Fearing change, fearing failure?

There is truly nothing to fear in making changes.

I have worked with many people over the years who don't try to make changes because they fear that if they did, it would inevitably end in failure. Emotionally it is easier to stay as they are even though they are unhappy, and their actions continue to hold them back, rather than them putting the effort into making a change only to have it slapped back in their face when it doesn't work out as they hoped or planned. Not so much what other people say if something we do doesn't end up in success, but rather our own perceptions of failure, and the story we then tell ourselves about who we are and our future.

Be honest with yourself - how many times have you told yourself that you are a failure? How many times have you feared change because of not being able to deal with or fit in with the new changes, be it in a job role, activity, relationship or an environment?

5 ways to stop fearing change and embrace it

Change is happening every minute of every single day, and we are able to deal with this. Tackle the fear of change and perceived failure head-on.

1. Bite-size chunks

Break the thing you are wanting to change down into small chunks. Keep the dreams and ambitions in mind, but if the gap between where you are now and where you want to be is too big and difficult, it will overwhelm you and you'll give up before you have even started. What script will follow then? Break things down into small, bite-size achievable chunks; actions you are going to take, tasks you will do. Break them down further if they are too difficult or making you feel overwhelmed.
Slow down and focus on one thing at a time. Making changes in small steps will have you moving in the right direction, and you'll gain momentum and confidence from the micro-successes along the way to achieving your end goal.

2. Ignore the naysayers

We all have these people around us; strangers, friends or sometimes family. For those close to us, their intention is positive; they are trying to protect us, to shield us from taking perceived risks, from losing everything and in their eyes failing. But consider this - they generally don't understand where we are coming from. They are a product of their upbringing, of their environment, of their generation and of what others have told them.

You can try to explain your world to them but accept that they aren't always going to understand or get it. It is best to ignore the naysayers or get rid of them entirely, though I can accept if this relates to family members, that option might not be on the table!

3. Reframe your limiting beliefs

List all your beliefs that hold you back. These might include 'I'll never be able to change the way I am', 'everything I try I fail at', and 'I am not good enough', to name but a few. How could you reframe these for your beliefs to serve you better? For example, 'look at the progress I have made so far', 'I have learnt from my previous actions and improved for the next attempt', and 'I am more than good enough'. We are the ones that hold us back, nobody else.

4. There is no failure, only feedback

What would life be like if you could never fail? The definition of failure is a lack of success. Would you expect immediate success if you were to change something in your life? No? Then why are we so willing to accept immediate failure? Consider that there is no failure, only feedback, on your path to achieving success. You gain as much feedback as you can at each step - you tweak your actions and try again.

The perception of failure is simply that, a perception. Failure is not set in stone and it is nothing to fear, it is to be embraced; after all, by taking action and trying something out, you might actually find a better or more desirable outcome, whether that's a new job, a new partner or a new passion.

5. Look to the future

When we let fear take control of our lives, we achieve very little and change nothing. Explore where your fear really comes from - what story have you been living your whole life, and how can you write the next chapter where you are in control of creating the life you want? Don't let your past define who you are now and what you will do in the future.

Think about how fear of change and fear of failure is actually serving you. Use any fear to galvanise you to act rather than letting it hold you back, and remember that you have a network of support to draw upon when needed - you don't have to make any changes alone.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 1AB
Written by Ruth Lewis, Career Coach
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 1AB

As a qualified Coach with over 25 years experience of both private and public sectors, I specialise in supporting public sector worker make transformational change in their career and life. Using coaching approaches and NLP tools/techniques, I help individuals to find real life solutions to everyday challenges.

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