Analysis paralysis: How to stop it
If you’re coaching with me, chances are, you’ve been thinking about a problem quite a lot. You’ve had the same thoughts whirring around in your head and your brain has been using the same equations to try and solve them. This is partly why you feel stuck.
Your thoughts could be swirling so much that they are keeping you up at night. I imagine they just won’t stop. A bit like a hamster on a little hamster wheel. I imagine you think you’re the only one. I imagine you feel lost about what to do.
I imagine there are more than two voices that are chattering non-stop trying to get your attention too. Two is never enough for the clients I coach!
These conversations have probably been going on for a while and quite frankly, you’re probably exhausted from having them. If this sounds a little like you, here are some things you can do that might help.
Create different characters for each inner voice
Firstly, see if you can separate these conversations out into different personalities or characters. They all have something to say and they may all have different beliefs, values, ideas, priorities and priorities. See if you can get to know these different sides a little better.
Once you’ve done that, grab a pen and paper and draw a little image that represents each one. Now write their key comments around their image. Then ask them what they are scared of and ask them what they need?
Then see if there are practical steps you can take to meet that need. Maybe one voice is scared you’ll fail and be rejected by those you care about. Or maybe a parental voice is telling you that you need to save all your money as that’s safer. What could you do to reassure this doubt or fear?
If you can’t meet the needs or address the concerns of all the voices, then pick the two strongest characters and see if they can have a conversation with each other.
You can either physically write out their conversation or send voice notes to and from yourself. You can do this by creating a WhatsApp group with just yourself. Yes, I know this sounds eccentric but it’s a great way to get the thoughts clear.
Whatever works for you!
Remind yourself that you don’t know the outcome of every decision
We’re often scared of making a decision because we don’t want to “get it wrong” but, in reality, often even our wrong decisions can turn out OK. This is because humans are learning machines we can adapt and grow through our experiences.
To help your brain understand this, make a list of 10 things you learnt from your biggest “failure”. Also, list 10 positive things that came from the experience. Maybe you met new people or learnt a new lesson that encouraged you to apply for a different job or to negotiate more at work. Maybe the break-up helped you finally face and look after your hurt inner child and learn about attachment styles. Maybe you learnt to manage rejection and failure better.
Once you’ve made your list, take a step back and see if you can see how you evolve, learn and adapt with every decision you make.
Know your values
Lastly, it helps to know who you are and what you stand for. Yes, this is always growing and evolving but you can only go off what you know about you so far and who you want to be in the world right now. Knowing the legacy you want to leave, how you want to show up and what matters to you can often help ground your decisions. A starting point for this is asking yourself which three adjectives most accurately describe you when you feel you are the truest version of yourself.
Give it a go! If you’d like more exercises then contact me and I can send you my free “Find your purpose” worksheet.