What makes some people gravitate toward change and others fear it?

The other day, I was checking out a friend’s Facebook page. Her “about” section read, “I tend to live in the moment and every day is a new adventure.”

For many, change is either looked at as “good” or “bad.” It’s either a positive experience or a negative one. It’s the: “I don’t know how it will work out.”, “How do I know if I will like it?”, “What makes me think I will adjust?”, “I want to know the outcome before I make a decision.”, or “It’s the unknown that scares me.” Do you hear what you are saying?!

Let’s look at this phenomenon a bit closer. How hot does the temperature of change need to be before we don’t dare put our toes into the water? Is there a way we can look at change with a different pair of goggles, or could we slip on flippers to help us navigate through the oncoming currents?

Fear of change does not have to drown us if we are prepared. Take, for example, someone who likes to live by the lake and another likes to live on the edge of the ocean. For the “lake-er”, the environment is more contained; there is a sense of routine with the water with her gentler, kinder currents. Whereas the ocean lover basks in the openness of the expanse and her horizon and soaks in the sea and all she brings with it. The same goes for the person who loves the city versus those who love the country. Each of us feels more comfortable within our own surroundings, our routines, our structure, our same friends; when change occurs the tide changes, and there is a ripple effect. The waters become rougher and our canoe broaches.

“Fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt

When one is exploring “being out of their element,” one can become anxious, physically uncomfortable, and feeling not in control. So how does one manage to swim in the fear of change?

Drop the doom and gloom and think positively!

Ask yourself and write down your answers:

  1. “When did I first fear change?”
  2. “What did I do successfully to face my fears when I needed to?”
  3. “What is holding me back and why?”
  4. “What would it give me if I were to change and do X, Y, or Z?”
  5. “What would be positive about this change?”
  6. “What would I learn about myself that I don’t know now?”
  7. “If I were to take one step forward, what might that be?”
  8. “How would I do this, and when would I begin to take that positive step?”

The only thing we have to fear OF change is the fear TO change, be it ourselves or our environment.

I love the acronym Guy Finley uses: “FEAR: False Evidence Appears Real.” It is only what we imagine that is real.

Change is an integral and necessary part of life; we don’t need to fear it. When we resist change—sometimes even necessary and beneficial change—we can undermine our confidence in not only ourselves but also through our family, relationships, business, and our world.

What would be wrong in doing something a little differently? In order to take that leap, we need to take that risk and step out of our comfort zone. If, for example, you are one to always want to be in control and know exactly what is on the agenda, try one evening of doing something totally different. Be positive, take a deep breath, and step that toe into the water. What you will notice is: you didn’t drown, you didn’t need CPR, and the sun came up the next morning! Then keep practicing…

As featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, and FOX News affiliates across the country, Sallie Felton is a life coach, international radio talk show host, author, facilitator and inspirational speaker. For more info on Sallie, please visit her WEBSITE or follow her on TWITTER.

*Photo by ryanleynse.