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Coming Out of Your Shell

“Everything else is crazy. Hold on to purpose, stay connected to love, and keep growing.” 

– Jerry Colonna

Lobsters grow by molting their shell, and they shed this exoskeleton often. According to a piece on the Smithsonian site, “the average lobster can molt 44 times before it’s a year old. By the time lobsters reach the age of seven, they molt once a year, and after that, once every two to three years, growing larger with each successive shedding of its exoskeleton.”

Molting isn’t an easy endeavor. It’s a stressful process that requires much energy and leaves the soft crustacean body without its hard shell and strong pincers. Therefore it’s vulnerable to predators before the new exoskeleton forms. One of the tragic end-of-life risks for older lobsters is that due to the energy expenditure to molt, they can get stuck in a too-small shell and rot from the inside out. 

As humans, we’re lucky in the sense that our risks of failing to grow are less graphic. However different in process, they are not any tidier than what lobsters have to go through. The molting that happens as we grow, and the number of skins we shed throughout our lifetimes have a similar line of vulnerability feeling tones. 

When it comes to such transitions, leaving the old skin can be hard as it’s the known entity, the comfort zone, something that works to some degree. Yet, the old skin also has its own places of discomfort–things that aren’t working so well anymore, places that feel too tight for all of who we are to show up. The more and more we learn about who we are, and the more we cultivate our relationship to ourselves, the more and more we come out of our shells. As Laurie Segall notes in her conversation with Jerry in this podcast: The more you show up for your life, the more you grow with life.

As her new book Special Characters traces the lobster moments of the tech-titan characters therein, as well as her own moltings along the way, Laurie wishes lobster moments on each of us.

What are your lobster moments? What are some big moltings you’ve had in your life? Where are you now in your exoskeleton? How are things feeling? Consider these questions:

  • What is working for me? What is honoring who I am and my gifts? 
  • Where do I feel glossed over and unconsidered? 
  • What is my work to do? What is not my work to do?
  • Where do I feel called? 
  • Where am I growing out of my old skin? What right now might be molting for me? 
  • What does the soft animal of my body love? How can I be gentle with myself as I grow into more of me? 


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