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Taking the Fear Out of Change

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

How do you deal with change? Do you resist it? Do you try to ignore it and hope it goes away? Or do you embrace change?

If there's one thing that's true, change is here to stay. Picture yourself in a boat, in a vast ocean representing change. If you become fearful and resist the power of the ocean, you're going to get crushed. How can you take the fear out of change and manage it so that you can better flow with it?

Picture the boat you're in as the stock market. If the market drops, instead of ignoring or fighting it, the secret is to put up a sail to better navigate the direction you're going. Hoisting a sail means finding a new strategy such as placing a put and a call when you purchase a stock so that you make money even if that stock goes down.

You could also switch to a completely different boat. I know of a man who owns an electrical contracting company. He started out wiring houses, moved to commercial work and then found a completely open market: wiring traffic signals and street lights. The owner of this company stayed in the same boat, but was willing to put up sails and change directions. However, success follows success and as competition increases in traffic signal installation, this businessman is looking for other ways to make money, such as importing and exporting to overseas markets. He is looking for new boats to ride in.

Another way to take the fear out of change is to ask: what is the worst thing that can happen? When my mentor died unexpectedly years ago, his death brought sudden change to his company. I had a choice to make; I could stay with the company or I could leave. I decided to leave and start my own business. After I made this decision, fears bombarded me. I had about an $8,000 per month overhead at the time. What if I didn't find clients? What if we lost the car? What if we lost the house? I talked to my wife about this and we both agreed. If we did lose the house – which was the worst-case scenario – it would be very embarrassing. But my wife said she was okay with losing the house. If we did, we would just buy a new one.

Once I handled the worst-case scenario, I was able to see the opportunities in this decision to go out on my own. I was able to move out of fear and into the realm of possibility.

Change is here to stay. How are you going to respond to it? Learning to flow with change and to consider the worst-case scenario are two ways to manage your responses.

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