Lessons Learned

Decision Making: Why Is It So Hard To Choose?

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What is it about making decisions that can feel so hard?

This comes up eventually in almost all of my coaching sessions.

A decision needs to be made, large, small, in between. It doesn’t really matter.

In the moment, it feels like a very large and very serious decision, no matter what it’s about. Life or death. For sure.

And for some reason it feels impossible to make it. To decide.

When I ask my clients why? Why is it hard to choose?

They tell me the following:

  • “What if I make the wrong decision?”

  • “What if I regret my decision?”

  • “What if it turns out bad and I get blamed?”

  • “What if the consequences are bad and my fault?”

  • “What if I change my mind later?”

Let’s take a look at these a little bit closer.

Is there a such thing as a wrong decision?

What if everything worked in your favor no matter what you chose?

Romans 8:28 is a favorite verse of mine.

“And we know that for those who love God, that is, for those who are called according to his purpose, all things are working together for good.”

All things!

No matter what decision we make, it will happen FOR us.

Even if it feels like it’s not working out the way we intended, or desired, we can have faith in the fact that in the larger picture it will contribute to our good.

What is regret?

According to the dictionary, regret is: a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.

Let me repeat the first part…regret is a feeling.

What do we know about feelings?

That we create them ourselves with what we choose to think.

We can think a thought, like “I knew I should’ve chosen the other one. Now I’m stuck with this.” and feel regret.

Or we can think a thought like “I got the perfect one for me. How do I know that? Because it’s the one that I have.” and feel confident in our selection.

Who decides if something’s bad?

And who decides if we feel blame?

Good news again! We do.

For every single thing that happens, we get to decide if we are going to find the bad in it or the good in it. There’s always both.

Let’s say something doesn’t go as planned, and someone “blames you for making the wrong decision”. You get to decide if you want to agree with them and join that party, or not.

Let them think what they want. They will anyways. You get to decide if you want to think the same thing.

The good thing about others being allowed to think whatever they want, is we get to do the same thing!

Next time you’re faced with a decision treat it like a band aid that you forgot was there. It needs to come off and the faster the better.

Ask yourself if either option worked out perfectly, exactly the way that you wanted them to, which would you choose then?

Go with that one.

You feel stuck because you’re delaying the decision. Making a choice actually takes less than 30 seconds.

Rather than choosing an option, and making the decision, you’re choosing to stay stuck.

It’s not happening to you. You’re choosing it.

You make a decision the same way. Just choose.


If you think you may need a life coach in your life, I’d love to talk with you. Book a free 45 minute mini-session to find out what it’s all about and how it can help you launch into the next version of yourself!


The Path To Your Goal Is Paved With 1000 Pebbles

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I woke up in the middle of the night and had an epiphany. As I’m coaching with clients, it’s common for them to say “I keep doing the things and nothing, I’m just not seeing the results that I want”. I’ve thought it many times myself.

By nature I’m what is referred to as a “quick start”. On the Kolbe index, it describes the instinctive way that a person deals with risk and uncertainty. A person that is not afraid to jump in and do the things. That’s me.

According to the Kolbe index, “these change makers add vision and risk to the mix. Always negotiable, they defy the odds and intuit pos­sibilities that would otherwise go untried. Because they instigate the unusual, people who operate in the initiating zone of Quick Start are natural promoters and entrepreneurs. Accommodating change is no problem for people who respond in Quick Start. For instance, they’ll go along if you change your mind at the last minute and want to see a different movie. “

I take action, I do things, and I adjust.

I take action, I do things, and I expect results.

What I realized the other night is that my expectations may be out of alignment. When I have a goal in mind, I envision where I want to end up, what it will take to get me there and what the obstacles may be. Often the obstacles appear in my mind as very, very large mountains or boulders that need to be scaled or overturned.

I think if they can’t be scaled or overturned then there must be a creative solution to get around them. (I love that one, problem solving is my favorite!)

On average, I imagine 3-6 very large obstacles at a time. Never more than that.

I had a belief that there are a few large obstacles in the way of our dreams, and if we feel afraid but still take action, and then creatively navigate the 3-6 very large obstacles, we would get to where we want to go.

Expectations.

It just made sense to me.

Expectations.

So many movies are based on this premise. The mission is in sight and yet there is one large obstacle in the way. One big problem to be solved.

I bought into the hype.

I want to solve the one very large problem!!

So when I woke up the other night, for some reason I woke up and the first thing that came to my mind was an image of 1000 pebbles. No boulder. No mountain. Just 1000 pebbles.

They were small, and smooth, and light, and the same.

Where do I start?

It doesn’t matter, just pick one and flip it over.

Pick another one, and flip it over.

And another…

And another…

What if the way to my goal is to flip 1000 pebbles? Am I willing to do it?

It sounds boring and uneventful.

Can I stick with it long enough?

What if I think the way to my goal is to flip 1000 pebbles, and actually it’s more like 100,000 pebbles? Am I willing to do THAT?

I decided that night as I drifted off back to sleep, yes, yes I am willing.

The next morning I woke up and got to work.

Flipping pebbles.

How to Feel Confident When You're Not Feeling Confident: Part I

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Ahh, the magic of red lipstick!

I had the most interesting conversation this week with a client.

We were talking about how in certain areas, we both have established “cues” that we use to signal “game on”, “let’s do this” or “it’s time to leave it on the floor" (for my fellow dancers and cheerleaders at heart).

She is a power lifter and specifically when it’s time to compete, she puts on her red lipstick, hair up in a bun and that means “go” for her.

It causes her to think a thought that instantly has her feeling confident.

I have noticed that for me, when it comes to taking trips, whether it’s for vacation, or a trip to visit my sisters family back East, or a work conference, if and when I buy my plane ticket there’s no going back. Once I buy that ticket, it’s as good as done. My brain knows that I won’t purchase a plane ticket and waste it. I would never purchase the ticket and then just not go.

The plane ticket equates to a level of commitment for me. As soon as it’s purchased every cell in me knows “I’m going now” and believes it. I’m instantly confident in my ability to get myself on that plane and to whatever destination I’m headed to.

For my client, the red lipstick and bun (which are never worn in her everyday life) equate to a level of commitment for her. It signals to her brain that she’s not messing around.

I started to think of other situations where this might occur.

My husband is a big fan of baseball (Go Dodgers!). He often points out to me as we’re watching a game the quirks and habits that different players have. Something that they always do before they go up to bat, or something that is done before they leave the locker room.

You may think it’s superstition at work. But what if for them, it is more like a “cue” to their brain that it’s “go time”?! It’s like hitting the override switch.

Our minds are so very powerful and full of thoughts.

Our thoughts determine how we feel.

Our feelings determine the actions that we take.

Our actions determine our results.

Since our brains are wired to keep us safe and protect us, it often thinks thoughts that aren’t big enough for our goals.

People that feel confident are not just born that way. They have moments when they are not feeling confident too. They expect those moments and then are prepared and choose to hit the override switch and signal to their brain “let’s go”!

What if the cues that I mentioned above, were simply ways to intercept the small thoughts that won’t serve us, and instead put us into “big thought mode”?

What types of cues do you use? Share in the comments!