Think To Change

Aug 05, 2021

"Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow" - Swedish Proverb

Some people like change and some don't. This is okay.

Some people fear change and choose to avoid it, even though they say they want to change. This is not okay.

Think To Change - the basics

There are some fundamental principles that relate to our ability to embrace change.

  • We are what and who we think we are.
  • Fear is helpful when we are in danger.
  • Fear is unhelpful when it is purely imagined.

What we do with this knowledge is important.

In many ways, the act of change itself is straightforward. It is just doing something differently.

However, just because something is simple, it does not mean everyone will embrace it readily. So what gets in the way? Why do the majority of people shy away from anything new?

Change Is Hard - Or Is It?

If you are in the habit of thinking change is hard, it is very likely you fear one of three things:

  1. Fear of Loss
  2. Fear of Process
  3. Fear of Outcome

I first heard these three labels put together by Brendon Burchard in a video all about using your mind to overcome fear. Here's a few of my examples of what he is saying:

Fear of Loss

If we think about going on a diet, we fear we're going to miss out on some of our favourite meals. If we think about doing something our friends have rejected, we fear we may lose their kinship.

Fear of Process

If we think about a new exercise regime, we fear the magnitude of things we may now need to do differently to build it into our lives. If we think about changing our job, we fear the work we'll need to do to seek out new opportunities and prepare to thrill our potential new employers.

Fear of Outcomes

If we think about moving house, we fear the grass will not be as green as we hope it will be. If we think about signing up for a new college course, we fear it won't enhance our lives as much as we wish it would.

False Evidence Appearing Real

Most of the things we fear are imagined. They are not real. Therefore it is entirely possible they will never actually happen or turn out the way we fear.

Nevertheless, even though a fear may not be real, does not affect the impact it can have upon us. It can be debilitating, causing us to freeze, procrastinate or ignore completely.

Change Is Easy - For Some

It takes approximately 20 years for new technology to be adopted by the mainstream. That sounds about right to me. I was an early adopter of the forerunner of smart phones. Indeed, in 2003, I wrote a whole chapter in my first book about how PDAs - "Personal Digital Assistants" as they were called then, were going to transform our lives and become THE indispensable tool.

A couple of decades later and very few people, of any age, are without their smart phone.

What changed?

The technology has evolved, but the premise has not altered. Your phone enables you to do most things on your ToDo List.

The only thing which has changed is the mindset of the mainstream. They no longer fear the smartphone. The pioneers, the early adopters realised that any fear was just holding them back from experiencing it for themselves.

Moving Through Fear

If we recognise that FEAR is merely our thoughts on a matter, it becomes possible to carve out a route through our fears.

We know we can change our thoughts and the simplest way to do that when it comes to fear is like this:

Acknowledge - Understand - Reflect - Do

As with all things related to change, awareness is key. Catching ourselves in the act of self sabotage, shunning the opportunities of change due to some imagined fear is the vital first step.

From there we can go gentle with ourselves and understand many of our fears have been inherited or forged in the furnace of heightened emotions. We are, afterall, human.

Once we have understood where the fear came from, we can recall other times when we have embraced change. When we tried something new and it worked out just fine. (Incidentally, you will find this is usually more than 95% of the time.)

Finally, with a huge intake of breath, we just Do it. Action cures fear. Once we have started something we're in a feedback loop of real experience rather than imagined fantasy.

 

Sometimes, a coaching conversation can help if our fears are deep rooted. If that's you, get in touch and let's get you moving!

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