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I take my dogs out for a walk every morning, and the other day we came across a butterfly walking on the pavement. I couldn’t understand why it was walking when it had these big, gorgeous wings that it could use to fly anywhere.

It reminded me of a lot of my students.

So many of you are butterflies walking when you could be flying.

Some of you think that if you practice walking a little more – the old “I’m not ready yet” idea – that you’ll eventually feel ready to fly.

Sorry to break it to you, but getting better at walking won’t help you fly. You just have to try, and learn, and keep trying.

In this episode, you’ll hear more about the butterfly walking idea and how to figure out if you’re playing small and ignoring your wings.

You’ll have to give up who you are now and who you’ve been if you’re going to become the person you really want to be.

What you will discover

  • What I mean when I ask if you’re a butterfly walking.
  • Why you have to give up walking if you want to start flying the way you’re meant to.
  • How to tell if you’re walking when you could be flying.
  • Why you have to give up what’s been effective so far if you want to transform into the next version of yourself.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Well hello there my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. Did I lose some of you on the last couple? Did I lose you? I hope not. I hope you feel like now you have an escape button that you can pass through neutral whenever you want.

I think it’s so fascinating that language is the culprit. Language, thoughts, words cause all of our problems and cause all of our joy and cause all of our experience. It’s kind of fascinating when you just simplify it like that. So if you feel like you didn’t grasp the last two podcasts, please don’t hate me. Please don’t be mad. Please don’t think I’m weird. Stay with me, my friends.

I have some really powerful upcoming podcasts planned and I’m going to keep refining the way I’m teaching this to make it more usable and applicable to you so we can take it all to the next level. Because my goal is to keep evolving as a teacher so you guys can keep evolving as students.

There’s so much content that we have that we can study and apply and that we need to study and apply, and what I want to do is find different ways of teaching these main concepts in the world so that we can live truly into the lives that we want and not feel like we’re at the effect of our lives.

So in today’s podcast, I’m going to talk about butterflies walking. And for those of you who don’t know, I walk my dogs every day and I get up in the morning, I have a little coffee, I read, and then Rocket, my wild dog is like, ready to go. Rory would sleep in until noon, but again, it gets hot here in Dallas so we got to get going early in the morning in the summer.

So I throw them in the car and it’s hilarious you guys. I have this beautiful Tesla that has all pure white interior and that’s the reason I bought the car because I love white interior in a car. And I cover it up with a cover and dog beds and I throw the dogs in there. They have the whole backseat to themselves, and I drive literally a mile to our trail and then we go hiking.

So I pulled over to go hiking and you know, it is Dallas so when I say hiking, I’m really just walking on a shady trail. There’s not a hill in sight, so don’t get excited. But anyway, so I get out of the car and I look down into the road. I parked on the side of the road and there is this huge butterfly.

It has the most extraordinary, beautiful wings, and I mean, they’re huge. And he or she, it, the insect is walking on the pavement. Terribly. Butterflies do not walk well. Have you ever seen them try to walk around? It’s not their best thing. It’s definitely not their zone of genius, walking.

And I was fascinated and I just sat there, I pulled out my phone and took a video of it. And so if you go to you can see the video of this butterfly walking. But I was fascinated to look at it and think about how much it reminded me of so many of my students.

Here this butterfly has these big beautiful wings and it’s walking instead of flying. And it’s walking in the middle of the street. I don’t know if you guys feel this way, but I feel responsible for the entire universe and I feel like I need to let the butterfly know that it should fly away because cars are coming, and I feel like I should knock on the doors of the neighbors and that we should all have a committee and decide what to do about the butterfly. This is my control freakage-ness.

Where my husband is always like, I think nature can handle itself, it’s been doing fine without you, and I’m like no. But anyway, so I was watching this butterfly and I was wondering oh, maybe it can’t fly. Maybe it’s injured. Maybe that’s why it’s not. So I kind of walked towards it to see, and it let me get super close to it and then it flew away, and then it came back and started walking again.

And I was thinking about so many of you and one of the things that I do, I talk about this a lot is I spend a lot of time thinking about my students. I spend a lot of time thinking about very specific students that I’m working with. So right now I’m working really closely with my students who are trying to make 100K. I’m always working really closely with my students who are making a million or more, who are trying to get to that million mark.

