"Change And The Fear Of The Unknown"

There's a simple reason why chain restaurants (think McDonalds, Outback, Olive Garden, etc.) succeed. They have "known" results. You can walk into any one of them anywhere and get a meal with predictable results because you have had it before. It may not be the best meal, but it is a "known" meal. It's safe.

Many people resist change because it requires venturing into the unknown. It's not familiar. It might be better-but it just isn't "known" to be better. For these reasons we hold onto outdated or inefficient work habits, fail to improve relationships and miss opportunities to take better care of ourselves.

Let's go back to the restaurant scenario. Like me, you have probably ventured off the "known" path from time to time for a unique dining experience when on a business trip or vacation-and the results were fantastic. If it's happened often, the reasons are usually the same. They include:

  • Talking with someone you trust who has experienced the restaurant unknown to you. If you are trying to convince your family, you probably included them in the discussion with the person as well.
  • Doing some research on the internet to read reviews of the restaurant. This includes the choice of menu, pricing and atmosphere.
  • Recognizing that this one restaurant visit is not going to be a life-changing experience (It's a meal!!!)

Let's apply these same tactics to your fear of the unknown about making a change. First, you talk with others who have taken some steps in the direction you are considering. Ask them specific questions about their journey and their experience. If you are dealing with other people at work who are resisting the unknown, make sure they hear from these people as well. Secondly, do your homework. Determine the costs associated with the unknown direction. Create a "pros" and "cons' of taking this new course of action. You may just find that the pros far outweigh the negative side of the sheet.

Lastly, recognize that his one trip into the unknown will probably not be your life's defining moment. It's one experience of many you will have that shape your life and legacy. And if this could be a major life shift for you, go back to the first two bullet points-talk with others and do your homework.

There are just too many fabulous meals and life experiences waiting for those who get out of the rut of the "known."