Fear Is A Reaction That Can Be Overcome

You perform exactly as you see yourself.

People fear the uncertainties of change. The slightest suggestion that things won’t stay the same can cause panic.

But the problem, the real problem, isn’t the change. It’s people’s reaction to that change. I wrote about that in a previous “Tip” when I outlined the five fears that get in the way of productive change.

The question is — what would be a positive response to change? How should you respond?

=> 1. Realize That Change Is Inevitable.

Every experience in life comes to pass. Nothing comes to stay. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

=> 2. Recognize The Positive Value Of Change.

Change can bring growth. It is only through change that anything gets better. As Henry Steele Commager said, “Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change.”

Change can be positive. That’s what my program is all about, my program on “Mastering Change: Leaving Your Comfort Zone, Taking Risks, and Getting Results.” Personal, professional, and organizational change can be extremely good — if it’s handled appropriately. As one person said, “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”

=> 3. Talk Away Your Fear.

For most of us, there are two separate, conflicting entities inside the brain: the “brave me” and the “fearful me.” Many times the “fearful me” paralyzes and takes over when change comes about. You’ve got to talk away the “fearful me.”

At the beginning of his opera career, the famous Italian tenor Enrico Caruso was unsure of his talent. On an opening night, Caruso stood in the wings waiting to go on stage when he was seized by an overwhelming attack of fear. Nearby, astonished stagehands heard him whisper the command, “Out! You miserable ‘little me.’ Get out of the way! Out! Out!”

Caruso was facing a change in his life and in his career. His “fearful me” was trying to stop him from going forward. And Caruso knew he had to “change” the way he viewed himself if he was going to be successful. As he boldly attacked his “little me,” his “fearful me,” his “brave me” took over. He went on stage and sang with power.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but this technique really works when you’re afraid of change. Tell yourself, over and over, that you are capable of accomplishing the things you fear. Tell yourself you can do it, that you’ve got what it takes, that you’re equal to the task. Your fear will die and your change effectiveness will grow.

Put another way, tell yourself sentences that will get you through the situation. Tell yourself such things as, “If I don’t’ do it now, I’ll just have to do it later … or … She’ll never know what I want unless I tell her.” Do this several times a day for twenty-one days, and you’ll find the fear of change disappearing.

=> 4. Decide To Grow Through The Change.

Be careful of self-pity, asking the question, “Why do I have to go through this?” It’s the wrong question. It only leads to helplessness and bitterness.

Rather, ask yourself, “How can I grow through this?” This question will give you the courage to keep on keeping on, doing what you have to do, to get bigger and better results. It worked for me. That was the very approach I took when I lost my mother and wife all on the same weekend. The question helped me focus on the right things and do the right things to get through the changes.

One thing I try to teach in my programs is that you always have a choice. You can always do something. Maybe you can’t stop your company from changing, or maybe you can’t change the people around you, but you can change how you react. You can decide to grow through the change. That way you never grow old, for you’re as young as your faith and as old as your fear.

Millions of people crawl through their lives and their careers, defeated and afraid of change. They’re nowhere near their potential. But they can get past the fear and make change work for them — and so can you.

Action:  Write out three affirmations you could tell yourself to get through and past the fear of change. Repeat them to yourself, over and over, for at least three weeks, and you’ll be better equipped to give a positive response to change.