Personal Fear of Change and How to Change It!
It's interesting how we intellectually know that tomorrow will be different from yesterday, or even different from today. We know this based on experience. Wasn't it only yesterday computers started appearing on people's office desks? And now today, some of those people who cursed the wretched new things, rage when theirs or anyone else's computer is down! Tomorrow will not be the same as yesterday. We know it. And yet, many of us go through change and feel battle fatigue, look worn out, whine loudly.
As part of this intellectualizing let's challenge some myths of change. Let's take charge of our thinking about living with change. After all, within these myths are the thorns that cause some of our uncomfortableness with the change process.
One myth, people resist change, is almost as a rally cry in corporations and organizations.
It even echoes in families. People don't resist change as much as we fear uncertainty and the unknown. People don't resist change but shriek, "Just don't try to change me!" Most of us WANT change. We want to change from being stressed to feeling more relaxed. We want to free ourselves from limited choices and have a greater number of options. If we get sick, we do whatever we can to get ourselves feeling well. Many of us get stuck in yesterday and yet daily we live with change.
Another favorite myth is "This is a bad thing!" You can use anything you want to replace the word "this."
Even out of what begins as a tragic change, there usually is a pot of gold at the end. I have a friend whose husband was a tugboat operator for 25 years. One evening rather than delegating the task of going into town to buy groceries, for whatever reason, he went in himself. Apparently, putting together clues at the site, he must have slipped, lost his balance or somehow fell off the docks. He hit his head and snapped his neck, dead in that instant. A tragic, needless accident. An unsettling, life-changing event. Yet nearly a year later, my friend who lost her husband, has lost 50 pounds, and is having more success than ever in her work, and very recently there have been some new men in her life.
Most of us go through the process of change similar to experiences we have in grieving the death of someone we love. We are after all, human. For a while we grasp on to the way things "were" yesterday. In our own time, in our own way, we stay stuck until we are ready to let go of yesterday. Then when this release frees us, we move forward. We move on, go new directions, and meet new challenges.
Finally, there's the myth that change is an event.
Change is constant. Change always is, it never isn't! What we do live with are life-changing events. Getting married, having a baby, open heart surgery, fatal accident, different job. Maybe snapshots of life similar to these give us the view that change is an event. The image of change is more like a continually playing movie or video. Like with a video system, some events in our life seem to move fast forward, other times it maybe on pause. The reality is changes abound.
Still after all intellectualizing many of us will continue struggle with change. Many of us prefer the comfortableness of being uncomfortable.
My son, a surfer since he was 12 years old, expresses change as a surfing experience. When he was 24, he shared with me lessons learned in surfing: "Some surfers 'read' the wave, some just 'feel' it. It's hard to tell who has the better style, if it works it just works - you can't say one is better, unless you personally like it that way. There is always fear following you, especially when you're dropping in on a 25 or 30 or even 50 foot wave! Some people get scared on little waves - 6 foot or so. When you've hesitated with a thought or action, so fear will never get to come out, And the fear grows stronger from that... since its intention is to overcome you. Anyway, no two waves are the same, ever. You can't predict what will happen or try to have some plan for what you will do when the next wave comes, because it will almost never be exactly as you planned. You just have to get in good position, stay calm, and hope that a good one is coming just for you. When it does, you can't question if it is the one or not. You just have to go with it or go past it, and don't look back or be turned to stone (or fear)."
Get in a good position, challenge the myths of change and ride the wave. Ride the good waves that come your way. Put yourself in charge of change.
Pat Weber is a coach, certified telelcass leader, and corporate trainer. With her incisive, effective communication skills, her services can help you to accelerate professional and personal results you want, by helping you increase your choices and build your self-confidence. With personal coaching, a teleclass, an online email course or on-site workshop, get what you want, more easily and more often. Visit her website at http://www.prostrategies.com. Contact her for a free coaching session.
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