Five Ways to Overcome Transition Fears


By Diane Taylor

At the end of June, I left the corporate world after 20 years. I spent the summer setting up my new business—and preparing to have meetings to generate business once people returned from the lazy days of summer. It was also a wonderful opportunity to decompress, rest and spend more quality time with my kids, while at the same time taking care of details like becoming incorporated, going through a business redesign of my site and preparing my marketing materials.

But summer is definitely over and it is GO time!

I had a sobering moment just this week when my nine year old son said to me, “Mommy, what happens if your business doesn’t work? What is your plan B?”

I typically have a plan B, but in this case, there is no plan B. I need to make this happen. Later that day I was brought to tears with fear and anxiety questioning – can I really do this?


In the past, I have been referred to as “a fearless leader.” It almost makes me want to laugh out loud. I guess on the surface I am confident and have it together, but usually, when I am out of my comfort zone or trying something new, I do experience the dance of fear. As I am quite confident that I am not the only one who experiences this, I thought I would share some of my self-coaching thoughts this week that have helped to guide me to a more centered place.

1. Leaders Embrace Change
I teach leaders how to lead themselves and others through change to get exceptional results. Clearly this BIG change for me is an opportunity to practice what I teach. If I apply a few change leadership thoughts to my situation, I can make this transition a lot more comfortable. First, I need to understand where I am in the cycle of this change and what action I can take to move forward in a positive direction. Secondly, I need to remember that I am a human being. As a result I experience emotion. Emotion is completely normal in the process of change. By allowing the emotion rather than judging it, I will move forward faster and more effectively.

2. Leaders Experience Lobster Moments
One of my dear former colleagues taught me the lobster analogy. It goes something like this: in order to grow, lobsters need to lose their shells. In the period of growing a new shell they are very vulnerable and can be poked and scratched. It is uncomfortable. Eventually they grow a new shell. This is a natural process of growth.

In this transition I am giving up my old shell. I am used to being the expert in my field with people coming to me for strategies and answers. Now, although I am an expert in the content and delivery of my work, I am a complete rookie at owning my own business, marketing and acquiring clients. This is a lobster moment for me. The reward is growth; therefore, it is worth being uncomfortable for a while.

 3. Leaders have a Tribe
If you are the only person rowing a boat across a body of water, it will always be more difficult than if you have others rowing with you. Whenever you encounter challenging days, projects or transitions, it is important to understand that you are not alone. Think about your support system. Who can you rely on to feel supported? Share your vision, engage your support team and recognize them for their contributions. I am SO blessed to have the most amazing tribe of women and men supporting me through this transition. I am truly grateful for their support.

4. Leaders Make Purposeful Decisions
Fear is a real, powerful and debilitating emotion. Human beings typically make decisions from a place of fear or a place of love. I have two choices now. I can make a fear-based decision and go get another corporate job. Or I can make a love-based decision and follow my heart, my purpose and vision. My heart says to go help people do amazing things by first believing in themselves. I chose to proceed with purpose. I chose love.

5. Leaders Continually Try to Improve
I am a control freak, plain and simple. I am used to making things happen. My learning challenge has been to let go and trust, allowing natural results to occur. Geez, it is SO hard for me! But now, more than ever I need to remember to apply my 2013 mantra—“Trust, Allow and Receive.” By taking a step back, I will allow great inspiration and opportunities to flow towards me.

Is your organization experiencing a lot of change?

Diane Taylor is an inspirational speaker, facilitator, coach and blogger. An expert in developing exceptional, authentic and engaged leaders, she is passionate about helping people create balance and meaning in their lives. A recognized leader in her field of human resources, Diane is also a dance and hockey mom who lives in South Surrey, BC.

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