Decisions, decisions. For some making decisions appears deceptively easy. They know what they want and just get it or they quickly survey the options and make a choice. No angst, no sweat. At least that’s how it looks from the outside.
What if I told you that decision-making is something you can learn?
It’s a skill, not a personality trait. Sure, the way you look at things influences how easily you’re able to make decisions but how you look at things is, guess what? Also, learned! Correct!!
In order to untangle how you make decisions we first need to look at how you’re perceiving decisions in the first place. If you’re someone who has difficulty making decisions, it’s usually because you fall into one of the following camps:
Camp FOMO: Making decisions feels hard because you see so many options and possibilities available to you. How can you possibly choose? You’ll miss out! (or you’re afraid you will). With FOMO looming over your head, you make a choice, but you doubt it was the right one the whole time.
Camp Suckfest: Or you feel like making decision is hard because you’re faced with option #1, which is unpleasant to say the least, and option #2, which sucks more than option #1. In the face of this drudgery, you just put off deciding all together.
Camp Combo: Depending on the type of decision or the mood you’re in you flip between Camp FOMO and Camp Suckfest-style decision making styles.
Which one are you? Don’t hem and haw around about this decision, you already know right off the bat. Go with it sister. You are not going to miss out and there aren’t any sucky choices in this decision, only wins. Be honest with yourself and pick a Camp so you can get on with it. (Hint: you will get tips for all three Camps so you can apply them all if you want).
Did you make it through your decision okay? I was right here with you the whole time and I set you up for a win. Feel the good vibes right now. You did it.
All right Campers, let’s dive into what’s actually going on in each Camp.
Camp FOMO Unlocked:
If you’re in Camp FOMO you have got some great things going for you. You see possibilities which is a wonderful thing. In fact, it’s incredible and I want you to celebrate this fact right now. [insert party balloons here] Your amazing brain is open and creative and that’s a thing to be happy about my friend.
Where you’re getting tripped up is thinking that you must survey all the choices in detail. What if you don’t need to do that? Surveying all the details of every possible option available to you is wearing you out sister friend. You think it’s serving you but it’s actually overstimulating you to the max. Am I right or am I right?
The other thing that’s happening in Camp FOMO is a heaping dose of comparison-itis. You look at everyone else and compare yourself to them and find yourself coming up short. I have to tell you; comparison is a losing game every single time.
Why does comparison make us so miserable? Because whether we think we’re better or worse than the person we’re comparing ourselves to, the feelings this comparison thinking brings up are based on fear, not love. And when we’ve got fear running our mind we will feel out of alignment. If not today, someday soon.
You are unique and the details of someone else’s life are never really known, are they? What appears as an “overnight” success is really someone working for ten years before they get noticed in their field. Olympic athletes work tirelessly for years to make their gold medal moves look easy.
Time to let Camp FOMO go.
Camp FOMO Solution:
Recognize how worn out you are by your decision-making strategy. The details and comparison-itis has you ragged around the edges and unhappy. Feel how heavy and what a bummer it is to keep making decisions this way.
Decide that the cost of Camp FOMO is too high and you’re willing to do something different. You’re willing to put in some effort and make changes that will pay off in spades. (keep reading for more instructions on what those changes could be).
At the end, we’ll go over what to do step-by-step to make these changes.
Camp Suckfest Unlocked:
If you’re in Camp Suckfest procrastination and pessimism have become your unintentional BFFs. You used to be able to see the “bright side” and then something happened in your life that made it really hard to keep the rays of sunshine in view. Maybe it was a major betrayal in your marriage, being laid off at your job, or a sequence of smaller events that piled up on you.
It’s possible your induction into Camp Suckfest had nothing to do with an event in your life but it was more related to your internal world and feeling like you are drowning in a backlog of emotions, stress, and unfulfilled hopes. This scenario is just as valid my friend.
Whatever the case may be, you are here, stuck between a rock and a hard place. I see you.
Where you are off track is, there’s more than one way to look at your situation. You just haven’t fired your tour guides (procrastination and pessimism) because they’re so familiar to you. Even though they make you feel gross, they’re familiar. And the human brain loves familiarity, did you know that?! It thinks familiarity is efficient! So, that’s how you got trapped here. Let’s get you out.
