When is the last time you felt butterflies in your stomach?

If you can’t remember, maybe it’s been too long since you ventured out of your comfort zone.

We all need to take risks in order to learn and achieve something new.

Sometimes this can be a big butterfly moment like taking on a new job, moving to a different country, or getting up and speaking in front of hundreds of people.

Sometimes it can be a little butterfly moment, like speaking up in a meeting with a controversial or unusual idea. Or introducing yourself to strangers at a networking event.

I had a butterfly “moment” that lasted about 3 years when I moved to France with my job back in the early 90’s.

I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t speak the language, and I was walking into a new role with a challenging client.

It was the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done.

The first 6 months were excruciatingly difficult and exhausting. But eventually I found my way. I learned the language. I made friends both in and outside of my job. I got to visit some amazing places in France and all of Europe.

And I met the man who would eventually become my husband and the father of my kids.

It started with an enormous flutter, but at the end of 3 years I count my time in France as one of my life’s formative experiences.

I’ve had many butterfly moments since then (although probably none as intense).

But I’ve actually learned to be comfortable and even seek out that feeling.

Sometimes when it seems like things are getting too comfortable and complacent (particularly in my professional life) I find myself gravitating towards new challenges and I start to feel the rumbling of tiny wings.

It’s definitely not always easy or convenient. But I’ve learned to recognize that flutter as a positive signal.

Even if we have a bad experience or a difficult time doing whatever it is that’s making us stretch, in general it’s still growth and learning… and as human beings and as innovators isn’t that what life is really all about?.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

When’s the last time you felt butterflies?

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.