Fear of change...

It’s been an interesting week.

I have spent a few months interviewing for a new job which i was offered at the end of last week.  I tried to negotiate a little, failed miserably (my kids would probably have succeeded) and happily accepted.  I went into work on Tuesday, resigned and told them i was joining a competitor as the new Marketing Director and a few hours later i had packed up my office, left the building and was on 3 months garden leave.

On the negative side, I didn’t get to leave and say goodbye in my own way and I feel bad for the team i have left behind as we haven’t had a chance to handover properly.  However, there are lots of positives to the situation including the chance to spend lots of time with my kids over the summer holidays.

Interviewing for a new job and then actually moving jobs is quite scary.  I guess the underlying fear is that of change.  The blind adventurer, Miles Hilton Barber says “If you can change it, why worry? If you can’t change it, why worry?” However this  philosophy can be tricky to adopt, especially as everyone deals with change differently.

What I find curious is how young children all seem much more accepting of change than adults. For example, when Jolie was two years old we decided to move house. It was not the smoothest of processes. We sold our house in March 2009 with a delayed six-month completion. Unfortunately, when the six-months were up, we still hadn’t managed to buy a new house and we moved into my sister’s flat for three months before finally moving into our new home. Then after another three months we moved out into my parents’ house for seven weeks whilst we had some building work carried out. For my wife and I, this process was hugely unsettling and repeatedly we had to find a new routine to make things feel normal. For Jolie, however, it was all fairly easy. She adapted to each situation easily and dealt with the ambiguity and change with very little effort and no anxiety or fear.

Every time I have moved jobs, I have been afraid. Would the grass be greener somewhere else or was it better the devil I know?  I think on this occasion i haven’t waited too long to move and the time is right to seek out new opportunities. There was a tipping point in February where I realised that I wasn’t going to get what I needed from my current job and I would either have to change my goals or move roles to achieve them. This coincided with a lucky break from an old work colleague who wrote to me to see if i might be interested in a new job.  I was not unhappy and desperate to leave and this enabled me to take my time and choose my next position carefully. I am really excited about my next role and this process has taught me that sometimes I have to be brave and accept the need to change to move forwards.

I have seen fear defined as Fake Evidence Appearing Real and learnt first hand that avoiding fears can actually make them scarier.  If you face whatever you are afraid of, the fear will start to fade and become easier to cope with until eventually it is no longer a problem and you are not afraid anymore.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. I would encourage anyone reading this to consider that an admission of fear is not a time to show cowardice but an opportunity to show courage.

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