How to Deal with the Fear of Change

Recently I got to speak at a conference about what I'm really passionate about and what I wrote a book about: the gift of being unfulfilled at work. After my speech, I hosted a q&a session, and I received a wonderful question, which I want to use our time together to explore today. The question was "this journey of finding the work you love looks like a huge leap, how to deal with the fear of change?".

How do you deal? Hmm, I would say... you get familiar with it first. You get friendly with it. When you step on this journey of finding and doing work you love, make an official introduction of yourself to your friend fear and receive the introduction of fear to you.

Your fear will be your new friend because it will be with you all through your journey, and to really pinpoint it, let's give this fear a name, let's call it FieFie, the short for friend fear. This friend is a bit like your too much caring mother, that whatever you do, whenever you're going through something unknown, panics and goes, "Are you safe?, Are you okay?, Is it good, Are you sure?".

FieFie wants to protect you. It will be there anytime you do something new, something different than your previous experience. And if you consider doing work you love, that's something very different than what you have done before: it is a huge place of unknown and uncertainty, and of course the fear will speak up faster and louder. "No, Are you sure are you going to do it?, How are you? Will you be safe? Isn't it dangerous?"

Isn't FieFie cute? It cares about you in its own way. There is no need to get rid of your fear FieFie because first it has been there for years. Second, it has a purpose. It wants to protect you. Third, if you were to try to get rid of it, you will not succeed. On the opposite, you will make it even louder.

All you need to do is to acknowledge it, be with it, to love it, and do what you need to do, regardless of it. Of course, don't throw yourself out of the building, because that's what the fear tells you is really important. Your fear wants you to stay alive. That's the reason why we don't reject fear, we listen to it. But, we might not be threatened with our lives in the journey of finding work we love even though the fear might act as if our life is in danger.

When we look into this "as if" (we said "as if" our life is in danger), and ask, what is really in stake here, we can find a lot of "what if"s. What if I fail, what if I cannot find anything better than this, what if I stay penniless on the street... Okay fear, one for you.

Now fear had a say, what does your wisdom say about it?What will happen if you don't do anything? Or let's talk about the other side. What is the best thing that can happen when you take action? What if everything goes the way you want. How does that look like?

Based on your intention, and having heard the voice of the fear, you make a decision with your inner wisdom. The steering wheel of the car is in your wise self's hands not the fear's, because fear will always push the brakes and want you to turn back and hide in the closed garage.

I know I use a lot of car metaphors here, because I love the way Elizabeth Gilbert writes about fear in her book, Big Magic. She says fear. You are very welcome to ride along. But you sit in the back. You can talk, but you cannot touch the radio, fiddle with the air condition or suggest directions, and you are forbidden to drive. She doesn't exactly write like this but that's the way I remember in my own words.

Yes my friends, I invite you to take your fear, the FieFie on board with you, but don't let it drive.

Sometimes when you fully know in your heart what the best action is, and you have seen that fear does not have much valuable to add, you may still find yourself, afraid like you can feel the fear physically. In these moments, the best advice I can give to you is to borrow some courage. Yes, borrow. Reach out to someone who believes in you 100% and will remind you who you are. Share your feelings with them, and then let them speak about you to you.

I have been in the exact same situation. I was about to leave my job to start my coaching journey. And I was in such a good place because I was paid a severance pay so I didn't need to worry about my life expenses for a year. I still couldn't make the decision. I was lucky that I had a mastermind group with people who were also going through their self employment journey. So, I could share how I felt about my fears. And they shared with me what they believed about me, they reminded me everything that I told them before about how I wanted this, what I believed in. They lent me the courage. And with this courage, I could make the leap. That is how I know the power of community.

If you want to create your own community to borrow courage, You don't have to stretch yourself too far if you don't want to. Your community can be as little as one person who believes in you, it can be your partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, friend... Anyone who believes in you 100% can be your community.

Sometimes it might be difficult for people who are closest to you to hold the space of courage, because you going through this journey means that they have to go through change as well. They will have to experience the unknown of being with you, being with the future you, which is unknown to them. Your changing will mean that your relationship will change. It's very understandable that it's difficult for the closest ones to hold space for us. Therefore, you might want to find another person or group of people who are on the same journey with you.

Maybe you'll find these people in your friends circle or in your work environment, but you can also find people online, by looking for communities in career change. For example, on

When you have this group, you can organise regular meetings such as masterminds to come together and share your fears and desires. A little disclaimer about masterminds: You probably by googling it will find a lot of information about what mastermind is, but it's basically a group of people coming together, who have absolute belief in each other, and who are invested in each other's goals. One for all, all for one. And they regularly keep the meetings in a fixed time and holding a secure space that creates the power of mastermind. And in this mastermind group you share how you feel with your trustees -and when you want- to ask for opinions and suggestions.

Putting this mastermind to the corner, another alternative of community for you is to hire a coach. Full disclaimer, you know, I am a coach, but I'm not saying it because this is what I do for work. I'm saying it because I have always had coaches, and my work with them has been transformative.

A coach is your partner who has 100% trust in you and your potential even if you might not trust yourself as much, but who will also not let you go away with the excuses, who will hold the space of power, wholeness and courage, and who will remind you who you are and what you said, what you declared you will do and who will also hold you up to your own standards. And actually, through this accountability with your coach, you will be taking action, despite your fear.

To sum up, how to deal with the fear in this journey of big leap of faith: First, don't try to get rid of your fear. Accept your fear, FieFie as your friend. Get to know your friend, hear it out, but don't let it drive the car. Get clear on what it is that you want, and act in spite of your fear, and soon, you will recognise the fear's voice will get quieter and quieter. Partner with others to borrow their belief in you to strengthen your courage and start moving step by step to the work, and therefore, the life you love.

That's it dears for today about the fear of change. Take very good care of yourself. In the coming days, recognise the moments when fear shows itself, and see how you can shift the way you react to fear so you can invite it to sit by you and hear what it says to you, without acting on what it says. I am curious how this will impact how you feel in your life. Reach out to me if you want to share with me how it's developing, and I am going to talk to you next week, in the next episode.

Lots of love from a very rainy Munich.

Take care.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Listen on

Google Podcasts

Subscribe on

Stitcher Radio