Today we’re talking about why it’s so hard to make decisions. Whether it's which restaurant to pick for dinner, which outfit to wear to the party, or what your next career move is, I've got you covered.
In this video I share two reasons why you're struggling to make decisions. With these reasons in hand, I trust that you’ll get to the root of what causes you to prolong your decision-making. Awareness is the first step to change.
Are you a dissatisfied professional craving an exceptional career, business, and life? Are you capable of so much more than you're currently living? I can help you find the vitality and joy missing from your life by cultivating admirable personal wellness. Let's start with how you communicate. Receive my free virtual class How to Become a Confident and Assertive Communicator.
"Oh, you're just a [glorified] secretary." A co-worker once said this to me when I was as an administrative professional. Now, that comment hurt.
Part of it was my immediate reaction to the outdated and sexist overtone of this person's opinion. The other part of it was the very real internal conflict I experienced in having a profession that didn't match the way I viewed myself on the inside. I also had a profession that was out of alignment with the work I wanted to be doing in the world.
I saw myself as an intelligent, confident, talented, capable, creative Ivy League graduate who happened to have this admin job as I worked to create my parallel careers in life coaching and dance/entertainment. I didn't necessarily want to be working in admin, but there I was. So I chose to make it work.
First, there's nothing wrong with having any kind of job title - as long as you want that job and it works for you, just as much as you work for it. But if it's not working, if you still feel unseen and overlooked, then we've got a problem. Maybe one time the name wasn't a big deal, but now it's really bothering you. You feel that you can, and do, bring so much more to the table than this one- or two-word label captures.
My fellow professional, you're experiencing cognitive dissonance. It's when you have conflicting beliefs about yourself. On the one hand you have this job title and to some degree you agree that you are this title. On the other hand, you're absolutely not that job title. You believe you are something else. And you want to live into this something else more and more. Hello internal conflict!
(Sidenote: Here's a quick way to tell how you really feel about your job title. When you think of the name, do you experience pride or shame? Do you slump your shoulders and frown or do you lift your head as if wearing a crown?)
But it's just a name. What's the big deal? You are not your job. This shouldn't matter, right?
Forget should or shouldn't. This is about what does or doesn't affect you.
It matters because this boils down to identity. You spend so much time in your job, doing the roles of that job. So even if you don't consciously take on the identity of that job name, you are, in fact, adopting that job as part of your identity. It also matters because how you and others view you may adversely impact your job performance.
I think this experience might be more common than people admit or acknowledge. I went through my fair share of this, until I decided who I was, who I wanted to be, and showed up in that way. Eventually my job title changed to match this decisive version of me. In fact, my internal conflict and cognitive dissonance dissipated before the original job label did. And it can for you too.
Know this: You're not alone.
Know this: You can dramatically alter your experience without anything on the outside changing first. Here's how.
Write down every task, responsibility, and way of being that goes above and beyond the job description you were originally hired for. Write down every way in which you are proud of how you show up, e.g. You proactively present three solutions for every problem you bring to your boss.
Write down every accolade a colleague has shared with you. Acknowledge everything.
Reflect on the inventories you've written. Marinate in the proud, accomplished, and successful feelings that emerge. THIS is your identity. Bring this essence with you to work everyday. Let this energy fuel your daily actions. It soon becomes crystal clear that you've outgrown the original job title.
Do you know what time it is now?
Time to request your promotion!
The internal conflict you experienced before was just growing pains. You couldn't articulate it then, but you just needed to shed some old skin. As you fed and nourished yourself with your preferred identity, your self-perception grew. And now you're ready to wear the skin, to wear the clothing, that actually fits.
I went through this process of filling myself up first, of bringing my best self to the table and the natural next step was to get a promotion. I created a case for it. I presented it to my manager. They initially said, "I'll take this into consideration." I followed up. I was told, "Not yet." I kept following up. I kept showing up above and beyond that official job title. Then my manager said, "Yes, and I've got something better for you." My new job title was a step up from the one I asked for and my new compensation rate was higher than I had requested.
Decide who you are. Be that. The job title will follow.
Do you show up to your desk everyday thinking about how much you don’t like your job, worried that you’re not making the impact you want to make with your gifts and talents? This is what I help clients with. I help professionals take control of their work life and feel confident about the direction their career is going while experiencing fantastic health and great relationships. I’m going to help you figure out how to view your job and career through the lens of possibility and opportunity instead of dread and disappointment. Book a call with me.
What do you when you feel like your job is a hindrance to, rather than an expression of, living the life you want? In this video, I discuss the difference between having a job vs. having a career. I also share a simple sentence you can start using immediately that will help you transform your lackluster job situation into an experience of purpose, connection, and power.
If you resonate with this message and desire personalized guidance to transform your job, reach out to me. I work with clients one-on-one for an entire year to create careers they love without sacrificing their social lives and personal wellness.
