The Fear of Change (& How to Do the Things That Scare You!)

Paige Schmidt Shared How to Embrace The Fear of Change and Do the Things That Scare You. Fear is so normal. Everyone feels it, everyone is uncomfortable with it and everyone holds themselves back sometimes because of it.

Fear is so normal. Everyone feels it, everyone is uncomfortable with it (unless they’ve intentionally learned not to be) and everyone holds themselves back sometimes because of it. My intention with this post is to help you feel your fear, set it aside, and go after the things you desire anyway. 

“If it scares you, it’s probably a good idea!” 

And that’s what we’re going to talk through today.

While I was gathering inspiration for this post I looked up fear around change, and did you guys know that there’s an actual phobia named after the fear of change? This was new information to me, but not surprising! It’s called Metathesiophobia. 

Okay, so good… We’ve all been diagnosed with something new today!

Just kiddddding…

But really, the fear of change is huge. It’s scary to do something that you’ve never done before because you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Fear is GREAT for obvious reasons.

Fear helps us to: not walk in front of moving cars; lock our doors at night; and, make sure we turned off the stove before we head out on vacation. But, fear is also crippling for sometimes-less-obvious reasons: it holds us back from things that we actually want & that could be GREAT for us. (Sad!)

I don’t want that to happen to you. I DON’T want you to be held back from the things that you want because of fear. Rather, I want you to know that FEAR is a normal part of the process. I want you to invite fear along. I want you to EXPECT fear to show up, but not let fear make your decisions.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about this in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Let’s look at the excerpt from her book together:

“I even have a welcoming speech prepared for fear, which I deliver right before embarking upon any new project or big adventure. It goes something like this: “Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

As you read this, replace the word “creativity” with whatever you’re currently wanting to engage with MORE than fear. Perhaps it’s “courage.” Perhaps it’s “fun!” Perhaps it’s “inspiration.”

Speaking of LG, she also wrote an awesome and short post on fear here if you need even MORE inspiration to not let fear make your decisions.

To give you some examples of my own life, here’s a list of things in my life that I’m SO grateful for, yet would not have them today had I not laid down my fear (so crazy to think about!).

Things I once feared:

