I was talking to a client recently who had been offered his dream job abroad. He had been preparing his entire career for this opportunity. It was the promotion of a lifetime and would bring him the recognition he deserved after working so hard at his craft. Everything was falling into place, except that he was immobilized by fear. The thought of picking up his life and moving to Europe, somewhere so unfamiliar, terrified him. He called me to talk through his concerns. At first, he did not address his fear. Instead, he launched into all the many “good reasons” to not go.
- What would happen to his new relationship?
- Would his parents, brother, and sisters be OK without him?
- His cat really didn’t like to travel.
- How would his current coworkers keep things on track without him?
Then the fear started to come in:
- What if he missed everyone too much?
- What if the job wasn’t what he’d hoped it would be?
- Could he let go of the house he adored and the neighbors he’d come to depend on?
- How would he communicate in a foreign country with a different language?
I listened to him while he gave voice to his greatest concerns. Then, as though waking up from a bad dream, he asked me what I thought.
I told him, “You have worked hard for this opportunity, and now it is in front of you. Your dream has appeared, and now that it is here, you are finding every reason not to go. How about moving toward it and opening yourself to the all the possibilities instead?”
“So what do I do?” he asked.
I said, “Ask yourself how it would feel to stay in the same job when everything you have worked for has manifested in this new job. What opportunities are there for you if you let this incredible adventure go? Understand and listen to your fears, but don’t let your fears steer the ship. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and the Universe has supplied it for you. Move compassionately toward the discomfort and see what happens as you bring courage, clarity, and openness to the next steps. And most of all, whatever you decide, never regret your decision. Keep moving out of your comfort zone until everything is your comfort zone.”
“What does that mean, he asked?” He didn’t have the clarity to read between the lines on his own.
“I mean embrace the change that comes to get you. Forever. Every time.”
A transition arrived in my client’s life, a good one in this case, and yet everything in his world started to feel fragile. This is often the case when huge life shifts are upon you. The more the change affects your life, the more opportunity there is to grow. When you stay stuck in a life unchallenged, your world shrinks, and this is a breeding ground for fear.
No real growth happens when you batten down the hatches and live in that small place of fear. You think it’s safe and comfortable, but what’s really happening is that your world will get smaller each moment until you take the next brave step. Fear of change leaves you unprepared for the transitions that will inevitably happen at some point in your life. So rather than resist change, move toward it compassionately.
Build your toolbox. Develop practices, rituals, and activities that make you feel safe and secure in all types of environments. Secure your inner world and watch your outer world flourish. What will you do today that makes you feel scared but has all the potential to make you feel braver than you’ve ever felt before?
I’d love to hear from you. Write a comment so we can share in your courageous adventure. Shake it up… you’ve got this!