Nothing to Fear from Change

No two days are the same. They may be similar or substantially the same, but they aren’t identical. You may take the same route to work every day, but you won’t pass the exact same cars at the exact same time. Some days it will rain. Some days the sky will be a clear, glorious blue. Some days you will go in to work before the sun even rises. Some days you won’t go to work at all. (Remember vacations and weekends!) Given that no two days are the same and that everything changes, why are we so resistant to the very idea of making a change? Is it really change we fear, or what happens if we try to make a change it doesn’t work out? That other big phobia—failure—is that what is really holding everyone back? Change and failure: They may be painful but they are worth experiencing and they mean you’ve tried!

Trying, Trying, and Trying Again—So What Failure?

There is a reason that sayings become “truisms” because they reflect life’s lessons:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Success doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t generally come without failures. It also doesn’t come without a willingness to change what you are doing and go for the possibility of something else. Success is about pursuing dreams, ideas, and innovations. Success is about a willingness to make changes and not be afraid of failing. Everyone who has ever achieved success has also experienced failure. The successful people are just willing to keep trying again and again, determined to make changes and persevere until they achieve the right combination of ideas, hard work, preparation, inspiration, and determination.

Motivation and Drive to Do It and Get It Done

Why do some people seem to make things happen and others wait for things to happen? Motivation. Two people may be equally fearful of failure and facing the same set of changes in their lives. One waits to see what will happen. The other knows something is going to happen and decides to make an effort to influence what that is— he is motivated to take action to do something about what is coming. Something is going to happen, so why not take action and get something done that can change the outcome of what “could” happen? No action leaves everything up to chance and what others are doing. Being proactive means that you are involved and will have some influence on the outcome—even if it is “experience” to build on.

In the Game?

There are many levels of participation in the game of success, you can

  • Watch the game
  • Go to the game
  • Play the game
  • Quarterback the game
  • Sit on the sidelines
  • Miss the game entirely

We all have a lot of options in choosing what we want to do. Only some of those options actually give us an opportunity to have a meaningful outcome.

  • Quit the game
  • Default the game
  • Lose the game
  • Tie the game
  • Win the game
  • Own the losing team
  • Own the winning team

How to Win? Get in the Game and Be Willing to Lose

Of all the options listed, only those who play the game have the chance to win. Even those who play and lose come in ahead of those who don’t play the game at all. So if you want to make a difference, if you want to achieve anything, then you have to get in the game. Yes, sometimes it is fun to watch the game. You certainly don’t have to play every game, but you do have to get in the games that matter. If you want to be “successful” you have to be willing to participate, to do, to get in the game of life. You cannot win if you aren’t willing to lose.

What holds us back is what we are unwilling to try or do: ”but,” “if,” “when,” “they,” “because,” and all of the other reasons why we won’t try until some special event, date, time, or threshold has been reached. What we are really saying is that we are more willing to dream and wish than risk. We are more willing to be where we are than try to get where we would like to be. No one enjoys failure. We are convinced that change is scary. Where we are is comfortable. What we don’t recognize is that where we are will change regardless of what we do, because someone is going to do something to change our circumstances for us. We don’t live in a world of lifetime guaranteed employment. We have no promises about having a set amount of retirement benefits that will provide us a comfortable life when we stop working at some future date. If we get to stop working, we don’t know the value of the dollar we earn today; what will it buy tomorrow?

No Time Like the Present

What do we know? If we have a desire for something more or different, then we are responsible for making it happen. Many times we focus on how long it will take to make things happen: “It will take a year to get things in place. I’ll have to work three years at a job I hate to fund this and then it will take another two years of scrimping and sacrificing to get things really up and running…”

SO WHAT? Those five years will still be going by! Wouldn’t you rather spend them working toward your dream and making it happen than have the five years go by and still be dreaming? Wouldn’t you rather have made progress toward making things happen than look back and say “If I had started five years ago when I had the idea, today I would have my dream instead of still doing the same thing I was five years ago.” There is no time like the present to take action.

“Okay,” I can hear you saying, “But what if it doesn’t work or what if something happens that sidetracks my plans?” SO WHAT “IF” it does? SO WHAT “IF” you stop? You fail …the world stops tomorrow. You started … you will be doing something positive toward your dream. You will have that satisfaction, and the power of that is SO POSITIVE and STRONG! It opens doors for you to try more, do more, and succeed.

Ultimately there is nothing to fear from change, from trying, from failing. The freedom to try, to embrace change, and to learn from failure prepares you to succeed and for success. So get ready, make a plan, and take action—Small steps, quiet steps, or bold and brash actions—whatever it takes. As the saying goes: “Just Do It!”

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