What to Do If You’re Scared of Change

Every time I get a new freelancing contract in a new place, I get a little scared. What am I walking into? What if I hate it? What if it all goes tits up?

Every time I go on a date, I get a little scared. What if we don’t get on? What if they hate me? What if they find out I’m a dufus?

And every time life forces a change on me, like a health-blip or a financial shift, I get a little scared. What if I can’t do it? What happens if this is the one that breaks me? What if I’m not good enough?

Yeah, I’m one of those pesky human being things that’s busy making a pigs-ear of the planet. And as a human being I get scared. It’s part of the deal, because change is simply what happens when you live here.

You can no more avoid change than you can avoid death (perhaps the ultimate change), so that really just leaves you with one question to think about.

How can I be okay with the fear that comes with change?

Here, my friends, is what I’ve learned.

Look at how helpful that voice is being

That voice in your head that lets you know how scared you are is often about as much use a tit on a fish.

It tells you exactly why you need to be scared (because this shit could get real and you might not be up to it) and what you need to do (run like the wind or close your eyes and pretend it’s not there), but really, how useful is that to you?

If you can use that constructively or in a way that enables something else, perfect. But if you’re anything like me (and if you are, I hope you didn’t get my funny twiglet legs) that voice is often at odds with what I really want.

So ‘fess up when you hear that voice and see if it’s really useful for you to heed it.

Accept it as the way things are

Do you ever wonder when you’ll be able to just sit back a little and enjoy everything you’ve worked for?

Ever wonder why, just when you think it’s all coming together, something changes and pulls the rug out?

Or have you ever thought, Okay, things are pretty good. Now I just have to keep it all going.

This is probably where my clients get stuck most of the time. Thinking they can, you know, control everything that happens in their life and avoid change that’s “unwanted”.

Change is unavoidable. But it doesn’t stop you from painting a picture of how things should be and then getting upset when change comes along with a tub of potatoes and a load of paint and proceeds to put big red and blue splodges all over your beautiful picture. Silly change. Bad change. Go to your room.

But what if change wasn’t wanted or unwanted? What if it was simple something that happened and allowed you to make a choice?

Hell, doesn’t that sound better?

Think about what kind of person you wanna be

There’s a moment in every great story where the protagonist has to make a choice about what kind of person they want to be.

Cyrano de Bergerac. Alice. Frodo Baggins. Lizzie Bennett. Scarlett O’Hara. Peter Parker. Katniss Everdeen.

They all could have turned on their heals, stayed home and binged on Netflix if they wanted to. But they didn’t. They gave a shit.

They paused, just for a moment. They saw where they were and what was at stake. And then they made a choice that honours their best instead of their worst.

Of course, you’re not in a magical land, blessed with super-powers or striving to save your people like our favourite protagonists, so here’s the take-away for you.

Find the quiet spot underneath fear, and in that place, decide to give a shit.

  • Hi Steve,
    Really a great post. I am also afraid almost all the time. But I have to get over my fears and have to make my own way towards my destiny. 🙂
    I also shared your 63 Ways to Build Self Confidence which you wrote for lifehack.com.
    See you again
    Best regards,

  • I find that once I throw myself into doing *SOMETHING* I feel better.

    Doing is so much better than thinking about doing.

    So, I’m making all kinds of decisions for July.

    I’m going to keep up with the meditation, because even though my thoughts go off-track, I like doing it.

    I’m taking part in a writing challenge, because it’s fun and interesting to write for 5 minutes per day about an assigned topic.

    And I’m decluttering for 15 minutes per day, because I feel better if my kitchen counters are tidy.

    There’s more than just that, but I keep reminding myself of that story I was told about a man who had to make a decision at the fork in the road and he waited so long to decide that he drove onto the median strip and his car got stuck.

    But dating is still nerve-wracking, period.

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