Wondering how Butterfly Strong started? Here’s the story:
Do you have a person in your life who tells you the hard truth even when you don’t want to hear it? These are valuable people to have in your corner, even though you might feel like pushing them out of a moving vehicle rather than listen to them sometimes.
One day, one of those people told me something that drove me crazy…and that was the beginning of Butterfly Strong.
In business, I often feel like I don’t fit in as a co-founder or leader. I’m not decisive or assertive like those women you see crushing it at the business accelerator. I feel stuff, I can get emotional, then I get angry at myself for being that way, then I feel unsuccessful. It became a vicious cycle. Have you ever felt the same?
One day, this little birdie told me, “Patti, that’s your superpower! This world crushes the heart out of most people. The fact that you can still feel so much, well, that truly is a superpower and the world needs more heart.”
I was enraged! Burst-into-tears-kind-of-angry. UGH! Which made me even angrier.
“Superpower? Superpower! Are you freakin’ kidding me? I dislike this part of me soooo much! If I’m going to have a superpower, why can’t it be Teleporting? This is the lamest superpower EVER! Don’t even call this way of being a superpower!” She just smiled and walked away. How aggravating?!
Simply, calmly, and more often than I wanted to hear it, she would just say, “that’s your superpower” or “there’s your superpower again.” It made me angry every single time. After hearing it often enough though, I softened my stance. I knew I could never change that sensitive,vulnerable part of me no matter how much I tried to or wished to. Instead, I started asking myself,
“What if she isn’t wrong? She’s not right! But what if she isn’t wrong?”
And I sat with that for a while. And a while longer. I decided maybe I should be nicer to that side of myself, not be so judgmental and angry at myself for being a ‘softie’. Maybe strong could look different than decisive, assertive, self-assured, aggressive…
Then, I noticed it. Right on the wall in front of me. Where it had been for years. A butterfly. Butterflies have always been a symbol in our business. A reminder that life’s special moments are fleeting, which is why our purpose is to help people forever capture them in lasting, custom jewelry. Only now, I saw something different.
While butterflies are delicate, fragile creatures whose wings can be easily torn in an instant, somehow, miraculously, butterflies manage to travel thousands of miles, half way around the world, an unimaginable distance on those tiny paper-thin wings. These creatures aren’t so delicate after all. Heck, that is some kind of strength. Subtle as it may be, that is strength.
Suddenly, I felt empowered. Suddenly, my friend’s declaration no longer felt like an attack. Being vulnerable, sensitive, emotional, etc is just a different kind of strong. They are equally important strengths too.
Then…then…I became passionate! The pendulum swung. As enraged as I had originally been at the thought of these same traits, I am now a passionate advocate of them. No longer do I perceive them as weaknesses holding me back. They are strengths I hadn’t fully embraced unit now.
I started talking about this concept of Butterfly Strong to people close to me and they encouraged me to create a necklace because the message spoke to them as well. Most of us, especially women, relate to these strengths and recognize that they have been overlooked for too long.
However, when it came to publicly revealing this Butterfly Strong concept, I was quite terrified. Self judgement and fear flooded my thoughts, ‘What if Butterfly Strong resonates with No One?” Keeping the concept close and quiet meant that it would never see failure and that felt safer than letting the world know about an innermost thought that was so important to me. Ever felt that way?
Luckily, I had people beside and behind me urging me on. You know who you are ;) Of course, one of those people is Jeff. Jeff is a maker and a doer. When I started to, and wanted to, freeze, he wouldn’t let me. And so I didn’t. I felt all kinds of scared and vulnerable and I put the message out there any way. And I felt completely uncomfortable.
Which brings us to this moment. I am ever so grateful to YOU for validating my belief in Butterfly Strong, celebrating all styles of strength and transformation. Thank you! Now that I know I’m not alone, I know that I must give this concept wings and spread the message far and wide.
The End. No, actually it’s just the Beginning!