I believe that we all have two inner barometers at play when there is any kind of change to consider or embrace. The one is fear, and the other is curiosity. They are constantly in motion and fighting to dominate your psyche.

Yes, change is unsettling because you have never been ‘here’ before. It’s easy to judge and criticise change because of the discomfort that comes with giving away the old picture, or way of doing things, and embracing the new.

In the shift there is a feeling of loss of control of systems, processes and people. Whether you are experiencing this at home or at work, think about the fear and resistance that is coming up for you regarding a change you are having to come to terms with, or are choosing to work through.

The Two-Barometer Exercise

Do this:

  • Sit quietly for a few seconds and tune it to yourself
  • Contemplate the disruption or change you are facing
  • Close your eyes now and imagine two barometres, fear and curiosity, in relation to the change at hand
  • Which one is currently winning, fear or curiosity?
  • If it’s fear, you are probably feeling out of control, incompetent, unconfident, angry, fearful, apprehensive or threatened in some way
  • If it’s curiosity, you are probably feeling anticipation, excitement, interest, adventure, possibility and opportunity

Cultivate your ‘what if’ thinking

Be aware that in any given situation the two barometers, curiosity and fear, are always competing with each other. In this way, you can understand what is driving your reactions or choices and take back more control.

Of course, fear can be a very valuable thing, a warning that can protect you from harm. However, it can also prevent growth. 

Great inventors, scientists and sportspeople never stop at known limits. They are always pushing the boundaries. They have the ability to form images and ideas in the mind especially of things never seen or done before. This creative response to a challenge starts in the imagination, often driven by the questions ‘Why?” and ‘Why not?’. 

“What if…?” and  “I wonder…” are the driving force for exploration and discovery in childhood as well as in the fast changing world of work. One of your key tasks as a business leader (or a parent) is to ensure that you encourage this kind of thinking so that it becomes a way of being.

Learning, unlearning and relearning are the key to all progress. If you don’t invite or embrace change, your world can become small, your thinking limited and you may get stuck with the world passing you by. Alvin Toffler’s quote is so true in our world today, both personally and professionally:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

What are your two barometers doing? Is fear or curiosity winning? 

You have to power to choose.

Much love,
Nikki Bush
Human Potential and Parenting Expert helping you to win at work and life