They are an enduring example of possibilities we didn’t know existed. They help us believe in a better tomorrow. Most importantly, they help us believe in ourselves.
But here’s the phase of inspirational leadership that often isn’t talked about. Embracing the struggle. It is a phase I call THRASHING.
Why Thrashing is Important for Your Inspirational Leadership Journey
You know when a caterpillar has grown wings and yet is still wrapped up tightly in a cocoon? This is the “thrashing” phase. Things are tight and uncomfortable. The caterpillar is wrestling around and thrashing. The reality is, it already has wings but it doesn’t know it yet. And it certainly doesn’t know how to fly. This phase of struggle is important. For the new butterfly, every “thrash” helps it build necessary strength in its new wings. All the caterpillar knows at this point is that it is in a very uncomfortable place. It is discontent. It is struggling. And therein lies the beauty. It HAS to struggle in order to fly. This crucial phase prepares the transformed creature for flight. Without the struggle, it wouldn’t be strong enough to fly.
Embrace the Struggle
The good news is this. In your own leadership journey, you might already have wings and not even realize it. If you’re discontent, struggling, frustrated and finding yourself in an uncomfortable place, embrace it. This might just be the most important phase of your life preparing you for future flight.
It is because of the struggle that you will fly to higher heights.
So thrash away and develop really, really strong wings. Because your inspirational leadership example is desperately needed and flying low is not an option.
Evidence: the Biology of Courage
Even more encouraging, this isn’t a theory. I have evidence. This TED talk from Kelly McGonigal shares eye-opening research about the way you perceive stress makes a big difference. I encourage you to watch it and learn why you should make stress your friend:
Perspective and Hope
How can you use your current struggle to inspire others in the future?