An Antidote To The Fear of Change

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February 2019 is almost over. Where has the time gone?
Millions of people in all walks of life make well-intentioned resolutions every year, anything from exercising more, weight loss, being more organized, you name it. From simple to complicated, and anything in between, resolutions are proclaimed as the focus of hopeful life change come the new year!  

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 is running the New York City Marathon, which is on November 03rd. This morning my trusted calendar prompted me to evaluate how the major action items on my marathon training plan are going. This, in turn, triggered my list of good reasons why some pretty major items are off track:

  1. I am in Ottawa, brutal winter, temp today -10C ,wind chill and 25-40 cm of blowing snow which has a lot of places closed for the day.

  2. Record-breaking snowfall in Ottawa  already this month as well as last month

  3. Low iron, borderline anemic

  4. Have not been able to go running outside

  5. The children’s needs, etc...

I could continue but you get the point.

I can confidently say that I am not alone when it comes to facing the challenge of actually living out the change that your New Year’s resolutions require. The biggest struggle with change of any kind is fear, and like an onion, that fear has layers of practical, valid reasons, like my list above. To get to the root of the problem, one needs to peel through the layers of obstacles. Fear is real and it is the number one obstacle, or robber, of progress. Fear is irrational, it takes our focus away from our source of strength and puts it on our limitations.

  1. Fear of failure- what if it does not work after I have quit my job?

  2. Fear of rejection- what if I ask her out, she says no, and word gets out?

  3. Fear of running out- What if we use all our savings and do not get additional funding?

  4. Fear of missing out- what if I say no to the invitation and everyone else goes and they never include me again?

When it comes to starting the marathon training, my ‘practical onion layers’ I listed above are the weather outside, slippery sidewalks and yet I can easily run on the treadmill or do strength trying at the gym. The real fear is what if I am not ready for November 03, 2019?

Think back to your own New Year’s resolutions: what fears are hiding behind you not carrying them out?  

We know this!

The best things in life are on the other side of fear. We know, Susan. It is not as if we don’t want to change, this is why we make the resolutions, plans, buy DIY books, attend seminars, try diets or whatever they say works. We are sincere in our efforts and we know the benefits of whatever we are trying to change.

But then the fear...

Take heart, fear is no respecter of persons, the strong and weak all face fears at some point in the journey: you are not alone. Yet we all desire to overcome them.  Popular TV series such as The Fear Factor draw thousands of viewers because they promise us to see people overcome their fears. Countless self-help books and courses are available providing many different ways to tackle our innermost angst. In fact, one of the of the most repeated phrases in faith-based books we turn to such as the Bible encourages us to: “Fear not”, “Do not be Afraid”, and “Be courageous”.

There are many ways to get beyond fear. I propose leveraging an emotion that usually gets a lot of flack, one that we are also best trying to manage: anger.

The Antidote: Anger?

The Webster dictionary defines ‘antidote’ as:

  1. a remedy to counteract the effects of poison

  2.  something that relieves, prevents or counteracts

If the poison, in this case, is inaction, or the excuses we use for inaction, then the antidote that counteracts it is anger or at least discontentment.

Anger or discontentment is a signal to you that something is not right. Regardless of your issue, they can become the seat of change because as long as you can tolerate something, you will not change it. Whatever you do not oppose, you allow, and if you allow it, you will not have enough motivation to change it.  

“Whatever you do not oppose, you allow”.

Anger

Like I said, anger is one of those words that gets a bad rap-usually because of the way it is poorly managed.  But if used properly it can be a catalyst for positive and lasting change. One must get angry, angry enough with a situation that it can not be tolerated anymore. Anger then becomes the fuel that overcomes the fear, negative talk and fuels the change: it has served its purpose and can be let go of.

Get Angry-Then Change It

Ah, I have set myself up here. So, I will follow my advice, peel the onion layers and get on track. I promise to give updates on how my discontentment with the status quo is helping me with my marathon training over the next 9 months. Will you join me and make a new resolve to look deeper and discover the real reasons why the well-intentioned resolutions in your own life never get completed? And if you find out why, please drop us a note and share with others.

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Susan Namulindwa

Susan is an entrepreneur and management consultant in Environmental science, Industrial manufacturing, Green technologies, organic farming, and sustainable development. Susan has worked with several African Governments, Regional Governments, local Governors, and community leaders across Africa on Environmental, Social License, and Corporate Governance issues. Susan works with and advises several Governments on developing resources and agriculture in a sustainable manner. Susan is actively involved in community development issues and is passionate about women and children wellbeing, empowerment, and rights. Susan holds a BSC. in industrial chemistry and postgraduate certificates in Environmental Science and Renewable energy.

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