You can read every “how-to” manual. You can listen to incessant advice from friends, family, and online know-it-alls. Everywhere you turn, they’ll tell you how parenthood changes you.
But only once it happens, do you realize how you’re not just “changed” – you’re transformed. You’re irreversibly different, and you’ll never see the world in the same way again.
The same principle applies to higher-learning. You start with a passion for a subject. Years of your life plus tens of thousands of dollars later, you become an expert. You’ve acquired a knowledge level that earned you a distinction in that field and transformed yourself into a specialist. Something nothing or no one can ever undo or take away from you.
That’s the difference between change and transformation, and this week, I’m clearing up the confusion. We’re going to zoom out and identify what you’re really after and expose the true reason why your goals aren’t getting you there (at least not on their own).
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Goal Analysis Quiz
- Why change is dangerous
- From mean girl to best friend
- A replacement for willpower
- The caterpillar’s story
Listen to the Full Episode
Featured on the Show:
No more half-measures. If you’re sick of surface-level changes and Band-Aid remedies, then here’s your cocoon. The doors are open for Year of Transformation! Sign up right here, and let’s begin your journey.
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
- Year of Transformation – Join now
- Episode 35: Real Life Transformation with Robin Tanner – Listen now
- Episode 89: A peek behind the curtain of a real-life transformation – Listen now
- Episode 140: Expat Expectations with Janine Christie – Listen Now
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 03:00 am in New York, 9:00 am in Johannesburg and 2:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
All right, we are going to start out with a quiz. I want you to think about when you are unsatisfied with some part of your life and you’re setting goals or thinking about changes that you want to make. Think about which ones pop up and how do you hold them in your mind? I’ll give you a little quiz and I’m going to give you a or b and you tell me honestly which one of these sounds more like the types of goals that you have in your mind.
Okay. So ready for the goal quiz. All right.
(A) I want to reach 10,000 steps in the day.
(B) I want to become a person whose health is non-negotiable.
Be honest. Which one are you more likely to think? I’ll repeat it again, (A) I want to reach 10,000 steps a day or (B) I want to become a person whose health is non-negotiable. A or B?
All right next.
(A) I want to eat more fish.
(B) I want to become the person who craves food that’s naturally healthy for me.
Okay, number two (A) I want to eat more fish or (B) I want to become the person who craves food that is naturally healthy for me. Be honest number three.
(A) I want to meditate in the morning.
(B) I want to know what I want.
(A) I want to stop worrying so much.
(B) I want to shift my internal dialogue, so it changes from mean girl to best friend.
All right number five.
(A) I want to find something to do that I like.
(B) I want to understand and own my strengths and skills and then find a way to use them to the fullest.
A or B? Next…
(A) I want to stop procrastinating.
(B) I want to spend my time and energy in ways that are in alignment with what’s most important to me.
(A) I want to stop procrastinating or (B) I want to spend my time and energy in ways that are in alignment with what is most important to me.
(A) I want to stop feeling so resentful towards my partner.
(B) I want to identify my needs and use my voice more in my partnership so I can get these needs met.
(A) I want to stop wasting my time.
(B) I want to do something that’s purposeful and meaningful.
All right, A or B. Do you notice a pattern? Here’s my hunch, now tell me where I’m wrong. I have a hunch when you heard A. Like boom, “yeah, of course, I want to reach 10,000 steps a day.” But when you heard B you’re like, “oh, yeah, that’s a good one too. That one is maybe a little better.” What’s the difference between A and B? The thing is you’re focused on changes in option A, but what you really want is transformation.
Now Daszko & Sheinber say it better than I can. They say: “While all transformation is change, not all change is transformation.” And the problem is, most people are focused on changes when what they really are craving Is transformation. So let’s spend a few minutes looking at what is change and how that is different from transformation.
So change simply are alterations, by definition change is to make something different. Okay, so you can change your shirt and it might even change your mood, you wear that funky print and then you feel sassy that night, but the next day you go back to feeling frumpy. You can change your hair but it can grow back, so that’s not permanent. You can change your routine for now, but as soon as you have a setback, you’ll go back to your older habits. The problem with change is that it’s dangerous.
