It’s a simple question. People ask it a lot at this time of the year: “Have you had your flu shot?”
“No, I think it made me sick, last year.”
“I’m healthy, no need to be vaccinated.”
“Seriously, the flu is just a cold gone bad.”
“I got one last year, I’m covered.”
These are only a few of the myths attached to the flu shot, according to Harvard Health Publications. The Mayo Clinic says the flu shot is your best bet for avoiding influenza. So if it’s the best thing to keep you from getting sick, why do people resist it so much?
Same reason you resist change when it comes from the HR office.
Change resistance, no shot required
If you’re like me, you like change about as much as the flu shot. Good for you, yes, but pleasant? Not so much.
Why do you resist change so strongly? In her Harvard Business Review article, Rosabeth Moss Banter points out a few reasons:
- Loss of control – a loss of autonomy and a sense of self-determination are threatened by change.
- Excess uncertainty – the comfort zone is preferred over heading into the unknown.
- Surprise, surprise! – When there is not enough time to get used to the idea, resistance is likely.
- Everything seems different – habits and routines are disrupted.
- Loss of face – vested interest, leaving the past, what was wrong with how we were doing it before…?
- Concerns about competence – Can I do it?
- More work – “less is more” seems to be the norm anymore.
- Ripple effects – ramifications of the change are felt beyond the immediate circle and they push back.
- Past resentments – new levels of cooperation required to make the change work stir up old wounds.
- Sometimes the threat is real – it can be painful; displacing people or even projects we care about … the loss of jobs.
Which reason for resisting change do you prefer? (Write it down)
Fear loves to suggest any of these reasons to dig your heels in. Such thoughts support staying indoors, in your comfort zone. Besides, what’s a shot in the arm gonna do for you anyway?
What if it could be better?
In the case of a flu shot, it helps fight off something dangerous. When it comes to change, it brings new opportunities and possibilities. John F. Kennedy wrote,“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
The only way to change your feelings is to change how you think about change. Try thinking of it as an adventure. If you don’t like adventures, ask yourself if you don’t want exciting or remarkable experiences. Or are you saying, “I really like my comfort zone?” (If so, please check-out, “The Absurdity That Keeps You Comfortable.”)
Think about it
Change knocks on your door, inviting you to the future. How will you respond?
You can use open-ended questions to help you think about your fear. It looks like this:
I’m afraid that (the change) will (insert reason resistance), but the truth is (what’s factual or a positive possibility?)
For example, let’s say new software is being installed next month and resistance is high for the team. You seek the truth so you examine the story, it might sound like this:
I’m afraid that (the new software) is (so complicated that I won’t get it;) but the truth is (the training is really good, I’ve done this before, and Rick will help me.)
Make an appointment with yourself to explore your Story. Here are some questions to help you think about the change coming your way. Yes, pen and paper will help this process work better.
- What are my assumptions?
- Why am I afraid?
- What do I accept as true?
- What’s in my control?
- What am I expected to do? Is it realistic? Why or why not?
- What are the benefits?
- How could this help me?
- What other changes have I made? How did that work out?
Here’s to your health
You can avoid change like a flu shot, and risk getting sick in your comfort zone. Change how you think about change, and you’ll begin to enjoy the mental and emotional health that births success.
Leave the absurd behind. Step out of your comfort zone. Choose adventure. Whatever happens, you’ll have a remarkable experience.
Here’s to The Year of Adventure in 2015!