Fear of Making a Change
It is the fear of making a mistake, fear of not knowing what to do, fear of getting stuck, or just the fear of making a change.
With the COVID-19 it is the fear that is brought on by uncertainty.
Fear has everyone paralyzed. Fear is the new 4 letter “F” word. In previous weeks, I talked about being bold, overcoming your fears and just get moving in some direction.
Note: This post was originally published in May of 2018 and update in July of 2020.
Multipotentialites and Fear
Multipotentialites have a lot of interests. They tend to get really interested in one topic, go deep, become an expert, and then get bored. They then want to move on to the next thing.
I wrote a very popular post on Multipotentialism called Are you a Multipotentialite?
When multipotentialites reach the 2nd half of life and they have not been able to attain career success, fear sets in. Self-doubt sets in around whether they will ever be as successful as they had planned or hoped.
I was speaking with a gentleman last week who had attained so many diverse credentials from being a certified project manager to being a certified health nutritionist. He had spent most of his career trying to fit into roles that just did not fit him. He left his last job exhausted after playing a role that he just could no longer maintain.
Most of us become actors at work. Check out my post Are You Your Authentic Self or an Actor at Work? [Updated]. He could no longer continue playing many of the roles that had brought him some financial success.
Fear was setting in. He was not sure what direction to take and therefore, he just froze. He quit his job and was taking some time off.
The problem was he needed to be free to explore. He needed to understand this will not be a sprint but a marathon and he may head down a dead end. He may need to turn around and try something different.
It was the fear of making yet another change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a new kind of fear and that is the fear brought on by uncertainty.
When will we get back to normal? No one knows. And even when we do, no one knows what the “new normal” will look like.
When will we have a vaccine, will it be effective, and how long before we will know if it is safe to use? Again, no one knows.
How will my industry be affected? There have been so many trickle-down effects. Some are obvious, but many are not. For example, we are not getting on airplanes and therefore, the airlines are in trouble. Because we are not traveling, we are not renting cars. This caused Hertz to declare bankruptcy. Now Hertz and other rental car companies are selling large volumes of their fleet in the used car market at depressing used car prices.
The car rental firms buy a large portion of all new cars which they now will not be buying. We are not flying which is having an effect on the car industry.
How will my profession be affected? Like your industry, your profession can be disrupted. I was listening to a Wall Street podcast about a barber who was making $175,000 a year cutting hair in the west Texas oil patch. Between the COVID-19 lockdown, the spat between Russia and Saudia Arabia over oil production, and the declining capital going into the fracking industry, this barber was considering shutting down his business.
Are you uncertain about your career? My guess is most of you are.
Fear of Failure
I grew up with the mantra, Failure is Not an Option, which we now know is complete nonsense. Failure means that we learned something. But even though it is a natural part of life, failing was not an acceptable option for many of us.
I have been working with another gentleman who went to college and studied economics. Why may you ask? He thought he could get a job when he graduated which he did. It landed him in the finance and banking industries. Did he enjoy it?
In the last ten years, what joy he got from working directly with customers has gone away to be almost a robot in processing loan applications. The pressure to make decisions rapidly without enough information is driving him nuts. He does not want to change because he fears that he will make less money if he pivots. More importantly… what if he fails?
Money has become a straight jacket. He feels he needs to pay for his child’s college education. If he can just hold on for another 5-10 years then he can do something different.
That fear of failure and money are freezing him right in place.
Change is Inevitable
We are experiencing creative destruction at an explosive rate. New technologies are destroying entire industries and job categories every year and at the same time creating new opportunities.
Change is not slowing down but accelerating. If you fear the change, then you will be left in the dust.
If you embrace the change and look for opportunities to explore new interests, you may find lots of new opportunities to shed the actor’s clothes that you have been wearing.
You may need to simplify your life.
I have written multiple articles and produced multiple podcast episodes on our plans to move to Mexico. Check out the following page How to Move Abroad and Take Your Job With You Series where I am chronicling our experiences.
We are now working on getting rid of most of everything, scaling back our lives so that we can live on a third of what we used to live on and at the same time be happier and healthier.
I know, I know, you are probably saying that is crazy. You are saying to yourself, “You can do that but I cannot.” I will make a wager that is your fear talking.
If fear of making a change is freezing you then you will become the victim of change.