Change is a scary word for any business, organization, or individual. It implies that something about life as we know it will never be the same. I talk with a lot of people who literally hate change. They are so opposed to it that even changing something simple like a cell phone can be completely overwhelming. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone and don’t feel bad about it either. You see the other side of the coin of those people who have no issue with change, and they often want to look down on the anxiety that you feel. They don’t understand your point of view and it frustrates them.
OK, in full disclosure, I have been one of those who do not understand people’s dislike of change. I grew up with constant change, new cities, new homes, new friends. Sometimes I look for change just the for sake of change. I get bored if things stay the same. With that said, I have come to recognize that my way is not the only way (OK, so I kind of still think it is, but I’m trying). What I have learned is that becoming accustomed to change is a learned behavior. The more natural response is to resist it. We put a lot of time, effort, and energy into creating the life we are in. Trying to change that is a personal assault on everything that we hold dear and it cuts deep to our very soul. Those of us who have become accustomed to change have learned to block many of these negative feelings out and focus only on the positive and excitement of new hope and new beginnings that can accompany change.
THREE THINGS TO HELP CONQUER THE FEAR OF CHANGE
Sadly, no matter how much we hate and resent it, change it is all around. It is a necessity to move life forward, so here are just a few things that I have learned that helps make change, if not fun and exciting, at least a little easier.
1. Change is imminent. Even when we think that nothing is changing, everything is changing. Each day we get older, each month brings a different season closer, each year brings new challenges that we have to learn to overcome. Just as we naturally fear change, change naturally occurs all around us. Sit still and look up at the sky. The clouds change shape, day, turns to dusk, turns to night, turns to dawn. We can do nothing at all, yet we are still in a different spot in the solar system an hour from now. For me, this brings comfort because it tells me that change is nothing more than one more undeniable law of nature. Why fight something that God created, looked at, and called good?
2. Change allows us to stay in control. I know that this seems counterintuitive when we can feel so out of control with change, but that is simply because we waited too long to change. If change is imminent, then why wait for its unexpected, destructive forces to take you by surprise? Change almost always feels bad when it is unexpected, and sometimes this is unavoidable, but oftentimes change hits us so hard because we resisted it instead of going with it. Always try to change on your terms. Look ahead and when you see change coming at you, instead of ducking, plan and prepare for it. Merging off a freeway exit is always easier when you start merging towards the exit lane in preparation, a few miles in advance.
3. Change prevents failure. If you insist on waiting until the very last minute to cross multiple lanes to make your exit, the chances of causing an accident increase drastically. The same is true with virtually any kind of change. Take something simple like a new computer. I always buy a new computer as soon as my current one starts acting up. I don’t wait until my computer crashes, files are lost, and my work is dead in the water. Now that is stress. Instead, I give myself time to research the best new computer and the best price so that I can order it on my terms. The same is true with bigger changes in your life or business. Change to prevent failure, because the only other alternative is that you will change because of failure.
Change may always be a scary word, but once you realize that change is imminent and what the consequences of not changing on time are, it becomes a lot easier pill to swallow. Basically, I have learned that the only time any kind of change has been hard in my life has been when I tried to avoid it rather than embrace it.