Facing Fears with Change

Happy August!  H. P. Lovecraft said, “The oldest and
strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear
is fear of the unknown.” Fear is a powerful emotion.  It can drive us to make changes. It can
paralyze us. Business owners and managers are not immune to fear!
Unfortunately, in many situations we cannot predict the future. This month, I
want to talk about handling fear and change in the workplace.
Over the past year, I
have experienced a lot of change within my company.  I have lost employees to expanding families,
moving spouses, family needs, or better jobs. 
I have lost clients because of economic factors and personal
transitions. These situations are guaranteed to cause fear. The question is,
“Will we respond to the fear by being paralyzed or by being motivated?”
Fear that paralyzes is not productive. However, fear that motivates can
sometimes be one of the biggest factors in propelling you to growth. 
So what’s the
difference between allowing fear to paralyze and allowing it to motivate? As
I’ve read through articles on how to navigate change and fear, I’ve discovered
some common points I’d like to share with you.

First, face change
directly
. Our intuition might lead us to avoid fear, to
pretend that the change isn’t real, or to downplay it. But when we acknowledge
the fear, talk about it, and even write it down, it prevents internalizing it.
By voicing our fears, we are set up better to find creative and helpful
solutions to the problem.

Second, create a positive
environment for reflecting on the fear
. The natural
reaction to fear is to become negative. However, the quicker we can create a
positive context, the more likely we are to deal appropriately with the fear.
Perhaps you could consider past situation in which you faced change or fear.
What did you do then to solve the problem? Or if you failed to solve the
problem, why? Minimally, you can remind yourself that you survived those
situations! Creating a positive environment almost always includes incorporating
friends, coaches, or colleagues with whom you can share your fears. Marianne
Williamson said, “You can always choose to perceive things differently.  You can focus on what’s wrong in your life,
or you can focus on what’s right.”

Third, find ways to reduce
stress
. When we face fear or anxiety, we are likely
tempted to avoid exercise, cut out good sleep, and eat fast food. But living a
balanced, healthy life is one of the key ingredients for dealing with the
anxiety-inducing problems. During the changes Brett and I experienced this
summer, we committed to walking together and cooking healthy meals each night.
These factors certainly helped us navigate the change.

Fourth, maintain your
focus on long-term goals
. Any journey will include steps
forward, steps back. If you choose to focus on the steps back, you’re more
likely to make further steps backward. However, if you keep your eyes on the
goal you’ve set out before you, then when you fall down you’re better prepared
to stand back up, wipe the dirt off, and keep pushing forward. Sometimes, this
alone will give you enough fuel to keep moving even during challenging times.
Let us know how we
can be there for you!

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