We can drive ourselves crazy trying to over think things. Going round and round in circles of loopy logic. Looking at a sometimes dazzling array of options or merely a choice between two, and a mundane two at that.
We meander through those 'wishful thinking' fields, zooming off on a certainty and then running into a very pleasant looking whitewashed wall.
I know, I’ve done it many times. Trying to work out why things do or don’t work, why THIS results when I do THAT, why I can, or can’t, or shouldn’t, do the other.
Catching myself in this state - having that thought ‘I am going round and round in circles’ NOW gets me rooting back through what I’ve learnt. Where have I come across this before?
There’s 3 questions I ask myself….
1 - Do I need more information?
Do I need an answer from someone? Do I need some concrete facts because I’m not able to move forward without this answer?
The person I need to talk to is the one who can give me the answer to my question, or who can tell me 'yes' or 'no', so I stop speculating. In his book, The Big Leap, Gaye Hendricks says that most communication problems boil down to our unwillingness to have a sweaty 10 minute conversation.
This might just be ‘Can I have 5 minutes of your time?’
Or ‘How much would that cost?’ or ‘Is the room free on the 1st?'
If you don’t ask, you won’t know.
Whatever the answer is, 'Yes' or ‘No' (or even ‘Maybe’), being in the know, instead of speculating, will help you move forward.
2 - Do I want these options?
What do I want? Which option or choice makes me sing?
What makes you light up and go off into ‘a million ideas’ mode?
In a micro way, I ask myself what I’m most excited about right now? And I ask myself very carefully whether I think I 'should' be doing one of these options, or if I actually want to do it?
Which of the options gives you the spring in you step? Which makes you giggle with glee and rub your hands together? Which one makes you get up and dance?
Yes but Claire….
I like ALL my options.
Yes, I’ve been there.
3 - Am I trying to find ‘right’ path when actually neither is wrong?
I think back and ask myself: "Claire, is this like the hotels thing?"
It was my second visit to Italy and I was agonising. Do I stay at the 'historic, atmospheric, slightly cheaper’ hotel in the centre of town or the ‘quiet, more luxurious, family-feel’ B&B. Which one was ‘right’? Which one did I really WANT to stay at?
I was agonising because I wanted to stay at BOTH. I wanted my stay to be quiet and peaceful, yet I wanted to soak up the atmosphere. I wanted historic, the real Italy, but I didn’t want ‘weird’. If I didn’t stay in the centre of town, did this mean I would have to walk? What would happen if I went for the cheaper option and it wasn’t so nice: would it ruin my whole stay?
I talked to my coach at the time and she said: "Claire, it doesn't matter."
I was getting hung up on something unnecessarily. What mattered was that I was in Italy, that I was there, soaking up its joy, not actually where I stay. But I was spending hours and hours worrying over it and deliberating over it.
If I went with the right mindset, if I went excited about both options, I would enjoy myself whatever happens.
[In case you’re wondering, I went with the historic one. It was delightful, I would go back in flash. Although next time, I might even give the other one a go!]
The joy is the thing
Whatever stage I’m at, reminding myself not to get tied up in knots about which one is 'best' or ‘right’ or ‘the one’ or the one you ‘really want’. Use the joy as your beckoner. Count up the bubbles of excitement inside you when you follow the thought. Imagine it all and watch yourself dance.
You know what? The experience is the thing. Even if it hadn’t turned out so well (sometimes they don’t!) it would have been an adventure. I was in Italy, I was staying in a hotel, this was all that mattered.
That trip incidentally was one of those moments which gave me such a taster of my dream life. It was an experiment; it didn’t go perfectly, but oh it was magical. It was the first time I was ‘living it’ - doing the things that the Claire in my dream would do. I was actually becoming the future me.
It doesn't matter which one
It matters that we choose. Not choosing is making a decision, it's choosing to do nothing, which, unless it's a conscious choice to do nothing, is procrastination (or resistance, if you will)
The reason choosing is so important is because it leads to action. Action leads to the next action and this creates a momentum that drives our change.
What do you have to choose from?