Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 189, Indecision Drama.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. Do you have any indecision drama in your world, any indecision, anxiety, or fear, or stress, or struggle? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. And I will tell you because you can’t see me. One of my favorite things about working from home and having my own business is that I get to wear what I want and I don’t have to go out in the cold weather.
And so I am sitting here in my office wearing a Huggle? Do you have a Huggle? If you don’t have a Huggle, you should get one. I think I got it at Walgreen’s. I honestly don’t remember because I’ve had it for a couple of years. But it’s like a blanket sweatshirt and it has pouch pockets, and it’s fleece lined and it has a hood, and it goes all the way down to my thighs, and it is amazing. And right now I think the wind chill is negative 31 outside. So I’m looking out of my big four office windows and it is completely snow covered and they call it a snowsquall.
So it’s blizzardy conditions out there but I’m inside and warm and cozy in my Huggle – H-U-G-G-L-E. Nothing in it for me. If you get one, I have no affiliation with the company but dang, they’re cozy.
Alright, let’s talk about indecision drama. So it is very common, first of all, to have indecision drama in your mind especially as a widow. For many of us when it comes to big decisions we are used to having someone to bounce them off of. We are used to having the opportunity to talk through big decisions with our person and we don’t have that anymore. And so very often we are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves about the decisions that need to be made. And that’s not even to say we do that just for the big decisions. Sometimes we do it for the small decisions too.
So, very common, if you are struggling with decision-making, if you are feeling anxious about decisions you are not alone and that’s why I want to talk about it. And what I hope to eliminate with this podcast is the waste, the drama of indecision so that you can make faster decisions and get on with your life because indecision as I see it is an energy suck. It’s like an energy vampire. It’s kind of like worry. You might have heard me say that worried pretends to be necessary. Brooke Castillo taught me that. Worry only pretends to be necessary, but it’s totally not necessary.
It doesn’t actually help anything. And I think indecision drama is the same. It’s just an energy suck. It seems like, as we are contemplating a decision that that time is being well spent but often it is not. There is kind of a diminishing point of return where thinking about a decision and being in drama over it, being stuck in indecision just becomes a time suck, an energy vampire, it’s wasteful, doesn’t help us. And decision-making like anything will take as long as we let it.
You’ve probably heard of Parkinson’s Law. It’s the adage that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This is the reason why if you’re at work and you give yourself an hour for a meeting, you’re going to have an hour long meeting. If you give yourself a half an hour for a meeting, you’re going to have a half an hour meeting. If you give yourself 15 minutes you’re going to have a 15 minute meeting because what we do expands to fill the container and the same is true with decision-making.
So if give ourselves a long time to make a decision we’re going to take that full amount of time. If we give ourselves a shorter amount of time we can make the decision in a shorter amount of time. So if you are stuck in indecision drama, notice that when you don’t give yourself a timeline to make a decision, how much longer you stay stuck in indecision. And what gets us in indecision? What gets us in indecision is when we are thinking there is a right or a wrong decision to be made.
When we start thinking we don’t know what decision is right and what decision is wrong, or we have to find the right or wrong decision. That’s when we start feeling scared. That’s when we start feeling confused. And humans who are feeling scared and confused, don’t make good decisions. They don’t make some decisions. They start second guessing themselves. They start thinking about weighing all the options, making pro and con lists, going through all the worst case scenarios, catastrophizing. That makes us want to put our head in the sand. That makes us think we need more information.
We totally block ourselves from making the strong decisions that we are absolutely capable of making. And as I thought about this podcast episode and what I wanted to teach you. I think that all of this decision-making anxiety, this indecision drama. It is caused largely by four flawed premises.
The first one being that there is an objective right or wrong decision. That right or wrong as it relates to decision-making is actually a thing. It’s not. There is no such thing as an objective right or wrong decision. There are only decisions and then there are the thoughts that we have about the decisions that we make. So we make a decision and then we decide to believe that it is right or wrong, that’s it. If there were such a thing as right or wrong decisions then everyone in the world would agree.
Everyone in the world would say, “Yay verily, this is the list of right decisions. This is the list of wrong decisions.” But that list doesn’t exist, does it? We all think differently about decisions. What is right for me might not be right for you. And that doesn’t make me right and you wrong. It just means that we have different thoughts. So there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision.
The second flawed premise is that we believe that the outcomes of our decisions will cause our feelings. We think that based on what happens after we make decisions will determine how we feel. And because we’re feeling creatures we don’t want to feel ‘negative emotion’. We want to feel good. And if we think that our emotional outcomes are dependent upon the decisions we make, we’re going to spend a lot more time in indecision sifting, and sorting, and proing, and conning, and trying to figure out, what is the decision that will give me the outcome so that I can feel the way that I want to feel?
But here is the truth. The outcomes of your decisions do not cause your feelings, thank goodness. Thank goodness. Do you know what causes your feelings? What you think about the outcomes of your decisions. This is such an opportunity for your inner critic to show its ugly head and for you to totally believe what your inner critic has to tell you. You make a decision, maybe you don’t get the outcome that you had hoped for and then your inner critic shows up and says, “Well, that was stupid, way to go. Why did you do that? You should have known better. Are you ever going to get it right?”
I don’t know how your inner critic sounds but that’s how a lot of our inner critics sound. Those thoughts, those inner critic thoughts pop up and we believe them. And we don’t think they’re optional, but I promise you they are. Just because a thought such shows up, even if it comes from your inner critic, doesn’t mean we have to keep thinking it.
In Mom Goes On, we have a mindset and skills matrix and it has 24 mindset and skill areas that we’re working on during the six months. One of them is cognitive diffusion which means telling the difference between objective truth and our mind’s thought about what has happened, our mind’s thoughts, our cognitions. And knowing the difference because there is us the thinker and there are the thoughts we think and they are not the same. So you’re going to make a decision and then your mind is going to offer you some thoughts about it.
