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THE FEAR OF CHANGE

 

You’re sitting with the perfect job offer, and now they’re pressing you for an answer. And then, like a bullet it hits you: What have I done? Whoa! I need to slow down, put the brakes on. But your no-mess-no-fuss-recruiter issues an ultimatum:  ‘Take it or leave it. But I need to hear from you today!’

 It all felt so right, why am I suddenly feeling so unsettled you wonder. Let me give your self-questioning a framework to make the agony at least a little more productive:

 Since putting yourself on the job market and now - what has changed significantly about your reasons for wanting to leave your current employer?

  • Since indicating your interest about this new employer and now - what has changed significantly about your understanding of the new company and role?
  • Since receiving this offer and now having to make a firm decision - what has changed significantly about the offer?

 If the answer is ‘nothing’ or ‘nothing much’ you may want to consider if what you are experiencing is what almost everybody experiences at the time of a career change: THE FEAR OF CHANGE.

 Rarely does Fear of Change knock on your door under its own identity. It likes showing up under various pseudonyms and disguise itself in the following ways:

 It shows up as rationale / reasoning (activity in the head – arguments against the decision to move forward increase as time passes)

  1. It shows up as emotionalism (you feel anxious)
  2. It shows up as resistance (family and friends interfere or offer opinions and advice)
  3. It shows up as self-doubt and so on... You get the picture, right?

 Fear of Change is okay. It protects us from making reckless decisions. As long as we remain in control of it! Fear of Change has a way of coming on too strong sometimes and then instead of keeping us safe, it keeps us from prospering and fulfilling our potential.

 I have a few simple questions for you, which may help you distinguish apprehension from real concerns that you should address before moving forward.

 Here goes. Are you ready?

 Is this a familiar feeling? Think about the last time you have felt this way. What was the situation? What was your response to the unsettling feeling? What was the result?

  1. Reflect on the last time you made a big change (career change, moving house, marriage etc) What concerns did you have? How did you deal with them? What happened in the end? Was it a good or bad decision to go ahead? What would you do differently?
  2. Think about a change that you found relatively easy to make. What was different about that time from the times you found it hard to make a change?

 By now, a pattern may start to emerge. What do you see?

If you come up with answers that do not relate to fear of change, they are reasonable concerns and need to be dealt with in a rational way. Call your recruiter and sort them out. Now! (Yes, even if it is late. He or she will want to hear from you. Trust me on this!)

 If you think you may be dealing with fear of change, ask yourself:

 Is this or a similar change necessary for me to get ahead professionally?

  • Imagine yourself in your new role. Fantasize, make something up. How do you envisage your future? Listen to your body when you see the picture. What is the feeling in your gut? Does it feel agitated or calm?
  • Now turn it around. What if you stayed? Paint a picture in your mind. Again, check your somatic responses. Feels good and peaceful? Or uneasy?

 In order to move up we often have to give up. And comfort zones are usually the first to get the chop. But again, turn it around: what are boredom, routine, and stagnation going to do for your professional career?

 Let’s do some more introspection:

 What will enhanced professional skills give you personally? In terms of your private life, your family, your circle of friends.

 And now let’s look at timing.

 Is it necessary to change right now?

 Actually, again, turn it around: Why NOT now? Why later? The fear of change is timeless. Delay will rarely cure it. It will not go away. In my nearly 3 decades of recruitment and coaching experience, I’ve observed that it increases the more comfortable you have become in your current job. Unless you plan to stagnate for the rest of your working life, you will experience fear of change at some point. Now or later. There is only one difference: the longer you wait, the harder it gets. Delay only delays, it does not put things right. The more you have already achieved in your career and the more established you are in your job, the harder it will be to make a change. This is simply because you have more to lose so risk increases.

 We know that fear is the number one cause of procrastination, more so than boredom or lack of interest. Fear creates an individual’s personal speed limit. This would explain the need to slow down, when you first experience fear of change.

 How fast or slowly do you want to move forward? What are your professional aims and goals?

  • What small thing do you have to surrender for gaining something larger in the context of facing change right now?
  • When was the last time you did something for the first time? What was it? What did you risk? What was the outcome?

 Fear causes us to accept under-performance. Staying in a comfort zone is always an option but not for the person that wants to get ahead.

What if I fail?

Seriously? You’re all alone here, because your recruiter and your new employer don’t share your sentiments. Fear is loud. Confidence is quiet. Tune in and hear the confidence that your recruiter and new employer have extended to you by offering you the job.

You may fail, sure, there is always that chance. But, realistically? Come on. You were smart enough to find this article. Are you really going to mess up at your new job? Yeah, right!

To get in touch with me, dial +27-11-958-5081 or e-mail me at inspiration at irie.co.za - www.irie.co.za

 

 

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Comments  

+1 #1 Natasha 2016-05-22 18:40
So true, and advice we could apply to any situation which is very helpful.
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