The 4 Stages of an Uplevel

I recently went through a Reinvention (read my story here) and MANY of my clients are now going through the same thing — an Uplevel and massive SHIFT in their identities and careers or businesses, too.

What are the SIGNS you’re going through this SHIFT or an “Uplevel”?

It could be any or all of these signs:

  • Boredom or dissatisfaction with your business or life, despite having manifested your ideal results.
  • Business/career growth has plateaued or experiencing only small incremental gains.
  • Campaigns and Launches not performing like they used to.
  • Opportunities or income is drying up.
  • Friends not resonating with you anymore.
  • Losing interest in things that once brought you joy.
  • Looking to do something “new” in your career, and you’re not certain exactly what that may be.
  • Wondering “What’s next?” or “How do I uplevel?”
  • Feeling blocked or stuck.
  • Having a lot of unfinished projects. 
  • Feeling unsteady from a major life upheaval, like a death, divorce or financial crisis.
  • Feeling shaken after going through a spiritual awakening, religious trauma or faith transition.

A lot of these signs are a result of the massive upheaval of 2020 to the present. When there’s a worldwide SHIFT of that magnitude, it has effects on individuals, families and groups, including entire organizations, felt for years.

In my case, my SHIFT started in 2016, a little ahead of the curve. The same thing happened to me when I had a massive shift in 2006, right before the major recession of 2008-2010. I felt that this helped me to learn valuable financial, business and leadership lessons, ahead of the curve, in order to help my clients when they were going through the same thing a few years later.

The most recent “SHIFT” was very unique from any other life-altering event in my life. It shook me to my core — my beliefs, values, identity and way of operating. It was like switching operating systems from PC to a Mac or vice versa. It was disorienting to say the least. There were many breakdowns and breakthroughs on mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

I only wished there was someone who could tell me what was going on and have empathy for me— or at least a Roadmap so I could know WHAT to do in each step, and WHEN it would be over!?

I learned lessons and made missteps along the way…

I noticed some patterns & trends with my private 1:1 coaching clients who are visionary leaders and executives. Many of them are going through The SHIFT and they will also turn to guide their people who are going through The SHIFT (or will very soon)… Sooner or later, everyone will go through The SHIFT.

And now I’ve used this knowledge to create THE ROADMAP! 🙂

Presently, I use this Roadmap to help my private 1:1 coaching clients who are going through the same thing… so they can make The SHIFT with far less resistance than I did, more quickly and graciously allow life to do its thing, and take the relevant and appropriate actions.

Surrendering to these changes is much easier & faster than fighting them.

I mean, does a Butterfly fight their metamorphosis?

So, alas here’s my “Butterfly Allegory” combined with the 4 Stages of an Uplevel:

In each Stage of an Uplevel, I’ll describe:

  • The Emotions of the Step
  • The Cost of Staying in the Step
  • How Did I Get Here?
  • The Common Missteps Made Here
  • Constructive Business Actions (if you’re an entrepreneur)
  • How Do I Uplevel?
  • The Butterfly Symbolism this Step Relates To

First, an infographic so you can see the steps I’m covering:

Let’s Dive Into the 4 Stages of an Uplevel

Step 1: Return

The Caterpillar, after a life of consuming leaves, feels a shift internally. The Imagenel Cells, the cells responsible for the metamorphosis into a Butterfly, start to take over the Caterpillar’s body and triggers the process of the Caterpillar making its Cocoon. It’s instinct driven by its unique timing.

The Emotions
  • Boredom.
  • Dissatisfaction.
  • Frustration.
  • Feeling blocked or stuck.
  • Unfulfilled.
  • Self-doubt.
  • Just wanting to fit in and be accepted by others.
  • Restlessness or dissatisfaction in the way things currently are.
  • Exhaustion from running or working so hard.
  • At first, they may not be sensitive to the fact that there’s been a change or that a change is coming (much like at first, the imagenel cells don’t immediately tell the Caterpillar to build a Cocoon).
The Cost of Staying Here
  • Exhaustion.
  • Burnout.
  • Hiding from the bigger limelight or working behind-the-scenes.
  • Prosperity weakens (material or spiritual).
  • Resentment.
  • Bitterness.
How Did I Get Here?
  • Ignoring your “secret” projects and dreams.
  • A shift in business/career and previous tools and tactics stop working.
  • Seeing a decline in profits or productivity.
  • Remember, you didn’t really do anything to be in this Step. You’re here because it’s time.
The Common Missteps Made Here
  • Going back to old patterns.
  • Trying to reverse out of the Cocoon.
  • Choosing against your higher knowing.
  • Resisting the flow of life.
  • Trying to force things to happen.
  • Fantasizing or thinking you can get back to where you were.
  • Continue to go, go, go.
  • Ignore problems that need to be solved.
Constructive Business Actions
  • Set new intentions for future.
  • Set new boundaries.
  • Embrace your desires.
  • Make way for “what you do want.”
  • Don’t make any firm decisions in this Step.
  • Focus on building up your internal resources again with self-care.
  • Stay visible and consistent with social posts and emails (even though there’s a desire to pull in; use storytelling and take your audience on a journey)
  • Take shelter by replenishing inner resources with ACTIVE self-care.
  • Incubate any ideas for the future (don’t act on them quite yet).
  • Streamline your business and remove non-essentials.
  • Protect yourself from less-than-positive outside forces.
  • Reduce time spent on the news and social media.
  • Clear physical clutter.
  • Take care of the details.
How Do I Uplevel?
  • Quiet contemplation/ journaling/ listening to inner guidance.
  • Flow with what-is instead of fighting it. Surrender!
  • Look at what you’ve been procrastinating.
  • Accept responsibility.
  • Find your inner magic.
  • Return to your True Self.
  • Ask: “Who am I?”

