The Fear Of Change Keeps Us Frozen With Respect To Career Or Entrepreneurial Opportunities. Key Insights To Embrace Change

Humans are amazing in so many ways and yet at times confounding in their approach to work and life. While people can race down a mountain, ride a dirt bike over hills or jump off a waterfall in Hawaii, they are frozen in place with respect to making a significant change in their life. And that is normal. Everyone experiences their own level of fear of change. That’s why comfort zones exist. You’re not alone in these feelings surrounding change. That’s why so many people would rather avoid change because of how uncomfortable the associated feelings can be. A Harvard Business Review article references a study done on the fear of change and why it’s so difficult for people to choose change even if there are not in a good place regarding their career.

There is good news. The more you understand why you fear change, the more you can take steps to combat and override that fear. Why is that necessary? Because you cannot let your fear of change keep you in place that is toxic for your life or not let you take advantage of living life to your fullest potential.  We were not born to fear change, we might have learned it. The fear of change can stem from childhood experiences, family views, personal outlooks, current conditions, and even just the way people’s brains are wired. If your parents were conservative and feared change, you might adopt that same behavior. Also, humans are conditioned to be in control. It’s evolutionary. So, the fear of change is both an outcome of nature and nurture.

Our brains are wired to find peace in knowing. When we don’t know what will happen, we make up scenarios and, in turn, create anxiety and worry. Then we do everything to avoid those feelings. You won’t take that career opportunity or create the startup because you don’t know if you will make friends, if you will like your co-workers, if you will enjoy the lifestyle in that state or if you will have the same routines. So, you tend to avoid all these unknowns by doing nothing.

Here are some insights to help you begin to overcome the fear of change. Everyone needs their own practice to find the right solution, but these insights are a good starting place to find what works for you:

1. Embrace change and vulnerability. Being vulnerable puts you in a place where you can face your fears. It’s accepting that you may not have control, but you can overcome and manage any circumstance or situation you face. When you can welcome change (with all its potential good and bad), you can regain a sense of control and power.

2. Break things up into smaller pieces. You don’t have to work in extremes. For example, you may have many aspects of your life that will require change from finding the right job, picking a life partner, and more. Trying to think about all these changes at once is undoubtedly overwhelming. Instead, break things down into smaller pieces. Focus on changing one thing in your life at a time. Start small with trying new food items, running a different trail, meeting with a new person, etc.

 3. What were you born to do. You were probably born to do nothing in particular, so what do you really want to do? As Simon Sinek would say, what is your why? By defining your purpose, you can diminish your fear of change. If you don’t know what you want, then any decision can be scary. But if you first understand your “why,” then when you have to make decisions or a change, you can ask yourself if it will align with your purpose. This can help to eliminate options that don’t work towards achieving your goals.

4. Adopt a positive attitude. While you can’t always control your exact outcomes, you can have plans. Know what you will do if something fails miserably so you can reduce the consequences as much as possible. And, to keep a positive outlook, hope for the best because your positive energy can help to create positive outcomes. It will also surround you with other people who have a positive energy.

5. Five people. In life, you’ll always have both negative and positive people around you. Purposely, surround yourself with five people who have a positive energy and care about you. Leverage the people in your life who offer support and help to guide you in the right direction.

 6. Reward yourself. When you make a small change, even something relatively simple, you have to find ways to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything tangible. You can train your mind to believe you’re gaining a new positive reward, even if you are removing something from your life. Or you can celebrate it with friend over a glass of your favorite beverage. 

 7. Reduce the unknown. Ask yourself what you are so afraid of before embarking on any change. You can then write down the potential outcomes and aspects you fear most. From this list, you can do some research or talk to someone you trust to mitigate these potential results. Knowing what you fear will allow you to overcome the fear and approach change rationally.

 8. Be in the here and now. While the past can provide you with both negative and positive experiences, you need to focus on where you are now to move forward. Use the information you have in the here and now to make decisions based on your current situation. Living too far in the future is unknown and adds to anxiety. Being in the now opens the door to opportunity. Look to what you can accomplish today, tomorrow and in the next six months.

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