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What to do when you’re scared of change

You want to improve your health, finances, your life.

You really want to go forward towards your goals, but you’re afraid of what it takes to accomplish a change.

A world of changes where everybody stays the same

Everybody wants to change something, but everybody is also scared of it.

Have you noticed how most people, when talking about change, want the change to come from someone else?

The government, a company, their employer, their spouse or friends. Rarely we find someone who truly understands that any change worth making comes from within.

And that’s not surprising, humans are creatures of habits, we cherish both comfort and safety, and we find them in routine.

However messy and always-changing the lives of some of us are, they still provide habits and comfort, if only by their unpredictable nature. It can be the food you’re eating, the TV you’re watching, but most importantly the image that other people have of you.

Change IS scary.


Simple: you know you can survive in your current situation, you know you can handle how people see you, because you are! But any change that threatens the status quo begs the question: will I survive this? How much pain might I encounter along the way? Will I succeed? Will I fail? How people will look at me either way?

It doesn’t matter whether it looks like a good change or not, if it is significant enough, fear always creeps up.

It doesn’t mean you should never change. On the contrary, sometimes, fear shows us what we care about.

When to consider a change

Simply, when you feel the current situation isn’t right, when it doesn’t satisfy you. When you wake up dreading your work, or even worse, feeling completely apathetic.

Now, if you don’t know what to change, or how to change it, your mind will trick you into believing you don’t want/need the change.

Acknowledging you want a change and knowing how the hell you’re gonna make it are two completely different things. The first step is bringing more truth. If you want to change, accept it. Only then, look at your options. It might take time, be patient.

What if you don’t feel ready?

Why don’t you?

If you believe you’ll be ready when you’re not afraid of the change anymore, the next change you’ll make is going six feet under.

Do NOT wait for the fear to disappear, the more you care about the change, the more the fear will try to stall you. As Susan Jeffers wrote, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Now, if you wonder if you’re ready because of your financial situation, or career, or [insert very good excuse here], does that also prevent you from taking one step forward?

No, you do not need to quit your job tomorrow, but what about looking for classes to improve your skills or job offers to see how the market is going?

Assume the change you want to make, and start gathering information, go to workshop, the momentum will help you go forward. Your worst enemy is inertia. The more steps you’ll take, the easier it’ll get, even if the fear stays.

If you still doubt, here’s the killer trick: on your deathbed, what will you regret more? Making a scary change in order to attain your dreams, even if you fail, or stalling to keep the fear and safety under control (and failing by default)?

Share what you can do today to bring you closer.

Thanks to Bon for inspiring this post.

The 30-day Passionate Being challenge

Good day, Passionate Beings!

How’s life going these days? Pretty good? Not bad?

What about making it Passionately Awesome?

If you’re interested, it’s your lucky day, as today marks the launch of the Passionate Being 30-day challenge to help you build your Passionate Life.

What I believe

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Helen Keller

photo: The Wandering Angel

I believe that a life lived at 50% is a life half-wasted. I believe that doing something because you “should” instead of because you love doing it is a cry for change. But most importantly, I believe it is possible to live a life filled with passion, creation and pleasure. I believe this kind of life is the best there is, not only for ourselves but for the world. I also believe that if you want to leave a truly positive mark in the world, you have to be passionate about your life.

Finally, I believe I can help you build a life that you’ll be so passionate about, you wouldn’t change it for the world.

But who would I be if I believed I could help you build a passionate life but limit myself to helping a few friends here and there?

It is time to step up and share my beliefs and skills with the outside world.

This challenge is how I’m doing it.

The Challenge

During 30 days, from today August 23rd until September 21st 2010, if you allow me, I will help you get clear about your situation and get started building your passionate life.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a job you hate and have no idea how to make a change, or if your life is pretty good but you feel there’s something missing.

As long as you’re willing to make changes, I can help and guide you.

To do that, I offer you one session with me.

For free.

Two sessions if you’re among the first five.

Yes, I won’t ask a dime.

But I’ll ask for feedback so I can hone my skills, and if you feel I helped you, I’ll ask you for a testimonial to describe how.

And I’m asking you right now for your help to share the word. If you know someone who is ready to make some changes, please send them a link to this page. You can also use the buttons below to post a link to Twitter, Facebook, digg, and others.

Helping you change your life in exchange for a feedback and a testimonial, that’s a pretty good deal, don’t you think?

I will do my best to help as many of you as I can, as to make the biggest impact possible.

I’ll keep you posted on how the challenge is going on this blog in a couple weeks, maybe before if I have lots to say.

How does it work?

If you want to participate in the challenge, use the contact form below to ask for a session before September 22nd 2010. We will schedule a Skype or phone call that will last about an hour, maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more. Then you can leave a message on this post if you feel like it.

