I love caterpillar because of its strength. Talked about it here and here. In short, caterpillar doesn’t know it is going to become a butterfly. It just goes into a cocoon and emerges as one. During the process, it becomes goo in order to transform. Have faith, and know that this is a necessary evil and emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
The truth is, no one talks about this goo process. I will admit that I glossed over it too. It’s easy to just celebrate success.
- Step 1: caterpillar state
- Step 2: goo ???
- Step 3: butterfly state
- Step 4: profit
But the step 2 goo state is the most important of all stages! It is transformation in its own right. It change. It is hard work. It is literally breaking down to be rebuilt.
As I share my various breakdowns, my rebuild and my learnings, I realised it is all about building up again. The breaking down and building up is not as simple as 0 to 1. During the process, it hurts, it is uncomfortable, I cry, I have doubts, I feel so overwhelmed. But through it all, I am reminded that I get to rebuild again. That’s how we grow. That’s how we turn into a butterfly. It isn’t easy. That’s why it’s worth it. That’s why it’s fun and I like to do it. Suffering is all part of that process. A necessary evil.
Big Goo 1
We only connect the dots looking back. 1 big breakdown moment was in 2010. Long story short, I lost an opportunity but a new one emerged. I like to think of the universe as something bigger than what I can fathom. When one door closes, another opens because the new door is better. And that is exactly what happened.
- Step 1: I was poised for a big leadership role. Something that I am very confident in doing and generally easy in my wheelhouse.
- Step 2: I did not get it. I broke down and then refocused my energy.
- Step 3: It gave me the perfect time, focus, resource and energy to focus on the bigger picture that mattered. This small blip was a huge blessing in disguise.
- Step 4: 11 years later, here I am, reflecting while the lazy winter sun rises behind the mountain just ahead of me. What my life would have been, if I continued to stay in the butterfly state and not suffer the goo state — I do not want to even think about it.
Step 2 took me a good 1.5 years of very intentional and dedicated focus. It is almost like me shutting myself from distractions for that period. Results were great, not going to lie. It also got me to where I wanted to go.
It’s easy to forget the suffering and unclear goo state, when we only see success at the end.
I am here today because of the setbacks, the challenges, the sufferings, the blind dedication to achieving my goals. I’m stronger now than ever, and I’m grateful for that door closing. It sucks, but I emerge so much better. We go through hardship to become better. And I’m glad that happened.
Big Goo 2
The next couple of years whizzed past like a professional ice skater during the Olympics. I’m grateful for the good times, the perfect times and the most beautiful times. Goo state in 2010 really paid off for the next 7 years. It was a beautiful period of my life.
Then 2017 came. This goo is like no other. It took me a long time to recover. But I emerged even stronger than ever, and I’m really grateful to have the safe space to breakdown and rebuild. Rebuilding is hard, but it is through rebuilding where we really learn who we are, what we stand for and our fundamental principles.
- Step 1: I had this perfect picture in my head of where my life was going. Reality is a 180º different, and 5x worse. It was so bad that I expressed depression — I didn’t know it then, I realised it after.
- Step 2: Breaking down. Suddenly, that perfect picture just crumbled like a house of cards. I was complete dissolved into goo. I don’t know what I stand for, who I am, what my principles are, what value I can add in society. This depressive stage went on for about 2 months. It was really tough, not going to lie.
- Step 3: It took me about 1 year to really recover and be back at 85% original Lisa state. It took another 6 months for me to become 110% Lisa. The old Lisa, but better. I feel incredibly blessed to have the time and the safe space to really build me up again. It was a true cocoon period. The goo was taking shape. And soon after, I emerged like a butterfly.
- Step 4: Here I am, looking to open a new head office in the US, hiring the best people, and realising that everything is possible when I work hard.
In total, it took me almost 2 years to find myself and become me again. 2 years is nothing in a lifetime of 120 years, but it is so fundamental. I felt like I was losing time as the world continued on without me. At the same time, I know it was a necessary time period to breakdown and rebuild.
It’s easy to see these things as chronological steps, but it is really a difficult balancing act.
I hated that depressive episode of my life. It was the darkest, hardest moment ever. I’m glad that I did not have to do it alone — that is the greatest blessing. I am grateful for the support, the help, the faith, the confidence by others, especially E. He was there when I fall, he was patient and above all, he saw so much in me that I was blinded then.
Today, various stages of goo happen. But having been through 2 major goo and surviving through it, everything else is easier. It’s not easy, just easier.
Goo is not easy. It is very difficult. It is a necessary evil. But it gets better. Every day. I still have my burn outs. My breakdowns. My doubts. My questionable confidence. But you know what, through these challenges, I am able to rebuild myself. Question the underlying fundamentals and emerge stronger, now that I know myself better.
It’s different type of goo now. More intense frequency of goo-ness, but faster rebuilding and bigger butterfly this time. This is a tough process, but it soon, will be over too.
The future is exciting. It’s butterfly season!