The fear of change is a complex topic and one that affects individuals and organizations alike. Today, I’m focusing on the fear of change within leadership of regional level equine clubs, groups, and organizations. My hope in writing this is to affirm the legitimate feelings that change can bring, while offering hope and insight into successful change.
The fear of change is very common, and it’s the single largest factor preventing organizations and groups from progressive forward movement. Fearing change is a completely natural thing and nothing that should be cast off or made light of. The more planning that groups can do, transforming fear within regional level equestrian groups, and organizations, the more successfully they will be able to lead deep and meaningful change that’s so very much needed in our industry.
Our individual brains are wired with a very specific single mission statement: survival. This means that while intrinsically we may realize that change is a positive thing, individually, we fear the impact of that change upon what we already know and understand. We then begin to work counter productively against change and resist it in a way that attempts to stops the action from occurring. In our logical minds, we all know that we can adapt to change as it comes along, but it’s the deeply embedded animal instinct in all of us that wishes for safety. This wish to be safe is what we all have to overcome every time we are asked to step outside of the box.
In the world of the competitive equestrian industry, there are many forms and levels of change that can cause people considerable levels of fear and anxiety. One of those fears, and I have experienced this myself many times, is the fear of changing from what YOU helped to create and feeling like all the work that you personally invested is somehow wrong or of a lesser value. It’s very hard not to feel attacked or hurt when you’ve given so much of yourself to a group over a period of time. This is called the fear of departure. One way to help ease this fear of change is to acknowledge the past contributions of others that were good and positive, while also presenting why the change is necessary and highlighting the positive impact the change will have systemically.
There are many protocols that can help a group define, analyze, and positively affect change, but the most important thing to begin with is an open mind. Yes, your mind is already wired to resist the change, but you can make the decision to be open to the ideas and discussions. Having an open mind doesn’t commit you to anything beyond listening and attempting to understand. By making the decision to have an open mind, you’re making the decision to step away from yourself and consider the larger picture, including the needs of a particular group.
Organizations, groups, and individual people evolve. It is a natural thing. People turn over, new blood comes in and shakes things up. Old ways get changed, and new becomes old. It happens all the time, all over the place. Ultimately, change is inevitable. Some of our industry’s greatest success stories have come on the wings of change.
Nothing is more powerful than a group of motivated and passionate adults who come together with a vision of what is possible. This type of combined collaborative energy can achieve amazing feats that others see as out of reach!
Your Sister In Change
~ Kory Kumar
Would you like to write a blog about a topic in the equine industry? Email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com for consideration.