News flash. The brain HATES change. Particularly change that is surrounded by uncertainty and potential failure. It hates it in the same way that it hates thinking about getting eaten by a wild animal.
We’re talking MAJOR HATE.
Why does this matter? It matters because when we enter a new work experience the brain starts to meltdown. It creates a million stories that are rooted in fear. I like to think of these stories as brain temper tantrums.
Here are some common temper tantrums that your mind might be screaming at you:
I made a mistake in taking this new job/position.
People don’t think I am competent enough to do this.
I am going to fail at this.
I wasn’t the right person for this job.
I don’t fit in here.
This place is toxic.
I’ll never be happy in this job.
Intellectually, you likely know that change is hard. You know it can feel scary.
But the wild thing about the human experience is that when we are experiencing the change, the logical side of the brain isn’t running the show. It’s taking a nap in the hammock while our primitive brain freaks the f*@! out.
So let’s start with a really important reminder. You brain HATES this life choice you have made. Your desire to make more money, change your daily tasks, evolve in your career…are all perfectly fine reasons for your new job.
But the fearful part of your brain does not care about these logical reasons for making a career shift. The part of your brain that wants to protect you from dying in the wild is thinking of one thing and one thing only:
WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS. DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!
The key to easing the panic is to stop expecting that things should feel easy and smooth. Instead, have an expectation that your brain will likely meltdown when you make a change.
It’s evidence that your brain is working. It means you're alive. It means you're human.
It’s akin to getting in shape. We expect that lifting weights will feel challenging. We know we will sweat. We understand that our muscles will get sore. We don’t expect that lifting weights for the first time is going feel the same as floating in a swimming pool while drinking a martini.
Your new job is akin to your mind lifting heavy weights. The great news is that you're learning how to become strong enough to create what you want for your life. If you avoid change, you avoid growth and opportunity. When you lean into change, you strengthen the part of you that can handle uncertainty and risk.
But don’t jump ship because your mind is having a meltdown. Don’t make it mean you made a mistake. Simply remind yourself that your brain is scared. Your brain fears that you may be eaten alive. You won't.
Make space for the fear. Observe it. Allow it to be. Remind it you are safe. The tantrum won’t last forever. You will adjust, become familiar and go back to having a mind tantrum about something else entirely.
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