A couple weeks ago I met with a coaching client who wants to change her life. She had a general idea of what she wanted–a more rewarding career in the medical field (nurse, pharmacy, etc.)–but struggled to move forward toward that goal. Analysis paralysis had set in. She didn’t know what her first step should be or how to take it.
My client was spinning her wheels in the mud of life and couldn’t see the way out! Over the course of several minutes and some questions, I helped her commit to research and register for a course at the local technical school that offered several options that would meet her needs.
She needed an outsider to give her the little push to move forward the then almost immediately fear set in.
Then came the questions.
Which field do I choose?
How do I know if I am making the right decision?
What if now isn’t the right time?
As she asked these questions (somewhat to me and somewhat to herself), I felt a bit of fear rising up in her. She had every right to be afraid. This decision, if followed-through, would impact the rest of her life. You may feel the same at the moment of decision. So, how do we get past the fear and start moving forward?
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
As simple as it may be, you just need to move forward. Determine the smallest possible decision you can make toward your goal and make that decision. Then the next and the next. As you continue to make small, infinitesimally small decisions, you will begin to build momentum toward your goal. Clearly this isn’t easy but by breaking up your goal into the smallest possible action you can take right now, you begin to overcome fear.
Back to my client
This process is what my client and friend is going through right now. She wants a new job in a new industry. That is a daunting task and extremely difficult to face. Although this happened quickly, she and I essentially took that goal and broke it down into the actions she needed to take now.
She had heard that a local university had a good nursing program. As we met, I did some research and found that getting a nursing degree from that institution was going to require more work and that wasn’t a realistic option right now. We then moved to a couple of the technical schools and found one that offered multiple programs she was interested in and all could be accomplished in less than a year.
Now that a school had been chosen, which program should she choose? She was stuck between three. I repeatedly told her that if she was interested in all three it really didn’t matter which one she chose. Understandably, she struggled with this because she wanted to make the right decision. We talked some more and she accepted that in choosing a program, she was really just choosing to get more information from the school and not committing her life to that program. This decision was changed from life-altering to information-gathering and much less fear-inducing.
The next day I asked if she had followed through with the commitment she had made–to get more information–and she had! Step one was done.
Fear continues to be part of this process and likely will be for some time but as Susan David has said, “courage is fear walking.”
Do you struggle with a huge decision and can’t seem to move forward? Contact me and I’ll help get you started.