And it’s of course all the same thing. All of us are doing is we’re butterflies trying to walk. And here’s the thing that’s so fascinating about this metaphor and I want you guys to stay with me and really think about this and use this as a touch point in your life.

Because this butterfly had such huge beautiful wings, it made it so it wasn’t good at walking. Its gorgeousness, its bigness, its ability to fly, its wings are what made it not good at walking. And I see so many of you guys doing this. You’re not good at walking. You’re not good at fitting in. You’re not good at doing what everyone around you is doing.

You’re not good anymore at doing what you used to do as a “caterpillar.” But you’re still trying to walk and you’re telling me that you’re not good and that you’re not worthy because you’re not good at walking. And what I say is well, fly. Try flying. You have to stop walking long enough in order to fly.

But here’s the thing; flying is scary when you haven’t done it before. Flying introduces falling, that being up in the sky and then falling. So it’s scarier. It’s different. It’s not familiar. It’s not a skill set. And so, so many of you want to keep walking until you know how to fly.

You say well, how do I fly? Give me instructions on how to fly. And what I keep saying is just try. Just try to fly. You won’t be good at it at first, but stop trying to walk better. Stop trying to get better at walking before you fly, and here’s why.

Getting better at walking doesn’t make you a better flier. You can be the perfect walker, you can get straight As in walking. That butterfly could be the best runner, walker, whatever. It’s not going to make him better at flying. He’s got to fly to get good at flying.

And so if you hear yourself telling me this, I’m not ready yet, I need to get better walking first, I’m not ready yet, I want you to hear how illogical that is. You’re not going to get better at walking because you have big huge wings. You are meant to be flying.

The reason you’re having such trouble doing what you’re doing now is because it’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to be flying. And the more you work on walking, the less opportunity you have to fly and you don’t get any better at flying. The only way to get better at flying is to fly.

Now, here’s what’s true. I’m always saying this. I mean, I can’t even tell you guys how many times I say this to my students, and I think some of them get it intellectually. You have to give up who you are to be who you want to be. You have to give up walking in order to fly.

And if you’ve spent a lot of time getting really good at walking, you’re not going to want to give it up because you’re going to feel like you’re good at it. You’re going to feel like you’re the best at that thing. But I want you to look at this video of this butterfly walking. It’s silly. It’s not what it’s meant to be doing.

And so in order to give it up, in order to think about the concept, the metaphor of how long the caterpillar gets to walk and how good it is at walking and then what it does about flying and how embarrassingly awkward it is to fly in the beginning. You can’t fly very high, you’re not very good at it, you got these big old wings, you don’t really know how to use them.

You’re walking on the cement as a butterfly thinking that you’re not good enough to fly, like, seriously. So I want to give you some indicators if you are a butterfly walking, and I want you to admit it to yourself if you are. Here’s how you know.

If you are struggling and trying to hustle your way through the struggle, I want you to imagine yourself trying to, as a butterfly, walk harder. It’s not going to work. It’s going to be exhausting. You got to balance those wings. You got to keep walking. You got to keep those wings up above you without flying.

It’s like, painful for the butterfly not to be flying. So is that you? Are you hustling and pushing and getting more and more exhausted and not getting anywhere? You’re probably a butterfly walking.

Are you trying to fit in with everybody else who’s walking around you? Are you trying to hide your wings? I want you to imagine that you have these huge butterfly wings and you’re like, what? Nothing. You’re like, walking around with all the caterpillars, you’re like, don’t notice those, don’t look at them.

It’s kind of like what I talked about on the podcast about lying about money. It’s like, pretending that you don’t have what you have, pretending you’re not doing what you’re doing, pretending that you don’t have wings. We can see them. We can see your wings. We know that they’re there and they’re making you awkward as a walker if you should be flying.

Are you only focusing on past? On the past or your immediate future instead of flying up and getting an overhead view? So I want you to think about if you’re a butterfly walking, you can only see what’s directly in front of you or right directly behind you instead of getting that aerial view. Instead of being able to see the really big picture.

And understand yes, the risk of falling out of the sky is big, but it’s so much better than walking. It’s so worth it. To stay within this metaphor, are you afraid of falling? Are you using the concept that I taught you in being anti-fragile to use falling as one of the ways to get better at flying? Or are you just avoiding falling altogether?

