The only thing any of us can be certain of is uncertainty. That may sound trite but that doesn’t alter the reality each of us is likely to confront when the world around us is spinning madly out of our control. The ground upon which any of us is willing to plant our flag isn’t ever as solid as we believe or even hope it may be.
Regardless of what we would like to believe, our current reality is fluid – constantly changing. Reflecting the influence of external stress or internal desire. Either of which will determine how we respond. How likely we are to succeed or fail. External stressors that too often appear beyond our control. Reactions that too often prove inadequate.
Things change. Invited or uninvited. Anticipated or unexpected. The only thing we can be sure of is that they will generally change without warning and far too quickly.
The dichotomy that exists between the kind of change that is externally driven and the kind we hope to initiate for ourselves fascinates me. It always has. Perhaps, because it is universal. I’m not sure I know anyone who has not been confronted with the tsunami of challenges change — even the most modest change — represents. Unstable economic conditions. Natural disasters. Health crises. I’ve experienced them all.
Nor do I know anyone who hasn’t hoped to change their current reality at one time or another yearning for more or better. The problem is our pallet of responses and the limitations it appears to present. We can anticipate and prepare. But too often we are at the mercy of chance when it finally comes time to act — or react. When we are forced to confront a murky, unknown future.
For small business owners, entrepreneurship merely amplifies and exacerbates the uncertainty by adding layers of complexity to an already chaotic reality.
More Than One Kind of Change…
The first type of change comes without warning. Unsolicited. Dealing with it requires flexibility, imagination, discipline, and determination. Like an earthquake, it forever alters a once comfortable and familiar landscape leaving uncertainty and chaos in its wake. It is impossible to anticipate. Even more difficult to accept. It appears on your doorstep demanding a response — or surrender. It’s just there, forcing you to react. Daring to be ignored.
The second kind of change is different. It is the change you seek. The kind you covet.
The need to change that comes from within is different because it originates from someplace deep inside you. It is rooted in the desire for something better. Something different. What makes that kind of change challenging is desire alone may not be enough to secure the future you want or wish for. Enough to get you from where you are to where you need to be. That will require a willingness to confront and embrace new and different beliefs. The determination and dedication to accept and embrace an entirely new set of assumptions. A new series of beliefs that will require you to go where you have never gone before and do what you’ve never done. Beliefs that are likely to prove more than just challenging and uncomfortable.
the Fear of Success
One of those challenges is the fear of success. A fear far more powerful than the dread of failure. After all, if you fail you can always revert to whatever reality you enjoyed before attempting to change. If you succeed, however, everything changes. And confronting a new and unfamiliar reality is enough to paralyze even the strongest and most resolute among us.
The fear of success is deeply grounded in uncertainty and a fair amount of anxiety. You know where you are. And while you may be uncomfortable with your current situation, it is still familiar. The devil you know.
Moving away from that emotionally safe and familiar space is difficult for some. Impossible for others. You don’t know who or what awaits you on the other side of change. Nor can you know who would be willing to take that journey with you. All you really know is the pain of where you are is greater than the fear of where you want to be. Need to be. Pain sufficient to drive you into the unknown.
No one wants to be proven wrong or admit they may be mistaken. But, just as certainly, no one can truly anticipate what that new and different future will look or feel like. All any one of us can do is search for validation. Anything that will confirm our decisions and support our choices.
But make no mistake, this is a journey only you can begin. One that can only succeed with your willingness to challenge — and possibly abandon — many of the assumptions you have come to accept as true. If you have the courage and confidence to accept new paradigms and are willing to abandon those that no longer serve you.
Only you can change your beliefs — the way you see the world. The way you think. All anyone else can do is provide support. Relevant information that won’t force you to withdraw or harden your present beliefs. Success, however, requires a community of committed individuals invested in your success. A life partner. An advisor. A coach or confidant. Someone to validate you are on the right path. Someone to cheer you on when things are going your way. Or, talk you off the ledge when they are not.
Regardless of what drives the need for change. Whether externally thrust upon you or driven by your desire for something better. Something different. One thing is certain, beliefs will be challenged and need to change for anything of consequence to follow.
Regardless of its origin, the challenge of change is a choice — or choices — you will be forced to confront at some point in your life. Choices only you can make.
Once made, those close to you will have their own choices to confront. Whether to ignore you or accept and encourage you.
Choices that are likely to determine who will accompany you on this odyssey and who will be left behind.
I had never thought about two types of change. It explains a lot about people and their wants vs actions. I guess the fear of success works in there someplace. I believe in getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. I believe the marines call it “ embrace the suck”. Great topic!
Thank you, Thom… I’m glad the topic resonated with you!