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Do you have a fear of change?

An escalating amount of research indicates that change is tough on us.  

Overcoming a fear of change can be as difficult as overcoming a fear of failure

Is it as debilitating for you as a fear of failure ?

Would you rather be unhappy than uncertain? (Better the devil you know?)

You are not alone and it’s a very natural discomfort in our lives.

Do you suffer from the what of syndrome?

• What if I make a mistake?
• What if it’s worse than what I have now?
• What if I fail?

Have you ever said “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” 

Fear of Loss and Failure 

Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain much like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again, so we’d rather not have that hanging out there if we can avoid it.

We also fear change because we fear that we might lose what’s associated with that change. Our aversion to loss can even cause logic to fly out the window. 

This is why research shows that gamblers at a horse track who are having a losing day are most likely to bet the long shots, at terrible odds, on the last race of the day. They’re faced with the realization of loss and are willing to bet on a horse with 20:1 odds, a bet they’d never walk in thinking they’d make—all because of our violent aversion to loss.

Fear of a incompetence 

Research  indicates that a fear of change is one of the single most career limiting moves you can make. This fear cascades down in a number of behaviors that have been linked to stunted consideration for top management positions. Not good. 

You must believe you have the competence for change. 

Research shows that among all those who suffer from a fear of change, about half fear they won’t be able to handle or thrive on the other side of a given change, 

while the other half fear the process of, or being prepared for, change itself (and how painful it will be).

The truth is you must believe you have the competence to handle both; you’ve done it before, after all. 

Positive attitude to Change

Have a positive mindset. You must fundamentally believe that change will only make you better. 

This requires letting go of how good things used to be and to stop joining anti-change groups that spend their time complaining about the change.

Change management experts indicate that those who think of change as a personal software upgrade are the ones who thrive in periods of change.

Know that whatever option you choose will provide you with new opportunities and surprises that you may never have imagined happening.

Understand why change is needed 

It’s critical that you understand the case for change if you want to better deal with it. If you’re not clear on why the change is being instituted, get clear. 

This goes to that tendency for us to want to treat change/uncertainty like an error. If we understand why the change is happening, we’re less likely to view it as an error and will have a much better time with it.

You can even go so far as to get involved in the change so that it’s not just happening to you. Unhappy people fear change, while happy people create positive change.

All authentic change goes through four stages:

1) Anticipation – exciting – where plans are made 

2) Regression – things get worse – fail, test, measure – do the cha cha – one step forward 2 steps back – short term pain 

3) Breakthrough – boom!!! Something happens – the lightbulb moment 

4) Consolidation – long term gain 

5 Strategies to cope with change in an organisation

  1. Empathy – be sure to understand what it feels like to be in the other persons shoes 
  2. Bottom up buy in
  3. Have a plan
  4. Minimise risks and downside
  5. Feedback – test and measure 

What are the things the won’t change 

Finally, keep in mind the core of you—something that will not change with the pending change. Change makes us feel untethered and like we’re flailing in the wind. 

Find your anchor and recall what the pending change won’t change about your world that’s important to you (like your connection with your family, your core values, or your commitment to serve others).

Posted on June 27, 2018

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