Thinking about sticking your neck out and changing things? Feeling reluctant and a bit ashamed of being scared? Don’t be. Humans naturally resist change. Evolution hardwired us to be wary when our surroundings are different. This instinct has meant humanity has survived.
Yet sometimes, sticking your neck out is the only way to move forward. We wouldn’t live the comfortable safe lives we do now if our ancestors hadn’t taken risks. Trying something new is always a bit scary, yet can bring huge benefits.
So how do you figure out if it is the right thing to do right now? Are you being a coward or sensible? Here are some questions to help you figure it out.
Are you happy where you are?
First look at where you are now. Forget about the risks of the change for the moment. Stop and think about how you would feel if you were told that in a year you would be exactly where you are now. Would you want to be there ten years from now? What is bad about your current situation? What would happen if you didn’t take the chance offered? Be realistic.
We often underestimate the pain we suffer because we have forgotten what it is like to be free of it. It becomes a part of who we are. We overestimate the problems that might arise. It helps to distance ourselves, and objectively describe the situation as though we were outside looking in.
If you are unhappy where you are, there is a big risk that by not sticking your neck out you will be even more miserable. If you are happy, what are the chances of it lasting?
Is it realistic to do nothing?
You may be happy where you are, yet circumstances are changing and you aren’t sure which way to jump. This may bring out the tortoise in some of us, and we withdraw, ignoring or denying the situation. That might work in the short-term, and is useful to buy time to work things out.
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. Robert H. Schuller
In the long term, by not making a decision, we are deciding to let someone else or fate decide for us.
When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. – William James
Find someone who will actively listen to you, without offering advice or judgement. They don’t have to be an expert, just someone that is good at listening. When my clients find that being able to tell me their hopes, fears and emotions without worrying about how it sounds helps them hear themselves. Then they are able to work out what is important, what needs to be done and what they really want. If you would like to discuss something with me in a confidential complimentary 20-minute session, email me. Another option is to write without stopping or talk to a dog or cat. The outpouring releases one’s feelings and then you can sort through them. Do this before you try and make a list of pros and cons.
Reducing the risk of sticking your neck out
So, you’ve decided to take the risk and stick your neck out? Here are some tips to help you catch the axe before it falls!
- Clarify in your own mind what the benefits and risks of sticking your neck out.
- Accept the situation. Take responsibility for your decision and make sure that you have prepared as well as you can
- Test the water. Take things slowly and surely
- Challenge. Enjoy the challenge.What good can you find in this new situation? (Playing your hand well)
- Hope for a good outcome–think of the best possible result. How can you make sure that happens?