“Never try to solve all the problems at once – make them line up for you one-by-one.”
– Richard Sloma
Do you ever need to make a decision and feel stuck? Sometimes we have several decisions to make at once, or a larger problem that feels insurmountable, and all we want to do is crawl back into bed and pull the covers over our heads. Who has not been there? I sure have, at least once, and maybe even twice. OK, I have probably been there a lot more than twice, but I digress…
When we are faced with a problem or a very important decision, why is it that we often go into a state of panic, overwhelm, denial, blame, avoidance or procrastination? There are a number of possible reasons, including, but not limited to: fear, lack of self-confidence, buying-in to others’ influence (good, bad or indifferent) or a sincere lack of knowledge about the subject at hand. As a regular human being, I can say I’ve experienced all of the above, and even had a touch of that as recently as last week. As a success coach, however, I will pose the following for you to consider:
It is what it is. So what? Now what?
- It is what it is. OK, ‘it’ has happened or presented itself. So there it is, in front of you, the elephant in the corner. You can close your eyes and pretend you don’t see it, but you already saw it, you can sense it, and you have an acute awareness of it’s presence. If it is an event from the past, then you are now facing it in the present. Whatever the case, accept that it is there; it just is.
- So what? What do you want to do about ‘it’? Is it life-threatening? If so, you know what to do, right? Call 9-1-1, run away or protect yourself somehow. But, it is likely NOT threatening your life, and it is now time to decide what to do. How would you like the outcome to look? Is your desired outcome specific and realistic? Is it in-line with your core values? Decide what you really want to do about it.
- Now what? What are you willing to do about it? What action steps are you willing to take right now to achieve the end you desire? Decide what you can and will do, then break it down and devise the plan to get to the end you picture.
Once you have worked your way thru the above thought process, now create momentum. Put your action plan into action. If the plan seems too grand, break it down into smaller steps, and then take the easiest or most logical step. If you still feel stuck, take a step back and examine with softer eyes; notice that it is not as large as you once perceived. So, with soft eyes and a smaller task at hand, take a step.
Still daunting? Work backward from the end result to where you are now and figure out what makes sense or what is easiest to do first, and then take a step. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know at the moment… If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify as we go along.” You can always modify the plan if the trajectory ahead looks like it’s not going toward the end you envisioned, but you must get started.
As a recovering perfectionist, I have gotten caught-up many times in the process of analyzing the problem or the multiple possible solutions rather than doing something to pave the path to the solution, either for fear of failure, or quite possibly for fear of success. So, do something, anything to create momentum. You are smart, experienced and perfectly capable of changing course if you discover that the plan you execute is moving you in a direction that does not contribute to your overall wellbeing.
“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” – Edwin Louis Cole
One thing is certain: if you choose to stay in one place, you will remain in that place. If that is uncomfortably comfortable, then it is time to make a change, take the decision that feels right, or take the decision that feels uncomfortable and pushes you beyond your comfort zone. When you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will grow. How you envision your success will expand and you will begin to make decisions effortlessly, and the work will feel effortless, no matter how “hard” it is.
It’s not about a task “being easy” but the feeling of effortless draw as you begin to create momentum. Momentum is your friend, if you create it. There are times when we need to fix our eyes on the desired outcome, and that will propel us forward. However, there are plenty of times in life when we simply need to get started. The best way to get started is to think about and envision the goal, and then create a plan from there (and note that thinking about the outcome, envisioning the goal and creating the plan are steps taken, so you have already created momentum.) Once you have a plan, you can adjust as necessary, but in order to get anywhere near the finish line, you must take the necessary steps and keep going. Remember the “Little Engine That Could”? She kept moving forward, with a positive attitude, believing that she could do it, saying to herself, “I think I can…” Well, I KNOW you can, so put one foot in front of the other, create forward momentum and keep going.
When we become crystal clear about what we want, focus on creating the path, and then take the path, we can achieve anything.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.