“You are what you do, not what you say you do.” - Carl Gustav Jung
How do you feel about change? Seriously, what do you feel when you read or hear the word change?
It has been said that the three C's of life are choice, chance, change. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life never changes.
Change. The word itself often carries excitement and fear—usually not in that order. So, we tuck worn quotes up around our necks like a quilt on a cold night, “Change is the only constant in life.” “Only I can change my life.”
But still we resist. What is that fear that lurks around change?
Fear we will lose what we have now, even if it’s not great. Fear we’ll make a wrong decision. Fear we’ll choose the wrong direction. Fear we won’t have a choice. Fear we are not enough. Fear we will be found out, shamed, and then abandoned.
Dr. Gregory Burns, Emory University neuro economist speaks about fear being the antithesis to progress. “Just when we need new ideas most, everyone is seized up in fear. The most concrete thing that neuroscience tells us is that when the fear system of the brain is active, exploratory activity and risk-taking are turned off.” - Dr. Gregory Burns
In other words, we can’t create and move forward when we are locked in fear.
Excitement easily overrides our fear when change pushes us in directions we want to explore; new promotions, new homes, exotic holidays, falling rapturously in love whether with a lover, baby, or new puppy.
So how do we explain the fear of change? Let’s look at change. Oxford defines change as ‘the act of making or becoming different.’ So, if the change is an act of making or becoming, it means it is an action. If it is an action, it also must be a choice.
We can actively choose to change. To embrace change.
Is it possible to keep everything exactly it as it is right now—is it possible to not change? No.
But to embrace change… whoa…that’s a tall order.
To embrace means to ‘accept or support a belief, theory, or change willingly and enthusiastically’. So how do we get past the fear part of change to be willing to get to the embrace part of change?
By facing the fears that cling to the very idea of change. Facing what fuels our fear—facing all previous losses that hold it in place and tell us that our fear are the truth.
Here’s a suggestion: list what want to change. Ask yourself these six questions:
Can I name exactly what it is I fear around this change?
Whose fear was it before it was mine? (could be a parent’s or friend’s)
Is what I believe about it true or false? (expand to why or why not)
What is the very worst thing that could happen? (for about 40% of women it is that they will end up as a bag-lady)
What is the very best outcome that could happen?
What steps do I need to take to make the best outcome happen?
Then choose to hold onto your fear, embrace the change… and leap.
Courage… is having fear… but moving into action anyway.
My granddaughter Eva counted every sleep until the evening of her sixth birthday party. As she threw herself in my arms, kissing me repeatedly, I said, “Eva, you are getting too big—stop growing!” She laughed, “Madeira!! That’s what I’m supposed to do!!!”
Growing is what change looks like when we embrace it.
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