Sam Mednick is a professional life and executive coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity, as well as emotional intelligence development. For more coaching tips, tune into her Podcast.
SAM SAYS: COMBAT INDECISION
I can’t make decisions. For example, there’s a long weekend coming up in September and I’ve been debating back and forth for months whether or not to go away. It’s only four days, yet the dialogue in my head keeps deliberating between saving money and enjoying the puente in Barcelona or escaping the crowds to relish some fresh air. This is something I’ve struggled with for years—doubting my instincts and questioning myself. Any tips on how to be more decisive?
Should I stay or should I go
Removing my coaching hat for a minute, it’s always nice to escape the city, so my initial reaction says ‘go’. But getting to the core of your issue, I think what strikes me is that you doubt your instincts.
What will it take for you to trust your gut? This issue of indecision surfaces a lot with my clients and the theme that often emerges is who we feel our decisions are accountable to. Are we torn because we’re trying to do what is expected of us: What we should, rather than want, to be doing? Or is it because we’re worried about judgment and how we’ll be perceived?
This may not be the case for you, but it is worth pausing at decision time and taking note of your inner dialogue. Who and what are you basing the decisions on? What is going through your head? Write it down and see if any patterns emerge. It’ll give you some insight into what factors affect your decisions. Then you can decide if that approach is working for you and if not, start reshaping the way you think. Here are some other tangible tools to help be more decisive:
1. Define your values. Most of us know our company values, yet so few of us know our individual values, and this is one of the most important things when it comes to making decisions and living purposeful lives in general. Take yourself out for a glass of wine or a coffee and write down four or five values that define who you are and how you want to live your life. This will be your baseline, so whenever decisions arise you can ask the question: Is this in line with my values? If it isn’t, change the action, not the value. The more our actions are in line with our values, the more successful and in sync we are.
2. Write down your ‘truths’. It sometimes helps when you’re unclear on something to write down what you currently know to be true. It can be anything from ‘this is the month of September’ to ‘my favourite food is steak’. Writing this list down helps gain clarity about what you want.
3. Silence the voice in your head. This one is easier said than done, but tackling it will not only help you trust your gut, it’ll also increase your energy. When that voice keeps repeating itself, it prevents you from seeing things clearly. It’s also emotionally depleting. The best way to combat this is to first recognise when it is happening, and then try to stop it. Some people do this by clapping their hands together and literally saying ‘STOP’ out loud. Others tap their shoulder or their leg a few times with their fingers and say ‘tap tap’. The idea is to break the cycle, diffuse it and divert your attention. Focus on something tangible, something that requires you to move or use your hands—anything that gets you out of your head. The dialogue is likely to start again at some point (it doesn’t go away overnight), but the more often you can catch it and stop it, the less you’ll do it and the easier it’ll be to gain clarity.
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