Defining Change and Learning to Understand Why People Fear It
My cousin used to say, “change is change” and I thought it was one of the strangest things a person could say. Well, of course change means change. I mean, what else could it mean? But what exactly is change? How do you define it? How do you quantify it? How do you even begin to endeavor upon making a change if it is such an esoteric term? Why do people fear it so much? Why is it so hard to do? Why are we so resistant to change?
According to Merriam-Webster, change can be defined as the following:
- To make different in some particular way.
- To give a different position, course, or direction to.
- To make a shift from one to another.
- To undergo transformation, transition, or substitution.
So, none of the definitions listed above say to maim, mutilate, slay or dismember. They do not suggest the end of life as we know it or the approach of the apocalypse. It simply means something is about to become something other than that in which we have become accustomed. This can be for the worse or for the better, but at the center of any change is either action or inaction. The outcome of change often depends on the person, business or entity’s intentions and motivations, so clarity of the reasons for change can remove many of the inherent fears we all feel when we hear the word change.
In business, I can say with a very high level of acuity that I have been the catalyst for, as well as the recipient of, change. Change can mean positive outcomes when you are trying to do all the right things for all the right reasons. When you know you need to make a change for the better for your massage practice, you set about making those changes by educating yourself on what your next steps should be. That may mean hiring a consultant to provide direction, or even accomplishing tasks yourself to get the ball moving. It might mean taking a class or two to gain specific knowledge in a new massage technique or protocol so you can impact change in your own practice. It might even mean taking a hard and honest look at your business, where you are in your personal growth, and look at the most difficult thing to change: YOU. Sometimes, our fear of the unknown can cause paralysis in our business because we become so comfortable in our cocoons we resist the driving urge to spread our wings. To do this means a transformation must take place, and sometimes this transformation can be scary. But also, the transformation can be cathartic.
Sometimes, you simply need to break out of old thought patterns that can contain your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. The excuse, “this is always how we have done it,” does not mean, “this is a new way to do it,” is a bad thing. Opening your mind to possibilities is a huge harbinger of positive outcomes. Thinking outside your comfort zone can make you stretch to meet your desired goals. Get out of your own way; step out of the fear box and into a world of potential. It really has to begin with your own thoughts and perceptions, because no change will ever be positive in your mind if you will not open up long enough to examine the possibilities.
This is true of changes that are business related, but also personal in nature. I have personally embarked on a mission to change myself and my health. This is not an easy thing to do, because old habits die hard. Eating balanced meals and exercising has never been my forte, and now it is becoming my norm. It is a change I made with will coming from deep inside and with great determination. My goal is simple, be healthy, reduce my stress levels and lose this weight that has plagued me my whole life. It is slow going, but it IS going. And I am thankful I recognized this need for change before it was too late.
In your world, you may have concerns about where you work, what you do, who you do it with and where you are headed. Change means many things to many people. And it happens all around us every day. The world is in a constant state of flux, and changes with each moment that passes. It happens because someone is brave enough to do that which has never been done before. Someone has found a need and strives to fill it. Technology finds a faster, more user friendly interface and rolls it out to the masses. It is a constant, and it requires a first step.
As we hear the “economic experts” say we are emerging from the past few years of downturn in our economy, I have to stop and think what would make these changes? In the housing market, it is because people need a place to live, and are beginning to simply step out and invest again. In sales, people are beginning to feel more confident, albeit ever so slightly, and are willing to turn loose a dollar while watching the bottom line. So in essence, people are making these changes, one by one, stepping out and testing the waters. This is seen as positive growth and momentum by the experts. It took a shift in mindset, and a bit of bravery, but it is happening all around us.
Ultimately, change is up to you. If you do not like where you are, move. If you do not like what you are doing, do something different. If you do not like what you see, speak out. If you want to grow your business or even within yourself, you have to take the first steps. Toughen up, cupcake and be brave! No one said change was easy, but anything worth having is worth working for. If you desire it, it is worth the effort. Don’t settle for “what is” at the expense and forfeiture of what “might be.” Be open, be honest, and most of all, be true to your own self worth. You are the only one who can better yourself and your circumstances. I promise, you are worth it.
By Angie Patrick, Director of Corporate Sales & Business Development, Massage Warehouse
Massage Warehouse – Massage equipment and products provider