Something that has been running around many of my conversations recently is the circular nature of indecision. We talk ourselves into a spin by opening up with more options, rather than closing down our choices. We play the “what if” game with our thinking and worry about what might be or might not be if we move into action. We create tension in our shoulders and frowns on our brows by revisiting previously certain items. We second guess. We imagine. We avoid. We make light of our predicaments.
And still we come back to our decision. And it’s really important to us. We really want to get it right, to be happy, to be successful and to live our way.
Woooaaahhhh there. We’re back off into a spin.
STOP. RIGHT. NOW.
Come out of the curvaceous circle of indecision and let’s move you onto a clearer, more certain path to being and doing what you want to.
Approach 1: Brain writing
Grab a notepad and pen. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write anything that pops into your head regarding your decision. Good, bad, long, short. Everything goes on the page. No judging. No sanitising. No rationalising. Everything goes down on the page.
When the timer goes off, stop and review your page. Ask yourself “is there anything else?” and if there is please keep writing. When you dry up, ask the question again and write away if more things pop up. Repeat until your all out. (FYI I often find the 3rd or 4th time of asking is what produces the gems!)
Next take a big fat dark marker. Review your writing and put a line through anything that doesn’t answer these criteria in positively supporting your decision making:
- What evidence or facts do I have meaning this is true?
- Is this relevant and valid to my decision?
- How much weight or importance should I place on this item?
Looking at what’s left, what’s your gut reaction to your decision with just these inputs?
Approach 2: Conduct an experiment
If you’re deciding between options or potential steps, why not try out a few? To do this without wasting your time, energy and potentially your cash, let’s get scientific:
- Set your KPIs or your “how do I know whether this has been successful” factors. TOP TIP: make these objective and firm, not subjective and up for debate.
- Create your method or step by step plan including anything you need to get or use to do them. TOP TIP: follow the KISS principle – keep it sweet and simple.
- Test out your selected options. TOP TIP: be open minded to what the outcome might be. All outcomes and experiences are useful in making your decision.
- Record what happens plus how you feel about it and then assess your results against the KPIs you set in no1. TOP TIP:Stick with the open mindset to avoid swaying your results.
- Time to draw your conclusions: which one delivered the best results to fit your preferences and style? TOP TIP: Be lead by the results and KPIs, not your circle of indecision.
- What are you waiting for? Get on with taking action. TOP TIP: Just do it! 🙂
Approach 3: Find your motivator
You already know that your status quo isn’t working out, so let’s explore what things would be like if you stick with the status quo or decide to move on. I’ve created a simple comparison worksheet for you and included a worked through example to give you some inspiration.
Once you’ve completed the costs and the benefits, you will be able to draw upon new motivation to move away from indecision and towards motivated action and your goals. Use the worksheets to create a reminder of why you are making the decision to embrace change in your life, work and play.
I’ve seen all three approaches work for different types of people, who are life and career changers. My hope is they work for you – I would love to hear your tactics for dealing with your indecision circles, how do you spot that you’re in one and what helps you get out of it?