Fear is a recurring topic on this blog because that’s often a roadblock to living our dreams. I previously wrote an article on why you should stop living in fear, now this article focuses more and the “how”.
We mostly fear what we don’t know, and change is no exception. So let’s pay a little visit to our fear of change, shall we?
Fear and feeling stuck
How often have you found yourself in a situation where you know exactly what you should do, meaning make a decision towards a change, but you rapidly found yourself stuck again, arguing between your mind and your heart?
Personally, in such a situation I tend to feel really down and have a hard time with myself.
When I finally I decide to indulge myself some “relaxing time”, I watch some Youtube videos of influencers I like a lot. Big mistake.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like them, but at that particular moment, they remind me that I’m stuck while they seem to have done what was necessary to make a change in their life.
Then, instead of feeling inspired, and because feeling down is easier, I compare myself with them and feel like the road to the life I picture for myself is out of reach.
Why am I stuck? Because I’m fearful. Does this sound familiar to you?
If so, the first question to ask is “Why?”
Why are you stuck with your fear?
You’re stuck with your fear because you fear the change. One moment you feel inspired by others and empowered like everything is possible until you start to experience resistance. This resistance is your fear that manifests.
“What if this is going to fail?”
“What if I get left out?”
In just a few seconds, you doubt yourself and give up on your idea. This cycle can go and and on every time an event will trigger your willingness to change something in your life.
It will continue to happen until you break the cycle.
The phases I’m about to list were first presented during the Coaching course of Transformation academy I attended. They can be described as follow:
- Phase 1: dissatisfaction. You’re unhappy about a situation in your life. You fear to change so you stay in that situation.
- Phase 2: breaking point. You can’t take it anymore.
- Phase 3: decision. That’s it, you’ve made your decision, you’re going to do it. You feel amazing and empowered.
- Phase 4: fear. Either right away and after the euphoria following your decision, you doubt your decision.
- Phase 5: amnesia. You try to convince yourself that your current situation isn’t that bad. It’s familiar, and to be fair, it could be worst, right?
- Phase 6: backtracking. You take a step back and decide to give up.
If you don’t take the decision and make any action towards that change, an external event will happen and force you to change eventually.
Ideally, you shouldn’t wait to reach that point. You have the power to decide the life you want to live now. Don’t let others or events decide for you; you may not be happy by the outcome either.
Face the situation in all honesty: why are you so afraid of change?
If that same circle keeps on happening for months (or years?), you should take some time to assess the situation for what it is.
It may be that …
- … you don’t really want to change, but you think you should?
- … you don’t know what you really want?
- … you don’t trust yourself to succeed?
Don’t judge yourself with the answers you will find. It’s important that you take your time to investigate and dig to the core of the situation.
Be honest with yourself. What’s holding you back?
Fear setting: how to overcome your fear of change
Now it’s time for an activity. Grab a pen and a sheet of paper.
Imagine that you take the plunge (quit your job, launch your company, leave your partner, etc.) and everything goes wrong. EVERYTHING. Imagine the worst-case scenario. Write down what comes to your mind.
Hint: by doing so, you may realise that the worst that could happen may not be that terrible as you may think. It will ease up on your worries.
Know your fear, your enemy
So, identify what it is you’re the most afraid of.
Let’s take the example of quitting your current job. It’s never easy, especially in the current situation.
The idea is to shed light on your fear so that once you know what it is, how it looks like, you can handle it better. Also, it may help you define your goals and what you really want better.
So, let’s identify what it is that you’re afraid of with this simple question:
What if I quit my job?
Define, Prevent, Repair: the reversed goal-setting activity
Now that you have put in words what you wish for, draw 3 columns.
A. Define: detail everything that could go wrong, imagine the worst-case scenario if you take that step. Keep asking yourself “So what?”, on and on until you dig deep enough to get to the root fear.
B. Prevent: look at the things you could do to prevent it from happening or reduce the impact?
C. Repair: if the worst-case scenario would happen, what could you do to repair the damage? What are the solutions out there? (the idea is to solve problems before they happen)
Let’s now take an example using this method.
The fear of change: What if I quit my job?
I will quickly end up without money (A – the fear) > I can reduce my expenses and limit myself to the bare minimum (B – the option) > I can take a part-time job to pay the bills (C – the solution)
Try to make it specific and concrete as much as possible to weaken the power that your fear has over you.
Face your fear and feel empower!
Use the fear setting activity to break your fear of change
The funny thing is that shortly after watching this course (on Udemy), Youtube has been suggesting to me similar content from a TedTalk of Tim Ferriss (ah, those algorithms). Since I can’t share the course with you, I thought the video would still be helpful. I just watched it writing those lines, and it’s pretty good!
We tend to look at what we would lose by taking action, while we should also ask ourselves what would be the real cost of our inaction in 6 months? 1 year? 3 years?
Let me know about your experience in the comments!