Change is coming. As humans, we are conditioned to fear change with the same ferociousness and tenacity as Jon Snow does Winter. But instead of preparing, rallying the troops, and standing up for a fight like the King of the North, we are usually the ones in the dungeons below drinking wine from goblets and saying things like “Well, it was a good run! Cheers!”.
Can’t believe I just nerded out there with a GOT reference right off the bat..
Nevertheless, change is fucking scary. It’s uncomfortable, we aren’t in control, and we have no idea what’s on the other side. Is it a buffet of success, fulfillment and unlimited vacations? Or is it a epic pile of failure with a side of debt and self-loathing?
People rarely embrace change for this reason. In fact, they fear it. When you look at fear and what it means, almost everything can be traced back to change. A fear to change your career, change where you live, change who you are dating.
Whether you are a powerhouse CEO or a prairie farmer living a humble life, fear exists in all of us. But what if you could rewire yourself and figure out how to embrace change, instead of running from it?
What can you do to face your fears head on in order to push through the darkness that resembles The Upside Down in Stranger Things and reach that meadow filled with birds singing and sun rays shining brilliantly on your cheeks?
(Just really going for it with these sci-fi/medieval cult favorite references…)
Below I outline a few practices on how to embrace change in life, instead of standing still. These are things I have implemented in my daily life that have allowed me to move forward in my career, and toward a life I love.
Recognize when you are retreating back into your comfort zone
We all have triggers that cause us to slink back into our comfort zones. Recognize when that is happening for you.
To do this, you need to get up close and personal with your self talk. How are you talking to yourself? When you see someone living a life similar to the one you’d love to lead, what thoughts trickle in?
They could be things like:
- “I just need to get through this busy time at work before I can start this passion project”
- “I’m going to wait until I’m a bit more established in XYZ”
- “I’m still so young, I’ve got lots of time to figure it out.”
- “I’ve missed the boat, it’s not worth trying”
- “We have been together so long, it’s all I know”
- “I’ve tried weightloss programs/workout routines before, they just don’t work for me”
All of these are nothing more than fear dressed up as excuses to make you feel better about standing still and avoiding the scary. Next time you recognize these thoughts, fight them head on. Ask yourself where they are really coming from, and if there is anything you can do to push them aside and move forward anyways. Instead of starting three months from now, start today. Which leads me to the next point..
We get so wrapped up in thinking that we need to make a HUGE leap to overcome something or make one BIG decision in order to start walking towards happiness or fulfillment. Newsflash, ya don’t. Think of your dream at the centre of a big boulder in the middle of the desert. Every day, you can come and chip away at that boulder, bit by bit.
Sure, it may look like some people just rent a bulldozer for the day, pile-drive their way through it and boom, they reach success. But that is never the case. Grab a tool and start chipping. The boulder will feel less daunting the second you hit it.
Ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen?
I’ve heard this question a lot from people in the dream chasing world. It’s a simple question that often invokes a lot of thought, and leads to calmed nerves and eased anxiety. Really and truly, what is the very WORST thing that could happen if you pursue this dream, break up with your significant other, or start that workout regime? It doesn’t work out and you go get yourself another job? You cry yourself to sleep for months and eat buckets of ice cream? Stop working out again? You can and will persevere and move on.
If you are already in a job or relationship that isn’t fulfilling you, losing it shouldn’t scare you. The fear of not pursuing your purpose or happiness should freak the hell out of you. Use that to propel you forward. This goes for every aspect of your life.
Is this fearful or unfulfilled emotional state better than the discomfort of change?
I remember being at my full-time job, and agonizing over all the things I wasn’t doing to move the needle toward a career I desired. I would constantly replay in my head all the things I should be doing, but couldn’t find the strength or motivation to. Now that I am here, in the heart of the discomfort as I chase a dream, I realize that this uncertainty is so much more fulfilling than the stagnant, stale feeling of standing still.
Yes, it’s scary as hell. Yes, I constantly wake up in the morning with no idea where to start. But I do. I start. I chip. I move. And it feels a hell of a lot better than the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.
What is really holding you back? What is that fear’s antagonist?
When you get quiet and look really deeply into why you haven’t started, or why you aren’t moving as quickly as you should, chances are there is something in your life that is forbidding you to do so. Find out what the core of that is, and figure out how to defeat it.
For me, and for a lot of people, it is probably money. But once I realized money was holding me back, I put a plan together for savings, investing and cut back my expenses. That obliterated my fear because I was prepared.
For some, it’s vulnerability.
When you put your dreams out in the world, it becomes real, and that’s when you have something to lose. By not acting, you are protecting the dream you have. As soon so you go for it, it is no longer just yours.
This held me back for a very long time. The sooner you find out why you’re making excuses not to act, the sooner you can find ways to combat them in order to succeed.
Worrying doesn’t solve shit.
Honestly, I have spent SO much time worrying for no reason. Worrying about how things are going to turn out, worrying that something is wrong with the plane I’m on, worrying someone will do or say something negative at my expense, worrying I forgot to turn the curling iron off (okay, that fear might be helpful)..
But when I look back at all the time I spent in my own head, agonizing and causing my blood to pump too fast, my heart to beat too quickly, and the strain it put on my mental well being, I ask myself, what good came from it? It all worked out. It always works out.
Some fear is there to protect you, but more often than not, fear and worry are totally unnecessary and just make you uncomfortable for no reason other than driving yourself crazy
I decided to put this into practice the other day when I was on a plane back home from California.
I felt that fear of flying start to set in as the engines began to roar before take off. And then I looked around at all the other people on the plane that were laughing, smiling, chatting, reading, watching movies. I was in the exact same position as them, and yet our mental states were completely different. It was then I realized how little this fear was serving me. I was worrying about something OUT OF MY CONTROL. It sounds so ridiculous when you recognize your fear in this way.
Why bother putting yourself through this exhausting worry when nothing you do can change the outcome? You may as well just enjoy the journey, and trust that the universe will guide you. Protect and foster that energy for things you can control.
“If you are depressed, you are living in the Past. If you are anxious, living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the moment.” – Lao Tzu
I am currently reading Tools of Titans, which is an incredible book (I’d call it more of a textbook). It’s a compilation of success stories, favourite quotes, books and lessons from all the big names in business. Think Tony Robbins, Brene Brown, Self Godin.
One common lesson that the author Tim Ferriss found amongst the majority of the people he interviewed was this:
“Don’t worry so much. It’s all going to be alright.”
I hope this inspired you and gave you a few tools on how to embrace change in any aspect of your life! Check out my post on how I finally took my own advice and quit my job to pursue my passion below!