  • Changing career paths – When I enrolled in IIN and stopped my nursing classes, I was terrified. I thought “What if I don’t make it? What if I waste this whole year AND money and then have to go back to nursing school?” It freaked me the HECK out. But, I committed to the process and told myself “If you don’t stop until you get to where you want to be, you’ll get there!” That is ultimately the belief that helped me move forward past my fears, and has continued to help me! (I actually talked about it in this podcast episode with two of my best girlfriends!)
  • Starting a business – When I spoke to my first client I was TERRIFIED. Thankfully, she was amazing and made it simple! I literally said to her on our first call “Okay, here’s the awkward part where I have to ask you for money.” Haha! Looking back, had I let that fear hold me back from working with this client, how many MORE women would I have missed the opportunity to work with? When I read my client stories here, I can’t help but think “I wouldn’t have ANY of those stories had I not pushed past the fear/awkward/scary-beginnings and did it anyway.”
  • Moving to another city, and then out of state – When Marco first told me that San Luis Obispo had called him and wanted to interview him, my immediate reaction was “No… I really don’t think that’s a good idea!” Can you imagine if I wouldn’t have summoned up the courage to say “You know what, go for it. Gods plan might be better than mine.” (Ya think?!). I wouldn’t have made the incredible friendships that I now have. I wouldn’t have had “my happy place” to go home to while my mom was sick (going home filled me up to come back to her and serve her). Today, we’re living out of state. Had I not had the experience of moving to SLO (a much smaller move) I’m not sure I would have had the courage to move here, to Reno. I’m sitting in my office in Reno today thinking about how I’ve never felt so at home somewhere before. I’m grateful beyond measure that we’ve made this leap.
  • Getting married – Do you guys know how scary it was for me to get engaged? Holy. Moses. Most people in my life supported me – people say they “knew” for many years before Marco and I started dating that we’d end up together. But, there were also people in my life who had FEAR around me getting married and expressed it… straight to my face… RIGHT before I got married. Ah! Talk about scary… Apparently it’s because “I was young” but can I just say how many awesome choices I made “while I was young”? I say this because I AM so proud of my 20 year old self who pushed through the stigma of “being young” and made some big moves that I now get to enjoy the benefits of (going to IIN, starting a business, getting married, moving out, etc.). There’s so much stigma around being young. If you’re “young” and reading this, I want you to know how FRIGGIN capable you are. There was nothing special about me that made me able to make the choices that I did. I just felt the fear and did it anyway. MAKE these awesome choices while you’re young and your future self with THANK YOU for it. I am SO thankful for the life partner and husband I have today in Marco. I’m so thankful I didn’t let OTHER people’s fear hold me back from getting married because I was young.
  • Taking professional photos – Speaking of marriage, I remember the first time I had professional photographs taken. It was our engagement shoot! Although it was exciting, I also felt fear before we did it! I didn’t know what to expect. To my surprise – I thought I was going to be the one comforting Marco – but he was SWIFT with getting our pictures taken. He made me laugh, we had fun and it was easy. It was SUCH a great memory. (You’ve got to have the right photographer though! Ours was Amanda Driver!) Can you imagine if I would have skipped the shoot because of nerves?
  • Buying something big – Phew! I remember when I bought my Prius. I could justify that smart purchase for DAYS, but I was still afraid. I loved that car so much, and I am SO happy that I let myself buy it. It made me feel so good – grown up, proud of what I drove, and I don’t know… I just loved it. It was a good buy that terrified me at first. The same fear came up when I got my new car and the SAME fear is coming up for me now as we’re looking at houses. But guess what I’m going to do with that fear?
  • Making new friends – Do you know how I met ALL of my friends in SLO? By stepping outside of my comfort zone over and over. By saying to a group of girls “Hey! I just wrote a blog post on meal planning while eating intuitively!” as I sat at Starbucks near a table full of girls talking about meal planning, who I did not know… I met other incredible friends in SLO by showing up to “Meetup groups” all by myself, risking the possibility of feeling super awkward and not knowing what to do. But it all turned out fine and I now have some of the best girlfriends in the world by doing so. The same thing is repeating itself now that I’m in Nevada. If I hear my fear voice say “Don’t go, what if it’s awkward!” I know that’s my cue to go and do it anyway. I have many blooming friendships here already because of this willingness to push past the fear!
  • Moving out on my own – THIS ONE was huge! The first time I moved out entirely on my own in my studio… Oh my gosh… I was terrified! I didn’t make much money and I had added up the costs of living on my own about 100 times before I actually took the leap. When I’d add up the costs, it didn’t feel possible. I was so afraid that I’d be strapped for cash. But, I ended up taking the leap anyway because I KNEW it was right and I hustled my little rear end off to pay for life on my own and I LOVED IT. It’s actually what got me off to such a successful start in coaching. I took my first ever client call right there in that studio, about 2 days after I moved in. SUCH great memories of that place!
  • Letting go of dieting – Even this one! When I first let go of dieting (& the scale!) I was terrified. Terrified that I’d gain weight, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to stick to it. I was afraid of NOT having something (calorie counting) to focus so heavily on. I was uncomfortable as I had to learn new ways to distract and hangout with myself… But I did it and THIS is the reason that I am here writing to you today on this blog. This choice is what gave me the inspiration to start coaching. Thank God I left diets behind!

Everything is scary the first time. Change IS scary. But it’s WORTH IT. 

Fear is trying to protect you from an ASSUMED worst case scenario. Which 99% of the time never happens anyway.

The BIG QUESTION is, if any of your fears do happen, how will you respond?

If you DO fail… how will you be there for yourself? Will you shut down completely? Will you pick yourself back up, hug yourself for trying and keep going?

If you DO disappoint someone… will you have an honest conversation with them about how you/they feel? Will you do your best to make amends (if needed)? Will you have compassion for yourself? I often remind my clients that it’s okay to disappoint others. We’re all SO afraid of disappointing others that we run ourselves dry trying to people please.

If you DO waste money, will you beat yourself up about it? Or will you trust that the choice you made in the moment was the best choice for then and work to move forward from there?

It’s all about perspective and the response we’ll have to whatever we’re afraid of. 

