Do you know that draining feeling of being stuck because you can’t make a final decision on something? You keep ping-ponging back and forth between two choices or you agonize over the research or the details? It’s this classic overthinking which leads to limbo. It’s what I call the Wishy-Washy Gremlin.
Recently, I’ve been wishy-washy over picking two much-needed appliances because I got overwhelmed and worried about making the wrong decision. Meanwhile, I’ve spent months tolerating a stove with one broken burner because I couldn't decide on what I want.
As I said it out loud, I could see the ridiculousness of it all. I could see the energy, stress, and time I spent on NOT making a decision, which I rationalized the hell out of for months and months. I could have had a fully working stove and a new refrigerator months ago if I had chosen.
(Shaking fist in the air) Damn you, Wishy-Washy Gremlin- you got me again!
And while this is a seemingly simple example, I have seen my clients get to the point of suffering by not taking action. Do you have anything like that going on in your life? A decision that needs to be made that you keep pushing off or stressing out about?
Recently a client asked me how to know if it’s the Wishy-Washy Gremlin or just not the right time to decide. When it’s not the right time, I have an inner, peaceful sense of knowing that the answer is coming and I can easily allow the decision to rest.
When it’s the Wishy-Washy gremlin, the feeling is uneasy. I might end up feeling stuck, stagnant, annoyed, frustrated, obsessed, resentful, distraught, or feeling sorry for myself. There’s some part of me resisting the decision because if I made it, I’d have to move forward. Underneath the indecision is a fear about what making the decision and unlocking action will mean. (Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of visibility, fear of getting it wrong, fear of not being enough.)
So what do you do when the Wishy-Washy Gremlin is operating?
Here are a couple of ideas.
1. DECIDE to decide. Yep. I first make the decision to make the decision I’ve been wishy-washy about.
2. ASK what do I really need to make an informed decision? Maybe it’s to create some space and give myself time to think it through, gather data or research, explore, figure out the real options, try things on and see how they feel. (If you tend to be a perfectionist, you might want to give yourself a time limit boundary ).
3. Work with the underlying fear. Sometimes I journal, sometimes I talk it out with a coach, mentor, friend, or my husband Matt. It’s amazing how saying it out loud can create clarity and dissolve the power of the fear by seeing the stories I’ve told myself. This helps me shift my mindset.
4. GET clear on the VISION. What is the ultimate outcome I desire for what I'm deciding?
5. I remember that MY DECISION ACTIVATES THE VISION. Getting into action and making the decision creates the momentum to move toward what it is you want. I feel the relief and the celebration of making the damn decision! I trust that even if the road toward the vision isn’t straight, that detours may happen, at least I’m moving in that direction and not staying stagnant. The activated vision combined with action calls in the magic of the universe.