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The Paralysis Analysis of FEAR

Fear....such a tiny word, 4 letters only, with profound implications.  In Scrabble, FEAR would only get you 6 points, not enough to win the game.

But in life, we give FEAR so much more weight.  It drives our decisions, makes us lose what is ours to have, keeps us skimming the surface in relationships, experiences, choices.

I was having lunch with a friend a few weeks ago and we were talking about forks in the road and how to decide on something.  I was facing a big decision in my life and it was making feel all kinds of things.  At the core, I was feeling decision know, not deciding on anything.  When we are in that place, the outcome we desire looks impossible.  When we are at the fork in the road, we stand there for far too long, kicking pebbles around and weighing the pros and the cons of each and every possible nuance of the decision.  We camp out in exploration and visioning.  In a month, a year or years, we find ourselves still staring at the same fork in the road.

Fear is at the core of that paralysis: 

Fear of failure
Fear of unworthiness
Fear of the what ifs....

My friend shared with me that the very word, decision, means to cut.  When you decide on one direction, you leave the other direction behind.  That other direction may have opportunities or advantages to it.  We leave a job to jump into our entrepreneurial endeavors.  We leave the single life to trust into the relationship with another.  We leap into a travel opportunity and spend our resources towards that endeavor.  We move to another location and leave the existing comforts behind. 

Each decision has something in it that needs severing.  Each decision has a loss or losses to mourn.  Each decision leads down a path and away from another.  That is why making a decision can be so hard.  It has instant and long-term ramifications to it that we might not like, and then what?  What if we do not like aspects of the decision we made? What if we want to go back?

Generally speaking, there are very few decisions that we do make in life that are permanent.  We actually can go back, maybe not to the exact same place, but a place like it.  We leave a job to take action on our business...there are always more jobs out there.  We take a leap to explore a new love, to trust...there is always a chance it will not work, but better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, so says Alfred Lord Tennyson. The single life will still be waiting for you. 

To decide, to cut.

What decision are you making right now in your life?
How long have you been making it?
What losses will you have in each direction?
What are you willing to lose?
What are your ultimate gains in each of the decision?
What if failure was just another opportunity to learn?

What if the best possible outcome was right there waiting for you?

Some good ways to making a decision are:

Walk around for the next week in "as if".  As if you have made the decision, what would be different for you.

Set a decision making deadline.  I will decide to leave my job or stay by the end of this month.  Then explore the various aspects of the decision and out-of-the-box, flexible thinking. 

Most decisions are not as black and white as what we believe, the forks have variations to them.  I don't have to leave my job completely, I could go to part-time and explore a bit more.  I don't have to move in with him, I could move near and spend a few nights a week with him.

Each new decision leads to new confidence for the next one.

Christie Gause-Bemis, MSW, LCSW, Hot Pink YOUniversity  Helping women to reignite their passions, their purpose and their play!


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