Why a change could do you good
People hate change. iPhone upgrades; road works; new layouts of Facebook will have people cussing and blinding to anyone who will listen. At work, rumours of your company undergoing significant change causes panic as, in general, people find it hard to adapt.
There are a number of reasons that make us people resistant to change:
Fear of the unknown: stepping into an unfamiliar situation can cause anxiety and resistance to anything that is new and unknown.
Wrong beliefs: If you have initiated any sort of personal or corporate change and you believe that it can be completed easily and effortlessly, then you may be up for a surprise. Any change requires time to implement.
Natural tendencies: as humans we are wired up to avoid any unpleasant, painful or challenging situations; we will often go to such an extend to avoid change that in many cases this may become self-sabotaging.
Denial: even when change is needed, many of us will maintain that “everything is fine” and refuse to evaluate the idea that may challenge the current status quo.
Complacency: many people feel that they do not deserve any better or that this is as far as they can reach in life, as a result they become complacent in their current situations and they resist any change even if this may be for the better.
Ultimately, one of the most important reasons we don’t like change is because it takes us outside our comfort zone. When things in our life change, whether personal or professional, we feel insecure. Why? Because we enter a territory that we have not explored before.
The caveman and salaryman
Think back to the days when we were cave men and women. When the men would go hunting in an unfamiliar territory, they would be much more anxious and vigilant, not only because they could be attacked by a wild animal, but also from fear of the other hunters they may encounter who might not be friendly.
It is exactly the same in modern day. Going hunting nowadays has been replaced by any day job one may do. The wild animal the hunter may encounter, is any unexpected change that might come your way. To an extend however, as the hunter would expect to encounter a wild animal at some point, so does a modern day professional expect that he/she will be faced with change sooner or later.
The biggest of the hunter’s worries however is not the wild animal, but the other caveman hunters he might encounter on his way that may be friendly or hostile. For the modern day corporate person, change is synonymous to many new people and faces during this transition process.
As the caveman hunter would do millions of years ago, when he would encounter the men of another tribe, he would seize them up. Are they stronger than him? Do they carry more arrows? Fast forward millions of years later and the modern day corporate person will try and seize him/herself up against the competition, every time there is a change. Can I trust this person, is he/she here to help me or does he/she want my job? Is he/she better qualified than me? More connected?
As a caveman would do when he encountered men from another tribe, he would seize them up. Are they stronger than him? Do they carry more arrows?
Many people say that with willpower and persistence can get through any difficult situation and as change is usually unpleasant for most people if you persevere you will get through it. While these are certainly good tools to have on your belt, they will certainly not take you far. Would willpower alone make the caveman better capable to defend himself from hostile tribes? Not if he thought of himself as a lousy warrior!
The way we think about ourselves plays an important role not only on how we react on certain situations but also on the results we get in our life. When faced with any challenge today we naturally tend to compare ourselves to others and we try to evaluate who can be the winner. For this comparison, we pull out the picture we have about ourselves and review it. This is our self-image and really our perception of the sort of person we are.
All our actions, feeling and behaviors are always consistent with the image we hold of ourselves. In other words, if you see yourself as a warrior, you will not be afraid of the battle. Equally, if you feel that you are not that good in what you do and that you barely manage to get by, it is more likely that you will feel threatened by any change and your emotions and actions will be such that the will support they perception of not-good-enough that you have built about yourself.
In other words when it comes to managing change, willpower and persistence can get you to a certain point. What you need after that is the belief in yourself and your abilities to get you to rise above the challenge and win it. We can never outperform our self-image, we cannot do better than what we think we are worth, so you don’t go to battle just with willpower and a poor self-image. You instead you convince yourself that you are an invincible warrior, that you are stronger and mightier than the competition. Only once you believe this you go to battle, and you win it!
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Sophia Fromell is the Founder of Ithaca Life and is a certified Life Coach with a degree in Life Coaching Skills and Practice from Newcastle College, UK and a member of The International Coach Federation (ICF). The views expressed in her columns do not necessarily reflect those of Esquire or Hearst International