We’ve all heard that saying “change is the only constant” right? Well, it’s true. We all know it’s true. Yet, we resist it anyway. We even resist it when it’s good for us, when it’s our idea, and when it’s the thing we’ve been dreaming about doing for years. If we resist even positive change, try to imagine how we might resist what we perceive to be a negative change. Scary, right? I know… I won’t even go there – not in this blog post, anyway ;-)
I’m in the midst of a really big life change. It’s a positive change, a change I’ve dreamt about for years, (literally!) and a change I wanted, and you know what? It’s freaking hard. And do you know why? Because change brings about so much unknown territory and unknown territory = fear.
Last week, I actually googled the phrase “Why the hell is change so hard?” True story. When I toned my search down a notch, I found some pretty great responses and I’ve been a mini change researcher ever since – seriously, if there is something you want to know about why change is so hard, ask me. There are a ton of reasons and theories but I’m way less concerned with why it’s so hard and way more concerned with overcoming that fear of change so that we can all just get on with our dreams, ok?
I’m learning something really interesting in this world of solo-entrepreneurial-ism. If you hold yourself back, there isn’t anyone (a boss, a colleague, etc) going to help move you forward. You have to learn to move yourself forward and well, that’s just a pretty great muscle to flex – entrepreneur or not! So, I thought I'd share with you guys the really simple exercise I did to snap my self out of it, and get moving.
Before I really got started on this new journey, I was having a moment of feeling really doubtful of myself – ya know, human stuff. I was going down that little rabbit hole of doubting myself, my abilities, and that little gremlin voice popped into my head forcing me to ask myself how terrible would it be if I failed and reminding me that “everyone” is watching. If you’re thinking any of this sounds dramatic or exaggerated, I wish you were right. Trust me, that voice gets even louder when you actually make the leap, put yourself out there and get really vulnerable.
My decision to work for myself was already in motion. I had already quit my corporate job and I was already telling everyone I knew about my new venture. I had to go through with it no matter how scary. In order to snap myself out of it, I grabbed a blank piece of paper and did 2 things:
1) On the front, I wrote down everything I was scared of about changing careers, becoming an entrepreneur, and giving up a good paycheck.
2) I flipped it over and on the back I wrote down everything I would be scared of if I stayed exactly where I was, continuing on the path of a corporate career for another year.
I know at first this seems like your typical pro and con list but let me tell you, changing the language and the list to revolve around your fears, makes a world of difference. What I learned is that whether I stayed or took the leap, a lot of my fears were the same. The fears that were different? Were drastically scarier if I stayed exactly where I was vs. taking the leap to start my own business.
Now, like I said, the decision was already made so this exercise wasn’t a tool to help me make the decision to jump – although it certainly could have been! This tool served as a reminder when I was down and doubting myself and my abilities and I hope it's helpful to you, too!
Try to give this some serious thought. What changes do you know you need to make in your life. Maybe it’s a career move or maybe it’s hitting the gym – whatever change you’re contemplating. Ask yourself: What scares you about making the change and what scares you about not making the change? For those of you who will still need a little kick in the rear to actually do this exercise, I’ve created a simple worksheet you can download and use as a jumping off point and you can download that here:
When you’re done with the exercise, comment below and tell me what you think! What did you learn, or discover by incorporating fear into your pro-con-like-list? OR please share any strategies you have for getting yourself past the fear of change.
Thanks for reading!