Change Management Speaker Mike Hourigan on Peoples Fear of Change
Warm Towels and Change
As a Change Management Speaker, I recently speaking on fearing change and emotions of change, I went over the stress that COVID has caused us and its relationship to change.
According to the CDC “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. All of our lives. Most of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions.”
The CDC tells us that the change COVID has brought about includes: Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration; Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests; Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
COVID has brought about mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, sleeplessness and depression. No wonder everyone is fearing change and the emotions of change.
The problem with the COVID emotions and fears that have been with us for more than 18 months at this point, is that many of have gotten used to avoiding the changes we need to make. We have grown comfortable with our fears. We are failing our organizations, our co-workers and all too often ourselves.
How Long Can We Shower?
“Fear of change is like standing under a hot shower and knowing the moment you’ll turn it off you’ll be freezing cold” ― Erik Tanghe, photographer and film maker
Speaking on the topic of fearing change and avoiding the emotions of change is indeed, like standing under a nice hot shower on a cold day. We can’t avoid the inevitable.
However, there is a truth we’ve all known from childhood. Once we’re out in the cold, we realize it’s not so bad, and that the deepest fear of all of those fears in taking that first step.
Negotiating change during this uncertain period has more to do with how we will negotiate the change and overcome the fears of change than with worries we may have about COVID itself.
Recently, I spoke with a group about COVID and change, and overcoming fears when a participant asked a seemingly simple question that actually went quite deep:
“Mike, I’ve been vaccinated, I use teleconferencing all of the time, I have even learned how to make a pretty good latte. But what I fear the most is the future. What will happen to our company, our office and our way of life?”
Her question on change strikes at all of our fears. If we can’t rely on predictability, what do we have? These are times of uncertainty and change. The greatest comfort I have is that we are all going through this together.
While things may be uncertain, while major shifts are in the air, there is nothing we can’t face together. Let’s also not forget that COVID brought about great change, but these were changes everyone was seeing at a slower pace before the pandemic.
If we dig up research from 2018 and 2019, experts were already predicting sweeping changes to trade shows, office space, travel, meetings, collaboration, mergers, benefit packages and many other aspects of work and play. Change was rapid, our emotions were in a scramble, but nothing was so much of a shock we couldn’t have envisioned it happening.
Many of the same people we trusted, worked with, worked for and mentored before COVID are still with us as we are much closer to normalcy. Of course, everything changed but I contend it would have happened in any case. Don’t be afraid of change or to keep a warm towel close by.
Book Mike Hourigan, Change Management Speaker, for a virtual or in-person presentation. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.