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A New Position: How to Handle the Unfamiliar

Whether you are starting a new position at your current place of employment or at a completely new company, you may be experiencing the fear of the unknown.

Whether you are starting a new position at your current place of employment or at a completely new company, you may be experiencing the fear of the unknown. This culprit rises to surface for many of us when we start something new.

The truth is, we are born with two ingrained fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises (until the noises are identified). The rest of our fears are learned. The underlying cause of learned fears is what we don’t know about the unknown. Any new environment is unknown. Our brain seeks the familiar; that’s its job—for us to feel safe. However, there are strategies to feel safe even in unfamiliar situations that pose no real threat. An unfamiliar situation can instead be looked at as a challenge to grow from what can be learned.

The first strategy is to breathe in and out. I know this may sound strange because you do this naturally, but some people don’t complete the full cycle when they are experiencing irrational fear. When people feel anxious, they are not breathing out fully. They keep breathing in, in, and in, filling up the lungs until eventually they are filled to complete capacity. We all know what happens to a balloon when we fill it with too much air: the surface becomes tense. But when we let out some of the air, it relaxes again from the inside out.

The second strategy is to have the attitude that you will perform your best and, by doing so, will impress. It’s not about proving yourself to others or competing against them because then your motivation is dependent on them. Rather, if you’re motivated by measuring what you do from what you did previously, you can only do it better for now with further progress tomorrow. The motivation comes from within, where instead of proving yourself to others, you are producing an impression upon your coworkers and boss that you are a force of productivity. The outcome may be the same but the internal process is far more fulfilling.

It’s funny: Some people have the fear of failure, which can be a complex process. They worry about failing and fear their worry. It even sounds confusing. Imagine how they feel from thinking like this.

Last, anything you do, when you do it with every fiber of who you are, will increase your level of fulfillment. There is a purpose for everything that happens in our lives, whatever lessons we may learn. If you have put yourself into a new position at work, you always have a choice to perceive what happens as a problem or as a challenge to grow from. The more of a challenge it is, the more you grow and the more you learn, making what was once unfamiliar familiar.

Freedom to do your best is what this is really about. Looking at your new position as a challenge to learn more will make you more adaptable, smarter, and give you the ability to do your work freely and enjoy the challenge while you’re doing it, impressing others with your work ethic, naturally.

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