Making Changes and Feeling Scared?

Imagine telling a 4 year old that in the future, she’ll be living somewhere else – not with her parents, siblings or her toys; making her own mac ‘n cheese, sleeping in her own bed every single night (or someone else’s, who knows), buying her own stuff and driving her own car.

Ya…that would go over well, wouldn’t it? 

Said child would flail about and be gripped with fear that what she’s come to know would change and uncertainty would come in and swoop her up into a reality she couldn’t yet comprehend. 

She might be able to imagine going to pre-school or kindergarten.  She may be able to grasp going on a day-trip, a vacation or shopping for new toys.  None of that’s too far from her established beliefs or from what she’s experienced. 

Now think about yourself…

You want to be wrangling alligators but what you’re most familiar with is being the assistant to the head-honcho at your accounting firm.   

You want to leave the relationship you’re in - that you’ve been in for a month, a year, or 20 – but this one, as it-is, is what you know. 

You want to start your own business doing social media promotions but your experience is in everything-but-that.

You want to move across the country, across the pond, or into a different hemisphere, but the only place you’ve ever been is your house – or a 5 mile radius of it. 

It could be exercising more (or exercising at-all), training for a competition, moving to a new city, or a different house a block away.  It could be wearing red instead of blue, a suit instead of flip-flops and jeans, applying for a job, or being authentically you more of the time.    

You want change.  Small, big, puny, ginormous – however you tag it - its change.    

But, change = scary

Doesn’t it???

Because you don’t know it.  You’ve never done it.  You’ve never been there.  It’s not familiar, there are no guarantees it’s the right choice, and you might not like it once you get there.  It can feel scary because trying to imagine something you’ve never done, or living a reality you’ve never lived can be like telling that four year old she’s going to be all grown up some day co-habitating with someone other than you.

TMI.  Too much information. Cannot wrap brain around that. 

What you’ve come to know is what you know, even if you don’t like it.  Even if you don’t want it. Even if you want change.

Your current beliefs about what’s possible might get in the way of the changes you want to make. 

Moving beyond the familiar requires a change in perspective.

What can change is your perspective about change.

Change your perspective about what change means and,

Change does not have to = scary. 

Change is change.  You don’t have to make it out to be the big invisible scary monster that’s waiting to jump out from under your cozy pink blankie.   The big scary invisible monster is you trying to figure it all out from where you are, needing to have every detail in-place, foreseeing every nook, cranny and crevice where any conceivable problem may be, and stepping way too many steps ahead.

Feel how that feels…From that perspective change = scary.

If you can at least entertain the idea that change does not have to equal scary, and remind yourself of times when you made changes that weren’t scary – like changing what you eat for breakfast; or choosing something different to wear today vs. wearing the same thing you wore yesterday. 

What about when you tried that different topping on your pizza? Was that scary? 

No, not likely. 

So you can’t across-the-board say “Change is always scary”.  You might say, “Change is sometimes scary”.  But how about you try-on-for-size, “Change doesn’t have to be scary.”  Because it doesn’t. 

Rather than repeatedly telling yourself the version of the story that you’ve now shown yourself doesn’t apply every time – that “change is scary” – start telling yourself a truer and better-feeling version of the story – change doesn’t have to be scary and the big invisible scary monster under your pink blankie – whether he’s there or not, is not as scary as you make him out to be.

It’s all about perspective.  Change is not scary….unless you think it is.

Christine MeyerComment