I know people who struggle over making what seems to me to be the tiniest of decisions – what to order for dinner, what to wear to a party, what to buy mom for Mother’s Day. I am on the other side here – I make decisions quickly, and sometimes to my own detriment.
Experts are of the unanimous opinion that indecision is rooted in fear. Fear of what others will think, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of being unable to cope with the decision once made.
Apparently, I have no real fear of screwing up. (Wait. What?)
Indecision doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can offer you some well-needed thinking time. And maybe your indecision is some sort of premonition to stop yourself from making the wrong decision. On the other hand, if your indecision lasts too long (what is too long?), you might miss an opportunity. The show becomes sold out, or the cheap airfare disappears. Waiting too long (what is too long?) might result in the house you’ve already decorated in your dreams was sold to another buyer.
Obviously, the nature of the decision has a direct correlation to the amount of time you take to make it. You make dozens of little decisions every single day. In an effort to move from indecisive to decisive, start by writing down some of them. You chose what to wear today, right? You decided what to eat for breakfast, didn’t you? Get where I’m going with this?
As you’re working towards bigger decisions, give some thought to the fear that’s holding you back. Be specific and write it down. I can’t decide whether to go to the dentist because I’m afraid of what it will cost to replace that old crown. I can’t decide whether to paint my bedroom because I’m afraid I’ll choose the wrong color. I can’t decide whether to give my teenager driving lessons because I’m afraid he’ll get into an accident.
Once you’ve figured out which specific fear is propelling your indecision, the next step is to establish a “Significance Barometer.” Will that decision affect me either positively or negatively in a month? In a year? In five years? You are the only one who can determine the significance of your decision.
The last step (and the best step) is to learn how to trust yourself. As with any other skill, this takes practice. Think about your strengths. Are you smart? Funny? Creative? Then figure out how to incorporate your strengths into your decision-making strategy. Maybe you can draw a picture of yourself living in the decision you’ve yet to make. Maybe you can laugh at what the wrong decision might look like. And maybe you can draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and list the pros and cons of your potential decision.
You’ve got this! But if you need a pep talk, call me!