Are You Frozen in Fear in the Face of Change?
© 2010 Hueina Su
When fear grabs you by your throat, your emotions hijack your mind, all reasoning is out the window, will you hang on to the cliff for your dear life (and eventually fall to your demise), or will you take the leap and SOAR?
Lately it seems like everywhere I go, everyone I talk to is facing some kind of change or transition, and the predominant feeling, whether explicitly expressed or not, is FEAR. In the last week alone, I’ve spoken to business owners trying to survive recession, professionals in career transitions, a doctor facing a hospital merger, breast cancer survivors trying to adapt to “the new normal”, a movie producer embarking on her new movie production, and a few business women trying to decide whether to invest in coaching and training, etc. The common thread is, everyone is facing some kind of change and the unknown. Old chapters are closing, old relationships and security are fading into history, while new opportunities and challenges are rising on the horizon, with uncharted paths waiting to be explored. While a few are excited about the new chapters and promises in their life and/or business, most of them are filled with SO much anxiety about the impeding changes and transitions. They are stressed, overwhelmed, fearful of an unknown future, afraid of making mistakes, stuck in analysis paralysis, worried excessively about the worst-case scenarios, losing sleep, and about to snap. Some told me flat-out that they are frozen in fear — unable to make any decisions or take any actions, feeling scared, stuck, confused, desperate, powerless and even hopeless. They feel like they are standing at the edge of a cliff, and any mis-step, even a tiny one, could result in falling to a horrible death. So, they just stand there, unable to breathe, unable to move.
Does this sound familiar? Are you holding your breath reading this? OK, take a D-E-E-P breath in and let it ALL out.
I know that hold-your-breath-until-your-face-turns-blue feeling, because I’ve been there many times myself. Now, I consider myself a veteran of change, and have thrived in many dramatic changes and challenges in my life, such as moving from Asia to the U.S. in my twenties (speaking little English and knowing almost no one here); transitioning and thriving in many industries and professions; coping with my husband’s job loss when he was the sole bread-winner and we had a house and 2 kids under age 4; starting my own business when I had no clue what I was doing; moving and living in 4 states in 6 calendar years (with two babies in tow); transforming myself from a painfully shy, insecure, suicidal young girl to an international keynote speaker and best-selling author; winning my Black Belt and 8 gold medals despite my injuries and fears; recovering from various illnesses, surgeries and a breast cancer scare a few years ago. I can go on and on…..
You get the picture. I’ve been through A LOT of changes and I’m REALLY good at adapting and thriving in change. But, I’m not immune to fear, either. In fact, I’ve had many frozen-in-fear, scared-to-death, on-my-knees moments. Probably more so than many people.
Change is definitely in the air. Buddha said, “The only constant in life is change.” There’s no escaping from it whether you’re royalty or a mere mortal. So, the question is, how well can you deal with change? And what do you do when you are frozen in fear?
By the way, this is exactly what we will discuss in my upcoming women’s inspiration and self-mastery group The V.E.N.U.S. Circle meeting THIS Friday May 6th at 12:00-2:00 PM. We will discuss the 4 C’s for Riding the Waves of Change. All details here: www.hueinasu.com/venus-circle RSVP required.
When you are faced with change, you need to be able to think clearly, make the right decisions, and take swift actions. Problem is, when fear grabs you by your throat and your emotions hijack your mind, all reasoning is out the window. Your ability to think clearly and act accordingly might be diminished to ZERO. Like the person standing, or even worse, HANGING, at the edge of the cliff, you are frozen in fear, unable to think or move.
In one of the Indiana Jones movies, Indiana Jones had to cross a canyon to retrieve the Holy Grail to save his father. However, when they arrived at the top of the canyon, there was no bridge or any pathway across the canyon. The ancient scripture showed a man crossing the canyon, seemingly floating in mid-air. Time is running out for his father, and he couldn’t find another transportation to cross the canyon. At that moment, he had to go on faith, and faith alone. He had to make a DECISION and trust. So, even though he was scared, as any normal human being would at the edge of a deep gorge, Indiana Jones closed his eyes, and took a step into the air. Surprisingly, he didn’t fall to the bottom of the canyon. Instead, he landed on a narrow rock bridge that was totally invisible before. He safely traveled on this rock bridge across the canyon and saved his father at the end.
Sometimes when you are overcome by fear, you can’t see the path to safety and success. All you can see, all you focus on, is the risks and danger. You keep thinking about the worse-case scenarios. Like the cliff-hanger, you just want to hang on to what you know (or so you thought) to be safe with a death grip (pun intended), not knowing the “path to safety” might be just a step away. The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote, “You will either step forward into growth or backward into safety.” Ironically, what you perceive to be safe (i.e. hanging on to the cliff), might ultimately lead to your demise. You can take a step in faith, find an alternative path, or, you can insist on hanging on to the edge of the cliff until you can no longer hold on. And then what?
Know that change is inevitable and there’s always a risk involved whether you choose to move forward or not. The Chinese word “crisis” consists of two characters: “risk” and “opportunity”. The bigger the crisis, the greater the risk, and the greater the opportunity too. I was reminded of this lesson recently when I almost decided to turn down possibly the greatest opportunity (so far) for my business. I was focusing on what I perceive as a crisis because of the great risk involved in this project, and as a result, I was very anxious, overwhelmed and unable to make a decision. I was frozen in fear, until I talked with my coach, who reminded me to keep my eyes on the possibility and opportunity the change (project) will bring, instead of the risks and dangers involved. It was like a heavy boulder lifted off my chest and I can finally breathe and think again. Sometimes when you are so deep in anxiety and fear, you really need someone who can see objectively and clearly to point out the right thinking and right direction for you. A professional coach can do just that for you.
As the famous quote by John Burroughs goes, “Leap and the net will appear.” Learn to trust yourself and have faith in the Universe. Know that you live in a loving Universe. If you are following your heart, aligned with your passion and purpose, the Universe will conspire to support you. When you leap in faith, the net will appear, or you might find out that you’ve been wearing a parachute on your back all along. But, you’ll never know until you take the leap. Remember the cliff-hanger — the longer you wait, the less options you’ll have, and the higher risks for you. So, make a DECISION and take ACTION now.
P.S. How may I support you? Contact me for a complimentary 20-min consultation.
|About Hueina Su|
|Hueina Su is an internationally recognized expert in helping heart-centered, successful but exhausted high-achieving professional women break The Good Girl Spell, and find the missing PEACE and BALANCE in their stressful lives. She is an international keynote speaker, certified executive and life coach, best-selling author of Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul: 7 Keys to Nurture Yourself While Caring for Others, and a featured expert in the award-winning transformational movie The Keeper of the Keys along with Jack Canfield, John Gray and Marci Shimoff.
For more information about Hueina’s speaking, coaching, book and other products, visit www.HueinaSu.com