Do you find yourself caught up in decision paralysis so often you end up taking no action? Nada. Zilch.
Doing nothing IS a decision.
The old story I used to tell myself: I’m indecisive. Don’t ask me to make a decision, can you just make my life easier and make a decision for me?
This is what decision-making used to look like for me:
What do you want for lunch? Oh, whatever.
Chocolate with sea salt or dried cherries? I can’t decide, I’ll have both.
Quit a soul-sucking job that was laying people off by the hundreds? Naw, I’ll just hang out and look for something else until I get shit-canned.
When’s the right time to have kids? Meh, I’ll just toss the pill and see what happens.
Do you want me to drive to the party? Oh whatever, you decide.
What the fuck?
There’s controlling what you can, then there’s throwing all your control out the window and letting the universe completely decide.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a control freak, but also a huge people pleaser. I want to make everyone happy. Don’t rock the boat, don’t make waves.
But I was potentially compromising myself, and not getting exactly what I wanted. Why shouldn’t I ask for what I want? If I get it, cool. If something else shows up, it’s probably what the universe thought was best for me.
I’m getting better at making decisions. Decisions that don’t involve “doing nothing”.
I’ve tested this decision-making process on a bunch of decisions over the past few months:
- When deciding if I should shell out $400 for a ticket to a tiny book-making workshop in Portland, Oregon. On top of the $400 I’d have to buy a flight, stay in a hotel, food, the guilt of leaving Ry with the kids for the weekend, and knowing about the overwhelm that would await me when I returned with undone laundry, a messy house, and no food cooked ahead for the week. Was it all going to be worth it?
- As I neared finalizing the edits on my book, I was planning on putting it up for sale on my website. I considered putting it on Amazon, but this freaked me out. What if no one buys it? What if it’s ranked DEAD last? What if people hate it? If they hate it and I sell it on Amazon, people will say so – publicly! What if they hate me? If I launched it on my website, I’d have no way for people to share their opinion publicly. Sure, they could email me and tell me they hated it, but who really does that?
- Should I join the PTO?
- Should I quit Twitter?
- Should I quit Instagram?
- Should I drink less wine?
I realize many of these decisions might sound super trivial and not all that life-altering. You’re right – they’re not. But over the course of a lifetime, all these small decisions we make add up to a lifetime.
I found a trick that works for me, maybe it’ll work for you too.
I suggest you practice it all the time. Practice it with decisions like, should I have a burger or a salad for dinner tonight? Should I have tea or a soy latte? Should I go to happy hour tonight?
Quick & Dirty Process
As you practice making these quick and dirty decisions, you’ll get in the habit of making decisions faster.
- Take whatever you’re trying to decide. Pretend with every ounce of your being that you said YES.
- You just said yes. How do you feel? Listen to the first things that pop into your head and the clues that pop up in your body
- Feel suddenly resentful? Maybe you’d better say NO to this one.
- Feeling stupendously excited and thinking about what you get to do next? Good call.
- Is your body saying “UGH”, do you feel deflated? You might be better off with a NO.
- Want to race to call your BFF? Probably a YES.
Yes, it’s two steps, and as promised, quick and dirty. The more you tune into what’s happening in your body, the easier making decisions will become for you.
Way more fun than making a list of pros and cons right???
PS - deathbed thoughts