Overcoming the Fear of Change
My Top 4 fear busters and 2 powerful question you should start asking yourself
Do you have fear of change? Let me clarify one thing right from the beginning: Every human being has fears. The crucial question, solely and exclusively is how we deal with them; whether we let ourselves be paralyzed by our inner demons, or if we make fear our best friend. And to help you accomplish exactly that, I would like to introduce my four most effective fear busters to you.
Fear-Buster #1: Accept that it is okay to be afraid
Please do not ever buy in to the misbelief that being afraid is a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite. Have I mentioned that everyone is afraid? Good, so I hope we have cleared this up once and for all and can move on to the next step. Because if it is perfectly normal to you to have these feelings then you are well on your way to turning this alleged weakness into a huge strength. The more offensively you deal with your fears the more you are able to face them actively, tackle them and, in the end, overcome them. This quickly turns into a positive spiral that strengthens itself. Every defeated fear helps you to learn, grow as a person and get stronger.
Fear-Buster #2: Be consciously aware of your motivation
Can you remember a situation where you changed only after the psychological strain got unbearable? Most likely you´ve hesitated in taking the important first step multiple times, because your fear of change (of the unknown) was much bigger than all the negative things that bothered you about the status quo. The reasoning for this usually goes something like this, “Who knows if it´s not going to get even worse?“ Heard that before? Said that before?
People with a can-do attitude simply turn the tables. Instead of fearing the unknown things in the future, they are much more afraid that everything might stay as it is. And this fear drives them. It pushes them into taking action more than any goal in the world ever could. I´m even going to claim that fear is the biggest motivator that anyone can have. It supplies you with the maximum amount of adrenaline, discipline and endurance. The only question is whether you use these enormous resources to hide inside of your bunker or if you spring into action and use this fear productively for change.
Fear-Buster #3: Control the movie inside your head
Most changes are great. Unfortunately, we don´t find out about this until we have made them. Beforehand, the movie inside our head keeps playing. In our mind we imagine, in the most vibrant colors, all the things that could go wrong, how bad the consequences will be and why we definitely shouldn´t change anything. The process is almost always the same. We have an important task to accomplish and, in theory, we know exactly what we have to do. But then we hesitate and say things like, “I´m just not ready, I´m too old, I´m too young, it´s too early, this is happening too fast, it´s happening too slow, I´m definitely not going to be able to do it.“
Sounds familiar, doesn´t it? The more you keep telling yourself these things the more these excuses turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, fear increases, and you miss out on taking that crucial first step. Muster up all your courage in these situations and face your inner conflicts. Many concerns simply dissolve themselves while you are acting.
So whenever you are facing a change in the future, whenever you feel doubt, insecurity or fear, I recommend you ask yourself these two questions:
1) What is the worst thing that could happen?
2) If the worst should happen, am I able to find a solution for it?
And you usually can, because reality is never as bad as the movie in our head would like us to believe sometimes. Even in the absolute worst-case scenario, you are able to find a solution. I would like to give you an example. When I made the decision to open up my own business, I was very afraid of the crucial first step because the status quo was just too comfortable. I had a secure corporate job, was making great money, drove a swanky company car and various career doors were wide open to me. And I was supposed to give up all this? For something that I didn´t even know was going to work out? Believe me, the movie in my head was running wild and painted me a colorful picture of how badly I would fail.
But, eventually, I stopped running away from my fear and asked myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?“ The answer came to me fast: I was going to fail ceremoniously; my business would go bankrupt and turn out to be nothing but a pipe dream. This was the worst thing that could happen.
Based on this, I asked myself, “If this worst-case scenario happens, will I be able to find a solution?“ This answer gave me additional strength and a comforting knowledge. No matter what happened, I knew I was not going to die and my family was still going to love me. I had friends whose support I could count on at any time. And I was qualified enough to be sure that I would always find another good job. What once was fear had suddenly turned into a courage that could hardly be contained, so I said to myself, I´m just going to do it!
Fear-Buster #4: Start taking action
After shifting your focus on to possible solutions, it is time to make the first step because fears start to disappear as soon as we start facing them. And once we have overcome them, they make us stronger, more hopeful and courageous. Whenever you feel doubt, insecurity and fear, you should always promise yourself to take any kind of action. As small as a single step may seem, every one of them brings you a bit closer to your final goal.
Imagine you are walking through a dark forest and the only thing you are carrying with you is a small flashlight. Your visibility is limited to three feet due to the small beam, so you only walk as far as you can see. Then you shine the flashlight again and continue on your way. And then you shine again and keep walking. This way you pass through the unknown terrain step by step until you eventually reach your goal.
Use the four fear-busters to transform your fears into a powerful force of change
I truly hope that these four steps will be a faithful companion in transforming your fears into productive emotions. If fear is your biggest enemy then you are facing a fight that you cannot win. Remind yourself of the following idea as often as possible: The fears that we do not face will turn into our limits. The doubts that we give in to turn into walls that will make these limits stronger and harder to overcome. I want to encourage you to tear these walls down and overcome your mental limits. And as soon as fear becomes your loyal ally, you will experience a wonderful feeling of freedom. But, most of all, you unleash an inner strength, with which you are able to accomplish the most unbelievable things.
Let the change begin!