The danger is that it’s on the surface and that it can be reversible and temporary. Because if you do that thing the next day after deciding on the change, you’re super excited, but there’s no guarantee that you’re going to do that for three months consistently. And what starts to happen is you’re excited about the change. But you’re not doing the change consistently and then you feel like crap because you’re like “crap I can’t do the thing that I want.” And again, you might be actually craving something much bigger, which is transformation.
So what’s the difference with transformation? Transformation is when you become something wholly different and the cliche that everybody uses, but the metaphor is really useful is going from the caterpillar to the butterfly. So transformation is when you’re like this adorable caterpillar, this little chubby caterpillar with all these legs and you’re cruising around at the bottom of the forest and it’s smells amazing, the forest floor, and there are leaves on the ground and life is pretty good as a caterpillar. You can munch on those leaves and you’ve got your caterpillar crew, but one day you’re like “I don’t think I’m gonna be a caterpillar anymore.”
Not like I’m going from a green caterpillar to a blue caterpillar. There’s something that happens inside. It could be an outward event too, but something shifts and you’re like “life just can’t keep going the way it has.” And then the caterpillar goes into the chrysalis, the cocoon and this is what really wigs me out is, it doesn’t just grow wings and legs. It literally dissolves into bug soup. When I learned this from Dr. Martha Beck, she’s one of my coaching mentors, and when she said that, I’m like, “Okay, that’s scary.”
Imagine that caterpillar who literally goes into this cocoon, albeit a safe space, dissolves into bug soup. And there’s this trust in the design of the caterpillar that the DNA knows how to reassemble itself and understands this beautiful picture of what it will become. But then it’s that process of reassembling and growing into this caterpillar, which is now stuck in the cocoon.
And the thing is, it has to get out of the cocoon to actually live the life it was meant to live and if I want to come along and help that butterfly out, by cutting out of the cocoon it will die. So it has to do the hard work, you know pushing it swings out and busting through the chrysalis to build the strength to be able to fly. I mean put that into your brain, it is a butterfly. It used to be a caterpillar, you guys it was on the land and now it’s flying in the air. That is nuts like isn’t that amazing?
That’s transformation though, a caterpillar becomes something wholly different. So transformation when we look above at the quiz, there’s a big difference between someone who’s going to do 10,000 steps and a person whose health is non-negotiable. Very different. It’s easy to rack up 10,000 steps for a while but to become the person whose health is non-negotiable, looks very different because that person also looks at how they sleep, looks at their toxic relationships, looks at what alcohol they consume, they look at what they put in their body, they look at making rest a priority.
Very different, very very different. You can do 10,000 steps in a day and down a bottle or two of wine and then yell at your partner. It’s very different from someone whose health is non-negotiable. So transformation is very different from change because it is deep. It is nonreversible and it is permanent until of course the next transformation.
So transformation is about becoming. Becoming the person that you crave deep inside, but you just don’t know how the heck you’re going to get there. Imagine that caterpillar who’s like “I’m done being the caterpillar” and maybe the caterpillar even had fantasies of this butterfly, even literally dreaming about it during the night. But it’s about becoming the person who, like my clients, runs a successful online business, who hosts a popular podcast, who takes first-class care of themselves. Transformation is becoming this whole person who shows up differently for themselves.
Inside so that they take better care of themselves, also, not just physically but also in their heads. They stop being a mean girl in their head or mean guy. That person who relates to others differently, who uses their voice to express their needs and asks to get their needs met, who creates boundaries and their life with their partners, their clients, or their children.
The person who is able to navigate cultural differences while not losing their authenticity, or a person who is able to have enough energy focus and organization in their day so that they can make the impact, or craving to make in their family in their spiritual community for social justice, for the environment, whatever is important to them. That is transformation. And it’s permanent until the next invitation for transformation begins.
So here’s the thing, if you’re frustrated with yourself because you’ve really worked hard to make changes in your life and nothing sticks. It could be that you’ve been focused on changes and not transformation. So today I want you to give yourself permission. Permission to desire transformation, permission to do what it takes to create transformation, permission to state who you are hungry to become.
