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In a talk back in 2012 titled ‘Butterfly’s & Diamond’s‘, I discussed the importance of “Being open to change .” I compared the transformative process that success put you through to the lifecycle of a butterfly. It’s an ancient idea, one that I was borrowing and combining with the metaphor of the change that coal (or rather carbon) must go through to become a diamond.

Transformation was the theme of our last team Getaway, so it’s very present form e right now. While the word ‘metamorphosis’ actually speaks to the transformational process powerfully, i.e. metamorphose: a major change from one form to another, to change in an important and obvious way into something that is very different – the word ‘transformation’ is more commonly used. A transformation is a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form or character. Like the change from coal to diamond.

Now coal is cheap and plentiful, but diamonds are rare and valuable. A wealthy and highly successful friend once said that so many people draw back from the rich abundance available to them because of the fear of the unknown that arises with the changes they must undergo. Millions of people lose out and never achieve the life they dream of, fearing the unknown that entering the process of transformation requires.

As change is the only consistent thing you can absolutely depend on, in life you may be surprised to discover where that concept arose. Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 BC – 475 BC) was a Greek philosopher, famous for his insistence on ever-present change being central to the universe. While you may not have heard of Heraclitus you may have heard his saying, “The only thing that is constant is change”.

As with other pre-Socratics, his writings survive only in fragments quoted by other philosophers. For instance Plato quoted his “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” Herakleitos once said “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” And it is to this process of Transformation that I want to speak.

It’s Your Transformation

As with the butterfly, if you want to fly, you must flap your own wings. “Everyone is like a butterfly”, Drew Barrymore once said. “They start out ugly and awkward an then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves.” In my talk I pointed out that butterflies do not rile against the laws of nature, they use the power of high numbers when they lay thousands of eggs, to ensure their species survival. Their life is short, so they count moments, not months, and they make the most of every moment.

The parent makes sure they lay their eggs (imagine this being you planting the seed of your idea in the mind of another) in an environment that allows for best growth. They have to depend on the forces of nature to ensue, so they choose a place that gives time and positive opportunity for the egg to hatch. Butterfly eggs are very vulnerable, and so are your dreams. Nature’s predators are always around, so make sure you protect your growing idea from the dream-stealers.

Change Is Inevitable

New life emerges, and eggs hatch in their own time. Likewise you must use the law of high numbers to ensure your success, and choose the best environment to be planting seeds of belief, hope, and excitement for the future, not worry and doubt. The law of high numbers refers to the number of contacts you must make, the amount of no’s you get in business, before you get to the yes’s. And to keep going because the number of yes’s you must work with to get those who have the strength to make the transformation.

It is simply a matter of understanding the process. Because what comes from those tiny butterfly eggs is a caterpillar, and as Buckminster Fuller once said “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” There is nothing that can tell you what stamina is in any individual, no matter what they might say. Success depends on what they (and you) do, not what you say.

Chuang Tzu said “I do not know whether I was than a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.” Being able to manage the Transformation with all your wits intact, takes courage and the ability to accept change as it occurs.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” And so it is with successful, wealthy individuals. People usually overlook the effort and intention it took for them to make the change, They are not interested in and do not realise the energy required for the metamorphosis to be completed. [Editor: see explanation of growth of Diamonds at end]

How Can I Change?

“How can I make the changes? How does one become a butterfly?” people often ask. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar”, is the answer. Empowering yourself to a greater vision will feel like you are begin stretched. Because you are! Developing the key reason why you want your life to be different requires focus, concentration and imagination.

But remember, transformation is about you achieving the life you desire. Hans Christian Anderson wrote: “Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” Ad so it is with you. My question back in the 2012 talk, and to you here now, is “What does freedom look like to you?”

Remember however, that it’s the caterpillar that does all the work in transformation, while the butterfly gets all the publicity. The caterpillar works away quietly in the background, imbibing energy and growing,  growing, growing, and often does not move far afield from where he was hatched. The caterpillar works away quietly and unseen in the background before binding itself up, going within and ‘voila’ the butterfly emerges, still wet and unable to fly at first.

The butterfly sits quietly on the branch it’s alter-ego the caterpillar has chosen, and must strengthen itself, force blood into it’s wings and dry itself in the sun before it can fly far away. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou.

So in the process of transformation, you have the ability to enjoy the journey. To observe the changes within and without, your journey has only just begun. Be grateful for the power and beauty of the world, of your supportive and caring supper team. Be willing to bring this transformation into other people’s hearts, minds, bodies, wallets and lives.

When people ask me why I keep doing what I do, I try to explain I do it out of gratitude. Yes I have to endure the same hurts, rejections, put-downs and people’s general ‘humanity at large’ negative attitudes, as I go about my day. But I know that if I am able to endure the process, if I work with understanding rather than react from a lifetime of conditioning, I can help just a few more people transform themselves, and therefore transform their life, and the lives of their loved ones as well.

I do it because of the blessings we can each be to one-another, as we stretch and grow. And as we teach ourselves and then others to stretch and grow – transformation occurs.

It’s worth it!


The following poem “Transformation” speaks to this process, and I’d like to thank Meg for sharing it with us.

It will not always feel good,
This growing.
This stretching beyond the boundaries of the known,
The comfortable.

It will not always feel safe,
This learning and relearning of your own abilities
This reexamining of beliefs
This pushing of envelopes
This breaking through enclosing walls.

You will shiver.

You will doubt.

You will want to run home.

Back behind walls of safety.

This walk to the edge will not
Feel good, safe, or comfortable,
But there is no faster way to learn.
There is no other way to grow.

So step out.
Leave your home base
Your comfort zone
Your cocoon

Acknowledge the fear and discomfort

But step out all the same.

With each step you take,
Your world expands
Your caterpillar mind will
Strain to comprehend the unbounded vastness of the sky.

Step out.


Unfurl your wings.


====== Info on Diamonds

DID YOU KNOW: The conversion of carbon/coal to diamonds is a natural process that takes millions and millions of years.  Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometers (87 to 118 mi) in the Earth’s mantle. Carbon-containing minerals rather than coal provide the carbon source, the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth), and they are brought close to the Earth′s surface through deep volcanic eruptions.

====== For more on change:

Gandhi, who led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world,  said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I love Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophies, and am especially touched and motived by “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” For more tips from Gandhi read Edberg’s: 10 Rules For Changing The World

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