Decision making is an inevitable part of life. Decisions about the mundane things are made with relative ease: Press snooze or get right up? Forward or delete? Sometimes, however, decision making can overwhelm and immobilize us. Sell, merge, or try a new marketing strategy? Resign from an unfulfilling job that pays well? Work at my marriage or file for divorce? Well, hereâ€™s one definitive answer: If you ever suffer from â€śanalysis paralysis,â€ť continue reading.
Indecisiveness can be attributed to a host of limiting beliefs and circumstances, including: stress; lack of knowledge or professional guidance; not knowing where to turn for help; lack of support from family or friends; and lack of motivation. â€śThere are a lot of people who certainly would do better if they knew better,â€ť says Pamela Everett Thompson, a clinical psychologist, professional life coach, and owner of Building Bridges to Better Lives P.C. in Atlanta. â€śBut quite often my clientsâ€™ indecisiveness is caused by fearâ€”fear of going against the grain and being rejected by loved ones; of making a mistake; of being less than perfect; even fear of success.â€ť Thompson has a mantra for those paralyzed by fear: â€śCompletion is better than perfection; and most mistakes are correctable.â€ť
LaVonne Dorsey, a career and life coach, and founder of Welcome to Living in Seattle, notes that conflicting messages are a common cause of indecisiveness. â€śWeâ€™re moving so fast and weâ€™re driven so much by othersâ€™ expectations that weâ€™re often not even aware of what we actually want. Most of my clientsâ€™ indecisiveness stems from a conflict between what they want to do in their heart, what they think they should do in their head, and what others want from them.â€ť She advises those grappling with conflicting messages to ask themselves what they really want. â€śThen bring your entire being into the decision-making processâ€”head, heart, and intuition.â€ť
These resources can help you start the process:
No Matter What! 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love (Wellness Central; $24.99) by Lisa Nichols
First Things First (Free Press; $16) by Stephen R. Covey
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Penguin; $16) by David Allen
Coaching and therapy can help you along the path of self discovery if you’re committed to making a change. Ask a trusted co-worker, friend, or family member for a referral. Or locate a personal or professional coach at www.coachfederation.org.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.