And I’ll tell you what, I’ve been there, I know there have been times in my life where I was good at implementing a few changes in my life like adding protein into my diet or making running more of a priority. But it still felt very much like an effort. It felt like I needed my willpower to do it and inevitably that will power runs out because we’re humans. Because willpower, we know, by design is not enough to get us there, to those changes that we’re hungry for. And it took a deep change within myself on the identity level, on how I showed up for me, and how I showed up with others to create that transformation.
And sometimes that transformation was supported from the outside. Like something would happen to my life that basically put my life in a meat grinder or my heart in a meat grinder. And it created a vulnerability which helped me look more clearly at what I wanted and sometimes actually the whole process of transformation does that. In fact, I called the first three months of transformation morning sickness because you’re vomiting all of the things that keep you small and keep you stuck.
And you’re putting them out on the table and looking at them and seeing how do you want to see things differently so that you’re operating deeply inside of you from a place of supporting transformation and not just changes on a whim. Because what it takes for change, of course, are awareness and an action step. And maybe you’ve made a change in your diet, maybe you added more protein or maybe you made a change in your routine like you park your car further away from the grocery store and you add more steps in your day.
That’s change and that’s wonderful and not everybody needs transformation. And those changes are great. You found that way. But what it takes for transformation Is an awareness. That as a caterpillar you’re kind of done, and you’re saying yes to this journey of watching what happens to become a butterfly. And that part of that is connection to yourself, a new awareness of you and what you’re capable of, naming what you can do, allowing yourself to have a new sense of self-confidence and self-worth emerge.
Although you hate to admit that your self-confidence and self-worth has been taking a hit, it’s there and you look at that reality and you rebuild it. Transformation takes clarity on what are the small action steps you can take to make an impact in your life and start feeling that momentum. It requires honesty with yourself about where you’re staying small in your relationships or in your work and where you need to step out and use your voice or create more visibility.
It’s being honest about how you’re taking care of your health, and where you could do a better job at taking first-class care of you. And it’s about getting clarity on who you want to become. How do you want to serve in your family or in your business or in your community or for a cause that is meaningful for you? And then the courageous next steps of naming that and then the steps mapped out that lead you there.
Of course, an important part of the transformation, what I’ve experienced in my work as a coach is the accountability. Having someone by your side to say “Hey, you told me this was important.” “What are you going to do between now and the next time we talk to move forward on that?” And that perseverance and commitment to you so that you can do the work to break out of the cocoon. And believe me, having gone through my own transformation or two, I know it can feel daunting. I know with my whole body and oftentimes it feels scarier than it really is.
And even more important, there’s something inside of you that’s bigger and stronger than you give yourself credit for. But this is what I do. I’m right here by your side. I’ve got you, and in the next few weeks, you’re going to hear stories of transformation from real-life people. So you can see what it takes to make it happen and just knowing that it’s possible can inspire you. And of course, I’m here to support you in the process. Let me give you a few episodes, you can listen to In the meantime until these new ones come.
Episode 35, Real Life Transformation with Robin Tanner. One of my Expats on Purpose members told me it was one of the most powerful things she’d heard in a long time. Episode 89, is a peek behind the curtain of a real-life transformation. These are from two of my clients from my program Year of Transformation. And what I’ve learned from that is that they are able to articulate that sense of loss and grief you feel before you say yes to that process of transformation.
And the crazy results that are possible as a result from finally saying yes. And then I also have a treat for you episode 140 is Expat Expectations with Janine Christy. She’s such a joy and this episode shares Janine’s journey right in the middle of it before she even was through the whole process. You can see some of the deep deep transformations that already occurred.
So check those out and be on the lookout for the next episodes because you’re going to hear straight from individuals who have experienced transformation in their own lives. It’s kind of like those things you see on Facebook with like before and after, you know workout photos or before and after diving photos except they’re not Photoshopped, they’re real people and their real lives, but who doesn’t love a good before and after story.
Okay, so if you’re curious, if you feel a calling to say yes to transformation and your life, check out Year of Transformation in the show notes and we can connect and see if it’s the right fit for you. This is you and me, side by side for the real deal. Okay, I only offer this to a handful of individuals. Yes. It’s an investment, but it’s one that truly lasts a lifetime and it is a lifetime of alignment with purpose and meaning. And I don’t know what is more gorgeous than that.
This is Sundae Schneider Bean and you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words of Maya Angelou, “We Delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it’s gone through to achieve that beauty.”