Don’t Let Fear of Change Get in the Way of Success
Taylor Hoopii and Don Faumuina of Time4Change Hawaii, a character and leadership development company, help people and organizations that want to change the way things are getting done. One key obstacle that Don and Taylor run into frequently is the fear of change. It can stand in the way of progress and make it nearly impossible to move forward. To help people successfully take charge of their lives, Time4Change has effective ways to help people face their concerns and adopt new behaviors.
One of the first things to do is recognize if people are stuck in their comfort zone. People that are afraid of changing their ways often talk about a new behavior as being too difficult and believe that everything will be ruined if they do it differently. So, they cling to the way things have always been done and resist trying something new or different. Some examples are:
- Staying in the same job because they’ve been there for years, even if they have a better job offer.
- Ordering the same item at a restaurant even if something else sounds good.
- Refusing to take a different route to work when traffic is blocked because that’s the way they always go to work.
- Never trying a new hairstyle because they’ve always worn their hair that way.
The following techniques can help overcome anxiety when trying a new direction.
- Learn to calm the body: There are sensations we all experience when fear is happening. It could be sweaty palms, a fast heart rate or difficulty sleeping. Calming techniques include:
- Focus on breathing: The sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response can be calmed by breathing more deliberately and slowly. This will signal the brain to relax, slow down the release of adrenaline and cortisol and release more feel-good endorphins.
- Do something physical: Exertion will reduce some of the adrenaline. If there’s a tangible result, then a sense of satisfaction will also accompany it.
- Pay attention to nutrients: Avoid caffeine and sugar since they can increase anxiety. Consume more of complex carbohydrates and eat smaller, more frequent meals. Make sure to drink plenty of water.
- Use progressive muscle relaxation: Fear causes muscles to tighten, causing fatigue and muscle aches. To counteract the effect, find a quiet spot to sit or lie down. After a few deep breathes, relax the entire body, then start tightening muscles starting at the toes, hold for a count of ten, then relax. Then move up the body and repeat with legs, hips, stomach, chest, arms — all the way to the top of the head.
- Change the story fear is telling: The fear of change has as its roots the fear of the unknown. It can be further boiled down to not wanting to be disappointed. Objectively evaluate the story that fear is telling, then change that story to reflect a positive outcome.
- Compare the risk with the benefits: Make a list of the risks and benefits of making the change. If the benefits are greater than the risks, then forget the excuses.
- Let go of perfectionism: Beware of analysis paralysis – don’t delay acting because of the desire to check every possible detail. Think of the 80/20 rule — rather than stress over the 20% of the information that’s missing, use the 80% available, make the best decision and move forward. As more information becomes clear, the route can be adjusted.
- Focus on the process: Life is a series of options, choices and redirections. Instead of focusing on the final result, pay more attention to the process and appreciate the effort. It’s the journey that makes life interesting, not the destination.
- Set manageable goals: Instead of setting a goal that takes months to accomplish, set more manageable goals along the way. For example, people that have successfully lost large amounts of weight set goals in smaller increments and celebrate the successes along the way.
- Get support: Fear is stronger in seclusion, so be active, get involved with other people and affirm the actions to move forward.
Time 4 Change offers workshops for organizations that are looking to improve communication, remove barriers to success and achieve optimum results.
A 25% workshop discount is being offered to any organization that mentions this article.
To learn more about Time4Change or to schedule them for a workshop, call 808-221-9943, email Info@Time4ChangeHI.com, or visit Tinyurl.com/Time4ChangeHI. They can also be found on Facebook by searching Time4ChangeHI.
Karen Charron is a freelance writer living on Oahu and a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Hawai`i.Edit ModuleShow Tags