Fill out the form below to ask for a free Skype session with me (two free sessions for the first five persons).
Please indicate your availability and time zone. I am in GMT+2 and I’m mostly available between 10am and 10pm.

All fields are required.

Do not fill out this form field:

You can contact me right now using the form above to schedule a free session, or if you want more details, keep reading.

The situation

Securely Bound
photo credit: Thristian

We are all attached to things, people and situations in our lives: our job, partner, friends, diet or even our couch. When one or more of these elements are somewhat misaligned with what we want and the path to get it, this creates confusion about the road to take.

You think “this job doesn’t fulfill me, but it has a nice paycheck and I kinda like the people there”. In these circumstances, nothing short of a hurricane would get you off your current path without your say so.

Sometimes the hurricane is getting fired. In other circumstances, it is getting sick, or deeply depressed.

Quite often, this struggle is completely unconscious, because you don’t see another way, you believe there isn’t any, and without realizing it, you dismiss the alternatives that would put you on the right path.

What I do for you in the challenge

We schedule a Skype session, and during that session, I listen, I ask questions.

Then together we find the barriers and resistance that are preventing you from experiencing a truly Passionate Life. We uncover the inconsistencies between what you say and what you do. We reveal how you subconsciously prevent yourself from going forward.

Once you have more clarity about your path, your obstacles, we explore together the different ways to attain your goals so you have a clear vision of the steps to take. Then it is yours to make decisions and take actions to get closer to your goals.

In a nutshell, we look at your current situation, what is not working, and we give you more options to get you where you want to be.

What you can expect from our session

  • gain more clarity about your current situation, and how it fits with what you want
  • get a better picture of what you really want (it might not be what you believe you want)
  • uncover and understand the reasons you’re not going forward
  • get rid of the lies you have accepted as truths that prevent you from being more passionate and happy
  • come up with a few action steps and possibilities to get more of what you want

How can you be a part of the challenge?

First of all, use the opportunity for yourself by scheduling a session for free (using the form below).

Then go tell two of your friends who would really benefit from the challenge so that they can participate if they wish to do so (use the buttons below).

Finally, share your experience in the comment section of this post.

Times and dates and stuff

So, the challenge starts today, August 23rd and goes on until September 21st.

To schedule a free session use the form below before September 22nd 2010. The first five to ask get two sessions. Don’t delay.

Please indicate your availability and time zone. I am in GMT+2 and I’m mostly available between 10am and 10pm.

All fields are required.

Do not fill out this form field:

Final words

By being more passionate about your life, you improve the lives of others, especially those close to you. Join the path today.

You’re right, you’re gonna fail.

photo credit: salimfadhley

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.
Henry Ford

Have you ever heard someone complaining about an activity, a new sport, a contest, or anything that they might fail, and say “What’s the point? I’m not good enough” or any variant of “I can’t do it”?

Yeah, me too.

When that happens, I feel like I’m gonna explode, jump and grab them, then shake their poor body until they stop saying such stupid things.

We are what we think

The brain (and the universe) will do whatever it can to bring you what you expect. If you expect to fail, it will bring you failure, because this is what you wished for. If you expect success, and do whatever is necessary to make it so, it will give its best to accomplish your desire.

If you want to succeed, think like a successful person. Of course, there is never, ever, a guarantee of results, but I assure you that the journey itself is completely different.

Do you honestly believe that the people who complain all the time and never miss an opportunity to tell everyone they’re going to fail actually want to succeed?

They want comfort, and to be allowed to fail

There are basically three reasons people set themselves up for failure:

  • They want encouragement, they want to be told that they’re wrong, that they will succeed. Basically they want others to make them feel better about themselves.
  • They want to be allowed to fail. When they say they’re gonna fail, they try to remove expectations from other people, because they don’t feel like they can handle them, they don’t want the risk of disappointing their family and friends. They want to make sure it’s alright to fail.
  • They want to be comfortable, and right. They want to be able to say “yeah, well, I told you I couldn’t do it”, so they’d rather fail as a rule than own and assume responsibility for their own outcomes.

Change your outlook

In any case, you don’t know for sure whether you’re going to fail or succeed. So saying “I’m gonna succeed” is no less true than “I’m gonna fail”, and it is much more encouraging.

Besides, if someone tells you they’re no good at anything, are going to fail, who are you to question them? When we meet someone and we perceive that “failure vibe”, we trust them to.. fail. After all, they know better than we do. And then starts a vicious circle, if you complain and set for failure, you won’t get the social support and friends that could help you succeed. Whereas if you are determined to succeed, the people around you will do their best to help you.

Yes, “blindly” aiming for success means you risk disappointment.

But not only is the path itself much more pleasant, it’s also much more satisfying in the long term to set for succes even if you fail than set for failure and meet your expectation.

Don’t you agree?

Give up

When was the last time you decided it was ok to give up?

