Why Is Change So Hard?
The Deep-Rooted Cause Behind Fear of Change and 5 Strategies for Success
“Change is hard.” Ever heard that – or even said it yourself? Chances are that you have. “Change” is a word that can send shivers down the spines of the most seasoned professionals. You think of the change to come and immediately time-trip back into your past and seek evidence of all the danger previously missed. Or worse yet, your mind won’t let go of the changes that produced a less than desirable outcome (forgetting the fact that tremendous learning was the result).
But what if I told you that change, of itself, is not hard. Here’s the truth: You MAKE it hard by your fear and resistance.
As a leader, it’s vital that you manage your own emotional intelligence and support the emotional regulation of others. Let’s take a look at some best practices to embrace change with the right mindset, heart-set, and leadership skills.
Become a Change Agent
Fear is a powerful force that often prevents you from embracing change. That nagging voice in our heads, constantly chanting, “danger, danger, danger,” can paralyze you. But remember that fear is a feeling, not a foretelling of disaster. The first step is to acknowledge and name the emotion. When you do this, you’ll watch fear lose its grip on you. Recognizing fear is the first step to conquering it.
One of the biggest hurdles to embracing change is dwelling in the past or fearing the future. The past holds memories of past hurts or blunders, and the future is rife with worry and uncertainty. Both rob you of the precious present, where change can be managed gracefully. Take the time to ground yourself in the present. A few deep breaths, journaling or regular meditation works wonders to keep you connected in the present moment.
Rather than fixating on past hurts or fearing past failures, reframe your point of view. Seriously, every time you hit a snag, you have an opportunity to grow and learn. Take out a journal or a sheet of paper and make a list of significant changes in your life and business. Can you identify the valuable lessons each change brought? Shifting your focus to learning turns past obstacles into stepping stones for success.
Emotional Intelligence is at the heart of being a Humanized Leader. As you emotionally regulate, you will encounter less resistance to change. What’s more, you become more attuned to the emotions of those around you. Try going beyond generic emotional labels like “anger” and delve deeper into identifying specific emotions. Understanding the nuances allows you to choose emotionally intelligent responses. This, in turn, creates a positive environment for change. Maybe you could do a search for “emotion wheel” and practice being precise with pinpointing your emotions.
Even the best of leaders can have blind spots when it comes to the fear of change. Trusted colleagues or advisors can provide a valuable 30,000-foot view of your situation. Through thoughtful questions and discussions, they can help you uncover the root causes. When you are aware, you can choose accordingly. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance or coaching when navigating change; it’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
Let’s Put Fear in Its Place
Change isn’t the big, bad bogey man that it’s often made out to be. The real troublemaker here is fear. It’s the fear that creates resistance and blinds you to the opportunities that change can bring. When you confront your fear head on, its power diminishes, and you become a more effective leader.
So, let’s recap the key steps to becoming a powerful change agent:
- Confront Fear: Fear is a feeling, not a prediction of doom.
- Stay Present: Ground yourself in the here and now to manage change gracefully.
- Embrace Learning: Pivot from a focus on past failures to lessons learned.
- Enhance Emotional Intelligence: Emotional regulation- yours and theirs – is the key.
- Seek Support: Reach out to a trusted network or coach for guidance.
Implement these strategies so that you can become a powerful force for change – for your own comfort and the elevation of others. Change is constant and your ability to navigate it with grace and confidence speaks volumes about your humanized leadership!
Mary Pat Knight is CEO of Leaders Inspired an executive coaching and consulting agency devoted to the development of emotionally intelligent leaders. She is also the author of the Amazon #1 International Best Selling book, The Humanized Leader.
The ground-breaking new book, The Humanized Leader: The Transformative Power of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership to Impact Culture, Team and Business Results, is now available in Kindle, paperback, or as an audiobook. To get your copy or extras for your team, click the button below.