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If you’ve ever found yourself struggling with decisions, worry, or anxiety about the future, this article is for you.

I was one of those people who convinced myself I needed lots of time and information to make the right decision. I took plenty of time. I was judicious and properly cautious. 

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with gathering information to support the choices you make. I made lots of really good decisions, but every once in a while, I had the gut-wrenching experience of feeling really and truly stuck.

Indecision keeps people stuck!

Luckily, I can officially say I am no longer stuck. The feeling slowing me down was the feeling I should have let go sooner. Once I started looking inside, I saw I had been giving into a series of negative “What Ifs”?

What if this is the wrong decision? What if (name your person) thinks I’m a fool?  What if I end up alone? What if I lose money? What if I lose my job? What if I never feel happy? What if my choice doesn’t please others? All those worries made me anxious.

I had been caught up in fear, and in valuing others more than myself. I had been caught in those waves of emotion that toss people over.

At my decision worst, I even wondered if indecision was my lot in life. I told myself that I was being careful by not making a hasty decision. I convinced myself that waiting, and taking more time to decide, might change the outcome. Not so!

Like most people, I had worried that change would be more painful—in some way—than the current situation. Once, while shopping in Home Goods, I couldn’t resist buying a little wooden sign that said, “Indecision is best when one can’t make up their mind.” It made me chuckle at the time. Deciding on that particular purchase was easy. Little risk involved!

What if I decide today and it all works out fine? Wouldn’t that be something! How much better will I feel?

So now, imagine the anxiety you might feel trying to break with a long-term personal or business relationship; or maybe a career move. Perhaps you run the risk of not liking your new job and landing at the bottom on the layoff totem pole after you’ve spent years working your way up at another company. How would that feel?

Now don’t let those feelings linger. Let them go! Shake ’em out. And let’s move on to good feelings.

Transforming to a Confident Decision-Maker

Call it the rise of inner wisdom or my Inner CEO taking control. Once I finally caught on to the game I had played against myself, my decisions began flowing more easily.

I began using the angst I felt as a clue or signal to stop the fighting within. Then, I started asking, “What if I decide today and it all works out fine? Wouldn’t that be something! How much better will I feel?”

Once I decided to change, I began following this four-step Inner conflict-resolution process in my head.

First: I paid attention to my feelings. As soon as I noticed uncomfortable feelings (e.g., indecision, angst, anxiety, stress, fear), I would take time to explore them, critically. What are they trying to tell me? How real are these feelings? What do they actually feel like to me? Where do I feel them inside? And how do they change my body in the moment? Is my posture or breathing or stress-level different.

Second: I challenged myself to find the meaning behind the feeling. What was it my inner self wanted me to know? Once I got the message, I no longer needed to wallow n the emotion around it.

Many times we fear feeling bad about unanticipated future outcomes. What if what I get is worse than what I have? Rather than possibly feeling worse in the future, we decide to stick it out. It may not be perfect or good at all. But we’ve gotten comfortable with it. We know what to expect.

We fear change because we don’t like uncertainty. We worry over “the devil we don’t know.”  We stick with bad situations because we’ve just become too comfortable with the ”devil we do know” – the person, people or situations that give us just enough predictability for some semblance of comfort, even when we don’t love it. I had been stuck there, too!

Then one day, I had an Aha! Moment. I learned through experience that my feelings of discomfort meant I still needed to learn something new to solve the decision puzzle!

Exploring what lay behind my feelings helped. Through one exploration, I realized I needed to learn better influencing skills to improve a relationship. Through another, I realized I needed to learn new technology so I could move forward comfortably with a new business venture. Once I understood there was still something I needed to learn, I could start learning it and soon move forward. That was a revelation!

Third: I asked myself a series of questions:  “What do I really want instead of the situation I am in now? And, what can I do to get it? How can I build my confidence to do that? What do I need to learn to get me there? How can I learn it? Always stay in learning mode!

Fourth: I made a plan. After brainstorming potential next steps, I put them in the order in which I could tackle them; then I got myself moving – one small step at a time. And I set criteria for what a good decision would look like.

choose your self improver self-study program photo

How Can You Get Unstuck?

When faced with tough decisions, consider what you still need to learn.

Think about how you can love your inner child more so you can feel comfortable and secure enough inside to trust your decision. If you need more help, consider the Extraordinary Self Program, Power Up for Self-Confidence and Self-Worth.

When I stopped fighting myself, and began placing more trust in my inner guidance – my intuition – big decisions became less complicated. I knew what I needed to do all along. I just needed the courage to act on it. How would having more courage help you?

Also, i began to heed my inner warning bell sooner. I learned to take a deep breath and then make the best choice for me – without delay.

How did / do I know what’s best? I came to realize that “best” the choice lets me feel whole. It doesn’t rattle my bones. It satisfies most of my inner and outer needs and aligns with my personal values.

Now, I accept that there are few, if any, guarantees in life. And not everything is in my control. Like you, I can only change my own part in what is, and only those parts I can influence. Making a decision is in my control and influence.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

And, if by chance, I make a decision that doesn’t lead to the outcome I want, I still will know a few things with certainty: I chose what I thought was right given the information I knew at the time. Now, I give myself more compassion – regardless of the outcome. And I know I can succeed in the future, as long as I learn from each step as I go.

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