Fear of change will keep you stuck in your comfort zone, experiencing situations that aren’t necessarily good, but are known and therefore don’t feel risky.
But trying to avoid change is like trying to avoid getting older. It happens whether you want it to or not. And unless you want to keep experiencing the same unwanted situations over and over again, things will have to change... And fear of change is going to seriously hold you back in any situation where you're stepping outside of your comfort zone.
The fact is, trying to avoid change because it presents risks, is risky in itself - because letting go of the old and adapting to the new is a prerequisite if you want more flow and ease in your life. Holding on means lost opportunities and a lack of growth - and that inevitably leads to a stagnant life.
One of my favourite books on the subject of change and why it's risky to try and avoid it, is Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson. It has a fabulous way of showing how we resist change and why.... I definitely recommend reading it.
There are two ways change can happen - sometimes it's forced upon us and sometimes we initiate it ourselves.
But whichever situation you're faced with, you will usually find yourself resisting it, often without realising you're doing it.
You see fear of change is sneaky. Let's say that you decide you want to change something - after a little while as the discomfort of change grows, it will make you feel like where you are right now actually isn't really that bad... Why change things? Maybe things will get better soon... And do you really want to go through all that hassle? Take the risk of losing what you do have? For what? It will make you crave the known and the comfortable...
And before you know it, another year has gone by and yep - you got it - nothing has changed..
Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~
I know that scenario only too well. I tend to bring change on myself often because I live quite a nomadic lifestyle. I’ve moved my life around the world countless times now, and each time I make the decision to do so, initially it feels exciting and exhilarating and like a really good idea.
But then something else happens. After a week or two I start to think of all the things I’ll miss about where I am, all the obstacles in my way (there are always obstacles) and all the scary unknown bits, and I start getting a bit less excited.
I start questioning why I’m doing it and wouldn’t it just be better to stay put for another 6 months, or another year ....or forever!
And sometimes I’ve even been lulled into that feeling of – yeah, it’s OK, I don’t need to go just now. And immediately I do that… whammo… all the reasons I wanted to move in the first place come racing back and I realize that I DO want to go, I’m just a bit scared…
Does any of that sound familiar? Well, maybe not the moving from country to country, but the feeling of wanting to do something new, and then getting uncomfortable and convincing yourself that actually, you don’t really want to.. only to be hit with the feelings of loss because now your new dream isn’t going to happen.
Talk about confusing!
Fear to change is the enemy of success.
~ Bhagwan Maurya ~
Fear of change is natural. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s all to do with reptilian brains and ancient programmed behaviours to keep us safe from beasts with big teeth who saw us as dinner. So the first thing to know is don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re not ‘weak’ or ‘useless’ or any other derogatory description. You’re just human.
But what you DO about it IS your choice. You can choose to buy into the fear of change or you can take a deep breath, reconnect with your dream and take the next step.
Essentially (apart from a few crazy adrenaline addicts out there) we’re creatures of habit. We feel threatened when things change even if we caused the change and think that we want it.
So here are a few things I recommend for when that fear of change hits you and makes you second guess yourself and start to play small. Some may resonate, others may not – do only what makes YOU feel courageous, strong an excited..
Every time you do this you will grow. Your comfort zone will stretch and you will find yourself reaching for bigger and bigger goals. Fear of change will always be there, but those who get what they want in life face it, manage it and move through it to reach new levels of joy and fulfillment in their magical adventure of life. I know you can do it – and so do you…