The unknown is like conceptual Velcro

vintage-rocket-in-space-913-2042Charities are essentially in the business of making change happen. All charities exist to change something, to make a situation better. No charity does the work it does because the current situation is acceptable.

Yet change is hard. It is hard to challenge the status quo, to introduce new ideas and innovations and to change people’s habits. It is hard because it involves confronting the unknown. And the unknown is easy to fear.

As fundraisers we know rationally that people make decisions based on emotions, but how often do we acknowledge when this happens to us?

Doing something different, whether it is starting something new or stopping doing something, comes with some degree of fear. We worry about the perceived negative impact of change. What if people treat me differently? What if the change isn’t worth the effort? What if I don’t fit in? Or the biggest question that runs through our mind in the middle of the night ‘What if I fail?’ But what if you don’t fail? What if you succeed and make the situation better – for you and for others?

Surely anything that hasn’t happened yet is the unknown. We don’t know if our new idea will work, yet equally we don’t know for certain that the old ideas will continue to work. We feel safer because we have experienced them working in the past, but that security is fake. There is no reason why a well thought out new idea will not work as well or better than a routine old idea. The world is changing rapidly and so to even keep up with just the changes in technology, we have no choice but to change too.

We have to get braver at stepping into the unknown once in a while, both individually and organizationally. It doesn’t matter if it is big or if it is small. Because the more we challenge ourselves to step into the unknown, the more competent we become at confronting the fears that hold us back and the more chance we have of making a difference.

Thank you to Adrian Salmon for the inspiration for this blog.

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