Mental Health

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.

If You’re Going To Worry, Worry Hard

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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
— Corrie Ten Boom

I am a worrier.

I worried as a kid. I worried as a teen. I worry as an adult.

Anxiety has always been the little sidecar to my adhd.

I’ve had panic attacks since the age of about 8. I didn’t know it at the time, my family called it “my reaction”, but my heart would race, my palms would sweat, I’d feel light headed and like I was gonna throw up.

This feeling would come on swiftly, without warning, and I would often leave school because of it.

I felt like something was wrong with me, like it made me weird and nerdy.

It felt like I was broken and not normal.

As I became an adult, I decided to stop letting worry make decisions for me. It would still show up, but I wouldn’t allow it to keep me from doing things that I wanted to do.

For 6 years I had a job where I was traveling twice a month, often flying coast to coast. While I loved seeing new places and meeting new people, the flights themselves terrified me. Each take off and landing I’d have my own little panic attack. I decided right then and there I could do hard things. This felt hard to me, but I wanted to show up. I wanted to do the job.

I allowed the feelings of discomfort knowing that eventually they would pass and I would get to the other side of the feelings. I noticed my palms sweating and my stomach flipping and said to myself “I choose this. Other people do this, so can I.”

More recently I have noticed that I had a belief that once I got my kids to the age of 18, my worries for and about them would magically stop. I would have done my “job” of raising them and I would no longer feel the responsibility that I felt when they were younger to keep them safe.

Ha! Yeah, just magically stop. That’s truly what I thought. Boy was I ever wrong about that!

What I’ve discovered is that once 18 came, it got worse. I still had the same concern for their safety, yet now they were doing much bigger things and I had absolutely zero control over it!

Take for example the two weeks that my daughter spent in Thailand last year. Ubering to hostels at midnight, having her phone pic pocketed on day two. I couldn’t control any of it. I spent those two weeks with an app notifying me every time she landed in a new Country. Alarms going off each time she should’ve checked into a new hostel. It was awful! (For me, she on the other hand had a fabulous time!)

Or take my son who is a rapper. Often out late nights at the recording studio. As a mom, when I haven’t heard from him for awhile, or I’m unable to reach him, I imagine the worse. Of course something horrible has happened and his car is in a ditch somewhere.

More often then not his cell phone battery has died and he makes it home just fine. Except that one time…

I will save THAT story for another post.

While I was at The Life Coach School’s coach training a few weeks ago, I was coached by some amazing fellow students. I decided to come up with a worry protocol.

Some people have a food protocol (to lose weight), others have a drinking protocol (to stop overdrinking), and I have a worry protocol (to stop over worrying!)

It’s simple. When I observe my mind worrying, I say to myself “oh look, there you go again trying to get us all worked up. In spite of what you’re feeling, I’m sure everything is fine. Worrying doesn’t solve anything.”

I then find a thought that I can believe about the current situation and save the worry for later. By later I mean exactly 9:30pm when an alarm goes off and I can #worryhard for exactly 5 min. Yep, that’s it.

I’ve decided to allow myself to worry for 5 minutes each day, and worry hard when I do. Then it’s time to move on.