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Overcoming Indecisiveness: When We Fear Making the Wrong Decision

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Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days… What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Is indecision keeping you from moving forward? Do you fear making the wrong decision?

IndecisivenessHave you ever thought you wanted something but, kept vacillating over it?

Say you started your own business. Out of the blue a former colleague calls with the perfect job opportunity. You are drawn to this job but, meet with resistance about walking away from your business. Try as you might you keep waffling back and forth on whether to take the job or not.

What do you do when part of you wants it and part of you doesn’t?

Here are five ways to overcome indecisiveness and the fear of making the wrong decision:

1. Keep notes for a least a week on your feelings. Every single time the situation comes to mind jot down what you were thinking about it in a little notebook. You don’t have to analyze it – just write it down.

Say, one day you think how much you would hate having to get up early and commute again. Write that down. Later you think the job sounds kind of exciting for a number of reasons. Write down those reasons.

After a week you should be able to see where you lean most. Go through everything you’ve written and write next to the note whether it’s a vote of yes or no. The column with the most votes wins.

2. Identify where you have the most resistance. When we resist doing something often it is because of an underlying fear or belief.

For example: Say in this example you wrote that you don’t want to get up early to commute. Or that you don’t want to be locked into giving up your time from 9 to 5 each day. And, you can’t stand the idea of having to get all dressed up every day.

Think about these feelings and see what underlying belief they have in common. Perhaps each of these complaints means that you fear that you won’t have enough time for yourself anymore.

What does this fear say about you?

A fear that you won’t have enough time to nurture yourself says that you believe when you have a job working for someone else you have to give yourself over to it completely. It says you fear losing control of your time and life. But, why?

It could identify that you have a fear  of“commitment.” You might have an underlying belief that commitment means saying “yes” to everything that is asked of you. It reflects that you don’t have clear boundaries and, that you fear saying “no.”

Digging deep into where we have resistance is a great way to find where we are still stuck in our lives and where we still have work to do on our underlying beliefs.

Once you understand what your underlying beliefs are you can work on changing them. If you are a “people pleaser” and fear saying “no” you have an underlying fear of rejection and lack of self-love. So, perhaps you’d rather work for yourself where no one but you will make demands upon you. This way you never have to deal with the anxiety of saying “no.”

Time to outgrow the beliefs that hold us back

It could be that the Universe arranged this opportunity to give you the opportunity to overcome the fears you have about protecting your boundaries and saying “no” in situations where you feel an obligation and commitment such as with an employer. Maybe it’s time to learn to say “no” to working on weekends or overtime or always being the “go to” person for your boss. You need to develop a stronger sense of love for yourself and self worth by “sticking up for yourself” and saying “no” when you really want to.

3. Recognize that you have the right to change your mind. Just because you chose to do one thing at one point in your life doesn’t mean that you cannot change your mind about it. Resisting changing your mind could show that you have a belief that you must complete everything you start. Or, that if you walk away you are a “quitter” or admitting defeat. What it really says is that you fear what others will think or say about you.

You have to live for you. You cannot force yourself to do things based upon the fear of what others will think. Doing things because your ego has a need to have people think a certain way about you will make you miserable in the long run.

Start repeating this daily: I cannot control what other people think. What other people think about me is none of my business. 

4. Stop taking life so seriously and allow yourself to go with the flow. Put things in perspective. If you were to take the job and it turned out you’d made a mistake you could leave. It is not the end of the world. If you started your own business once couldn’t you do it again? Or perhaps, keep it going on the side while you tested the waters of the new job? Maybe taking the job is the serendipity that places you in the path of some other great opportunity you wouldn’t have come across had you not taken it? Look at opportunities as fun and exciting adventures rather than heavy binding contracts. Have a more “playful” attitude and your life will also be more fun.

 5. Go within and do a visualization exercise. Take some deep relaxing breaths and when you are ready visualize each of the two scenarios. Create one scene to depict each of your choices. Using the previous example see yourself in your home office at your desk as representing staying in your own business and then see yourself all dressed up in appropriate business attire in a corporate office setting.

Now, shrink each of the scenes down and put them inside a snow globe or glass paper weight.

Take one paper weight and put it in your left hand and the other in your right and “weigh them.” Which one feels most substantial. right or exciting or, which one draws your attention the most? The one that you keep feeling yourself drawn to for any reason is the one you really want to choose. Go with your “gut” and pick that one.

Are you finding it difficult to overcome indeciseveness? What does what you are resisting say about your underlying beliefs?

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36 Comments

  1. Great ideas here, Angela, thank you!

    Sometimes I think we can be indecisive for another reason, too. Our intuition can be telling us that we don’t have enough information yet. It can’t always tell us what that information is, but it can be in our best interest not to make a decision at that time.

