Face Your Fear of Change

Change is often painful – or at least we expect that it will be.  How often would we prefer to put up with the devil we know than trade him in for the unknown?  How often do we fantasize about all the awful things that are going to happen to us if we do something different from what we are doing now? Even if we are not all that pleased with our current situation, we feel comfortable that we know how to handle it; that we know what to expect.  

One of my favorite quotes is “People change when the pain of staying the same is greater that the pain of changing.”  So until your horrible boss stops paying you, or your abusive spouse beats you to a pulp – you often just stick with them rather than change circumstances. Those are extreme examples, but they make the point.

Every time I look at these kinds of situations in my past or with coaching clients, it seems to comes down to fear. Here are some examples of “inner tunes” you may know:

  • I’ll  never find another job in this economy
  • If I divorce my spouse, I won’t find anyone else to love me.
  • I’ll never lose this weight, so why should I try?
  • I won’t be able to make enough money if I do what I love
  • I’m not much good to anyone now that I’m old/retired

 How can you be absolutely sure that your fears are true? Can you start to take action when you are not satisfied but afraid?  Three starter points to face your fear:

1) Note your negative thought.  Rather than believe it, question it.  Look for evidence that refutes it: e.g.  John got a divorce and he is just fine; Mary lost 30 pounds; Sally just got a fabulous job that she loves, etc. 

Take note and acknowledge that your scary thought may be wrong!

2) Do a little research or take a baby step related to a desired change.  No need to commit to anything big.  Just start gathering data or experience:  update your resume, take a class, eliminate sugary drinks from your diet, or spend a few hours a week volunteering  at something you love to do.

In short, research the possibilities.

3) Get help.  Look for positive role models and spend less time with negative thinkers.  Seek resources, including books, groups (on-line and in-person) and organizations that support what you need or things you are interested in. Remember that the folks who are currently in your life may not be the best counselors for you.  Unknowingly, they may want to keep the status quo and won’t be able to give you the support you need.  There are lots of free and inexpensive resources and online communities available.

Get input and support from others when you contemplate making a change.

That’s enough to get you started to consider making a change.  For more insight and inspiration on change, check out Martha Beck’s book, Steering by Starlight.

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Date: Wednesday, 3. March 2010 19:55
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