When I was younger, I was always pretty good at embracing change. Moving from high school to college filled me with excitement rather than dread, and I couldn’t have been more ready to move to Leeds for uni. I didn’t struggle with the transition from university life to the world of work, and I’ve lived in so many flats and houses since I left home at 18, that I’m now quite the pro at changing my address.
And yet, as I’ve gotten older, change is something that I’ve started to feel intimidated by, rather than excited about. There have been plenty of moments over the past couple of years where I’ve noticed myself resisting change or feeling scared about it. I was apprehensive about the change in my identity when I got married, and I worried particularly about changing my name. I have found myself feeling much more melancholy when friends and family have relocated, or when circumstances have changed for the people I love.
But perhaps my biggest aversion to change took place in December, as I said goodbye to the job I’d loved for the past three and a half year and embarked on a brand new opportunity in a totally different industry. The two roles couldn’t have been less similar – I went from being part of one of the biggest, most successful companies in the world, with lots of job stability and a slew of generous corporate benefits, to joining a tiny tech start up with only 30 members of staff.
In the time between handing in my notice and starting my new job, I worried a lot about whether I’d made the right decision. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the fast paced culture of a start up, that I’d miss the stability and predictability of working for a very successful multi-national. I worried that I’d been foolish to leave a company that was so well respected for one that nobody had ever heard about. I spent many sleepless nights fearing that I’d made a huge mistake and that I’d made the wrong decision to change the course of my career path, a path I’d put a lot of time and energy into cultivating.
And yet now, looking back on that transition after spending 4 weeks in my new role, I can see that it was daft of me to ever worry. The change in role has not only given me the fresh challenge that I’ve been craving for months, but it has re-energised all aspects of my life. Getting out of my comfort zone has kick-started my creativity and forced me out of the rut I had been plodding along in. I no longer have the Sunday night blues – instead, I feel genuinely happy to get out of bed every morning and get stuck into the day’s work.
The whole experience has been a lesson to me. A lesson to embrace change more, rather than fear it. Change will always be scary – as humans we are evolved to crave stability and comfort. But I’m learning that to truly life a full and happy life and to be able to reach our full potential, change is necessary.
And that’s something I want to remember as we head further into 2018. I don’t want to be held back by fear anymore. Instead, I want to say yes to change, to embrace it, and reap the rewards that come with it.
And if you’re struggling with a difficult decision, or an upcoming change on the horizon, I want you to know that it will be okay. In fact, it will be so much better than okay.
This essay first appeared in my newsletter, The Weekly Pep Talk. If you’d like to receive a dose of positivity and inspiration in your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up here.