Finding Strength in Obstacles: The Butterfly Story

Episode #1070: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, Phil Johnson, an Executive Coach, Trainer, International Speaker, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Advisor, and Creator of the Master of Business Leadership (MBL) program and Podcast, discusses the importance of overcoming challenges, emotional intelligence, leadership, and Phil’s publications such as the MBL Success Map and The Servant Warrior Leader.



About Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson is an Executive Coach, Trainer, International Speaker, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Advisor, and Creator of the Master of Business Leadership (MBL) program and Podcast. In his MBL Program, Phil helps executives and organizations from around the world develop their emotional intelligence and leadership skills. He also runs the MBL YouTube channel and co-hosts the MBL Podcast. Phil has been an Executive Coach since 2007 and prior to his coaching career and MBL program, was an executive in corporate America with companies such as Mitsubishi and V3 Semiconductor.


Today, Phil continues to inspire other business leaders through the MBL program, executive coaching, speaking engagements, and his writing. Phil has published several books including the Master of Business Leadership Success Map, Tribal Wisdom, The Servant Warrior Leader, and The New Economic Currency. He also provides consulting services on dissertation research studies done at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology that are related to authentic leadership, emotional intelligence, and higher consciousness. Phil has a passion for developing emotional intelligence, increasing employee engagement, bettering organizational development, and helping leaders perform their best.


Key highlights


Showing up in every moment

Timestamp 02:52


When asked how Phil ended up in executive coaching, Phil shares that he was born with dyslexia and was undiagnosed until he was about 35 years old. This challenge encouraged him to do the “emotional labor” and gave him “insights into” himself and others. Overcoming this challenge was a motivator for Phil’s coaching career. Additionally, Phil shares that his mother passed away after his 14th birthday and that many youth in his childhood “had already given up on life.” Phil shares that he was in the same trajectory, but when his mother passed it was a “wake-up call for” him and helped him to “realize that life was too precious to not show up in every moment.” From this moment onward, Phil was a dedicated “overachiever” looking to gain as much knowledge as possible. He worked as an executive with several companies in America, and then transitioned to executive coaching later in life. Phil explains that when in corporate America he noticed “that there was such a level of drama, chaos, and conflict in companies” and that “emotional intelligence really fills a gap that’s missing.” From there, Phil decided to take an “initial leap of faith” into starting the Master of Business Leadership program.


Energy physics and emotional intelligence

Timestamp 12:31


In his coaching and consulting, Phil uses the concept of energy physics. He shares that there are what he calls, “victim habits... that cause us to unconsciously give away our energy.” Doing this overtime can create an energy deficit. Phil uses this finding in his MBL program by showing people “how they’re giving away their energy” in the ways that they “communicate, listen, take responsibility, make decisions, etc.”


Phil combines the concept of energy physics with the concept of emotional intelligence. Phil states that emotional intelligence is, “The ability to feel the anxiety that's created in us when we leave our comfort zone and keep our walls down. Feel that anxiety, feel that fear, and be able to move through it towards the vision of our desired results, as opposed to allowing that anxiety, to keep us stuck in our comfort zones.” Phil then explains how emotional intelligence can improve sales, hiring, and finding talent.

The Servant Warrior Leader and other publications

Timestamp 24:27


Phil has several publications and shares that he has “written those books primarily for” himself. His book The Servant Warrior Leader, “is about the battle going on inside of us… to move away from our ego based fear in the pursuit of what living and working on purpose means for each of us as individuals.” His book The New Economic Currency discusses the “trust economy” and how the “greatest asset you have as an individual or as an organization is your network of trusted advisors.” Phil explains that people tend to be “less trusting by nature” and how being less trusting can damage relationships.


Doing the “emotional labor”

Timestamp 35:11

When asked if he has ever found some coachees to be “uncoachable,” Phil explains that he “will help anybody that is willing to do the emotional labor required, and that is no small thing.” Phil compares the development of emotional intelligence to “Navy Seal Training for your emotions.” Developing emotional intelligence requires a great amount of effort, and Phil explains that it can be a great solution for a variety of challenges.


“The Butterfly Story”

Timestamp 43:59


Phil shares a story from the Master of Business Leadership program called the “Butterfly Story.” This story shares the tale of a butterfly who was helped out of his challenging cocoon. However, after being helped and released from his struggles, he had “a withered body and shriveled wings.” Phil explains that the butterfly actually needed this struggle for its health and that if it had slowly worked through its challenges, it would be able to fly. Phil states “if we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. Our struggles and the emotional labor they require are essential for the development of our emotional intelligence, leadership, and awakened consciousness.”


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