Quality Blog

Jim’s Gems: Fear Inhibits Change

April 23, 2014

There are many inhibitors to change which are likely due to our natural uneasiness to accept something different than the status quo.  One of the biggest inhibitors to change, however, is fear.


Nothing blocks change the way fear can, and when its power is greater than your power to overcome its influence, fear is devastating. We see evidence of this everyday in the news. Recently I reread Dr. Sidney Simon’s book, "Getting Unstuck" in which he outlines 10 ways fear blocks change and inhibits our growth and development in our personal and professional lives.


Fear persuades us to do less than we are capable of doing. It triggers internal defense systems and tricks us into thinking that we have good reasons not to change. Fear, particularly fear of making mistakes, causes indecisiveness and prevents us from discovering what we really want. It distorts our perception of our life and what we can do to make it better.


Fear keeps us from asking for help when we need it or benefiting from the emotional support from others. To calm our fears, we tend to develop unhealthy habits and behavior patterns. Fear makes us give up – sometimes just short of our goals and aspirations. Lastly, fear keeps us from taking the risks necessary for personal and professional growth. Many behavioral experts indicate that fear is at the core of the difference between success and failure.


Fear creates a barrier that can control our life if we let it. However, we can bust through the barrier if we can relax physically and mentally.  This is helpful allowing us to develop the habit of taking well-chosen risks - small ones at first, then move on to bigger ones.


Simple tools can be used to overcome fear’s negative influence. Affirmation statements and visualizations, elements of a positive mental attitude, can be very helpful. If you get into the habit of vividly seeing yourself achieve success, you can overcome the paralyzing effects of fear and move forward with confidence to achieve the success that you desire.


What types of fears do you have that are preventing you from making positive change? What steps, even if they are small ones at first, can you take today, tomorrow, or this week that will allow you to break the power of fear? Start with only one affirmation and visualize what life will be like when this is achieved. Then, build on that success.




Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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