The Secret to Being a Decisive Person
"What is the advantage of staying blocked, Susie?"
Whaaat? I thought. Advantage of being blocked? There is none! Zip! Zero. Is he crazy? Man, I need a new coach.
Until… I thought about it. Really thought. After some contemplation, I knew it: Being blocked was a wonderful excuse not to take any action. Meaning that if I could not make a decision and act, I could not fail. My "block" was a defensive emotion to keep me safe. Even though inaction is never safe, really (my logical mind knows it's a form of action too—often the worst kind), my subconscious knew the decision was a big one for me, so it put a block in my thinking.
Being blocked was a wonderful excuse to not take any action.
"I guess the upside would be that if I don't make a choice, I can't screw things up… at least in the short-term," I said.
Now, as a coach myself, I have since used this question. Here are some ways it's popped up:
What's the advantage of not getting healthy?
Deeper answer: If I'm overweight and single, it means that's why I'm single. It means there's nothing more serious wrong with me.
What's the advantage of comparing yourself with your college friends (and feeling competitive and distant from them)?
Deeper answer: If I keep them at arm's length, they won't see my flaws. I feel behind and sad and I don't want them to really see me (it ain't all pretty).
What's the advantage of not asking for a raise?
Deeper answer: I don't want to be rejected… and if I get the outcome I want, my husband might resent my new income. He's already insecure, and I don't want to rock the boat at home.
What's the advantage of not confronting your controlling sister?
Deeper answer: I don't feel good enough to stand up for myself. Maybe I'm not good at making my own decisions, perhaps I'd actually be lost without her... I don't actually feel strong or capable running my life on my own.
Do any of these sound familiar?
Where might you be blocked right now? Think about it quietly for three or four minutes. Maybe it's a recent block (an opportunity that's just arisen) or an old block (being stuck in a destructive relationship for five years).
-What's the upside of this block/problem/issue?
-What might be keeping me here, if I really think about it and am honest with myself?
-What could happen if I lose my belief about this block? How can I see this situation or problem differently?
-And finally, if I loved and approved of myself, how would this problem change?
Awareness about our beliefs—and the truth behind them—is the first step in reducing their power over us.
What can you start to see differently now?
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!