Any major life change can be broken down into three primary phases:
Let's discuss “Decision.”
Whether the major life event is divorce, breakup, relocation, change of job/occupation, change in custody, dissolution of business partnership, etc. the questions at the decision phase often revolve around things like
- Should I stay or should I go?
- Is the status quo tolerable, or does something have to change?
- Do the benefits of changing outweigh the risks?
- Can I put this decision off until later or do I have to decide now?
- Can I change my mind?
Sometimes the decision phase is straight-forward and easy to make. This may be particularly true when the decision is made for you – you're served with divorce papers, a loved one dies, your children leave the nest, you get a major illness or injury, you experience a major change in your finances due to market forces (up or down), etc.
More often than not, however, when you are the one faced with the Decision, that process can be paralyzing. It's the time when you most need to be and feel Decisive, but you're like the proverbial deer in headlights.
This decision paralysis is largely the case because we as human beings simply do not have to make that many major life decisions over the course of our lives. We simply do not have the skills because it is not something we regularly practice (thank goodness). You wouldn't expect to be able to sit down at a piano and play an intricate Chopin piece without breaking it down note by note and practicing, would you? Same thing here. There are ways to break down the skills involved in decision-making, and then with practice of those smaller components you can become more decisive overall. Then you'll feel more ready to make the big decisions with confidence when they need to be made.
In case you feel like you are in a situation of feeling Decision Paralysis, New Leaf Family offers an easy online seminar on the topic of Decisions and Decisiveness. It's called From Stuck to Resolute. We created this after seeing people experiencing the types of indecision and indecisiveness reflected in the questions above, in a wide variety of circumstances. It's not a magic pill to make the questions go away. It's more like a personal trainer to get you to the gym and oversee your form as you do your reps. You have to do the work, but we are there to help steer you toward the results you want.
In the next blog, we will talk about the Transitions phase. In most circumstances it is the Decisions phase that is the most challenging for people, but it is the Transitions phase that is the most important. To oversimplify, at the Decision phase you are largely establishing what you don't want; at the Transitions phase, you are laying the groundwork for what you do want. A lot of people will stop putting in effort after the Decisions phase and sort of cast the future to the whims of Fate… and then wonder why they are back in the same place a year, or two years, or a decade, later. In the Transitions phase you have the opportunity to build toward the third phase, which is Equilibrium.