transformational leadership

This page is dedicated as the notes to the training: Transformational Leadership—the stages of seeking, shedding and soaring.


‘It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.’

-Cheryl Strayed

I had experienced burnout, talked about, trained and taught and found my footing after a few years of faltering. I felt like I cured the symptom and was still sick with the symptoms. I wasn’t burned out anymore, but also, I didn’t care–I felt less stress, because I felt less. My heart was not healed, it was healed over and that is not the same thing. I kept trying to feel better in a way I recognized and it wasn’t working because I didn’t understand that metamorphosis only went forward. I didn’t understand that the only way forward was to tell the truth, all of it, and not the truth about anyone else, the truth about my life, me; who I wished I was and who I knew I really was.

What do you fear is true about yourself?

‘Gods suppressed become devils, and often it is these devils whom we first encounter when we turn inward.’

-Joseph Campbell

The caterpillar.

  • only sees whats in front of them.
  • consume from the moment they hatch.
  • do not have a heart, they have a dorsal vessel that acts like a heart pumping fluid into their body.
  • shed their skin many times as they grow.
  • the most dangerous stage for predators.
  • get to the highest ground they can to craft their chrysalis, it is made of their last shedding.

the cocoon.

  • caterpillars go in alone and come out alone
  • caterpillars can’t come out before they are ready
  • butterflies cannot survive until all their caterpillar legs are dissolved
  • the strength it takes to come out of the cocoon is the strength needed to live in the air 
  • the transformation uses so much energy the caterpillar loses half its weight
  • everything dissolves and is remade: butterflies emerge seeing with new eyes. 

the butterfly

  • will always remember what it felt like to be a caterpillar 
  • can talk about leaves and be understood— by other butterflies. 
  • cannot live in the dirt again 
  • do not consume, they no longer grow—they lay eggs. 
  • are sensitive to the condition of their wings because they will not heal if they are wounded .
  • have a heart in their wings that moderates temperature and blood flow.
  • have a complex mechanical sensors in their wings that provide real time feedback. 
  • have hearts that go the full length of their body. 
  • have four wings that move in a figure eight pattern when they fly.
  • lay eggs as their main purpose.

Ten Transformational Truths

  1. You may think you are afraid to go into the next stage but you may be there already. You may be afraid to go in the cocoon, but you may also be afraid to come out. 
  2. Be who you are, where you are. There are 20,000 butterfly species. A cabbage white caterpillar will never become a monarch butterfly. 
  3. The metamorphosis will happen, who will you be when it does?
  4. What you learn in each stage of life levels you to the next stage. Unless you try to live the way you did. Unless you bring the shed skins with you. 
  5. You can’t talk of dancing leaves to those stuck in front of the roots or trunk of the tree.
  6. You know you are a caterpillar when you are looking. You know you are in a chrysalis when you have climbed as high as you can and are surrounded by your own dissolving stories. You know you are a butterfly when you are no longer consuming, you are giving. 
  7. Caterpillars do not control when they begin to dissolve, what happens when they dissolve and what color of butterfly they become. But they do control where they crawl, and where they fly. 
  8. When you fly as a butterfly your wings move in a figure eight pattern, they move in infinity.
  9. Butterflies cannot live back on the ground. They cannot go back into a cocoon. Caterpillars cannot fly just because they really want to. You cannot avoid the process. You don’t control the timing. 
  10. You cannot serve from a cocoon. You cannot teach as a caterpillar. You need to transform before you transmit.

One more truth…

Your life is a life of a million butterflies. 

Why does a butterfly lay eggs just to do this all over again? Why crawl on the ground, swing alone in a pod of her own making, dull and quiet and let who she was dissolve into a new strange winged thing? 

Because after it all, she knows what the tops of trees look like, she felt the rain soaked wind slowly move her wings, she smelled a new breeze as it came over a field of clover, sat on the edge of a pine branch in an early August morning — and it was magnificent. It was magnificent.

And one more…

What if what you fear about yourself is true?

What if the one truth you fight is going to be the fiercest part of you someday?

What if you let it transform you?


I am not burned out anymore and I feel everything again- and this much I know is true; the very place you fear to go, the place that seems the darkest, is both your undoing and your redemption. This suffering will become your superpower. Let it happen, because it already is.