If there is one constant in life, it’s that change is inevitable. Change can trigger growth, it ushers in new opportunities and welcomes transformation. The tricky thing about change is even when actively seeking it out, it is often the change that we fear.
Sometimes, changes have to be made due to circumstances that are not planned or anticipated. But, change isn’t always negative – it can be exciting and long sought after, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.
The Comfort Zone
One of the biggest reasons humans fear change is because it’s a step into the unknown. You’re safe in your predictable comfort zone. Even when you seek out change, you are pushing yourself into the unknown, and that is unsettling. It’s the state of homeostasis we live in – just wanting things to be the same, regardless if they are positive or negative.
You may choose to change careers or go back to school, but leaving the comfort of your stable job to do that can be anxiety-inducing. You leave behind your familiar routine to explore new challenges and with that comes uncertainty.
The Risk of Failure
The risk of failure is also a powerful factor that prevents people from pursuing change. Society has impressed upon us the idea that the worst thing we can do is fail. Remember this, if you fail it’s because you tried and that means a lot more than sitting back and letting life pass you by. It can be paralyzing – wanting for more but too worried to try.
There is another element of risk that prevents people from pursuing change. One that can be terrifying – even though you want to change and even though it will be a good thing, the idea of letting go of something else to create space for something new. It’s a cognitive bias that’s difficult to shake, even though you logically know the change is positive.
There are a variety of pressures that can make change even scarier. When peer pressure and societal norms come into play, it can be terrifying to push yourself to make the changes you want for fear of being judged harshly.
Then there’s your ego – self-identity is often tied up in job roles and circumstances. So, leaving a high-paid position to pursue your dream can be even scarier even though you want it. Your ego may have trouble processing it as the positive it is. Another caveat is in listening to the ‘shoulds’ in your head – and leaving them behind can be scary.
As you embark on a journey of change, there are a few strategies you can use to get through. The first is to recognize your fear, no good will come of pretending everything is fine. Plus, we can make future situations worse than we know – you are not a mind-reader to predict the future but, you can certainly plan for it. You need to set realistic expectations because you will experience setbacks, but that’s no reason to give up.
Don’t be afraid to embrace the uncertainty and lean on your support network. Be gentle and kind with yourself and try to focus on all of the benefits, rather than getting caught up worrying about the change or potential negatives.
You can’t tackle this change as one big step, you have to break it down into small steps to make the process less overwhelming. Be prepared to challenge your limiting beliefs because they will crop up and they will make life difficult if you’re not ready to quash them.
The moves you make in the future should reflect your priorities and values, so make sure you’re well acquainted with yours.
It’s normal to fear change to some degree, but what isn’t normal is allowing that fear to stop you in your tracks. As tempting as it is to stay safe in your comfort zone, you will never lead the fulfilling life you deserve in doing so.
So, put yourself out there!
Take the risk, make the changes, and embrace the unknown! You never know when you will uncover your true potential. It isn’t something to fear, it’s something to savor and pursue. Be bold – make the leap to your future. Embrace the change you seek – it will hug you back.
What are you struggling with? Reach out to get support to help you answer the question and move forward boldly. We’re here for you!