One of the things I love so much about working out is the abundant training ground it provides for all areas in life. In this video, I show you how to apply the discomfort you experience from exercise to fuel your career growth.
Contact me if this message resonates with you. I have a knack for helping people clarify what they want, create goals based on those desires, and then chunk 'em down to bite-sized action steps, all while managing their mind to keep motoring when the tides get rough.
How do you believe in yourself?
Try practicing the four sentences above.
Believing in yourself doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing-you-do-or-you-don't ordeal. Belief can occur on a continuum. It can be a process of development, a process of unfolding.
Stage 1: I can do it.
Start by whispering the words I can do it OR I'm willing to do it. I love throwing the words I'm willing to in front of any belief I want to adopt, but I'm not fully on board with yet. If I'm willing doesn't work for you then try I think I can do it. The key is to massage your mind from the territory of not-gonna-happen to the realm of possibility.
I love taking daily walks. A couple of months ago, I noticed that I reached the same street 15 minutes into my walk. Almost every time. I looked ahead and realized that I was three (long) blocks away from a main road. I felt this desire emerge from my gut. That desire articulated itself into an idea: I wonder if I can reach that street down there in the same amount of time it takes me to get here.
I immediately psyched myself out with thoughts like:
Well, that means I'd have to run or jog and I'm not a runner.
I hate that long distance running stuff.
Though I am a dancer, dance educator, former fitness instructor, and all-around fitness enthusiast, running/jogging for long stretches is a whole 'nother beast. In the past I couldn't stand the piercing lactic acid in my shins nor the continual boob bounce.
Yet the desire grew. I couldn't ignore it. So with each subsequent daily walk I mentally calculated how many blocks I would have to jog or run to reach my desired destination in 15 minutes.
Well, I could alternate jogs with walks.
I don't have to jog or run the whole way.
I can make this more enjoyable. I can add skipping and galloping.
My doubt and disbelief turned into I think I can do this the more I thought about doing it.
Stage 2: I'm doing it.
There comes a point when can must turn into will. Possibility turns into decision. Decision does not mean action must follow immediately. You can still work your way into actually doing. But you're a step closer because you made the decision to do it. Pay attention to the energy rush you may feel when you tell yourself that you're doing it. Even if you don't do it that red hot moment.
As I kept thinking about this desire to reach that particular street in 15 minutes, I began telling myself I'm doing it days before I ever attempted the trip. Then one day a few weeks ago, I started doing it. I made the trip palatable by alternating jogs, brisk walks, slower walks, skipping, and galloping until I reached that main street in under 15 minutes.
Stage 3: I did it.
What once was a source of disbelief is now a reality. You can unequivocally say that you've done the thing. It's a fact. Feel that burgeoning confidence. Delight in the accomplishment.
Now next time the idea emerges to do the thing again you may hear a voice inside say, "But, but, but, can we? I don't know." Just simply answer, "Well, I've already done this."
Feel the certainty of that statement settle in. Watch the doubter hush the fug up.
Damn, it felt good to have made it to that street in under 15 minutes knowing how far outside my comfort zone I had to go in order to make it happen. Little did I know this was the beginning of a shift in my identity. And I didn't stop there. Since I had time to spare, I challenged myself to see if I could make it back home in another 15 minutes. I was breathing heavily and feeling the lactic acid. But the desire was still strong. So I alternated my way back with jogging, brisk walks, skips, and gallops. I made it to my block so quickly that I chose to do an extra venture around the block before heading back inside. Wow.
Stage 4: I'll do it again.
Stage 3 and 4 go together beautifully. You've done it; therefore, you'll do it again. If that feels off for you, then replace "will" with "can". I can do it again. I didn't include the "can" in the above graphic because I'm all about cutting to the chase in this post. Either works. As long as you keep moving forward.
Next time you get the idea to do that thing, expect the fear to arise. No biggie. You'll do this again. Fall into the arms of the expanded confidence developed in stage 3. You're doing this again. Period. And then have your feet follow your mind.
My daily outings can no longer be classified as just walks. Who knew this would be a thing for me. I have easily traveled a block past that initial target street and made it back home within 30 minutes, sometimes under. My tolerance for jogging and running have skyrocketed to the point where I enjoy it. I'm even going to get another pair of running shoes. What?! Who is this person?
It's me. Told you my identity shifted.
These are my stages of belief. What other stages have you experienced? What other stages would you add to this post?
Would you like to discover what else you can achieve when you strengthen your belief in yourself? I’ve got you covered with tools, strategies, and mindshifts in my book Feel Good Kick Ass Confidence: Using Your Body to Rock Your Life.
My name's Valerie and I'm a Certified Life Coach with a background in teaching dance as well as facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development conversations and workshops.