4 min read
Can you think back to the last time you were scared? I’m not talking about being scared of the dark, or scared of rollercoasters but scared of a new job, scared of leaving a relationship, or scared of telling someone something uncomfortable. Whether it’s anxiety, worry, stress - all boils down to a fear of something. Fear of not being loved, fear of not being enough or a fear of failure. So if you’re scared of change, this is the piece for you. And the great news? Fear is made up and can totally be overcome, with ease I may say so myself.
There was a time when I was scared of everything. Scared to wear what I want because it would cause too much attention. Scared if I didn’t sleep well enough because my next day would be terrible. Scared of telling someone they’d upset me in case they didn’t like me anymore. The list went on, and I was miserable. I felt totally out of control and totally at the whim of other people and the world. It came down to how I used to talk to myself and my early experiences. If you’ve ever felt something similar it could be down to bullying, to ‘failing’ at something at school or work, or from being told by the people we love that we’re doing something wrong. Rather than being resilient and learning that it’s ok not to be perfect and it’s ok to fail, we learn that we are not good enough as we start to internalize everything. I know people who have tried and failed countless times, and they are the most resilient and grounded people I’ve come across. They learnt quickly that being scared is ok, that failing is fine and that change is totally manageable.
Now, all my life changes were quite sudden and dramatic and they caused a lot of stress - mentally and physically. I moved to the other side of the world because I needed a change, I started my own business because I needed a change. I got a puppy because I needed a change. They each taught me amazing things that I wouldn’t change for the world, but my god it would have been easier if I’d followed the steps below…
So, how do you actually empower yourself by scaring yourself? Start small and stay open minded. Being scared of change is completely normal and everyone experiences it at some point but it’s a massive pain if it stops us from doing something, or makes that experience feel horrible.
Let’s say you’re in a relationship you’re just not into anymore, there’s a massive imbalance and something doesn’t feel right, but you’re terrified to leave. Or you’re in a job that really isn’t working for you, all it does is bring you stress and anxiety and you know you should change but the idea of it leaves you shaking. Whatever reason you’re scared of change, there are simple ways to overcome it and even make the next steps enjoyable.
Do something really minor that makes you scared. Join a new exercise class, go rock climbing, join tinder, go live on Facebook - think of something that makes you feel a little bit scared and give it a go. Push yourself just a little here. You can always minimize the scare factor by going to a quiet, local exercise class, climb at an indoor centre at its’ least popular time, join tinder for a day, go live on Facebook to just yourself! And bit by bit, it’ll become less scary. It primes us for bigger things and shows us we’re capable - any change, big or small is still a change and we still react in the same way.
For any life change the more prepared we are, the more comfortable we are and the less scared of change we become. If you’re wanting a change of career, get your CV in order, find yourself a career coach or confidence coach and go for some practice interviews. If you’re needing to leave a relationship, start doing more things by yourself, start meeting new people, explore new places and start a new ‘single’ life routine. A big life change does not have to be dramatic and sudden, you can take it step by step.
Think back to any tiny little change you’ve made in your life. Any little thing that has scared you, whether it was speaking in front of people, applying for that senior job, taking a flight, going somewhere new - whatever it was, remember it and remind yourself that that was all you! And repeat after me ‘I am awesome and I’m not actually scared of change because I was able to….’
Sit for 5 minutes and visualise yourself overcoming the scary thing. See the end result. See yourself handling the issues that come up with ease. It’s absolutely fine if the fearful feelings arise, allow yourself to feel them and then see yourself smiling and overcoming them. The first time you do it might feel silly, might feel strange. But the more and more you do it, the easier and easier it will feel and the more empowered you’ll be when the change comes about.
Finally, and most importantly, be patient with yourself. Leading up to the change, during the change and after the change. New emotions will come up, new experiences will occur and you may not know how to handle everything the second it happens, so stop, take a breath and tell yourself ‘I will be patient with myself. I will take my time to experience this situation’.
Being scared of change is totally human-like and completely normal, so do not punish yourself for feeling the fear. Instead, allow yourself to work through it step-by-step until it starts to feel a little less scary and a little more exciting. Scare yourself a little each day and notice how the world opens up ;)