Feel the fear and do it anyway - how to navigate change
At the moment, this cheesy slogan describes my life. There’s not a day goes by where I’m not oscillating between ‘hell yeah, you got this’ and ‘what the f*** are you doing?’. It’s literally like I have a mini motivational speaker on one shoulder, and a nervous little girl on the other.
This is because I have stepped into some big life changing decisions and that is a scary thing. It’s full of uncertainty and unknowns. I’ve stepped away from the comfort blanket and decided to shake things up. In one fail sweep, I’ve decided to move home, move country and start a new business. They do say the best things come in threes, so I’m taking solace in that.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what experience you have, what your personality is, how old you are or what your life circumstances are, change always equals risk.
Whatever change you are stepping into, you are going from a situation where you know how everything works, to one you haven’t experienced yet. And unfortunately a pile of unknowns, big and small, come with that.
In working with my clients, I see this too. The biggest barriers are their own fears around change. Left unmanaged fear can be a tsunami of destruction, killing perfectly brilliant ambitions and turning them into practical, safe shadows of their former selves. They have the ability to convince people that the best thing to do is nothing at all, that nothing could be better than the situation they’re in. Ooh, the deception that goes on to keep our fears at bay.
On the other hand, well managed fear finds space for it to sit at the table with other emotions that naturally come with change. Hope. Excitement. Anticipation. Anxiety. Passion. Love. Sense of possibility. They can sit side by side knowing that each have an important role to play in helping to navigate us through a period, where we need to make decisions and step into choices, where we need to listen to our instinct and be able to trust what it believes we can do. Fear can be helpful, it keeps us on our toes, it makes us double check things, it's helps us think things through.
What often comes into play in these moments are what I have previously called the Dragon of Doubt. I’m not good enough! Who am I to think that all my dreams could come true. I don’t have what it takes. I don’t really think that it’s possible to achieve this. And its voice get louder and louder, demanding we listen only to it.
See, the thing is, that the fear doesn’t go away. It’s how we relate to it that changes. Here are some things that I am personally finding helpful to keep me on course
Stay connected to your why
Why are you wanting change at all? What is it all in aid of? For me it’s not just about a new business, or to live by the sea, or to have a new experience, but to put Quality of Life first. This is what helps me feel the fear and do it anyway, because I care about this deeply.
Surround yourself with loving support
Making changes can stir up all kinds of emotions in people around you. It brings to the fore their fears about how they would feel if that change was happening in their life, and in their desire to protect you, they kind of project it onto you. It comes from a well meaning place, but it’s not helpful to you slaying the doubts. What you need is people who echo and reinforce why you can and should do this. Not in a blind faith way, but those kinds of friends who encourage you not to be held back by your fears, your cheerleaders keeping you truthful for what you want, and on track with what you know you can have.
Get a coach
Of course the coach is going to suggest that! But if you want to stay on track, and not get side-tracked by the challenges above, then I highly advice it. I’ve just appointed a new coach to support me on my journey with the express brief to keep me connected to my why. I need to be honest about when my doubt is keeping me small and help my coach keep me focused on dialling up my 'You can do it' voice.
Look after your body
Whatever you need to help you stay calm and centred, do it. These are the times in life when daily practice really pays off. A daily meditation or yoga practice works wonders. I have made a commitment to myself to do something everyday. And even if that’s only 20 minutes on the mat, it helps me start my day with the best possible energy. Anxiety and overwhelm can easily creep in, and having your own resources to help manage that are vital in times of transition.
Whatever change you are navigating right now, remember to enjoy it! I’ll see you on the other side.