How to Overcome Fear of Change
Does one of these scenarios sound familiar?:
- You’ve been on your job for 10 years and you’re either laid off or you’re presented with a job opportunity that’s simply too good to pass up.
- You’re facing either a marriage or divorce.
- Maybe someone close to you recently died.
- You’re relocating to another city or state.
- Perhaps you’re starting a business or church.
Regardless the specific scenario, we all have to overcome the fear of change at one point or another in our lives. Change makes us nervous but change can be good. Unfortunately, with change comes the questioning of one’s self:
“Am I making the right decision?”
“Did God lead me down this path?”
I asked myself these same questions with each career and job change; when I bought my house, when I joined a new church, and especially when I was faced with a breast cancer diagnosis. These questions arose from:
- Fear of Failure
- Fear of the Unknown
- Comparing Self to Others
Fear of Failure
“What if I fail?”
“What if I make a fool of myself?”
“What if no one supports me?”
Although thoughts of failure will inevitably cross our minds, we have to be intentional in rejecting and replacing them with positive, re-affirming thoughts. We have to speak to ourselves with thoughts such as “What if I succeed?” You have to believe that you CAN do this, that you CAN win. You also have to know that, although some people won’t support you, there will be many others who will. And if you do fail, get up, and try again. Just because we fail at something doesn’t mean it’s over. Failure just means it’s time to find another strategy or idea.
Fear of the Unknown
“I’m new to this industry.”
“I’ve never done this before.”
“Do I have the necessary skills for the task?”
Everything you do and everyone you know were once an unknown to you. So you’ve handled the unknown before. Just as with Fear of Failure, we have to change our minds and our thoughts. Instead of dreading the unknown, embrace it. View the unknown like an adventure. No one dreads an adventure. We look forward to adventures with expectation.
I remember my first cruise. I’d never been on a ship. I’d never been out of the U.S. I’d never been to any of the islands on the itinerary. The cruise was an unknown to me, but I ventured out and went on the cruise anyway. And although there were a few challenges along the way, my experience persuaded me to book nine more cruises over the next eight years. So the unknown can cause dread or excitement. The choice is ours.
Comparing Self to Others
“What if I’m not good enough?”
“I don’t have any/enough experience.”
“The market is already saturated.”
“What if my niche doesn’t work as well as others?”
Those are legitimate questions. It’s to be expected that someone who’s been in your industry 5, 10, 15 years will have more knowledge and experience than you. So, don’t compare yourself to them. Don’t compare yourself to anyone.
Regardless how little experience you have, you still have something to offer others. Figure out what that “something” is, package it, and offer it as the precious gift IT is. If you do that, the people who need your gift will find you. And that’s how you get and keep followers. So, start viewing everything you’re offering as a valuable gift that will benefit the receiver.
People in every industry have a gift to offer…
Bloggers: Every post, webinar, or printable is a valuable gift to your readers.
Truck Drivers: Every load contains a valuable gift for your receivers.
Lawyers: Every brief, argument, and client meeting is an opportunity to add value to your client and your firm.
Pastors: Value is gleaned from every sermon, phone call, and teaching you give to your congregation.
Embracing and handling change can be summarized as:
- Be intentional in replacing negative thoughts or speech, either from others or self, with positive self-affirming speech.
- Saturate yourself with knowledge about the unknown topic you’re facing. Get to know the unknown and then embrace it.
- Be confident in the knowledge that you’re adding value. Regardless the change you’re facing, you have something to offer.
So, how does one overcome the fear of change? By embracing it. You’re ready for this and can do well. Start speaking positively to yourself and believe that you will be successful. I wish you well in your endeavor. When times get hard, remember you have someone, me, cheering for you!