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The Butterfly: Personal Transformation

The Butterfly: Personal Transformation


“The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle” ~ Janet S. Dickons


The colorful orange and brown features of the numerous Painted Lady butterflies floating across my path are a welcome distraction to a typical busy day. In the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota and surrounding states, we are graced with the presence of numerous migrating Painted Lady butterflies going south for the winter.

The Native American culture holds dear the symbol of the butterfly as one of powerful change and transformation. It symbolizes moving through different life cycles or perspectives, a renewal or rebirth, and lightness of being or playfulness. It represents grace, joy, freedom and awakening. The butterfly leaves the safety of their cocoon and discovers a new reality without fear and doubt. They move through many different stages to become the beautiful inspiration that they represent.

It is not unusual to feel stuck in facing career or life challenges. At times, the longer the challenge persists in its current state the more impossible it seems to fix. Perhaps what the butterfly symbolizes can add some depth to our understanding in how to successfully navigate challenges no matter how difficult they are.

Here are three symbolic considerations for personal transformation:

Acknowledge the internal need for change

The butterfly points to internal change or transformation. When challenged it is sometimes easier to become defensive and blame others or the external circumstances that surround us. Trust me, I know that looking into a mirror is hard. But the truth is we all have a part in our environments. Being self reflective of how our own habits, personalities or perspectives contribute to the environment we live in is a good first step to success.

Change perspectives

The butterfly symbolizes grace and lightness. We all know grappling with conflicting situations is part of life. But how we respond to those challenges is what matters. Instead of contributing to ongoing tension, consider looking at the conflict with more lightness and a different perspective. Consider breaking the tension and not taking things too seriously. The solution to conflict may be found only when our own internal perspectives change.

Add more color to your life or career 

Butterflies bring color to an otherwise stagnant experience. It took the migration of Painted Lady butterflies to remind me we all have the ability to introduce “brightness” or “aliveness” to an otherwise typical day. If you feel stagnant in your career consider adding color to it. Take in new courses, learn something new, or try a new project. Perhaps just stepping away from the challenge for a moment and taking a walk will help invigorate and introduce solutions not yet uncovered.


As I have moved along in my life and career I’ve have a deeper appreciation for nature and the lessons it holds for us. It’s not the challenge itself, but how we respond to change that matters. Accepting change with grace and eloquence is the sign of true personal transformation and will help guide your path of success.

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Tresha D. Moreland, MBA, MS, FACHE, SPHR, SSBBP, founder of HR C-Suite, is an HR thought leader in Human Resource Strategic Management. She has held key human resource leadership roles for over 20 years in multiple industries most recently a senior vice president in the healthcare industry. Tresha is the founder and publisher of HR C-Suite ( HR C-Suite is a game changer results-based HR strategy website. It is a first-of-it's-kind site that organizes HR strategy based on desired business result. She has developed a business philosophy of integrating human resources with business strategy, thus creating a hybrid HR leadership approach. This approach enables the leveraging human resources to achieve business results.

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