The Power of Change: Overcoming Fear

Clare Richards



What a powerful and scary thing it is. “They” say change is the only constant, that it is inevitable. When drastic change comes too quickly it shakes us to the core of our being. When gradual change happens it hardly gets noticed. I’ve been experiencing a lot of change in the past year, the hard, drastic kind. As I sit back and reflect (as I so often do) about that change I learn to embrace it more and more each time I have to face it, knowing that I must in order to move forward, to get better, to help myself and to help others.

I like to study and analyze human behavior and try to understand why people do what they do. What makes us tick? How do some people do so many great things, and others do not? Why do good things happen? Why do bad things happen? Is it really all for a reason? I guess we’ll never truly know. There are countless books, belief systems, philosophies and rants on the subject of life, but I’m not going to go there. I don’t know much, only what I’ve experienced and what thoughts come in my head when faced with these questions, and here is what I’ve learned so far.

At Leighton we are a very positive and goal driven tribe. We constantly push forward and embrace change and look to make what’s around us better. And as I’ve acclimated to this tribe I began to embrace the positivity that was shining around me which also brought to light the negativity that holds so many of us back. We all face a series of unfortunate events that try to keep us from our dreams and goals, yet some push past it and others fall victim. Why? What I’ve learned is that there seem to be several dominating factors that make or break us.

• Change: we avoid it, we fear it, we can’t stop it.
• Judgement: we are terrified of being judged but love to judge others.
• Blame: we love to place blame but not to be blamed.
• Alone: we fear all of the above so greatly because it could lead us here, to being alone.

We worry about what others think, that they will judge us, that they will blame us for some failure that may arise and therefore we fear the change from it because it will leave us alone and isolated.

Clare recently wrote about fear and that it is what is at the core of all these concerns. The force that holds us back. Fear. And to get better, to move forward and be successful, we can’t let that hold us back.

When I started at Leighton Interactive in early 2010 we took on any project we could get our hands on. As we continued to push through our growing pains we got to a very comfortable place. We got into our routine, had our relationships in place and work was starting to get easy. We were changing, but that was gradual change that was happening at the easy pace that keeps most of the sand from getting in your gears and creating fear. We were mastering our craft, growing our confidence and most importantly our business. Yet due to the driven type of people we are, that wasn’t good enough. And then Dan discovered Hubspot and inbound marketing, and a tidal wave of change started to build on the horizon. I saw it coming, and I got scared. It was time to push back and fight against this change that would shake the pillars of our comfortable and easy-going world we had just gotten settled into. New ideas started to sprout and the wave grew bigger and bigger. New people, new software, new methods, new clients, everything was starting to creep into my mind and make me resistant. Why? Fear.

What if I don’t understand this? What if we fail? What about what we were doing now? What about my clients? What about taking care of the little guy? What about me? Right? Isn’t this how we start to overreact when faced with the stress of change, judgment and blame?

However, the strong tribe members feed off of each other and pick each other up when down. Our fearless (or maybe just able to embrace it a little better than the rest) leader Dan, picked up on this and took me out to lunch to address my concerns. And let’s be honest, my “concerns” were excuses created to mask my resistance to the change that I could see approaching. He listened to my concerns and took them to heart and put to rest the irrational thoughts I was starting to create for myself. It was at this point that I turned a major corner in my life and the world began to look different. Because we believed in each other and the team that surrounded us. No man is an island and we were going to rock. I think it was that day that I became a Creative Director (not officially, but metaphorically) because from that point forward I was going to embrace and enact change myself. I’ve always been one to go against the grain and challenge the status quo with my ideas and I almost lost that due to being too comfortable with my current situation.

And now, as we take on 2015, we are an Inbound Agency. It’s more than just Hubspot, it’s how we approach everything we do to get results. It’s our methodology and it’s ingrained in how we think and approach every new project that comes to us. Four years ago we were a division of Leighton Broadcasting and our tagline was “Integrated Media”. What did that mean? I don’t know, ask me four years ago. At that time there were three of us: Dan Soldner, Travis McGinnis and myself. And now there are 16 of us. Each a new rock in our defense against the fear of change. Because what I was so afraid of would not have been possible without these people, our team. And those fears may have come true, but thanks to them it didn’t.

At Leighton Interactive we are united by a solid set of core values that allow us to unite and to help each other shake the fear which constantly follows us like a shadow. These core values allow us to focus on the positive and force change along with them.

  • Driven to be better: makes sure we don’t get too comfortable and stale.
  • Innovative: bring new ideas, enact change and be rewarded for it and that will alleviate the fear of it.
  • Adaptable: we’re making change happen, so you better be able to go with the flow and stay standing when it does.
  • Visionary/Big Picture Minded: know what’s on the horizon so you can keep pushing toward it.
  • Transparent: we don’t know everything. We're going to fail, we’re going to be judged, but being open to all that, helps us connect. Helps us all get better.
  • Thinker: excuses are like assholes and we only need one. But Ideas are like sunshine and you can never have enough. We want your ideas, gimme some sunshine.
  • Reliable: count on me, I’ll count on you. A little bit of trust and faith cannot go far enough in life. Let’s prove to each other we’re in this together.

A Reminder for Myself:
Embrace change, good or bad, as it may be for a reason.
Let your judgments and your fear of being judged go, it’s not doing you any good.
Check yourself before blaming someone else and don’t dwell on what you think you are being blamed for. That’s someone else crutch, not yours.
And no matter how much it may feel like it at times, you are not alone. Someone, somewhere feels or has felt the way you do, and you can get past it.

Every day we learn more and more. We change. We succeed, and we fail. And at those times when the waves come crashing upon us, make sure you’re next to a rock.

Topics: Life Lessons | Culture