    Maybe our intuition knows that there’s a better option or decision to be made just round the corner!

    Great blog, glad I’ve found you.

    Reply
    • Hi Les,
      Great to meet you. Welcome to PbI.
      I’m glad you found the post worthwhile.
      I checked out your site.
      Very interesting. I’m not familiar with that form of “astrology?”
      I wasn’t able to leave a comment though.

      Reply
      • Hi Angela,

        That particular site is quite new – I have started it as a dedicated (spin-off) Astrogem Geomancy blog from my last site.

        Geomancy is a very old oracle – divination by the signs and symbols of the earth – but is not seen or used much these days. It has always had strong astrological correspondences, but it is also vital to use your intuition when giving readings. . . which is what attracted me to your site!

        I’ll be pointing people to your site to make sure that they start listening to their intuition more. Thanks for the comment.
        Les Cross recently posted..Geomantic reading for the week commencing 26th March 2012

        Reply
        • Hi Les,
          Thank you for explaining. I’m a long time astrologer.
          I started back in the day before computer programs calculating Sidereal time and casting charts by hand.
          I’m looking forward to learning more.
          All my best,

          Reply
  2. Really good advice to write things down as you think of it. It is so easy to procrastinate and not make a decision. The points you’ve outlined above are very helpful and too often I have lost an opportunity. Trusting ones own intuition is something one has t learn to do. All good advice in your article.

    Reply
    • Hi Travelyn,
      What a pleasure it is to meet you. Welcome to PbI.
      I’m glad you found the article useful.
      I use the methods in the article (of course) and I find that I’m more honest when I write down my feelings and complaints as they come to me rather than writing a pros and cons list. With the pros and cons I can talk myself into things and that isn’t the purpose.

      Reply
  3. Hi Angela,

    I enjoy the discussion on indecisiveness. If it is a big decision that I need to make and I don’t know what to do, I allow myself to sit in the discomfort for a while. Clarity usually emerge after a while. Or if the fear continues, I ask myself what is it that I am so afraid of and work through it. And you are right, it can be fear of rejection or fear of commitment. I also try to tell myself that I don’t need my decision to be perfect, to avoid being stumped.

    Great article!

    Thanks,
    Evelyn
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How To Let Go of the Past

    Reply
    • Hi Evelyn,
      I’m so glad you found the article valuable. Facing a big decision can be difficult.
      Sometimes you’re just not ready though?
      I went back and forth on selling my house for 5 years before I actually did it.
      I do think you’re right – sometimes it’s better to make a decision and start moving forward.
      When you do that if it is the wrong decision you’re likely to find out rather quickly and then you can reverse course.

      Reply
  4. ” If you are a “people pleaser” and fear saying “no” you have an underlying fear of rejection and lack of self-love” That is Me, but i really can’t see how to change it?

    Reply
  5. Rosemarie

    Meditating every day again and feel much better. Things are changing and I’m using the mantra you suggested. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Andrea | Conscious Creation

    Great article! Sometimes being so confused by a decision you need to make can lead to inertia which is really quite counter productive and not going to get you where you need to go. As difficult as it is, it is often best to just make a decision after some careful consideration obviously :) everything in life is an opportunity to learn something and there are no wrong choices! Follow the flow!

    Andrea
    Andrea | Conscious Creation recently posted..Get Your Energy Moving

    Reply
    • Hi Andrea,
      Yes, it’s best to make some sort of decision. Inertia is the worst thing you can do.
      Going with the flow will take you toward your highest and best outcome.

      Reply
  7. Angela,
    I read this outloud to my husband! We’ve had so much indecision over our house, over our car and what trip to take next. We’re going to try the visualization and the notebook idea. Thanks for the inspiring post, Angela!!
    Betsy at Zen Mama recently posted..Where Do You Find Your Inspiration? 10 Ways To Find Your Inner Muse

    Reply
    • Hi Patti,
      I’m so glad you found the techniques useful!
      The visualization is a great way to hone your intuition.
      Let me know how you make out.
      xoxo,
      Angela

      Reply
  8. Deanne35

    Thanks for this wonderful tips! I like the number 4 tip, and I agree to it. We should stop taking life seriously and go with the flow. It is so stressful to push our self too much, and it can’t help us. Instead we have to unwind sometimes and think of more positive way to overcome all our fear.
    Deanne35 recently posted..What a Reliable Low Cost Web Hosting Should Provide

    Reply
    • Deanne,
      Welcome to Powered by Intuition.
      Thank you for visiting.
      I so agree. I, as much as anyone, take life way to seriously at times so going with the flow more is a big one for me too.
      Unwinding is so important. Doing things you enjoy that you find fun that you don’t take so seriously is necessary for our continuing mental health.

