Have you ever observed a professional colleague, a friend, or a leader whom you admire, confidently facing uncertainty without any apparent fear? The phrase “fearless leader” must have emerged in our vocabulary for a good reason, don’t you think?
Truth be told, those individuals aren’t fearless — no one is. What they have done is mastered the feeling of fear, which has unlocked their innate ability to see disruption and change as an opportunity more quickly.
As I have noted over the years of working with many clients around the world, one common thread that ties humans together in this world of rampant disruption and change is that we all find it unpleasant in many ways. Above all else, from executives down to entry-level employees, everyone finds disruption and change frightening in some fashion.
What fear can often do to us is cloud how empowering and full of opportunity disruption and change actually is, and while I teach many individuals about utilizing Hard Trend future certainties to pre-solve problems and make low-risk moves, there are just as many stuck on the feeling of fear.
Today, I want to show you how you can utilize that same Hard Trend Methodology implemented to anticipate disruption and change prior to it occurring, but also to overcome the feeling of fear by recognizing it as a fully predictable cycle!
This really puts the power in your hands — this knowledge that everyone within your industry and outside of it will experience this same disruption and change, with you seeing it coming and forming an Anticipatory action plan around it.
The origins of our fear of disruption and change
What is the real reason behind us as a human race fearing disruption and change? The answer lies deep within the subconscious mind. Back when human beings were still hunters and gatherers, the fight-or-flight response was necessary to basic survival. From finding food, warding off predators, and finding shelter, everything was about survival.
While humans have certainly come a long way since these primitive times, the fight-or-flight response and our roots in survival are still solidly ingrained in our subconscious mind. This explains, in simple terms, why our first thought in relation to disruption and change is fear. A change in our professional or personal status quo represents to us, now in a more contemporary way, that our daily survival tactics may be threatened.
For instance, AI disrupting your career may trigger a fear that you will lose your job to said technology, resulting in loss of income and potentially the loss of your home, transportation, and so forth.
But with disruption and change comes the ability for us to create disruption and change in an offensive strategy. Adaptation and change are inherent strengths of humans, setting us apart from digital applications and other material forces. These abilities empower us in unique ways.
Worrying that AI will replace you in the workforce is akin to the concerns of people in the past who feared the impact of desktop computers and laptops. However, as history has shown, we have successfully adapted to those digital disruptions. Today, these technologies are indispensable in both our personal and professional lives, yet we remain resilient and continue to thrive even in their presence.
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A mastery of cycles helps us adapt
The reality of fearing disruption and change is that we can fully anticipate exactly how disruption and change feel to us as individuals. In lieu of this introspection, we can more quickly go through the common stages of fear and center ourselves so well, we will eventually be able to skip our fear entirely!
This is made possible by realizing that the stages of fear are a cycle, much like a biological cycle, product cycle, and even cycles in nature, such as the future certainty that the seasons will change every year. We have all experienced fear and anxiety, and the following four stages are exactly how that feeling works through our psyche in the face of disruption and change:
- Initial Shock
Let’s look at them from a more pragmatic standpoint, where we start to see that the cycle of fear itself is a Hard Trend future certainty that we can anticipate and overcome. This removes fear as a roadblock and essentially clears the way for us to focus instead on leveraging the disruption and change in front of us.
Initial Shock is the first stage. This is where the fight-or-flight response comes into play and people fear where their business or work position is headed.
Then comes Frustration, the second stage of fear. Prior to any disruption, people are comfortable in their status quo. After disruption and change occur, those disrupted must learn new skills, which can be frustrating.
The third stage in the cycle of fear is Acceptance. At this stage, people know the disruption has arrived or they have begun to leverage it to their advantage, witnessing positive results.
Mastery of the disruption or change is the final stage in the cycle. At this point, everyone has fully accepted what has changed, learned all about it, and is likely starting to use it in their daily lives.
By acknowledging and understanding that these four stages of fear occur every time we face disruption or change, we can Anticipate the feeling of fear that comes with it and move past it to find the opportunity within the disruption.
Use the excitement of learning to turn disruption into an opportunity
We as humans have a thirst for knowledge. Similar to fight or flight, our craving to always know more is a biological response. We develop biologically all throughout our lives, and as such, we crave new information. We want to know more. We want to know everything.
Overcoming fear and learning to process that sensation more quickly allows for more room in our emotional existence to soak up all the great opportunity that comes from an ever-evolving world instead of avoiding it or trying to ignore it.
Leverage this excitement for knowledge to learn more about disruption and change so you too can help it blossom into opportunity and advantage, both personally and professionally. In turn, you become the fearless leader that others look to emulate. Train yourself to embrace disruption and change as something positive, and before long, you will be the positive disruptor of your industry!
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