in muddy waters.  When my clients first start working with me they too are swimming in muddy waters.  They have no idea where they are going.  It is muddy and it is messy just like real life.
Tadpole growth depends on the tadpole but at about six weeks their tails grow longer so that they can swim out of the muddy waters and start looking for food.  That sounds about right.  It takes about 4-6 weeks before my clients are ready to start swimming out of muddy waters to look for food that feeds their souls.  At this point in the tadpoles life they begin to grow back legs.  Now, here is what I want you to understand... the tadpole is aware they are growing legs.  They are not in some cocoon safe and sound in a trance like goo coma.  Nope, they look back one day at their tails and say “what they hell is that? OMG, it is a leg growing!  Where did that come from?”
Next and in no short order the little tadpole is completely aware of new changes like new front legs, eyelids, thicker skin, bones, teeth and a disappearing tail.  The biggest change is trading gills for lungs.  From breathing muddy waters to fresh clean air.  Through coaching my clients learn how to STOP and breath.  Now, I am not a tadpole but I image that all these changes are painful.  My clients experience painful changes too.  It is muddy, dirty, messy and necessary. 
When all the necessary changes are made the adult frog hops onto land.  A promise land full of sunlight and bugs.  Hey, it’s a frogs dream.  When my clients have made their necessary changes they too hop into a land full of potential, promise and dreams.  Occasionally frogs will jump in muddy waters and swim around but they don’t stay there long.  Occasionally my clients will go skinny dipping into muddy waters but just like the frog they don’t stay there long.  Why?  Because when change occurs they have coaching tools that will help them hop back into their playfulness, potential, promise and dreams.
So now you know why frogs are plastered all over my web site, Facebook page, Twitter account and worksheets. 
Play Well!