I want to be someone who has a desire, expects that fear will come (it’s normal and always shows up), sits with it for just a moment and then decides to set the fear aside and follow my desire anyway.

I don’t want to be someone who holds themselves back from great experiences simply because they’re afraid.

I want to be someone who gets to experience life to it’s fullest. And if that means sometimes I fail, then so be it.

Because which is the higher risk?

To risk failing and do it anyway? Or to not allow myself the privilege of going after the things I want?

In my opinion, the MUCH higher risk is not doing anything at all. Not starting. How much more will you miss out on if you never start?

Fear of regret:

A lot of times people fear that they’re going to make a choice that they’ll regret later. This was my biggest fear in moving in with Marco for the first time. I was afraid to “mess things up” by us moving in together (I actually blogged about it here).

It wasn’t until I made a pro’s/con’s list (grab one here) and talked this decision through with Marco and our counselor that I knew it was a safe choice. The ONLY con on my list was the fear of disappointing others. And you know what… nobody really cared THAT much. It was right for us. SO right.

I want to challenge you!

Look back in your past for a moment, and ask yourself “What choices have I made that I truly regret?”

Write them down, if you can find any… Then look at what you wrote down… Why do you regret those choices? Why do you wish you’d never made that choice? Perhaps some of what you regret is NOT taking a chance. NOT making a choice. NOT doing something that scared you.

And from there, learn from this choice & forgive yourself…

A prayer of forgiveness might sound like this:

I’m sorry. 

I forgive you. 

Thank you. 

And, I love you. 

When I look back in my past, if I were to write down the things that I regret they would not be things that I genuinely desired and took a chance on. They would have been dishonest/yucky-feeling choices that I’d made that didn’t serve myself or anyone around me. And I’ll bet it’s the same for you…

Good things about going after your desires:

  • There’s a chance it’ll turn out really good!
  • You will be intentionally creating a future that you want
  • You’ll learn to challenge yourself
  • You will become stronger for it
  • You will have more faith in yourself moving forward
  • You’ll create a BIGGER more impactful life experience for yourself
  • You’ll be able to inspire someone else who is afraid of the SAME thing
  • You’ll basically just be SUPER cool because change is hard, BUT YOU DID IT!

There are SO many things that I thank myself for today because I “felt the fear and did it anyway.” The more reward you experience from moving past your fear, the easier it becomes to identify and say “Oh, there’s that fear again – it shows up EVERY TIME I’m about to make a change. Let’s set that aside.

How to move past fear:

When I feel fear around making a change… I simply close my eyes and visualize whatever it is that I’m afraid of. Then I think of my desire, and what it is that I want.

Next, I visualize myself already having that desire. Already doing the coaching, already being married to Marco, already living alone in my first ever studio… and I try and create an entire little movie in my mind about what it would be like to ALREADY be living that thing…

And then I ask myself: “If you could make it all the way to the other side and HAVE this vision, would it be worth it for me to move through this fear?”

If the answer is a clear YES, I go for it. I feel the fear, and do it anyway.

Try it yourself:

  • Close your eyes
  • Visualize what it is that you want
  • Visualize what you’re afraid of
  • Visualize yourself already having what you want
  • Play the entire movie in your mind (details and all)
  • Ask yourself: “If I could make it all the way to the other side and HAVE this vision, would it be worth it for me to move through this fear?”
  • If you get a clear YES, then go for it!
  • If you get a clear NO, then it’s not worth your time/energy anyway – leave it behind you


Fear is excitement on pause

AND, from the words of Eleanor Roosevelt…

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Today, more than just doing things that scare you (you can take it one step at a time, girlfriend) I hope this post will encourage you to begin thinking through and challenging your fears, rather than allowing them to automatically write something off that you deeply desire.

So, my friends…. What are you going to apply “feel the fear and do it anyway” to this year? I want to know in the comments…! If you have a friend who is experiencing fear around change, will you please send this to her? See if it encourages her? Or, if this inspired you, would you share it on Facebook?

Sharing really is caring! Thank you & I love you!

Links you might be looking for after you read this post:

Previous Hello, From Nevada Next Are You Creating Weight Loss in a False Setting?

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