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Overcome Your Fear of Change - Just Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Nurses General Nursing Article Event   posted

Scott Peck, author of the bestseller, The Road Less Traveled, starts out his book, ‘life is difficult and once you accept that everything becomes easier”. That's similar to my premise: we need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Magic occurs outside your comfort zone and if you are not uncomfortable, then you haven’t left your comfort zone!

Overcome Your Fear of Change - Just Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
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Are you someone who can rise to the challenge?

I guarantee most of you fit this category. You work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, medical-surgical units, labor and delivery, and a variety of places within a clinical setting that requires you to rise to the challenge all day long, day after day. Change is a fact of life, and the more we resist change, the more we're resisting creativity, resourcefulness, and the sense of accomplishment you feel after successfully meeting the challenge.

Why do we need to change?

Numerous studies have been done to determine how people can change. Think about those near to you and, in your observations, over the course of time have you seen a person change? You're likely to say some have and some haven't. I'm not speaking of adapting, growing and learning. I'm speaking of a person recognizing the need and desire to change and then making it happen.

Everyone has a natural resistance to change. We're all familiar with homeostasis. When homeostasis is threatened by a response to a stressor, the body tries to restore it by adjusting one or more physiological processes. Keeping things steady internally is the way our bodies have been created; however, our mind and spirit are created for growth.

So what are some of the reasons we resist change?

  • Our routine is disrupted
  • We didn't plan the change
  • Change creates a fear of the unknown
  • Change creates a fear of failure
  • The uncertainty that the effort required to change is worth the benefit of the change

People who have the ability to change have the following characteristics:

  • Desire to change
  • A curious nature
  • Ability to reflect and be self-aware and open minded
  • See the knowledge or skill they need to acquire to make the change
  • Have a support base of family friends or Community
  • Can visualize the benefit that the change will bring

One of the most common reasons people resist change is the fear of failure.

Failing is not failure and there's a difference. In my first management role, I failed big time when handling new situations. Fortunately, I had a nurse mentor that believed in me and helped me during that time, or I never would have tried management again. I don't know about you, but I learn more from my mistakes than I do my successes.

Walt Disney felt that some of his greatest achievements were the result of some of his greatest failures. In the late 1920s, Walt had failed at getting the rights to a cartoon character that was designed by Disney Studio. The cartoon character of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was very popular and doing well financially, but the ownership was under Universal Studios. Universal took most of Disney's employees and Walt felt betrayed. Walt decided to start the New Disney Studio from scratch and from this studio came the beloved character Mickey Mouse.

Don't let fear make you decide not to try at all. Remember, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985 (returned 1997), and Florence Nightingale, credited with modernizing the profession of Nursing, failed for over a decade of getting her parents approval for the unconventional path she wanted to take.

The National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) annual educational conference on entrepreneurship and career alternatives is October 12-14 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Through the dynamic speakers, educational sessions, and networking opportunities, nurses are empowered, encouraged and equipped to handle today's changes in healthcare.

Allnurses.com is a Silver Sponsor of this year's conference. Stop by the allnurses exhibit booth and meet Mary, the Community Director, and Beth, the allnurses' Ask Nurse Beth Career Advice Columnist. They will be glad to tell you more about the opportunities and resources available at allnurses to help you make the changes in your nursing career less uncomfortable.


Since 1985 the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) is dedicated to advancing and promoting Nurses in Business, Nurse Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs. The NNBA is the ‘Voice of Nurse Entrepreneurship’ as a result of the active participation and contributions of its richly resourced membership. © 2017, Michelle Podlesni, All Rights Reserved

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Excellent advice; the only way to grow is to change. I had multiple job opportunities during my 45+ years as a RN before retirement, one year ago, and never regretted learning something new, from one job position to the next. Each one was such an occasion to grow! I started out with a RN diploma, earned later a BSN, then a MS in computers/business. Hard? You bet! Worth it? Better yet! In addition, I've met some wonderful people in my Life, some I still keep in touch.

Thanks! I needed this. New Grad here. I've been at my job since I started, and I felt so lost because I wanted more. I turned down a few jobs though because I didn't "like the setting, the people, the shift...etc"

I finally decided that change would be great for myself and my future. So I'll be changing shifts, and buildings at my current job. More responsibility. More hours. Its scary but I know there's this void that I'm searching for just like you described in the article. Im searching for more because I want MORE. AND SCARED AND ALL, I'M GONNA GO FOR IT. I'm hoping that after I overcome this change, It will allow me to create more opportunities in my life. Thanks. I enjoyed those quotes in the article. I'm gonna put them up on my vision board.

I have trouble with being a bit more anxious than most people. My head just wouldn't stop nagging me. Even I know I'm worrying about things too much. I've figured out where most of it is coming from. Change. Yep, I figured I'm allergic to change. Ironically, I've chosen a profession where change happens not just by the minute, but by seconds even and been at it for 7 years.

Heck, I'm typing this now at 1:25 am because I can't sleep. My flight is in 2 days (technically), bound for Cheltenham to work for the NHS and at the same time review for the OSCE. It's my first flight outside the country as well as my first major time away from home, like miiiiiles away in a whole new country. From working on a small hospital, to a huge one! Saying that there would a lot of change coming ahead would be an understatemetn I guess. Aarrrgh! My head is nagging me again!

NaKcl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg.

Thank you for the article. I needed it. I am in process of changes in my nursing career, finally! I have been put up with numerous unhappy situations to avoid facing/dealing with new work conditions for many years. I finally push myself up to leave the comfort zone and face the challenge.

chris21sn, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU, CCRN.

This was a very beautiful piece; very inspirational. Sometimes I see some nurses who tell me they been at a certain floor for years. My colleague for example says this was her first job as a nurse, and it's been 20 years. But she also told me she travels about an hour away to reach the hospital. Why? I asked. It's a bit of a drive.

I'm afraid to start new again. I'm afraid to start over. This is fine. I'm used to it. She said.

I thought to myself -- where would people go if fear was never in the equation.

And being comfortable of being uncomfortable can answer just that.

The last two years of my life -- had me through their ups and downs. And of course I'm terrified to have a repeat of that...but i know I won't get anywhere where I want to be by sitting in place.

Just going to keep pushing forward.


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