Research shows being afraid you're going to lose your job can be worse than actually losing your job:
"...perceived job insecurity ranks as one of the most important factors in employees' well-being and can be even more harmful than actual job loss with subsequent unemployment"
Subsequently wanting to find a new job in the new year can also cause you fear. 'What if I don't get any interviews?' 'What if the other candidates are better than me?' 'What if my current boss finds out?' 'What if I move to the wrong company?' 'What if I don't get on with my colleagues or team?' That little voice inside your head can go on an on.
Remember the little voice is designed to keep you safe - admittedly from tigers and being eaten but nevertheless, it's designed to make sure you don't do anything or go anywhere that might cause you harm.
We have placed hundreds of people in new jobs over the years and have seen candidates react in all sorts of ways when the fear hits them. Some have been almost paralysed by their own thoughts and have actually declined job offers and made up excuses, when the truth is they were too scared to leave their existing job and accept a new one - into the unknown their fears had overtaken a new opportunity.
We understand this, moving jobs is a big deal and can be very daunting. Here are 3 tips to help you through your fears and get the new job you want and deserve in 2023.
So how can we actually conquer fear?
Firstly, take control over the situation. When we feel in control, we're not afraid. When we have a level of comfort with something, it's not scary. Anything that gives you a feeling of control over your situation helps you keep your cool. Without a feeling of control, when stress gets high we literally can't think straight.
Amy Arnsten states, "The loss of prefrontal function only occurs when we feel out of control. It's the prefrontal cortex itself that is determining if we are in control or not. Even if we have the illusion that we are in control, over cognitive functions are preserved."
The perception of being in control is a major driver of behaviour and why fear often seems so random and irrational.
For example, think about driving for a second. You're cruising down the motorway at 70 miles per hour. But that's not scary? Why? You're used to it. You feel in control. Even though the person next to you could be too busy texting (whilst driving) and crash into your car, and in seconds, that could be your life lost to someone else's thoughtless actions – but you don't give it a thought.
But, do you know what is scary? Something strange, something uncommon - oh no, we're not used to it.
And we try all those avoidance mechanisms, you know – avoiding it, ignoring it, denying it, dismissing it. And guess what? None of that works.
So what's the solution? You have to get closer to your fears.
2. Gradually expose yourself to your fears
"Face your fears." The cliché phrase, probably everyone is sick of hearing. But, it is only then that you will stop being afraid.
According to Harvard Medical School Professor, Ronald Siegal:
"Now that you've developed a clear experience of anxiety, try intensifying it. Make it as strong as you can while sitting here holding this book... Once you feel as though you've generated about as much anxiety as you can muster, see if you can hold on to it... If it starts to fade, try to intensify it again. Now that you've practiced bearing your anxiety, you can bring your attention back to your breath for a few more minutes and feel what this is like"
For example. Take a second. Think about your worst fear. Maybe it's speaking in public.
So you're speaking in public and everyone is utterly bored by you and not paying attention.
Hold on that for a second. It stings, but stay with me. Now make your fear worse.
You're speaking in public and you wet yourself. Everyone laughs. It's mortifying. But spend a second there.
Now make it even worse.
The whole thing is recorded and gets 3 million views on YouTube.
Stay with it. No, you're not going to die.
Now relax. Just follow your breathing — in and out — for a few seconds.
You're on your way to conquering your fear.
Really thinking about just how awful things can be, often has the ironic effect of making you realise they're not that bad.
Preparation is another means of control. Now you have identified your fears, you can do something to make sure it never happens. You can take control.
According to Johnson and Leach, the sort of people who survive are the sort of people who prepare for the worst and practice ahead of the time. They've done the research, or built the shelter, or run the drills. They look for the exits and imagine what they will do... These people don't deliberate during calamity because they've already done the deliberation the other people around them are just now going through.
Lastly, try and look on the bright side of life.
You don't need to be fearless, that would make you slightly inhumane! But you do need to have a sense of humor. Humour is a powerful buffer against stress and fear. And, well, what's so bad about having a laugh?!
Face your fears, because fear is usually worse than what we're afraid of. And, of course, laugh along the way.
As Bertolt Brecht said:
Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.