"I have a new boss. My head is swimming with thoughts about how she will treat me and what she will expect. I'm nervous that she will find a way to get rid of me. I'm just so scared of what might happen with this new change."
All of us can relate to feelings of fear, especially when they come from thoughts about change that is out of our control.
This fear comes from worst-case scenarios. Your imagination runs wild, constructing dramatic stories about a negative outcome. There is no basis in fact. In choosing to give this thought process your attention, fear erupts within you as you anticipate this outcome becoming reality. Then you experience the physiologic "fight or flight" response, which makes it feel so real. But really, your mind is playing tricks on you.
Step back from your thoughts and look at the facts. What do you know and what is unknown? You can succumb to the fantasy created by your untamed mind, or you can decide to embrace reality and take control by making good choices about what you would like to see happen and who you'd like to become in the process.
In the case with my client above, he has no idea what this new boss wants or how she feels about her new position. His first step is to be curious about the new boss and to learn what she needs in order to be successful in her new post.
My client's primary job is to help his boss be successful. Then he can ask for what he wants. By being proactive, my client can set expectations for his new boss as he describes the department and how things work.
Awareness of your emotional reaction and the thoughts causing it are crucial to gaining control of your situation. Once you are aware, you can then take a step back and ask how you'd like things to be moving forward. You can craft a new story that focuses on success and identify the role or part you will play in making it reality.
You can expect success and take actions to create that success, or you can allow your fear to take over, forcing you to shrink away, become stressed and feel powerless.
Fear does not bring out your best qualities. As you worry, you are less productive.
Chances are the new boss has her own fears and concerns about how she will handle her new job and how people will receive or accept her in this new role. My client can be confident and make it easy for the two of them to come together in partnership to create a good working relationship, or he can allow his worries to take charge and make the relationship rocky, at least to start.
You power is in your ability to manage your fear and to take action to create a better future. Envision what you want - for the relationship and for the operations of the department. Find out what the other person's goals are: What do they envision? What do they need and want? Make direct requests for what you need and share your desires and ideas. Together, come up with a clear vision or direction for your department and your relationship.
As you begin working together, you can make adjustments and corrections and keep the lines of communication open. By addressing issues directly and talking about what is on your mind, you demonstrate leadership and create not only a good working relationship but help to lessen the fear you each have.
We create our own realities by how we think and the stories we tell ourselves. Be aware of when fear takes over, and instead stop and take charge by focusing on the outcome you want. You are much bigger than your fear! Ground yourself in reality and focus on what you want to create rather than what you fear.
Julie Donley, MBA, BSN, RN is a psychiatric nurse, success expert and author of several empowering and motivating books including Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? and The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance. Julie is named one of the top 100 thought leaders in personal development. For self-help resources and to learn more, visit www.JulieDonley.com. Media can access her online press kit at www.juliedonley.presskit247.com.