When You Are Struggling with Indecision

when you are struggling with indecision

“More is lost by indecision than by wrong decision.”


That is one of my favorite quotes from Shonda Rhimes in her book Year of Yes.


Being stuck in indecision is uncomfortable. So why do we do it and how can we get out of it?


If indecision is so uncomfortable, then why do we get stuck here?


Well, first of all, I {don’t} hate to break it to you…but indecision is STILL a decision…TO DO NOTHING.


Indecision is uncomfortable, but we perceive the pain of making the “wrong decision” to be EVEN GREATER than the pain of staying in indecision.


So indecision is a comfortable and familiar discomfort, and we choose that over an unknown.


Indecision comes from a fear of making a mistake, wasting time, wasting effort, wasting money, failing, being wrong, messing up, being judged, getting laughed at… (Believe me. I have been there so many times. I too struggle with indecision.)


I do believe that people (like me) who struggle with indecision, are also the same people (like me) who tell themselves the story of “I’m not good enough.”


You may not even realize you have been telling yourself this story. I didn’t realize it for a long time.


“I’m not good enough” wears many different masks. You may only have that story in certain areas of your life…or maybe in all of them. Love, Dating, School, Work, Business, Health/Fitness, etc.


You have tied your self-worth to the results and the outcome and the response you get from others instead of to the effort, the perseverance, the courage…


If you are one of these people (like me), then when you try something new, put 100% effort into something, make a decision, etc., and it doesn’t work out the way that you had hoped, you say, “AH HA! Just as I thought! I am not good enough…”


…and nobody wants to confirm that they are not good enough.


So we avoid.



What it really all boils down to is shame.



The Shame Game


If you put off making a decision, then you won’t have to experience possible failure, and then you won’t have to experience shame.


Shame is one of the most powerful emotions.


Shame is the fear of disconnection, the fear of not being accepted, the fear of not being loved. Brené Brown is a shame researcher and she talks about this in her book Daring Greatly. I talk about this book in many of my posts, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Please read Daring Greatly. I am begging you.




We spend so much of our lives trying to avoid shame. We make decisions (or we don’t make decisions) around it, and we develop coping mechanisms so that we never have to feel it. (Well, that’s what we think anyway.)


If you are still here and you can relate to anything I am saying, then I feel pretty confident telling you that you are probably in the fixed mindset in one or more areas of your life.


In the fixed mindset, we have our self-worth tied up in the outcome rather than in the pride of putting in the effort and living life to the fullest.


We play small to protect our potential.


Nothing makes us feel more vulnerable than giving it 100% and not getting the desired outcome.  Because instead of seeing it as an opportunity to learn and grow and try again in a different way, we make it mean that we’re not good enough.


When we base our self-worth on an outcome, NOT achieving the desired outcome destroys it.


But guess what? You are enough just the way you are right now πŸ™‚ Stick with me for a while, and I’ll have you believing it.



When it comes to decision-making…


What if there is no such thing as a “wrong” decision?


What if the decisions we make lead us to the people we are supposed to meet and the experiences we are supposed to have in order to shape us into the people we need to become?


Is that not even the slightest bit empowering?


Just humor me for a minute and entertain the thought that MAYBE just MAYBE there is no such thing as a wrong decision.


How would you live your life differently if you knew you couldn’t choose wrong?


What if you were the kind of person who made decisions quickly and stuck with them to see them through?


What if the only real mistake is to never make a decision at all…to keep living your life with indecision?



No matter what decision you make, you are going to learn and grow as a person.


When we are indecisive, we waste time. We drag our feet. We stay stuck. We don’t learn, and we don’t grow, and we don’t get any closer to our end goal.


Isn’t it kind of funny though? Those are the very things we were trying to avoid in the first place by not making a decision…



So choose your discomfort.


Option 1: The discomfort that changes your life and keeps things moving forward and helps you to learn and grow.


Option 2: The discomfort of never trying. Playing small. Living a small life. Never testing your potential. Never discovering what you could have created or achieved with your one wild and precious life.


What can you do when you find yourself stuck in indecision?


Action creates clarity. You can’t sit around forever and go through every possible “what if.”


Indecision (and thinking about something forever) does not create clarity. You can’t will yourself to see the future and to know with certainty how it will all work out. The only thing you can do is to make a decision and try. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time and letting opportunity pass you by.


One strategy to help yourself move forward and make a decision is to consult your 90 year old self. Imagine you towards the end of your life. She’s sitting out there on that rocker on the wrap around porch in the sun. Have a conversation with her. What would she say about this? We usually regret the things we don’t do and the chances we didn’t take more than the ones that we did.


Ironically, the wisdom we seek from others can always be found in ourselves. You already have the answers.


At the end, when you look back on your life…what do you want to see?


Do you want to arrive at the end knowing that you gave it your all? You tried. You put in the effort (even if/when things didn’t work out), you tested and used up all of your potential, you explored all of your gifts and talents, you loved fiercely with your whole heart…?


Or did you live half a life? Were you too scared to put in a full effort? Were you too scared to take a chance or take a risk?


To use the same terms as Brené Brown & Teddy Roosevelt, were you brave enough to get in to the arena? Or did you spend your entire life in the bleachers or on the sidelines?


“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…” ~ Teddy Roosevelt


In the end, wouldn’t you like to know that you dared greatly?



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1 Comment

  1. Vicki Myers
    October 13, 2020 / 5:17 pm

    Fantastic! πŸ’œ

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