Fear of Change or Fear of Failure?

None of us is the same person we were when we were born. Our early years were lived in a constant state of change.

So if we have been living with change all our lives, and had to deal with it all our lives, why then do we fear it? Surely we should welcome it or, at worst, recognise that it is part of the natural progression of people and life, and accept the inevitability of it?

The real issue

So what is the real issue here? There is no doubt that the fear of being made a fool of, or being perceived as inadequate or no longer being able to cope, are all major influences in contributing to our fear of some changes. If we have been living with change all our lives, and had to deal with it all our lives, why then do we fear it?

The greatest change period of our lives was from birth to about twenty years old. We changed physically, mentally, emotionally and in every other way that you can imagine. All of that is a state of constant change. During this period we were able to deal with the changes because we had a ‘constant’ in our lives.

What is a ‘Constant’? A Constant is a point that we know to be safe. It can be a person, a place of refuge, or a place where, no matter what is going on in the world around us, we know that we can rely on things to be consistent. For most of us, it would have been a parent. For many of us, Mum or Dad (or both) were our Constant in our formative years. When there were issues at school, or with friends, or if something happened where we thought the world was going to end for us, we turned to our Constant who was there to reassure, support and help us move past the moment.

The comfort of consistency

What made them our Constant was the way that we knew they would deal with us. Whatever had happened to us, we knew that this Constant could be relied upon to treat us in the same way. It was that consistency that was a comfort to us and enabled us to deal with the many changes and challenges in our lives.

As we have grown older, that Constant may have moved from being a parent. It may have become our partner, or our job, or even our home. A Constant provides us with something that remains constant and that we can rely upon regardless of the issues or challenges we face. In fact the Constant in our lives may be more than one person. Sports people, for example, have a coach who becomes their Constant for that part of their lives.

Losing a Constant is like a ship losing its anchor. It has nothing to hold it in place when it is needed. It is when people are faced with this situation that they feel unable to cope and can suffer from stress and fatigue. It is not the challenge in itself that is overwhelming, but rather being in a situation where you cannot fall back on something that you can rely on.

Coping with change

A key to being able to cope is the ability to ensure that we know who the people are that form our Constant, and where to go when we need them. Interestingly, highly successful people develop some of their Constant from within themselves.

The world is going to continue to develop and change and we need to be able to respond to the changes. In fact, if we are going to be really effective we need to be part of creating the change instead of always reacting to it! This approach helps a great deal because the sense of creating the change shifts the Constant to within our control.

A good Leader recognises the need to lead the change but also recognises the need to be the Constant to their people in a way that enables their people to deal with change.

Post published in: Opinions

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