The Butterfly vs the Moth: Self Evolution for Health Care Providers

This blog post has been republished with permission from Eileen T. O'Grady PhD, RN, NP. Read the original post at eileenogrady.net/the-butterfly-vs-the-moth.

Many people I have come across are asking big questions: “What’s most important to me?” “How do I want to live?” “How can I live with a greater sense of wellbeing?”   

A recent MIT study suggests that toxic work cultures are a large driver of the Great Resignation. While there are thousands of considerations out there that have the potential to improve work culture or your own life, a useful one I discovered recently in Costa Rica is the difference between butterflies and moths.

As you re-shape your life or your work, consider integrating rather than discarding. A butterfly digests itself from the inside out within its chrysalis, and then absorbs its chrysalis (former self) afterwards. On the other hand, the moth’s chrysalis desiccates and is then discarded.

As you re-invent your life, consider integrating as a butterfly would, and bring the best parts of yourself along to improve the world you inhabit. Here are some real-world examples:

The respiratory therapist who grew weary from treating end stage lung cancer, started a smoking cessation program involving advanced lung cancer patients as instructors.

The staff member of a non-profit who felt exploited and undervalued broke out on her own to manage her own clients

The nurse who took on culture change from within- knowing that despair needs reinforcement to live, she began paying close attention to herself and her team.  She noticed what was working and stopped all complaining and gossip. She took wise action on what mattered most by asking for what she needed. By paying profound attention to imprisoning thoughts and actions, she set herself free from the inside out.

With wholehearted conviction, courage and kindness we can integrate all of our experiences into a more nourishing future.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Eileen T. O'Grady, PhD, RN, NP, is a certified nurse practitioner and wellness coach, founder of the School of Wellness, and an advisory board member for Consultant360.

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