If you fear change when you are at work, or if you fear change in your life in general, you’re in good company!
My friend Cheryl A. Bachelder, the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., was dealing with fear a lot too. She solved her anxiety by working hard to replace it with anticipation.
Isn’t that powerful? Instead of stressing about what’s going to happen—and we all know change is inevitable, don’t we?—Cheryl now looks forward to change (which is probably good since Popeyes was just acquired).
Her example is one of many in my new book, Fearless at Work, coming out next month. Here is a sneak peek at 5 ways you can overcome fear of change.
As you’ll pick up right away from this list, my advice focuses on replacing old fears with new habits. By making big and small changes, you’ll have the big impact of less fear of change. You’ll be practicing fearlessness!
1. Trade complacency for ingenuity. Fear of change is rooted in complacency. You’d rather stay where you are, even if it’s not really working for you. It’s the known quantity, the status quo. I challenge you to identify small moments of complacency and ask yourself, “What if….?” Complacency says there is no better way. Ingenuity says there’s got to be one. Trade the first for the second, and watch your fear of change dissolve.
2. Trade inertia for repetition. Countless top athletes and coaches know that when they change their thinking for the better, their behavior and results improved dramatically. If you default to fearing change, you too can change if you begin to mentally practice a different response. You must commit to repetition of this new script so that it becomes your new default.
3. Trade critics for cheerleaders. Naysayers tell us to fear change, to fear what isn’t done or what isn’t done quite right. Cheerleaders are the people in our lives who demonstrate fearlessness and offer their support and encouragement for embracing change. These people aren’t afraid to give us tough feedback or ask tough questions, but they help us think of what could Because I recognized and listened to these kinds of supporters, I was able to fearlessly transition from a great corporate job as a sports agent. I embraced the risk of starting my own business. Had I gravitated to the critical voices, I never would have changed. The boost from my cheerleaders was priceless.
4. Embrace vulnerability. When you are vulnerable, you have vaccinated yourself against fear of change. Vulnerability says that you don’t mind being in the presence of your greatest fear. It’s not going to defeat you. “Time isn’t the enemy. Fear of change is,” Oprah Winfrey says. “Accept that nothing lasts forever and you’ll start to appreciate the advantages of whatever age you are now.” Vulnerability is letting go of perfection and the illusion of power to make space for positive change.
5. Get clear on your purpose. All the time I see people who fear change because they have no purpose to lean into. Their fear of change is inevitable! When you understand your purpose—your why—then you are better prepared for change. You can lean into your purpose and determine what meaningful actions are needed and how to take those actions. Change doesn’t make me afraid because I am anchored against my personal mission statement: To connect, inspire and lead with creative courage and optimism.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Ease your fear of change by building your mental awareness of detrimental habits and practicing new ones. As you make small steps to take control of what you can change, you will develop your courage to accept change, anticipate change and even embrace change. When you are clear on your authentic values, you can make better decisions aligned with your true purpose. That’s when you know you have moved beyond the fear of change.
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Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her new book, Fearless At Work, is now available for pre-order.