Step 2a: REALIGN

The Caterpillar has completed its Cocoon. This step is about shedding the skin, so it can seemingly melt into a bunch of “goo,” before being reorganized into a Butterfly. Remember, the moment of complete 100% dissolution into “goo” and “Rebirth” is still coming.

The Emotions
  • Grief of the “old” dying or slipping away.
  • Confused… what used to work doesn’t work.
  • Indecisive… so many options, so many voices…Analysis Paralysis.
  • Overwhelmed.
  • May feel that it’s difficult to receive answers from your intuition or God/Source/The Universe.
  • Doubting yourself or your intuition.
  • Feeling helpless, like you need someone else to help you solve your problems or to validate your solutions.
  • May feel an “Ache” or a “Call,” like there’s something you came here to do.
  • May may feel something is missing, or that you’re forgetting something important.
  • Directionless, rudderless, desperate for clarity, or even like you’re in a “Fog.”
  • May feel you need more education, whether it’s a course, certification or degree.
  • Time feels like it’s running out, so you get impatient and frustrated.
  • May compare yourself (shouldn’t I be farther along than they are?).
  • Feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel (making efforts that seem important, but end up fruitless).
  • You ask, “Am even in the right place? Am I doing the right thing anymore?”
  • You ask, “Who I am I to do this? Am I really good enough to do this?”
  • May have small moments like you’ve gone through a Rebirth as you have an “a-ha” moment, but it’s not the whole picture yet; some things still don’t make sense.
  • You feel something big and important is coming.
The Cost of Staying Here
  • Starting / stopping projects (more unfinished projects).
  • Launching new flavors of the week to see what “sticks.”
  • Not realizing you’ve outgrown some of the old friends, routines, masterminds, etc.
  • Investing in resources and solutions that are misaligned to “fix” a situation.
  • Micromanaging your team because you’re afraid something else will fall apart.
  • Burnout & stress.
  • Doubting yourself and your talents, gifts and skills.
  • Results don’t match your expectations.
  • Continue throwing money and energy at trying to fix a situation.
  • Continue feeling negative feelings.
  • Continue feeling lost.
  • Continue having misaligned clients show up.
How Did I Get Here?
  • “Doing” more than “being.”
  • “Thinking” more than “feeling.”
  • Giving your power away to others to solve your problems.
  • Not investing the time to listen to your own inner voice.
  • Workaholism, working harder, more trial-and-error.
  • Throwing more energy, money or people at a problem.
  • Launching new offers prematurely.
The Common Missteps Made Here
  • Trying to force the moment of rebirth.
  • Trying to speed up the process.
  • Feeling like life is unfair and you have no control.
  • Staying in victimhood, martyrdom, or fix-it mode.
  • Not doing anything and hoping it will pass.
  • Trying to reinvent yourself or your business/career (prematurely). That comes much later in the process!
  • Redesigning a website or your brand (again, coming later!)
  • Launching new offers to see what sticks (if you do, it can look like you’re changing your mind a lot, or you don’t know who you are).
  • Hiring a marketing company or more people to work on the “external,” when “internal” work is what is needed.
  • Hiding or exhibiting hermit-like behaviors.
  • Not listening to your heart or denying your inner voice.
  • Adding more to your plate and using your “will” to “make” things happen.
  • Getting upset at others for not doing something correctly and then doing it yourself.
  • Giving up.
Constructive Business Actions
  • Visioning (vision board, visualizations, guided meditations) and specifying details of creation
  • Make plans and take guided action to move toward your intentions
  • Go forward with your heart open.
  • Do what feels right, even if your brain doesn’t agree.
  • Don’t make any firm decisions in this Step.
  • Protect your energy and confidence.
  • Do a Business Inspection (business resources, P&L statements, cash flow, cash reserves, website + marketing analytics). Get a true picture of what’s going on in the business.
  • Remove the need to “go, go, go.”
  • Instead of “force and make,” move into “receive and create.”
  • Let go of criticism of others, self-judgment and self-criticism.
  • Embrace what you encounter along the way. Know it’s for your highest good and it’s a clue to unlock your inner power.
  • Get intentional about getting to know your audience better + how you want to server your audience.
  • Understand your voice and unique perspective.
  • Connect with your audience (spiritually and energetically first) and start feeling out new messaging and putting it out there (testing stuff out).
How Do I Uplevel?
  • Strengthen intuition.
  • “Unlearn” your identity— from what other people think, want from us, or can give to us.
  • Shed the projections and expectations of others.
  • Shed the inessentials & distractions.
  • Recognize you must find your “second act.”
  • Accept responsibility for what your past choices have created in your external world.
  • Be open to new perspectives and that life may be moving you in another direction (from small tweaks to big changes).
  • Do self-discovery work.
  • Fill your cup (self-care and listening to your intuition).
  • Identify your joys and passions + what lights you up (trust & follow that).
  • Release what’s not you.
  • Clear blocks.
  • Heal wounds.
  • Realign to your superpowers.
  • Align to your true self and life’s work.
  • Ask: “What are my superpowers? What is my purpose?”

