Recently, as I was in the midst of taking a new step in my life, I was surprised to notice that the first few days of my new reality felt unquestionably ordinary and normal. Whilst it was important for me personally, the change simply wasn’t as big a deal as I expected it to be.
Perhaps you’re about to make a big change, and
- have your first interview after years of being a stay-at-home Mum…
- move to another country or State and start afresh…
- quit your job to start a new business …
- go on a first date after years of being in a relationship…
- take a leap of faith and follow your heart even though no one else quite gets it …
or something similar.
Executing change is actually quite easy, you just put one foot in front of the other, you show up and do it. It’s the lead up to change where your crippling fears, insecurities and questions of worthiness all come up for air. When you’re replaying worst possible scenarios in your head of what could happen to you when you take the leap.
You’re doing WHAT? You? Really? What makes you think you’ll be any good at that? You’re just going to fail. Embarrass yourself. Say the wrong thing. Hmmm. Recognise that voice?
I’m always surprised at how strong and physical fear feels in the body. It can deplete your energy and render you powerless. A few weeks ago, I woke up with anxiety flooding my chest and stomach, and it wasn’t until I took the time to feel the anxiety and get curious about it that I understood it was masking fear.
Unless you’re one of those unusual people who seeks dramatic change frequently for an adrenaline rush, most of us on some level are uncomfortable with taking new action. Whenever you stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone you are, in effect, summoning your fears, defences and insecurities to come and protect you from any potential danger or threat. To keep you in your comfort zone! Also, your inner critic, (remember that mean little voice that doubts your every move?), increases its volume and intensity and can give you a really hard time.
Fear is meant to protect you from real danger. It’s so utterly convincing because of its physicality, but most of the time, doing something completely new isn’t at all dangerous. If you give into your fear and allow it to stop you from doing anything new that scares you, you may end up with some fairly heavy regrets later on that you didn’t give your dreams a go when you had the opportunity.
Destiny rarely knocks on the front door of your house.
Generally you need to chase after your dreams and make them happen. It’s in hindsight that you may recognise a kind of guiding force in your life that lead you to treasured experiences, friendships, and moments that you never would have had if you had not taken action.
So if you’re making a change, welcome your fears, insecurities and inner critic when they pay you a visit. Get curious about what they might be protecting you from, thank them for working so hard and then just go ahead anyway and take your inspired action.
Once you’ve take action, you’ll have a sense of quiet elation because you’ve learnt a big secret: that fear was always just an illusory prison challenging you to stay small and safe, and now you know that you’re capable of much more than you could have imagined when you were locked within its walls.