Let’s talk about decisions! There… I sounded decisive when I said that!
But seriously, I want to talk about a particular part of the decision-making process today, and that’s the bit immediately after the tough call has been made, as this is where a lot of people come unstuck.
You might know that last year I wrote a short book on working with your comfort zone and knowing when to make that big decision (or when not to). So I feel I’ve covered the earlier stages of decision-making pretty well! But another problem area I’ve noticed is the period just after a decision; which can either feel like a honeymoon phase, or like a big cloud of doubt and fear!
For most people it’s the latter, and something I like to call ‘The Panic Zone’!
Making the decision is big… but sticking with that decision when the doubting little voices in your head start nagging is big too.
The bottom line is that making your decision successful required you to be in with both feet – despite what you may think about ‘hedging your bets’ or ‘having a foot in each camp’.
We are all taught from a young age not to put all our eggs in one basket. And there is some real sense in this. But there is also the energetic or subconscious angle to this too, where you need to feel 100% committed to your new path, otherwise you can talk yourself out of it again.
Keep your plan b in the shed
To be clear, I’m not suggesting you throw your plan b out. It’s important to have something to fall back on if plan a goes wrong. However, it’s a trap to keep your plan b too close because it reminds you constantly of any doubts you have, and puts your focus in the wrong place.
If an analogy helps you, then try thinking of your plan b as something you keep in the shed. It’s not in your house, always in your peripheral vision, but it’s not going out in the trash either. It’s safely tucked away in the shed, out of sight and out of mind while you focus on your main plan. However, should disaster strike, plan b is just at the end of your garden, safely tucked away for you should you need it.
Confirm with your actions
With your plan b in your metaphorical shed, it’s time to make your new path your primary focus.
It’s often said that the best way to achieve a goal is to make it your main or only focus. While we can’t exist in a vacuum and just take 6 months off from being a parent (or any other distractions), we can make plan a our primary focus.
At least this way you won’t be diluting the energy you put into it by plan b stealing your attention away. You left that in the shed, right?
Navigating ‘The Panic Zone’
You are going to need that focus to navigate your way through the panic zone. Here’s why.
After you’ve made that big decision to change something, perhaps using a pros and cons list, those cons don’t just evaporate. They are still there; both in reality, and in your memory.
It’s human nature for us to question ourselves, even to the point of losing sleep over something. It’s also human nature to feel pulled back towards the ‘safety’ of your life before the decision.
That safety was free of panic, but it was full of something else (maybe stress or dissatisfaction). So keep that in mind too.
Above all, it really helps to have someone to keep you accountable. Pick somebody who isn’t too close to you, or who doesn’t have anything to gain from you going back on your goal. And also consider someone who will tell you if you are heading for any real danger, financially or otherwise.
Just remember to keep both your feet pointing in the direction you want to go in.