Step 2b: REBIRTH

The Caterpillar has become completely, totally, 100% “goo.”

Nothing is left of the Caterpillar, AND also nothing yet is visible of the Butterfly.

This is the true “in-between.” It’s the moment of DEATH and REBIRTH.

If you’ve hit this “moment,” you KNOW. There’s no wondering. You feel a COMPLETE and utter SHIFT.

You’ve given up your entire old identity and may see glimpses of what you’ll become, but you still don’t know what color wings you’ll have, or when you’ll emerge.

You’ve done the inner work. You feel like you have a totally new operating system (like as if you switched from PC to Mac, or vice versa). It feels foreign, like you’re learning a new way of being.

Many people make the mistake that they’ve reached the Realign/Rebirth Step and are ready for the Reinvent Step. If you try to make changes before you’re ready, you’ll probably stay longer in Realign/Rebirth Step… (fair warning).

In this Reinvent Step, you may even feel like you’ve given your last f@ck.

You can feel invincible. Unstoppable.

You may even feel a bit freaked out.


This Step is short. It may only last 1-2 weeks.

You’ll know it when you experience it!


The Rebirth and awkward shedding-into-goo step is over. The Butterfly is still in the Cocoon, but you can see its wings taking shape. The body is at work growing wings with intricate patterns and colors. The Butterfly is reinventing itself, but has not yet emerged.

The Emotions
  • Feeling hopeful.
  • Imposter Syndrome may creep in. “Who am I to be or do this? Can I really be a Butterfly? How will I fly?”
  • You may have many “A-ha, I know!” moments that feel exhilarating, like your intuition is on fire!
  • Your whole life seems to makes sense and you understand why all the Breakdowns happened, so you could come to the impending Breakthrough moment.
  • You may fear criticism and judgment that may come from expressing your new identity, message and ideas.
  • Nonetheless, the creativity flows and you get it all out on paper or video, because you’ll make it public (soon!).
  • Floodgates feel open for new opportunities and insights (can feel overwhelming).
  • Excited because new sources of opportunities and income start opening up, big time!
The Cost of Staying Here
  • You stay the best kept secret, safe inside your Cocoon.
  • Other people keep you down… you feel different and they notice… they may even tell you that they don’t like the changes you’ve made.
  • Growing complacent.
  • You don’t build a soul-aligned brand and message that attracts your ideal clients.
  • You keep playing small.
  • You keep doubting yourself.
How Did I Get Here?
  • Shedding your skin. Removing attachments to old ego, identity, beliefs and values.
  • Clearing & healing.
  • Patience and surrender.
  • Inner work, intuition, connection to higher self.
  • Trust and experimentation.
  • Self-love and self-awareness.
  • Gratitude.
The Common Missteps Made Here
  • You keep replaying the discomfort of the Realign/Rebirth Step and don’t fully feel like you’re in this new step. So you feel like the “other shoe is going to drop.”
  • If you share your new message and ideas too soon, your Message can be rejected if others don’t understand it. You can wonder, “Is there something wrong with me? Why don’t they get it?” So, continue to try it out and refine it as you speak out more.
  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Looking to others for inspiration (instead of looking inward).
  • Rebranding prematurely.
  • Releasing new offers that aren’t truly aligned to your True Self.
  • Not fully believing in yourself.
  • Changing your mind, paths, or structure as you settle into what does or doesn’t feel aligned.
  • Leaning into the resistance from others as you step onto new path and they try to hold you to the old one.
Constructive Business Actions
  • Formulate new brand positioning + new messaging.
  • New brand makeover.
  • Create content and marketing plan.
  • Build new website.
  • Create new structures.
  • Create new sales systems (order forms, sales pages, emails) in place and ready for action!
  • Start to help people overcome what you just went through.
  • Implement new systems to support you and business.
  • Ramp up self-care.
  • Create and sell a new product (launch something!)
  • Have an event.
  • Marketing + Promotion.
  • List building.
  • Lead generation.
  • Execute on content and marketing plan.
How Do I Uplevel?
  • Have patience (Slow is smooth; smooth is fast).
  • Exercise creativity.
  • Find your new beginning (your second act).
  • Become the best version of self.
  • Trust you’re in the right place. Trust yourself. Have Faith in the God/Source/The Universe.
  • Reimagine your business/career.
  • Identify your aligned ideal client.
  • Develop a clear message (explain your new knowing in a way others can understand quickly through words & art).
  • Look at past and unfinished experiences, projects and patterns for clues.
  • Own your FULL power and know who you are.
  • Used this new knowledge to manifest your dreams.
  • Ask: “What will I reinvent? What will I manifest?”
  • Read this blog post that expands upon what else to do following the Rebirth Step.


