Dear Business Owner in a Cocoon

By: Stella Orange

Dear business owner in your cocoon,

Let us begin with one of my favorite stories of all time.

The story of how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly:

A caterpillar is born. It eats. It scoots around. It grows. And then, one day, it crawls out on the skinny branches of some plant, and makes a protective shell around itself. And then it melts down into liquid goo.

Inside its cocoon, the liquid goo is not a caterpillar. It’s not a butterfly. It’s goo.

Eventually, when the time is ripe, the goo rearranges itself into butterfly. The butterfly pokes its way out of its cocoon, and dries its wings in the sun so it can fly.

Sound familiar?

The word I like to use to describe this process is “metamorphosis.”

The dictionary definition of a metamorphosis is going from one state or nature to an entirely different one.

My definition is: as a human being, it would be boring to always play it safe and do what you’ve always done.

I write this to you as a person who has gone through multiple metamorphoses – where who I was got melted down, and forged into something different.

Where what I did was sold for parts, and got reassembled into something new.

Where how I used to be got composted, and something new grew from that fertile black dirt.

Point being, I know the pain of letting go of the way it used to be. I’ve experienced the intensity of the raw, real, and human emotions that arise when we realize we can’t maintain the status quo – we must cross the threshold into the unknown and uncertain. So I won’t insult your intelligence by saying it’s all vision boards and manifestation.

In my experience, it’s not. It’s work. Deep inner work, often first received alone, when we are able to be still and quiet with ourselves, listening in the dark for signal.

Anyhoo. All I’m trying to say is I feel you, boo. And not everyone is built to listen to and follow these signals, that tell us we must leave what’s known and familiar for shores we have only caught glimpses of in our imaginations.

That said, YOLO.

You only live once.

And when I die, I want to be all used up, and have people say, “she left it all on the court. And man, it was a delight to watch her play.”

Where was I again?

Oh yes, advice:

Nothing you do is wasted. Everything you have done or created up to this point has brought you here. Just because you envision making a left turn or stopping what you’ve done in the past—that doesn’t mean you’ve wasted years of your life. Or that you are “late” and should have made the change sooner. Banish such talk from your mind! It’s garbage and siphons focus from where it actually needs to be.

Anchor yourself in the becoming. The classic career advice for office workers is “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I have found this to be true for those of us who invent our own businesses and work, with a twist – make decisions from the future you are inventing, not your current reality. (Caveat: I’m not talking to newbies or beginners here — you guys need a different advice set, about learning the rules and establishing strong foundations. I’m talking to those of you who actually know how business works and have already been through multiple expansions in the eight or twelve or twenty years you’ve been in business).

Wait for your whole body yes. There is no need to rush hiring advisors like us to help you usher in your fuller identity and expanded version of your work. Your body (or your spiritual practice or whatever you use to guide you) will let you know when the time has come. Trust that.

Anais Nin has a quote that applies beautifully to all of us in metamorphosis: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Want help with your business metamorphosis? We can help! Reach out to set up a conversation about what’s going on, what you need and want, and what it could look like to work together. This work is fully customized, proposal-based, and zero-sales-pressure. Email to get the ball rolling.

Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.

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