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TAI Motivational Moments Blog

  • Writer's pictureJerry Justice

Why Are You Afraid of Change?

  1. The known and familiar reassure us. The unknown tends to scare us.

  2. Trying something for the first time may cause us to fear failure.

  3. Having a closed mind and ignoring fresh ideas or other perspectives, sometimes arising from cultural differences, ageism or prejudices.

  4. Being afraid that something will arise with which we may not know how to cope. Human nature is to prefer stability and consistency.

  5. Change alters our environment and, with that, comes insecurities and readjustments that could take time so we prefer to stay in our comfort zone instead of changing. I think this scenario even goes beyond fear and sometimes involves just plain old laziness of not wanting to make the effort.

  6. Feeling of losing control.

  7. Sudden surprise with which change is sometimes introduced leads to a defensive fear response. (Leaders, take special note on this one and consider avoiding or at least mitigating the element of surprise when introducing and managing change.)

  8. In a professional environment, people often fear that change will mean jobs may be eliminated, which naturally breeds fear of personal and financial uncertainty.

  9. Too much change too quickly often leads to confusion and insecurity about how much is actually changing.

  10. Desire to defend the past for fear of being seen as wrong with the earlier approach.

  11. Fear of heavier workloads to incorporate the new changes. But the known and familiar also don't challenge or test us. It's been said if you change nothing, nothing will change. People have even joked that the three constants in life are taxes, death and change! I would submit that the people who welcome, embrace and relish change tend to be secure enough to dare to envision what the future could bring. Rather than viewing change cynically or pessimistically, they see it as a catalyst for improvement. The best tool at our disposable for adjusting to change is CHOOSING how we react to it. That is 100% within our control because it's about controlling our internal thoughts and emotions, rather than trying to assert control over the change itself. We've all learned that we can view almost anything either positively or negatively, finding pros or cons. If we strive to see the potential good that might come from imminent change and control the urge to resist it, we literally reduce the friction such changes will cause us. In most cases, change is going to happen with us or without us, but we can help determine the level of effort and negativity associated with it. Surely no one was ever promoted for whining and complaining about change and playing the victim card. If you are a leader or are developing to become one, you can demonstrate true maturity and leadership by how you personally handle change and how you help those around you to cope with it. We've all experienced painful change such as when companies are required to let large groups of employees go and exciting but uncertain change such as when a company goes public and is experiencing rapid growth. There are productive and destructive ways to cope with change in each of these situations. In other words, we can invest our energy in feeling sorry for ourselves or we can invest it in figuring out how to adapt and even thrive. When we transition to embracing change rather than fearing it, whole new worlds will reveal themselves to us.

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