Dragging your feet on an important decision or perhaps you’ve got all the options playing on repeat in your mind? It feels like the outcome of the decision will impact you forever. Forever-ever.
Unless you are putting a ring on it, buying a house or having a baby… it is probably not a forever decision. (Yes, I'm leaving out other important things) I’m not saying to not be thoughtful about important choices. I am saying don’t let overwhelm stop you from deciding.
May I offer a few suggestions:
First and foremost, chances are very high that the decision you are wrestling with is not the last important decision. It is just the next one. And after this one, there will be another decision. So if it feels overwhelming, remind yourself, this is not the last decision, it is just the next one.
Recite and release: “This is not the last decision, just the next one.” Remember that. Say it to yourself if it starts to feel overwhelming.
Are you putting the cart before the horse? For example, perhaps you are considering looking for a new job. Your internal dialogue gets to work forecasting all the things that will need to be considered. What will my current boss think? What about my schedule? What about my team? Hold up. You are getting way ahead of yourself. The decision to make today - apply or don’t apply.
Today’s question, today. Move forward by answering today’s question first. Catalog the others so you can come back to them when they are relevant.
Is this one of those big hairy questions, the type you struggle to get your arms around? For these questions, two step process:
First, am I asking the right question? Before you get too deep in the process, critically examine if the question you are seeking to answer is the right one. An important element to this is understanding what of the matter at hand is really in your control. Once you are clear on the question and certain of your ability to control it, move to part two.
Second, can I break this big question down into a series of smaller questions or tasks? The answer is nearly always, yes. The questions could act as a checklist to help in your decision making process. The questions could act as a series of stage gates where each affirmative answer opens the door to the next question until you come to conclusion. The smaller questions may help you refine the problem. Even better, the smaller questions may help you find an even better interim solution.
Confirm the question and break it down. Confirm you’ve got the right question and then pull it apart into its smaller bitesize elements.
A few final thoughts:
Don’t ignore the resources you have. Your network, your past decisions. These are important resources that you can leverage.
Engage others as a sounding board. They will see angles you don't. Hey, this is a great opportunity to work with a coach, just saying.
Be open to all the learning that will come from this. This is rich territory.
You got this.