There was once a butterfly that was struggling to break out of the cocoon where it had transformed from a caterpillar. It pushed and squeezed, trying to fit through the hole in the cocoon, frustrated and struggling. A man who was watching felt bad for this beautiful creature and wanted to help. So he reached over and carefully opened the hole wider. The butterfly fit through and was out in the world. But the man was aghast to see the butterfly only feebly hop around on the ground, unable to fly, as its beautiful wings were weak and withered. Its body was fat and swollen. It could not fly and was restricted to the ground.
You see, it’s difficult for a butterfly to break free of a cocoon. The cocoon is built to fit the caterpillar it used to be. This new, beautiful, amazing creature naturally struggles to squeeze through the cocoon opening. But as it fights through the small opening, fluid is pushed from the butterfly’s body and into its wings, fully forming them. So while the gentle man only intended to help the butterfly, his help actually hurt and limited it. The butterfly needed the struggle, the squeeze, the pushing and the process to become strong, so it could fly. (Shared by my Coach Laura.)
There are many people who care for us and are willing to help, but we need to be mindful of when we need to learn and grow, and when we truly need help.
More so, is the help we are providing others hurting them or allowing them to grow, even if it means they must struggle? One of the most challenging parts of growing a team, and even helping your boss grow if you ARE the team, is knowing when to help and when to support and encourage but allow the struggle.
Struggle doesn’t mean standing by watching someone flounder. Just as the butterfly’s struggle has a purpose, your “help” can come in the form of providing others with the tools and resources they might need – or reminding them of the vision outside the cocoon.
If you aren’t sure how to support your team, or your boss, through their struggle without harmfully helping them, contact us for a One-Hour Business Strategy Session.