When I first read this quote, for a split second before I remembered how butterflies came to be (give me a break, I have 4 kids and 2 dogs. I haven’t slept since 2010. Sometimes it takes me a minute!!) I thought it referred to the butterflies you get in your tummy when something is new and exciting. And in fact, without change, there would be none of that kind either.
Change can be painful, and scary. It can also be exhilarating and exciting. It can bring with it new opportunities and teach you things you’d never learn about yourself otherwise.
Our brains are hardwired to keep us in our comfort zones. It’s an evolutionary leftover from the ages where we needed to operate within the “known” to avoid becoming the breakfast of something with bigger teeth than us.
That anxious feeling you get when change is on the horizon? It doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong. It means you’re doing something new. You gotta learn to ignore your inner cave-lady (or man) and push through it.
My life has been full of change. We moved countries when I was 13, then we moved cities 3 months after that. I have lived in 4 different cities since then and had all sorts of jobs, and homes and cars.
You’d think I’d cruise through change like a pro.
I do not.
But, what is the alternative?
It’s a question Brent asked me a few years ago when I was unexpectedly offered a new job with a new company. It was a huge step up for me, and I was finding myself bored more and more in the role I was in at the time.
I told him I was scared and didn’t know if I was going to take it and he asked me what the alternative was.
The alternative was that I stay in a job that I had outgrown and I wonder forever what might have been if I had been brave enough to take the step towards my dream career.
It changed my focus. Instead of worrying about the unknown that this change would bring, I focussed on what I did know. I did know that staying in the job I was in because it was the comfortable option wouldn’t make me happy.
I apply it now whenever the change anxiety is real.
I don’t know what stepping outside of my comfort zone is going to bring, but I know what staying within it will. And I choose the butterflies. Every single time!