How to conquer your fear of change

Though some of us fear it more than others, human beings, for the most part, have a natural aversion to change.

But why?

For starters, we all slip into comfort zones that are difficult to clamber out of. We become so accustomed to the same people, routines, and processes in our everyday lives that a big life change -- like moving to a new town,  getting a new job, or beginning a new relationship -- can seem utterly frightening.

Even the best of us have a tendency to think that going through with the change can turn out disastrous. Countless questions run through our minds like "What if I regret it?" and "What if it doesn't work out?"

As I've noted in other posts, I am very risk-averse myself. When contemplating making a change that would require getting out of my comfort zone, I often tell myself that the status quo isn't so bad and the grass on the other side isn't necessarily greener.

The only problem is that making our goals a reality often requires pushing beyond the limits of our comfort zone. You won't get that new job until you come to terms with the fact that you'll no longer be seeing and working with the people you've grown so close to at your current company. What's more, you may have to put yourself out there in a way that may make you a little uncomfortable. For instance, you might be a shy person for whom networking doesn't come naturally.

Five years ago, I found myself in a similar situation. Though it pained me to part ways with some of my wonderful coworkers, I knew that if I wanted to progress in my career -- not to mention get paid better and receive much better benefits -- I had to leave. While it was scary at first, I'm glad I took the plunge, for I've met wonderful people in my current job and have positioned myself well for the future.

Fear of change can be all the more paralyzing when one has made a life-changing decision in the past, only to see it end in failure.

Such diffidence is completely normal. However, we can't assume that just because something didn't work out for us in the past, every future decision will yield the same result.

If deep down we know that the change our decision brings will ultimately be to our benefit, it's worth taking the risk -- however difficult it may be. We can't grow as individuals -- we can't further enhance our lives -- unless we take that difficult step. If we let fear get the best of us, we remain in a perpetual holding pattern, leaving others to accomplish the goals we yearn to achieve ourselves.

Let me be clear: I don't advocate for making reckless, ill-conceived decisions. It's better to keep things as they are than make any rash moves that will land you in hot water.

But when it comes to decisions you've carefully thought through -- ones you know you should make but are too afraid to pull the trigger -- you'll never know what the outcome will be until you try.

Instead of thinking the worst, try to maintain a positive mindset. Tell yourself that you have what it takes to pull it off. And even if you come up short, you can try again. Indeed, let your fear meet a worthy adversary in your persistence.

Remember, it's better to regret something you do than something you didn't do, with a few exceptions (like having kids). Instead of allowing excuses and self-doubt to stop you in your tracks, forge ahead knowing that you have what it takes to achieve big things, and you refuse to let fear of change get in the way of that.

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