      Reply
  9. These are really helpful tips.
    I really like #3 – recognize your right to change your mind.
    I also think number #5 has the added benefit that by putting my decision into a tiny ball, it stops me from blowing it out of proportion.

    What freezes me up the most, is not the possibility that everything could go wrong, but rather, being obsessed with preparing myself for things to go wrong. Over time though, I’ve begun to notice that the coping skills that would show up in a difficult situation are the same ones that I already have inside of me… so why spend too much time preparing for the worst? (I think there’s a famous quote on that idea, but I can’t remember it).

    Thanks for writing! I really enjoyed reading.
    Tathata recently posted..What Has Your Imagination Done For You Today?

    Reply
    • Hi Tathata,
      It’s a pleasure to meet you!
      I’m so glad you got so many benefits from the article.
      I love that you came up with an additional one too: Putting the problem in a tiny ball keeps you from blowing it out of proportion.
      Excellent!
      Thank you.

      Reply
  10. Hi Angela,

    Great information for those of us who can have trouble making a decision. Some people tend to operative in life as the mediators and want to avoid conflict, consequently they have a dilemma often when making a decision. I can fall into that trap of being too concerned about what will please others, so your tips are definitely helpful. Your mantra is great also, not only do we not worry about what others think, but we can’t control it – good advice. I have become aware that I can have this tendency, and just that knowledge alone helps to change that behavior pattern.
    Cathy | Treatment Talk recently posted..Treatment Talk Monthly Message – February 2012

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy,
      I’m happy to hear that you got a lot out of the article.
      Wow, that’s very insightful. I hadn’t thought of that – you can’t always mediate sometimes you have to take a stand, right?
      That’s a great way to look at the people pleasing syndrome – a syndrome I have had to battle with all my life.
      I forget where I read that but I loved it as soon as I heard it: What you think of me is none of my business!
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.
      xoxo,
      Angela

      Reply
  11. Ah, yes, indecision! Ugh. These are really REALLY helpful tips, Angela. Especially for those of us who are naturally inclined (e.g. Vata/air types, people who overthink, etc.)

    I also like to use the Bach flower essence Scleranthus when deciding between two things. It seems to help. (It also helps with other polarities such as mood swings, energy swings, etc.)

    Thanks for the great article.
    Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..Timely Tidbits: Something Important? Begin It This Week!

    Reply
    • Hi Patti,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I know the exactly what you’re saying – with my Gemini ascendent, Sun in the 3rd house & Virgo rising I do think too much! It’s one of the things I have had to learn to tame to make better decisions.
      I was really interested in the Bach Flower Remedies years ago a well know author of many Tarot books wrote on the topic but, I never did anything with it.
      You’ll have to tell me about it sometime.
      xoxo,
      Angela

      Reply
  12. Thanks Angela for the helpful tips. I love the Goethe quote you’ve chosen, and like the reminder that our resistance is about something internal. Your self-awareness exercise should be helpful. This also reminds me of the saying “ANY decision is better than NO decision”–at least you’re moving somewhere and can correct as you go!
    Sean Cox recently posted..Seagull on LSD

    Reply
    • Sean,
      Great to meet you!
      Resistance is one of those hidden factors that holds us back in life.
      I agree at times any decision is better than no decision, for sure! Great point.
      Thanks so much for coming by and joining in the conversation.

      Reply
  13. Hi Angela,

    I used to struggle with indecisiveness and the fear of making the wrong decision. The main reason for this is the fear of unknowns and uncertainty in the choices I make. It is easy to make the wrong choice and then suffer as a result. I love the 5 ways you have listed to overcome indecisiveness.

    I think the key is to identify where you have the most resistance. By being able to single out these factors, we can see our fears and take steps to manage them. Doing so, we will be able to make more objective choices.

    I certainly made a lot of mistakes in my decisions in the past. But today it is different. Today, if I ever have to choose and I am unsure, I simply divine the outcomes for the choices I have. From there I just pick the best outcome of the lot and go with it. I rarely have any regrets because I know which is the best choice to make in any situation and things turn out the way I expect them to.

    No longer do I have any fears or uncertainty because I see the big picture, many months down the road if need be. If I were hesitant about taking a job, I could simply divine how working at that company would turn out for me 6 months down the road. If it is good, I will take the job. If not, I will decline. By being able to know the unknown, I can help others to make the best choice in any situation as well. And there is nothing more rewarding than this.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier
    The Vizier recently posted..Guidelines to the Sharing of Knowledge

    Reply
    • Irving,
      You’re amazing! You always completely understand the point of my articles on a very deep level.
      Yes, I agree about the resistance being key to understand. If we don’t identify the “belief systems” that drive our behavior we will limit ourselves in the type of experiences we will have in life – and that’s why we’re here in the first place.
      I’m so glad you have found your perfect way to divine the future too.

