In business and in life, a passion for me, and something I never grow tired of, is the transformation of an individual as they become confident in who they are, their uniqueness and their purpose. As the light comes on in terms of what they can do, achieve and contribute to the culture they are part of.

This transformation often happens as a result of pressure and stress. Our immediate reaction to pressure and stress is a desire to get out of it. But what if that challenge or pressure is key to what we are to become?

A few years ago, I heard a story. A man who lived in an eastern country came across the cocoon of an emperor moth. He took the cocoon home and put it in a container to see what might happen. Sure enough, after a few days, a small hole appeared at the base of the cocoon, and the moth started to emerge. It seemed to take forever to emerge. Hours later only its head and part of its body had appeared and it seemed to be stuck. The man watching decided to give the emerging moth some help and made a cut that widened the hole. The moth came out of its cocoon easily. Unfortunately, its wings were misshapen and it was unable to fly. It died soon after.

The hole, although small, was crucial to what the moth was becoming. For the wings to form properly the moth had to emerge through a small hole. It was part of the process of its transformation.

We often want to cut painful and challenging times short. But the most important lessons I have learnt in life have been forged in adversity. We deceive ourselves into thinking that this kind of pain serves no purpose, that if everything was comfortable we would be fine. We need to accept that this thinking is flawed. The strongest materials are made from heat and pressure. Think about the diamond for instance, without the heat and pressure it would still be the coal it once was.

Maybe in the midst of life’s challenges we need to change our view. Lean into the adversity, get the help and advice we need, but go through the process of transformation. The questions we ask in the process will determine how well we go through it. Transformation is about change, and change by its very definition is uncomfortable. As we move into periods of transition as we have this year, the uncertainty and pressure can cause us to doubt whether we will make it through.

Yet these challenges and pressures are the very things that will cause our transformation. We will, if we endure, be more able to and more equipped to deal with things we weren’t able to before. We will discover hidden reservoirs of strength within ourselves that we didn’t know were there.

We all need help and support as we go through these times but taking away the pressure may actually mean that we don’t become all that we could be. If you want to be a diamond then you will need to withstand the heat and pressure that produces them.

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

Have a good break. Stay Safe.

Picture of Mark Billage

Mark Billage

Mark’s passion is to help realise individuals’ potential, be they leaders or team members, through empowering organisational culture. He has spent 7 years leading an organisation based in the non profit sector. In that time, he focused on creating a culture that enabled and empowered individuals, with the aim of seeing a high performing team better able to achieve the organisation’s mission.

Our Vision

To train and equip leaders to transform culture, build successful teams and organisations where everyone is seen, heard and valued for their unique contribution.

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