How to Transform: What Leaders Can Learn From a Lobster

how to transform

Knowing how to transform doesn’t always come easy. Here is my advice, borrowed from some of our crustaceous friends in the sea…

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

My life is so confining. I want to explore the world and yet, now is obviously not the right time.

I feel like I have been spinning my wheels doing the same things over and over. One more Zoom call and I will turn off the computer, get in my car, keep driving away and never look back.

Except I can’t.

I have a good job, a great family, dinners to make, clothes to wash, schoolwork to check.

Stress should be less shouldn’t it?

I don’t have to drop off and pick up. I don’t have to worry about running late because of traffic.

I actually have time to sit and dig into my side project.

Shuuush… don’t tell anyone but I am writing my first novel. AND, yes, I really do have the time to do this every evening while my family is doing their thing and my business work is done for the day.

However, the amount of stress that writing creates for me is unmanageable.

I struggle and judge myself.

I can keep redoing a single sentence for hours.

Now, I know some bona fide great writers work that way.

Did you ever read a Tom Robbins novel? Think “Jitterbug Perfume” or “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”

I read that Robbins did take the time to go sentence by sentence to write his novels. Yet, I am having trouble with this slow process.  it’s making me nauseous and nasty.

My family and friends think I am nuts.

I don’t HAVE to write, and they say just forget about it, have some chill time and relax.

They say, don’t rock the boat, enjoy what I have, and stop whining.

All my old feelings of self-doubt, overwhelm and especially the imposter syndrome show up whenever I sit at the computer to write ‘my masterpiece,’

“I’m no Tom Robbins” I say to myself. “I’m no Amanda Gorman. Can you believe she is only 22 years old and can write poetry like that?” I think as I judge myself.

Okay, enough being a victim.

I know in your work you say the victim can be transformed into the explorer.

So, please show me how to transform.


Bud who wants to bloom

Dear Bud who wants to bloom,

Let me see if I can help.

Old behavior is confining. I get it and that is where you are.

It’s like living in a rigid shell where everything is tight and stifling.

Same routine everyday: same dinnertime to figure out another meal, same words to get your kids to complete their homework, same mention to your husband to help with the wash (or at least I hope you get some help).

This is where a lobster can swim over to help you.

Yes, lobsters can really help.

Just don’t consider them a food option. There’s way more a lobster can give to you besides a tasty meal.

Think about this: a tiger cannot change its stripes, nor can a zebra. Yet did you know that lobsters make changes throughout their life cycle.

Let me explain.

If you are in a rigid time without feeling excited and alive about your life, be like a lobster and….. MOLT!

When life gets too tight for the lobster it goes into a quiet place and sheds its shell. This is called ecdysis for those who love scientific terms. The overall term for this shedding is called molting.

During this time, the lobster is very sensitive and vulnerable.

Can you relate?

See your personal hard shell now too tight for you,  as the environment you live in along with the old, ingrained patterns of thinking and behaving that were given to you as you were growing up.

It’s kinda like you had to drink whatever cool aid your family and culture offered for you to survive.

You went along and were rewarded for going along.

Becoming yourself, not a carbon copy of someone else, takes work.

When you release old patterns, you become vulnerable.

It’s best to find a safe, quiet place. You are truly just like a lobster during these times of growth and regeneration. You are ‘easy prey’ for those who want you to stay the way you are.

Think of it this way: times of stress and times of questioning the old ways are the stimulants for growth. The rigid shell of old ways of responding needs to be cast off to produce new ways of responding and being.

The good news about your friend the lobster is that when the new shell is in place the lobster no longer is vulnerable. It is strong and ready to take on whatever it is that lobsters do in the ocean.

Back to you.

Feeling uncomfortable in times of stress when your dreams seem impossible?

It’s a signal that it’s time to grow. Break free from outdated patterns and find new meaning in your life.

Get help in casting off your old shell.

Change what no longer works for you.

If you want to write, then first, give yourself the time to be vulnerable. Stay safe and silent for a bit.

This is a time for all of us to recalibrate inner wishes and dreams.

As newfound confidence begins to grow, see it like a new, larger shell to keep you secure and safe.

It’s a healthy and adventurous way to view life.

To your success,


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Sylvia Lafair