      Reply
  14. This is awesome! I’m so used to reading about how we should make pro and con lists and use the length of each to make our decision. As you’ve so eloquently pointed out, this is only about a quarter of the real equation. It completely removes the wisdom of our intuition and keeps us in our monkey minds.

    Delving into our areas of resistance is key, regardless of the decisions we do or don’t make. Your example of the fears related to a job hit home for me (even though I have 2 corporate jobs at the moment). I’ve worked hard to create a job environment for myself that is more in line with working for myself (working from home for virtual businesses). Even so, I sometimes resent what little limitations I allow on my time.

    Generally, I tend not to waffle too much on making decisions. I’d rather just pick the one that feels right and go with it. If it doesn’t work out, I can make another choice at that time.

    I absolutely love the snow globe exercise! It makes the whole decision process feel so simple. It’s kind of like muscle testing where we allow our body (which always knows what’s right for us) to tell us what’s right for us. We just have to be open and listen.

    Thanks for the great ideas Angela!
    Paige | simple mindfulness recently posted..Where Is Your Happy Place?

    Reply
    • Paige,
      You sound very much like me. I have a long corporate background too.
      I know exactly the type of exercise you’re talking about too – and I never felt as it it really addressed my needs.
      Making a list based on the complaints that come up and then going back to see what they add up to makes more sense. It’s more natural than just sitting there and making a “pros & cons” list.
      I always advocated using your intuition so I created this exercise to make it easy for people and not soo “woo woo.”
      I’m glad you found it helpful too.

      Reply
  15. Hi Angela,

    I love the snow globe imagery!

    Well I wish I could tell you that I was facing such a decision! Life is so funny. Sometimes we send ourselves to hilarious places. I can see one path unfolding (with “and just how in the heck do I plan to pay my bills” in the background) – this one feels right. And the other one – hasn’t manifested! So you could say there is “no choice” but I do believe that we create our own opportunities, in spite of ourselves. Either my imagination isn’t good enough and I haven’t “made a commitment” to seeing a clear path, or I’ve put myself on hold until I succeed in the way that I want to with the other one :)
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..In All Things Be Yourself And Never Rise To The Bait

    Reply
    • Hi Julie,
      I’m sure everything is working out as it should. You be given time to work on the things you have before you, as you say.
      I do think everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we are given exactly what we want and we realize either we don’t want it anymore or we do too.
      I’m sure the path is going to open up for you very soon!

      Reply
  16. Angela,
    I’m real good at being too serious or intense. I often forget that I can’t see the entire picture and that this life is like a grain of sand in the hour glass of time;)
    Tess The Bold Life recently posted..A Fearless Guy and 13 Tips for Bold Living

    Reply
    • Hi Tess, I love that image that we are a grain of sand in the hour glass of time. How true.
      We need to lighten up!

      Reply
  17. Angela,

    You’ve offered a lot of useful information. Time to outgrow beliefs that hold us back is a big one for me. I get mired in it sometimes without even know that I’m doing it. I’m working hard on that one.

    My favorite? Go with the flow. We tend to take ourselves so seriously. When I stop, breathe, and remind myself that in the scope of life, the stuff that I’m worrying about frequently is unimportant. It’s ongoing work.

    Thanks for a great post :) Fran
    Fran recently posted..20 Quotes To Inspire Faith …And Usher In Spring

    Reply
    • Hi Fran,
      Definitely time to outgrow our limiting beliefs. I think it happens to everyone though.

      Going with the flow is so important. We get worked up and serious about things and forget to enjoy our lives, don’t we?
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post
      xoxo,
      Angela

      Reply
  18. Sometimes it is also that we do not have enough information to make those decisions to move forward, and yet, instead of working on it, we just procrastinate and lose the moment. Yes, it is usually the fear of not doing the right thing. I do follow the idea of mind mapping in my notebook with a what if column and if not column. That usually helps me decide. In spite of this, I do experience regret when I knew I should do something, my head and my heart both told me, and yet something made me hesitate – and it becomes a lost opportunity. :-) Lucky those are fewer and farther between these days. Life is a good teacher. :-)

    Great tips in this post. I think the more faith we develop in ourselves, the easier it gets to step forward and do the things we truly enjoy without worrying too much.
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Sundays In My City – Stunning Statues

    Reply
    • Hi Vidya,
      I know the pain of regret of hesitating and losing out on an opportunity all too well! :-)
      Wish it weren’t so but as you say, Life is a good teacher.
      So true too. The more faith we develop in ourselves the easier it gets for sure.

      Reply

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