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Swans & Butterflies

Swans & Butterflies

Written by Annie Lee

There are three characteristics of a ‘black swan’ event: rarity, extreme impact and retrospective predictability – experts agree Covid-19 is a true black swan. 

This past year has been chock-a-block full of rare events forcing us all to rethink the way we work and operate, how we care, learn, shop, travel, and the role of government – to name but a few!  Above all, it has shown us how fragile everything is.

In his book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicolas Taleb demonstrates that rare and improbable events occur more often than we think.  Taleb says that our blindness with respect to randomness, extends further than our conscious awareness can possibly comprehend. 

The Black Swan

This dovetails with the Butterfly Effect. In Chaos Theory this is used to describe a phenomenon where a very tiny, minor change in unrelated circumstances may cause major changes elsewhere- ie. everything starts somewhere.  This theory was popularised by the metaphor of the flapping of a butterfly wings in Brazil can cause a hurricane in Florida, or, the collapse of a major hill is caused by the dislocation of a single grain of sand. 

Whatever the mathematical merit of this metaphor, the meaning is clear…Trillions of butterfly effects are buffeting us every minute – altering our paths more than we can imagine.  Can we control or plan for these effects at all?  No.  Is there anything ever under our total control?  Not really.  Total control is an illusion – between black swans and butterfly effects, nothing is under your control… except your actions and your attitude. 

This is where coaching can make a BIG difference.  Coaching can help you find out what you already are in control of, how to gain MORE control of your thoughts, feelings and actions as well as how to respond effectively when faced with issues outside of your control.  It can give you the thinking space needed to make decisions & gain clarity for your pathway forward.

Coming out of lockdown, many of us now want to feel fully equipped to face life’s challenges and achieve goals that really MEAN something.   Or maybe you are looking to provide this to your staff or clients?  My approach is centred around Positive Psychology & Transformational Coaching – the aim is to disrupt negative thinking patterns, challenge beliefs and assumptions that can hold you back and help you create positive, sustainable CHANGE. 

I enjoy helping individuals & organisations realise their full potential.  As a PCC accredited member of the International Coaching Federation I also use the Emotional Intelligence tool EQi2.0/360, where appropriate, to improve self-awareness, confidence, resilience and clarity  which directly impacts both wellbeing and performance. If you are interested in a discussion about how coaching could help you move forward please do get in touch:

“Having Annie as a coach is like sunshine for my brain! She doesn’t just coach me, she CHAMPIONS me and helps me move through blocks that have had me stuck and frustrated, even when I don’t see how I can; Annie does.”

FInd out more about Annie Lee Associates at

​Twitter @AnnieLee_Coach Facebook @annieleeassociates

Annie Lee Associates

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