Camp Suckfest Solution:
Recognize your negative thinking for what it is – thinking. The good news is you created those thoughts and you can create new ones. I know, easier said than done, but I’m going to help you here in a minute. What I want you to do right now is recognize how your negative thinking has created Camp Suckfest. Those negative thoughts put up the tents and then sent the storm to rain on them.
Now, picture yourself in a soggy, muddy, Camp Suckfest tent. Just for a minute, feel how terrible it feels to be here down in your bones. Is it worth it? It’s not is it?!
Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest that you need to think happy thoughts, and everything will be okay. That doesn’t work.
What you do need to do is decide that you are in charge of your Camp Suckfest thoughts and decide you’re willing to put in some effort to change them. Are you in? Good! Let’s get on with it Camper.
Understand that procrastination and pessimism are fear in disguise. Ask yourself, what am I afraid of? What’s actually holding me back?
Is it that I’ll make a wrong choice? What would be so terrible about that? This is what you’re actually avoiding.
Is it that someone might judge me? Okay, if that happened how would you feel? This is what you’re trying desperately not to feel.
It’s okay, you can do this, I promise.
Just like I said for Camp FOMO scroll down for step-by-step instructions on how to take action.
You are the fun folks who run back and forth between Camp FOMO and Camp Suckfest. Unable to decide which misery is your favorite Camp Combo people make decisions even more fun with decision moodiness.
Camp Combo Unlocked:
You’ve already read Camp FOMO and Camp Suckfest Unlocked and they should have shed some light on what’s behind your choices.
Camp Combo Solution:
See how the Camp FOMO and Camp Suckfest solutions apply to you as well. Be ready and willing to take responsibility for running between camps, the drama it creates, and let it go.
Okay Campers, here’s where your willing hearts and minds come to take action on your decision-making missteps and turn it into an easy process.
Here’s how to make decisions easy (or easier):
- Get Quiet: take some time to meditate, do some deep breathing, and clear your head. No forcing yourself here, just be present.
- Get Real: what do you want? Just between you and you, what decision would you make if you could do whatever you wanted to do? Leave others out of it for a minute. (this is not being selfish, this is listening to your inner voice, the one you’ve been drowning out with FOMO, Suckfests, and Combo-ing. It’s her turn to speak now)
- Get Writing: Write it down. Write down what you want, what you feel, what you would do if you could have or do anything you wanted. Let it flow out onto paper.
- Get Curious: Read what you wrote without judgment of yourself or what you want. Pretend it’s someone else’s writing if you need to, just observe the decision as neutrally as possible.
- Get Honest: How can you have as much of what you want as possible? Will it hurt someone else if you make your decision this way? If the answer is no, you get to have it. If the answer is yes, how can you alter it in a way that doesn’t hurt others but is still satisfying to you?
- Get Moving: Move in the direction of your decision, of what you want, without looking over your shoulder. You’ve done the groundwork now, live it out.
You did it!
You were brave and let your old ways of doing decisions go. You invested in yourself and stepped into what you really want. This is so brave and I’m happy for you.
This new way of making decisions might take some getting used to, that’s normal. You’ve been doing it the other way a long time. Keep practicing.
Listening to ourselves is a practice that never gets old and is never self-centered. When we truly listen to ourselves, only then, can we truly listen to others, that’s how it works. We’ve just been taught to do it the other way around. You’ll get it. Once you do, the decisions flow, the energy is easy, you feel like yourself because..
You finally are.
Entrepreneur | Life Coach
Laurie Carlson is a life coach for Empaths and Highly Sensitive women who are tired of living in overwhelm and exhaustion - they are ready to have a vivacious life from their strengths. Laurie brings her over 30 years of experience as a Psychiatric Nurse, Social Worker, and corporate training Project Manager to her work as a coach. She has a Bachelor's degree in Counseling and Social Work, a Master's degree in Organizational Development and Leadership, and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.
Laurie is an Emotional and Intuitive Empath and Highly Sensitive Person herself so she has a keen awareness of what the Sensitive life is like. She's been coaching for seven years and the sole focus of her practice is helping Empaths and HSPs find a path to fulfilled living. Laurie is also a mom to four Highly Sensitive almost grown kids which is the adventure of a lifetime. When she's not working, she likes to try any recipe that has lemon as the main ingredient, reads historical fiction and self-help books, and is learning all she can about her Danish ancestors' tradition of hygge (or 'coziness').
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