The Butterfly is ready to emerge. But first, there’s a struggle to break out of the Cocoon. It must use its new wings and legs to break open the Cocoon. Without this struggle, the Butterfly wouldn’t be able to build up the strength necessary to fly! Once free, the Butterfly cannot yet fly; it has to wait for its wings to dry. This can be a period of vulnerability because it finally got the strength to emerge, but it must wait for a period. After their wings are all dry, it can spreads its wings and soars to new heights. It enJOYs life and Re-JOY-ces in its new form, function and purpose. It also now has a new diet as well, flower nectar instead of leaves. This represent a whole new level of being.

The Emotions
  • When breaking out of the Cocoon:
    • May experience feelings of wanting to hide or fear of being seen.
    • May experience cognitive dissonance (“is this really me now?”) and doubting yourself.
    • May struggle to stay optimistic and to dream.
  • Once out, feels enthusiasm for the floodgates that are opening and the new found freedom.
How Did I Get Here?
  • Trusting your “A-ha” knowing.
  • Finding your inner magic.
  • Realigning to your superpowers.
  • Articulating your message in a way others can understand.
  • Owning your FULL power and knowing who you are.
  • Reinventing yourself and your business/career to be aligned to your True Self and Higher Purpose.
The Common Missteps Made Here
  • Not enJOYing (your new abundance).
  • Not ReJOYce-ing (celebrating success).
  • Looking backwards or forwards, instead of being in the moment and fully present.
  • Entertaining too many potential collaborations or opportunities that aren’t fully aligned. Your light is shining bright and many people will be attracted to you, but that doesn’t mean that they’re in alignment to work/collaborate with.
  • Working too much.
  • Neglecting family or other areas of life.
  • Too “busy” and possibly neglect some of the self care you were doing.
  • Frustrated at other areas of life that are not flowing or are slowing you down.
Constructive Business Actions
  • Tweak and execute on your aligned marketing plan.
  • Create more systems to sustain your growth.
  • Hire new team members to sustain your growth.
  • Make offers and sales.
  • Book more speaking and podcast opportunities.
  • Expand your audiences.
  • Hold your mind open.
  • Release the fear of judgment & criticism.
  • Thrust yourself into the limelight or the bigger stage.
  • Continue to expand your light, self-mastery, and gifts.
  • Manifest greater abundance.
  • Change the world. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead
  • Soar Butterfly, SOAR!

∞ Repeat

Life is one big cycle and it has a lot of small cycles. It’s not a destination. You may find yourself repeating this cycle or elements of other Steps, depending on how closely you can align to your True Self (not the one that others expect from or project upon you).

Final Words

I’d love to support and assist you through your own transformation into your true authentic self and align with your purpose.

I have a few ways I can help you, ranging from private 1:1 sessions to group mentoring (request a Clarity Call here).

I hope this information has been empowering and helpful to you on life’s journeys.

Much love,

Christie Turley guides visionary leaders to reconnect with their higher genius, so they can improve decision-making and deliver greater profits, influence and impact. She is the author of the book, The Intuition-Led Business, which offers a framework on unlocking the intuitive and subconscious minds, and she is founder of Conscious State University, an online learning platform that teaches leaders and their teams how to make better decisions using science-backed methods.  A dynamic speaker, she has shared the stage with many New York Times bestselling authors and is the host of The Higher Genius Podcast. She lives in the southwestern United States with her husband and their two daughters.

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