Not your dreams, not who you are.

But anything and everything else.

Whatever does not serve you, that you keep because you feel constrained or obliged to.

Your painful relationships, your resentment, the need for power, the pressure to earn and buy more.
Being “a nice person”, doing what you do because it’s what you always did, the labels you mistake for who you are.
The goals forced upon you by your parents, your peers, your friends, your spouse.
The need to please and to conform to what the society expects and wants from you.

Don’t wait until you retire, or until you get that next promotion. Don’t ever wait for permission.
You don’t need an excuse, you don’t need “one last thing” before you can be free.

Choose to be who you want to be. Simply accept to be who you really are.

Give up everything else.

How much debt did you put on your To-Do list?

A completely normal to-do list

You probably have had or still have a student loan, a mortgage, or some credit card debt. The concept of a debt is easy to grasp, you borrow something from someone, and you have to give it back, with interests. If you don’t pay it back according to the agreement, you increase the debt, and hence the leverage against you. And if you have too many debts and you can’t pay them all easily, you get overwhelmed, stuck. A debt will keep you in line and working so you can reimburse it.

What do you think of all these things you have to do?

Submit a report by tomorrow, mown the grass, talk to your spouse about the kids’ education, gather the courage to finally ask for a raise or quit your job, read a dozen books to increase your skills, and probably more.
Each time you decide you should do something, whether you actually put it on your To-Do list or not, you make a contract with yourself (or someone else), that says that you will get it done in a reasonable amount of time. As the time goes by and until you fulfill the contract, you feel more and more in debt, and increasingly more stuck with all the items on the list.

These moral contracts might prevent you to plan a week-end trip the same way your financial debts can. You feel bad about yourself for not keeping up enough, so you increase the speed, try to fulfill more of them, so that maybe one day, they’ll all be done and gone.

There is no end

But the truth is, they’ll never be done. Just like your debts will never be completely reimbursed.


Simply because we grow comfortable with the pressure, we know we can go on with a comfortable amount of debt, so when we reduce the amount, we see all the possibilities that open right in front of us: a new TV, a new house, a new hobby, more holidays, some kind of “investment” or golden opportunity that nobody ever thought of.

Can you imagine yourself without debts?

Imagine yourself without any kind of debt, financial or moral, money you owe, or actions you should do for yourself or others. Try it for a minute or two.

You don’t have any debts.

You have done everything on your To-Do list.

What now?

If you’re anything like me, you feel free… and fricking scared!

Now that you don’t have any item left to check off your list, you are free to decide what to do, free to create and more.

And it is so overwhelming.

The first unconscious instinct is to try to go back to the previous situation: get more on your plate, start a dozen new projects, buy new stuff, etc. So that, ironically, the situation gets manageable again.

But you’ll keep running in circles.

The only way is to try again, and slowly get comfortable with the freedom.

The important thing to realize is that, while being in any kind of debt puts pressure on you, it also gives you a direction, as you “have to” get out of it, and you do what feels necessary to attain that goal. But being completely out of debt and of things “to do” is also very hard, because it puts you back in control of your actions and your time. Remember that from a very young age, we’ve been taught that parents, teachers, bosses control our time and actions. Even though we aspire to freedom, there is a price to pay.

The artist

The stereotype of the artist is someone completely broke, disconnected from the world and unaware of the basic workings of his society.

And in a way, it is true.

When creating, the artist disconnects himself from the debts and influences of the world in order to be completely free to be who he is, not what others expect him to be or to do in order to pay their debts. This freedom is necessary to produce great work of art as the concept of pure creation is disconnected from any feeling of debt to oneself.

If you are “in” the world, and struggling to create, take a look at all your debts, as they might keep you in “debt payment” mode whereas what you need is “free-flowing creation” mode.

Knowledge and action

You cannot act on your debts, unless you are aware of what they are. If you don’t already have a list, make one: write down everything that you feel obliged to do, or that you feel you should do. Anything that makes you feel some kind of guilt or shame if you’re not doing it.

Feel the pressure on you. Realize that whether you think about them or not, the pressure is always there.

Then, in your mind, try to get comfortable with a life without debts. The first time you probably won’t be, so each time you think about your debts, find one thing that’s great about a life without them.

As you review your To-Do list, either abandon the debts and pressure, or establish a plan to reimburse and fulfill them, whether it means talking to your spouse or boss, or hiring someone to paint a wall.

You’ll probably want to do both. Nothing’s stopping you but yourself.

What do you want?

It is a good thing to have lots of possibilities and things that you can do. But it’s better to be able to do them without being pressured too much so you can be open to new possibilities.

There are always new things to put on your list, but isn’t it better when there is nothing on it that prevents you from doing what is really important for you?

If you want to be free of these past debts, it is only up to you, and it starts now. What can you do today to walk on the path of freedom?