The Secret to Making Changes Easily

business woman biting her nailsThe reason most of us don’t make changes is because change is scary. It’s scary to quit your J-O-B and build your direct sales business. It’s scary to send your child to school the first time or away to college. When change occurs, it causes our “fight or flight” system to be activated and we feel anxious, “butterflies” or even nauseated. While this might seem counterproductive, it’s really our body’s way of protecting us. When human beings were hunter-gathers, change was not just scary but actually dangerous. We needed to be prepared to flight or flee in an instant. When we got scared, the fight or flight response causes our blood to flow to our arms and legs and away from our brain. Thinking is not what our body wants when confronted with a dangerous situation. Being prepared to flight or flee is what’s necessary.

The same thing happens when we try something new in our business or our lives. If it’s a new party presentation, making customer phone calls or even just going to a team meeting, it can be scary and our body tries to protect us by activating the flight or flight reaction.

Why is this important?

The reason that it’s important to recognize the flight or flight reflex is that once you know it happens, you can formulate a plan to work around it. Make change less scary by by taking tiny steps so you don’t set off the fight or flight alarms. For example, consider the story of the woman who purchased an expensive luxury car and parked it in her driveway one winter night. This car was equipped with a motion sensor – if you touch the car an alarm sounds. One night, when the car was in the driveway, it snowed. When the woman came out in the morning, her car was under a pile of snow, yet the alarm had never sounded. Why is that? Each snowflake was so tiny and light that it did not active the sensor. And that’s the approach that will work best for us too.

How to make change easy.

When you decide to make a change, make it easy and less scary by doing it one tiny, tiny step at a time. So tiny that you absolutely KNOW you can do it. For example, if you are scared or anxious about making customer phone calls, start by practicing your phone calling system alone in your office. Say each word out loud and practice using the words you’ll use when you eventually pick up the phone. Repeat this daily at the same time (the time you’ve decided to make your customer phone calls) until you feel ready to move forward. Next, make a phone call to a friend and ask if you can practice your new phone calling strategy with her. Continue making practice phone calls daily with your friends until you are ready to move to calling your most friendly customers. Once you are ready, ramp up to making 2 phone calls a day and so forth.

What’s the secret?

The secret to making change less scary is to take the action each day that you absolutely KNOW you can do. If you feel any anxiety about it at all (remember that’s your “fight or flight” reflex being activated), then back off on your goal a little bit. Back off just enough so you don’t feel scared or anxious, but continue to take action. Each day ask yourself “what one small step can I take to ________(whatever your goal is)?” Then take that small step.

What’s the reward?Woman happily on phone

Eventually, you’ll be making your phone calls with ease. You won’t be scared or anxious any more. And if you’ve been practicing at the same time each day, you will have a powerful success habit too!

There are several good books about making changes easier by taking small steps. I recommend One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaisen Way by Robert Maurer.

Your success is my goal,
Linda Sturdivant