Snake2013, the Year of the Snake in the Chinese Zodiac, is a less than auspicious start for a personal transformation.

Yet the more I reflect on this game changing year, the more I have embraced the beauty, power, and strength a snake brings to a personal and professional journey.

Let’s be real.  Nobody wants to be called a snake.  Snakes immediately conjure up images of slimy, poison-filled, legless reptiles with no eyelids.  Yuck!

And fraudulent businessmen didn’t earn the title “snake oil salesman” for nothing.

But instead of recoiling at the thought of these creatures, maybe it is time for us to challenge and redefine this negative perception of the snake.

Here are 3 ways to begin recognizing and embracing your inner snake.

1.  A snake molts (or sheds or sloughs) its external layer throughout its life.  This exfoliation allows it to emerge with a new coat void of cracks and parasites.  It is literally a renewed version of itself.

What kind of molting have you done in 2013 in your personal and professional life?  What changes have you made to move forward and step in to your true passions?  What do you have left to do in the next 2 months?

2.  Before it molts, the snake usually moves to a quiet, safe place to prepare for its journey.

What kind of practice do you use when you are preparing for your own transformations?  Do you meditate, journal, and/or regularly review your annual plan for your business and personal growth?  Or does that question make you realize that all of your “busy”ness doesn’t include time for reflection, gratitude, and planning?

3.  After molting, a snake leaves behind a single, unique copy of itself – its old skin neatly turned inside out.  Because every snake’s scales are individual, you can actually identify the old “self” while embodying the new “self”.

What do your scales look like?  If you look at your past, are you uniquely identifiable, or have you been fitting in to game of life while secretly yearning to break out of your mold (or skin) and stepping in to your true purpose on this planet?

2013 has been a massive game changer for me: leaving corporate America, moving to Africa, and launching 3 businesses within 6 months.  And none of this would be possible without me embracing my inner snake!

I’d love to hear about your own journey during this Year of the Snake – 2013.  What have you done so far?  And what kind of molting do you intend to do in the next 3 months?