Moving on from a job, career, city or relationship that doesn’t fit us anymore can feel scary and risky. In fact, our brains interpret big changes as life-threatening which throws us into fight-flight-freeze responses. These leave us feeling stuck. Stuck in our comfort zone. Stuck somewhere we don’t want to be. But change doesn’t have to be so scary. There are plenty of upsides…
We get to control the design of our life: By deciding to make changes, even if we need to dig deep, we get to experience the satisfaction of grabbing our life by the goolies and making it happen. We step into life’s driving seat and go beyond reacting to whatever life throws at us.
We get to feel brave and powerful: Vulnerability and courage exist in exactly the same spot, according to psychological research. When we admit that we are somewhere we don’t want to be, we only have two choices: stay put and accept the situation or learn what we need to make change happen. By taking action and learning what’s required for change, we offer ourselves the chance to feel brave and powerful. What’s not to love?
We can’t fail - if we see change as experimentation: Fear of failure adds to the riskiness that surrounds change. Repositioning “scary change” as “an experiment” means that we can’t fail. If an experiment doesn’t work, then it simply needs to be tweaked until it does. Big changes usually happen in tiny increments so there’s often plenty of time to tweak their design.
Life options become limitless: Mastering the experimentation mindset gives us the skill and know-how to build our best possible life. A life based on evidence from the results of our experiments. Who knows where that could end?
Staying within our comfort zone is safe...but it can also be dull. Some people choose to stay exactly where they are forever. Others chose to move beyond the initial discomfort that accompanies change, and experience unanticipated joys. They get to meet new friends, gain skills they never dreamed of, uncover talents they didn’t know they possessed, visit new corners of the earth and create memories that wouldn’t have seemed possible...if they had stayed put.
Lucia Knight gave up her 20 year career in corporate head-hunting to study a full-time MSc Psychology, while also being a full-time parent, before designing much more satisfaction and fun into her new career at Midlife Unstuck. Author of X Change: How to torch your work treadmill.