Jane was working with me on her marketing. She needed to do some research, choosing someone to send a letter to. She found several people she thought would be appropriate, but really struggled and struggled with how to choose between them. Finally, after a week of being unable to decide, she asked me how to make the choice.
My reply to her was:
Eenie, meenie, miney, mo…
Pull a name from a hat…
Get out of your head, Jane — you *think* too much, and it’s getting you stuck in all the wrong places.
There’s perfection, and there’s the fear of making a wrong choice. Both look pretty much the same, often feed each other (the concern about something not being perfect leads to the fear of making the wrong choice) and will get you stuck where there’s no need to get stuck. No one knows perfect, anyway, so good enough really is just fine. Don’t strive for perfection, or you’ll never stop striving.
In case the thought of “just choosing” is hard for you because it’s a muscle you haven’t yet built up, here are two ideas for how to choose when you can’t get out of your head enough to do it easily:
- You already have A or B. Now think of a third option. In that option could be the magic you’re looking for, but if not, it will likely help you see the original choices in a new light and make choosing between them easier.
- Just choose. Literally. Years ago, a mentor said something to me that I remember to this day when I find myself struggling to make a choice. He said, “When you get to a fork in the road, go left.” To do that, imagine yourself walking down a road. Suddenly, just a few feet ahead, a fork in the road appears, and sitting on each of the two paths, one of your choices (don’t get stuck trying to decide which one goes on the left and which goes on the right, as you do this visualization, your brain will just put one on each side of the fork for you if you don’t get in its way!). Choose the option on the left side of the fork.
If you’ve ever been taught to play Blackjack, and you’ve been told to always make the same choice (hit, or stay) on 15 so you don’t get stuck while playing, this is similar. Go into the exercise knowing which side of the fork you always choose, and choose whatever option sits on that side of the fork as you do the exercise.
Final tip: Know in your heart that you’re almost never stuck with any decision you make, so don’t let making a decision be a sticking point for you. Sometimes the choice will be the right one and sometimes not. Unless it’s actually a life-or-death situation (and we’re not usually making those types of decisions!), whatever choice you make will likely be just fine, and if it’s not, you can simply make another choice and go in a different direction. But for now, just choose so you can move forward.