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Fear of change

When it comes to your career and taking that next step, what is your biggest fear?

Whether we are considering advancing in our career, looking into opportunities or doing something new we all have fears that pop up when it comes to change.

As creatures of habit, we have a resistance to change and are wired to do things that make us feel comfortable, good, safe and secure.

Fear of change, as described by Mandriota, is when people avoid changing their circumstances due to being afraid of the unknown. This can be more intense if change was unexpected.

Change causes disruption to what we consider the norm and can trigger the part of us that wants things to stay the same.

When we go through a career change we can transition on 7 different levels.

At the thought of change, emotions can begin to arise and one of these is the fear.

The fear leaves us with a body response- fight/flight/freeze and can stop us from trying something new.

Change can be continually avoided so we don’t trigger the fear that works hard to keep us safe.

Eventually leading to unhappiness, resentment, dis-ease and a disconnection from our meaning and purpose.

So, what can we do when we feel the fear bubbling to the surface?

Begin by noticing

We can go through life unaware of the power the fear has over us, until we choose to bring it into the light, examine and challenge it.

How does the fear feel in your body and mind?

What do you notice happens in your body?

What do you notice happens in your mind?

Change = threat, you become irritable and aggressive

Change = danger, your instinct is to run away from it

Body response

  • Heart rate increases

  • Breathing becomes rapid

  • Trembling or tense

  • Temperature increases, sweaty palms

  • Pale or flushed skin

  • Dilated pupils

  • On edge

Change = overwhelm/dread, you freeze, hide and avoid change

Body response

  • Muscles lock up

  • Numbness or detachment

  • Overwhelm

  • Fawning behaviours = people pleasing

  • Feeling cold, stuck, trapped

  • Sense of stiffness or heaviness

  • Holding your breath, shrinking or trying to disappear

Name the fear

By giving the fear a name, we allow ourselves to see it from a new perspective, and that gives us a chance to move with change.

Do you have a fear of change?
How comfortable are you with the unknown?

The 3 most common fears I have noticed with clients making a change in their career and as noted in Forbes is;

Fear of failure- What if I fail and it doesn’t work out?
Fear of rejection- Will I be accepted by others?
Fear of success- If the bar is raised, how will I manage these new standards and expectations?

When you think of making changes in your career, which fear do you resonate with the most?

NOTE: You could have 1, 2 or all 3 of these fears.

What can you do about the fear?

Everyone has fears, the good thing is there are things you can do to overcome the fear when it pops up.

Here are a few strategies;

  • Ground yourself in the present moment

  • Shake it out like a runner would before a race

  • Focus on your breathing, the inhale for 3 counts and the exhale for 3 counts

  • Talk to the fear through journal writing or with a coach

What’s important to know about change

Change is constant, inevitable and necessary.

Without change there is no growth, no learning, no new results, you stay in the problem and in your comfort zone.

Life moves on without you.

Eventually leading to unhappiness, resentment, dis-ease and a disconnection from our meaning and purpose.

Change is needed for a different outcome, to move into your next chapter, experience new things and to evolve as a human being.

Whether the change in your career is in your control or out of your control you can;

  • Be clear on what you want

  • Understand your meaning and purpose

  • Be grounded in your values

How can you move with change?

Normalising fear is a great place to start, being aware of how it used to affect you means you can make informed choices, starting now and choosing to move with change.

To move with change you need;

  • Adaptability

  • Flexibility

  • Curiosity

  • Self-awareness

  • Open-mindedness

Taking small achievable inspired action steps creates momentum toward the person you want to become.

Who is the person you want to become?

What is one small step you can take today toward this person?

When you know who you are becoming, it makes challenges like facing your fear worth it, as you understand feeling uncomfortable is only momentary and worthwhile.

I recently joined Direction Coach Lee Montajes to chat about Fear of change, watch the recording here.

Let’s continue the conversation.

If you would like to learn more about the person you are becoming and explore the change you are contemplating in your career, book your FREE Discovery Session here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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