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How to Overcome Fear of Change at Work (Forbes)

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12 Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Change at Work
By Jacqueline Smith of Forbes.com

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. - H. P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft wrote those words in the 1920s, but they still hold true today—especially in the workplace.

Many of us desperately crave change at work, and yet we’re uncomfortable and terrified when it occurs. But change is inevitable (and necessary for businesses to survive and thrive), so you’ll need to learn how to overcome those fears.

I spoke with five experts to uncover why employees dread change; the types of changes they’re most scared of; and how they can conquer those fears.

“There are many people who fear change at work for a variety of reasons,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work. “Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking stupid and fear of the unknown.”

“They say the only one who really likes change is a wet baby,” adds career coach Phyllis Mufson. Why? “We’re creatures of habit and changes at work move us out of our comfort zone,” she says. “Depending how we view the change and how it is presented to us by management, it can be more or less stressful and bring up a variety of fears.”

Dr. Tamar Chansky, author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, agrees. She says changes at work are among the top life stressors that one can experience. “How we thrive is through routine and predictability. It gives a sense of control. When there are big changes, we are suddenly thrown into a state of uncertainty.”

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