Where did I put my butterflies?

A monarch butterfly resting on a flower.

Do you know where you put your butterflies? I recently planned some nervousness. I don’t mean that I don’t usually get nervous. I mean that I intentionally did some things which I knew would make me feel nervous. And I thought about the idea of getting your butterflies flying in formation (Lisa Feldman Barrett, talking to Adam Grant on Re:thinking; “you have more control over your emotions than you think”).

It occurred to me that whilst the idea of getting your nerves working for you, not against you, is great, sometimes you need to find the nerves first! When we get comfortable in a role or in a situation it is easy to stay in that space. Becoming  expert can even prevent us acknowledging areas of weakness or risking actions which could make us look less experienced.

So I’ve tested unfamiliar technology, with varying degrees of success. I’ve participated in a style of activity using an approach I was uncomfortable with, and it gave me unexpected motivation. I have joined discussions with uncertainty about where they might lead, and await the possible opportunities.

In each experience I have thought about my anxiety, and the benefits of my butterflies. They are telling me about new territory, reminding me to let go of my ego more often, and monitoring the practice I’m putting in.

What are you doing with your butterflies?

  • Are you exercising them or looking to achieve that formation pattern?
  • How has it felt?
  • What are your butterflies telling you?
  • Who are your cheerleaders?
  • Who are the advice givers?

If you are currently exercising your butterflies good for you! We often judge ourselves (and others) by outputs. This article celebrates the learning involved in giving things a go, with all the nervousness that goes with uncertainty about the result. Now all I have to do is press “submit” on this article…..


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