And those thoughts are going to cause some feelings but guess what? You get to choose which thoughts you keep thinking, and believing, and finding evidence for, and feeling the effect of. You are not your thoughts. Your decisions, the outcomes of your decisions do not cause your feelings. You get to create your feelings based on what you choose to believe, you are in charge. But as long as we believe that we have to feel particular ways because the outcomes of our decisions will cause those feelings, then of course, we’re going to keep trying to find the ‘right or wrong’ decision, but it’s just not true.
The third flawed premise kind of builds on the second one which is that we believe feelings are problems. And I just want to offer to you that they aren’t. We wouldn’t even worry so much about the outcomes of our decisions causing our feelings, which they don’t, but even if they did we wouldn’t worry so much about it if we didn’t believe that feelings weren’t problems. Feelings are just experiences to allow. They’re just a product of our thinking. They’re just vibrations in our body. They can’t actually harm us.
If we get good at normalizing what it feels like to process a feeling and we get good at allowing it and letting it flow through then we start to see. It’s just transitory. It’s not permanent. It can’t hurt you. It’s just vibrations in your body that flow through and then we stop seeing feelings as so powerful. We stop needing to avoid them so much. And we start seeing ourselves as more powerful.
And if the worst thing that can happen if you make a decision is a feeling, which PS is caused by your thinking, but if the worst thing that can happen when you make a decision is a feeling and you believe that you’re good at feelings than you don’t have to be so freaked out about making decisions. You don’t have to have so much indecision drama. Again, another thing that we work on in Mom Goes On, because I get it, it requires practice, it requires practice. But I just want to offer to you that it’s possible.
The fourth premise that is flawed, is that we believe more information will make a decision easier. And I want to offer that that is just a story that someone made up because I bet you’ve also had times where you’ve noticed that more information has not made a decision easier, that perhaps you have struggled even more when you have more choices and more information, that the opposite is true, and that you’ve struggled more. So the amount of information we have doesn’t make it easier or harder.
How we think about decision-making makes it easier or harder. So please don’t fool yourself into believing that you have to have more information and that more information will make a decision easier. Now, I am not anti information. Get the information but notice when you are feeling this dependency on more information and yet you get more information and more information doesn’t solve your problem. Notice when that is happening to you and contemplate the idea that maybe you don’t need more information. Maybe you just need to be brave and make a decision.
So here’s what I want to offer that you can do. First of all give yourself permission to believe that you’ve been wrong about the idea of right or wrong decisions. Give yourself permission to believe that right or wrong decisions are not actually a thing, that there are just decisions and then there is how you choose to think about the decisions once they have been made. And I realize that some of you listening to this are like, “Krista, that’s irresponsible.”
How irresponsible of me, but here’s what I’m going to tell you. You’re not going to just throw caution to the wind and make decisions that put you or your family in danger. Thinking about your decisions, being stuck in indecision in that miserable maybe is not adding value to your life. It’s making you feel bad. It’s not helping you. It’s wasting your time. It’s wasting energy. So the usefulness of deciding that there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision is what I am offering to you.
Has the idea of making a right or wrong decision, has that pressure that you’ve put on yourself to make a right or wrong decision, has it helped you? It hasn’t helped me. It’s caused me a lot of anxiety. If it’s helped you, well, bring it on, I guess. But it definitely hasn’t helped me. And if it isn’t useful, if it’s not serving you, if it’s taking you away from what you want in life then you have the ability to think about it differently. I also suggest that you decide in the present to speak kindly to yourself in the future.
There’s no decision that you ever make that requires you to be unkind to yourself ever. You can just decide. Yes, my brain might throw me some shade. My inner critic might show up and tell me some mean things. But when I notice that I choose to speak kindly to myself. I choose to be my own champion. I choose to be kind to myself and to not believe the mean voice. It is not the truth of who you are. It’s so optional. And you can decide that for yourself now. You can be like, “Self, never again.” When we notice the unkindness in our mind we will answer it with kindness, done.
Number three, you can be willing to feel any feeling. I’m telling you, it’s one of the secrets to the universe, is just being willing to let any feeling pass through you, which is why in Mom Goes On, that’s where we start. We always start with the feeling work, because if I can help you with this, I know it’s not easy to do by yourself. It’s a skill, it’s like a muscle that we have to develop which is why we do it as a group, why I help people do it.
But when you do it and you learn it, and you don’t believe that feelings are problems anymore, and you do see yourself as someone who is good at allowing feelings to flow through, you can start making decisions faster and with less anxiety.
Alright, number four, last thing I want to suggest that you do. I want to suggest that you decide how much time you’re going to give yourself to get more information. Remember, Parkinson’s Law, it’s going to expand to the container that you give it, decide in advance, how much more time am I going to give myself to collect information and make this decision? And then you make it because more indecision is not actually helping you. What it’s really doing is blocking you from making decisions. We can’t get more data until we make a decision sometimes.
You make a decision, you see what happens, you get more data, and you adjust. And that’s how we roll. So you decide, how long do I want to give myself to get more information and make this decision? And then you make the decision in that amount of time. And decision-making will start to get easier, alright?
And hey, if you’re really serious about loving your life again, if you are serious about learning to make strong decisions and getting out of indecision, getting a whole different pattern, a whole different relationship created with decision-making. Come and apply for my Mom Goes On program. I’m telling you, in six months we make big progress but you’ve got to apply if you’re serious. That’s what I have for you this week. I love you. Whatever you’ve got going on, remind yourself you’ve got this. Alright, take care and I’ll see you next week. Bye bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.