That’s how you know if you’re a butterfly walking. Do you have a false identity? Do you have an image of yourself that isn’t accurate? Are you walking around with your wings, pretending that they’re not there? Do you feel awkward in your life because you know that you are meant for bigger things?

I remember – I’ve told this story I think once on the podcast before. A long time ago. But I remember being in the car. I was going to Santa Clara University and I was in the car with my friends. We were all going to Utah. I think we were going skiing. And I remember looking at them and thinking – I wasn’t just thinking it. I said it.

I’m like, aren’t you guys so excited for what your life’s going to be? Can you feel the bigness of it? And I remember they were like, no, what? They thought I was so weird. And I remember after that like, toning myself down. Not trying to be so overt about this image that I had for my life, this identity that I had for myself, this concept that I had about having these big old wings. I tried to hide them, which did not work very well.

It’s painful. It’s awkward. And I always felt out of place. I always felt like I was walking around when I should have been flying. And by the way, I think there are lots of other people bumping into each other because here’s the thing; all caterpillars become butterflies. So at some point, we’re doing this all to ourselves.

But I remember trying to hide that about myself. I tried to hide that knowing from myself. Are you someone who justifies not flying? Who’s like, making up reasons why you can’t do it or why you can’t do it now, or are you saying things like well, that’s just not realistic? Or I have more important things to do, or success doesn’t matter to me, or that was a dream, or that opportunity has passed me by.

If you’re doing that, you are the butterfly walking. Any of you who are trying to hide your wings by not flying, by not soaring. And listen, I think for so many of us, it feels scary and it feels weird to all of a sudden recognize that you’re not effective at what you used to be effective at.

I was just having this conversation with my friend Kris. She’s doing some transitioning stuff in her business and I had to remind her, I said listen, everything you’re good at right now, all the things that have gotten you here, all of the skills that you have, the way that everyone’s responded to you, the way that you’ve taught has gotten you to this point.

You are the very best caterpillar you can possibly be in this area. You can’t be any better. You can’t get any better walking now. Now you got to fly. And the truth is you can’t rely on anything that you’ve learned about walking in order to fly. In fact, you have to let go of all of what you’ve learned and be a beginner again in order to fly.

Now, you can try to keep walking with your wings on but you’re going to look like this butterfly. You’re going to look like a butterfly walking and it’s not going to work. Now, one of the things that she said to me – by the way, she did watch The Matrix so thank you for pressuring her, you all.

But what she did say to me is she’s like, I feel like I’ve taken the red pill and now you can’t go back. The butterfly can’t ever be the caterpillar again. Even if it was like oh no, I liked that better, I don’t need to fly, you can’t. You can’t go back. You can’t unknow what you now know. You can’t de-transform yourself. You can’t de-volve yourself no matter how hard you try.

And I have to say, I think that is truly challenging for so many of us because it’s exhausting to imagine that we have peaked out at this stage that we’re at. We have gotten to the place where there is no more evolvement until we completely transform ourselves.

And transforming ourselves isn’t getting better at something. It isn’t incremental improvement. A lot of the self-help books that you read or a lot of the coaches that you’ll talk to that aren’t LCS coaches will talk to you about making these incremental improvements. And that’s fine if you don’t want to completely evolve yourself to the next level.

But if you’re ready to transform, if you’re ready to release what was and go into the possibility, that is the process that you have to go through. That is the metamorphosis that you have to do.

I remember learning about this. One of my teachers was teaching me about the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and what she was saying is that the caterpillar completely dissolves into a liquid before it comes a butterfly. It doesn’t just sprout some wings. It liquifies first.

And it’s a lot about releasing what you’ve been even though it’s been super effective, even though it has gotten you this far, even though you get approval and you win and you fit in. Are you going to then become the butterfly that flies or are you only willing to grow your wings and keep walking?

And I’m going to start using this term with you guys. I’m going to be like, are you a butterfly walking right now? There’s a book called The Big Leap. I think it’s Hendricks that wrote it. Gay Hendricks that wrote it. And it talks about how we get to these upper limit problems and we don’t bust through them. We don’t expand ourselves into that next version of ourselves and we in fact sabotage ourselves to keep ourselves on the ground walking.

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