How Make Meaningful Change and Stop Being Indecisive
Is there something – or someone – stopping you from making a meaningful life change?
I got a call yesterday from someone I used to work with who felt very indecisive about moving from one role to another. She’s sought advice from all corners and has gotten mixed responses. It’s left her stuck and second-guessing herself.
Maybe that’s you?
You might think the mid-way point in your working life is looking good, but some days you might think perhaps you could be more ambitious. You’ve done lots, but you’re missing something. You’ve got more in you. Yet even starting to explore that path would mean disrupting not only your existing comfortable life, it might also unsettle those closest to you. It might offend, create distance or even create arguments with people you’re close to and don’t want to lose. It doesn’t always follow that if they’re close to you they’ll empathise with you. Some people don’t ‘get it’ and don’t like when things might change. You are indecisive about what to do.
So better the devil you know?
Your status quo is nice and comfy, so even contemplating a significant change feels like a huge risk. Why upset the applecart at all if life is looking quite good? Because your needs are different to those of your partner, child, parent, close friend or long-term housemate. Your ambitions might not be quite as fulfilled as theirs seem to be.
The reality is, if you don’t even start to explore how a meaningful change might look, you’re not being true to yourself and your needs. If you do decide to explore, then what others think only truly matters if they are a life-partner. Your decisions affect their life, so ideally you’d create a joint plan for the future and understand how your ambitions and theirs can work together.
If you share your unhappiness or discontent with the status quo, that should get their attention. It’s important to state the problem before the solution otherwise they’ll just react to the solution and may want to resist the change. But if they ‘get’ the problem and want to fix it too, then they’ll welcome a solution.
If the person whose opinions you’re worried about isn’t your direct other half, then they think shouldn’t influence your decisions too much. It’s fine to listen to the perspectives of friends, family and colleagues, but don’t let other people’s fear of change stop you from living your life. If the person is an adult, you can have an adult conversation with them about your dissatisfaction and its impact on you both. If the person is under 18, then you get to make the decisions!
Part of the problem is thinking you have to live your life by democracy. You don’t! There’s no need to wait for validation or approval before you can move forward. The more people you ask, the more advice (often conflicting) you will have and the more confused you’ll be. Make your own decisions and take ownership for their outcomes. In these situations, what you truly need is an objective expert who can help you come to the plan you need to make the changes you want for the life you desire. It’s why coaching exists, because our friends and family are biased!
Here are 3 challenges you may be stuck on, and what you can do to move past them:
- You’ve recognised it’s time to step back and weigh up your options.
Whether to make the big change or not – maybe it’s a change of career, a need to travel more, to move location or start a major, potentially disruptive project.
If you’re stuck here, revisit this post: How to Make Big Things Happen
- You might be afraid to start the conversation with your life partner.
Perhaps your ideas are too ‘out there’ and wouldn’t fit their life-plan or fulfil them. In fact, it would probably disrupt the working life they’ve happily ‘built’.
If this is you, think about the joint impact of your current dissatisfaction and frame the discussion around that. Try not to approach the chat looking for their seal of approval to all your proposed changes. You need to co-create the outcome together. You’re looking for a win-win, not a lose-lose or a win-lose situation!
- You can’t picture the future landscape if you don’t make the change.
It can be difficult and overwhelming to consider all the ways a big change may affect you and the others in your life.
If this is where you’re leaning, then grab a piece of paper and actually write out the different scenarios and their impact by asking yourself the following:
– What will happen if I make the change?
– What will happen if I don’t make the change?
– What won’t happen if I don’t make the change?
Whilst pleasure and reward are important to us and can drive us forward, nothing is more motivating than PAIN. We are wired to move away from pain more effectively than towards pleasure. So imagining what won’t happen when you don’t change is a much stronger and lasting way to get yourself to take action.