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Embrace The Butterfly

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last night should have been a breakthrough for me. …let me explain.  

A few weeks ago World Vision sent me an e-mail asking me if I would volunteer at their booth for a Natalie Grant concert. I am not special, I am just a donor in the area and I have been called several times and asked for different concerts.  I have always said no.  I love Christian music, I am too cheap to buy my own tickets and go, I believe in World Vision and would love to help them get the word out, and I have no trouble talking to lots of people (as long as I am part of the crowd not on a stage… still working on that).  The thing is I hate driving.  I am a driving chicken.

It probably goes back to the time I got my learners licence and within about 20 or 30 seconds of taking the wheel I totaled my mom’s car and almost killed her.  (she was fine, but we were hit on her side).  For some reason I am not worried about tragic huge accidents, I am worried I will just get in a wreck somewhere strange and be stuck trying to figure out the mess.  I am not good at directions and I can’t multi-task well driving.  Taking my kids anywhere new or downtown at all takes years off my life and I avoid it.

So you don’t think I am a complete mess I do drive when I need to.  I am fine driving around my area of town and am fine with taking the kids lots of places that I know the way well.  I am fine with highway driving and my children lecture me from the backseat about speeding.  (isn’t it great when they learn all these things…).  However, something about not knowing where I am going and/or heavy traffic just freaks me out.  This has lead me to avoid circumstances where I might have to drive alone somewhere I don’t know.  Silly, I know.

Well, when they sent the e-mail a few weeks ago I made up my mind to go for it.  Truthfully this isn’t that big of a deal, it shouldn’t be at least.  I was excited and was planning on writing up this ‘mini victory’ for you in this post.  Then, just a few hours before I needed to leave for the concert I got a call saying that the person in charge of the World Vision booth had hurt their foot and the booth would have to be cancelled. I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or disappointed.  Either way, processing through the silliness of my missing out on probably at least 5 opportunities in the past few years has helped.  When I get another opportunity I will jump on it.

A few weeks ago I was listening to The Big Idea in the car (long trip on wide highway with little traffic :)) and he used the term ’embrace the butterfly’.  This jumped out at me because this is what I have been trying to do.  As humans we just feel more comfortable doing what we know but to grow we need to broaden, experience, and learn more.  I have heard people talk about doing something new and uncomfortable everyday.   Great idea, but I’m not there yet.  Over the past year minimalism, blogging, writing my book, trying to promote my book, all have had me sitting scared and putting off what I need to do because it wasn’t comfortable.

A friend who is trying to grow her business told me last weekend “I would get way more done if I didn’t sit and stare at the  phone for so long before getting up the courage to actually dial”.  This is exactly it.  Anyone trying to grow and learn has these ‘butterflies in their stomach’.  Not sure how this English saying started, but it seems to fit.  Somehow our scared feeling goes to our stomach.

However, successful people say they have butterflies as well.  They learn to live with them, to embrace them, to enjoy them.  Having butterflies means you are stretching out of your comfort zone.  I want to become just a bit addicted to butterflies because I want to be driven to keep growing.

I read this article by Jeff Goins that seemed to go well with this topic.  Goinswriter.com is my new favorite blog right now.

Do you have butterflies?

Also, thanks so much to everyone for the encouragement from Mondays post.  I love you all!

16 Comments

  1. Karen Karen

    Wow! I guess I am silly, too, because I feel the same way about driving. I live just outside a city of around 250,000 and I’m fine driving here since, with homeschooling, I can get out and about during the day when there is not as much traffic. I do not go to nearby larger cities, though. Think Atlanta! I am not a multi-tasker either and everyone has to be quiet when the traffic is heavy! I don’t like interstate driving either. I just returned from visiting my mom and drove the 225 miles there and back on 4 lane (not interstate) roads so I can do that but, yea, I’m a nervous driver!

    • I need the car quiet too. … but the kids just don’t get it. I try to explain that mommy needs to concentrate so ….no one gets hurt (try not to throw the dying in there)… but they just can’t remember.

  2. I guess we you won’t be moving to the NY area any time soon. You have to drive everywhere and not only is the traffic intense the drivers are rude…
    I love the image of embracing the butterflies it reminds me of a phrase I heard once about “Every breakdown is a breakthrough.”
    Sounds like you are having a tough week, hope things get better soon.

    • I always thought NYC would be a cool place to live because you can live without a car. .. I have been in a car driving through NYC and I hope never to do that again. We were creating our own lanes and going from 0-60 and back in seconds. I love walking, so I would love to be somewhere I could do public transit and walk. …we have public transit here, but it is very poor.

      • I have friend who grew up in NYC and they don’t know how to drive. It is limiting though, they can only live in cities.

      • yeah, I agree that is limiting.

  3. While I love driving and will drive almost anywhere at any time, I understand your nervousness. I experience it in other areas of my life.

    I’m always afraid to put something out there on the web in case I didn’t do something right, or forgot something. Or maybe people will laugh or get angry or…

    But I do it (still not as frequently as I should) because it is what I want to do and need to do. The secret is to get the butterflies to fly in formation 8=)

    • :) Yes, I agree with the internet thing. It is amazing to me that people need to get offended and all upset at what someones writing…. I figure they should just go somewhere else. There are enough people writing all kinds of different things that we can all read people who we agree with…instead of trying to argue.

  4. When I lived in a suburb of the Cities (Mpls/St Paul) driving didn’t bother me in the least. Now, 40 miles out for 10+ years, I’m not as comfortable as I was – roads change, more traffic and I’m simply out of practise. A GPS has helped me, too, but I go when I need to without fear.

    Knitting scares me! Yeah – laughable isn’t it. Actually, it is the fear to try a new project for my business. Will people like it? This color or that? I overthink, change my mind, stare, wonder, and generally avoid some really great ideas just because the outcome is unknown. Any advise on herding the butterflies is welcome!

    • I think the bad part about the butterflies is that the only way to deal with them is to just get used to them. Just do it and each time it will get easier. I am totally an over-thinker too. Not crafty at all, but I can relate :)

  5. Okay, I really like having the butterflies as a measure of whether you’re growing outside your comfort zone. “Addicted to butterflies” — what a neat goal :-) I’ve reached a point where I have realized I do want to push myself, but I’m still afraid. I’m also not sure how to go about it. Is it Eleanor Roosevelt who said something like “Do one thing every day that scares you”? I have to figure out how to determine what that one daily thing should be!

    Gotta go check out Jeff Goins now… :-)

    • not sure who said it but I have heard that before as well. I am not sure I have time to keep track of it but I know now that if I have butterflies I am where I need to be to keep growing :)

  6. Mary Mary

    I am amazed when I reflect on the fact that I did not even own a car till I was 27. Living in Boston for 5 years back then (way back then!) was great: could take a streetcar for a dime, then take the subway for a quarter and get to anywhere in that metro area–even the airport! Got some good exercise walking the few blocks to the stops, too! Now living in this suburb where public transportation is not very convenient yet (but improving little by little), We found it necessary to buy old cars for each of our sons just to make getting around feasible for each of us with our different schedules. It seemed like such a burden to have to look after 4 cars, insurance, maintenance, taxes & licenses! I wish they had been able to have the same freedom from car ownership & car debt that I had for so long!

    • I can only imagine how many times 4 old cars could break down, yikes.

  7. ThAnks for your post. I really needed to read it. Right now, I am also trying to do new things and get out there. And yes, the driving, or not wanting to drive distances or in traffic is a big problem. But that is a part of embracing new opportunities. So I am working on that. Ironic, butterflies are my mascot. I almost feel like I should be a braver person. Hopefully your fear of driving will get easier to handle in time.

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