the overwhelming exhaustion of indecision

So…you’ve got to make a decision. And…you kind of notice that you really don’t want to.

All this talk of liberation, fighting for freedom, and on and on in our culture–and most of us don’t really (not really-really-really) want to make decisions. It shows up in a powerless choice of words, words that absolve someone of responsibility for their own actions and decisions:
 

“He made me so mad.” (No one can ‘make’ you mad; that’s your chosen reaction among a sea of possible reactions).

“I come from a dysfunctional family.” (You and me both, sister–but since you seem able to articulate that so well, it probably means that you have enough personal power to transcend it).

“But what do I DO?” (The question I ask most and with annoying repetition when I’m ruminating on a problem and the truth is, I know what my options are but just kinda-sorta-don’t-wanna settle on one. Guilty as charged).

 

We don’t want to make decisions for one tiny-big reason:

Decisions feel final.

Never mind if it’s not actually the truth, and most decisions have some degree of reversal to them. Never mind if “breaking up with him” might really mean that a year later y’all are hot n’ heavy, again, but better off for the wear and tear because you’ve integrated a few life lessons.

Never mind if quitting your day job to launch your life coaching practice might actually mean that you could get your old job back if things don’t go well.

Decisions feel final, and when something feels final, we fear dealing with its consequences.

This causes major overwhelm.

All that time and energy spent in a space of, “Well, I’d really like to do that,” followed by “Ugh, but I don’t want to deal with [some part of doing that],” creates a tug o’ war effect, the tension getting tighter.

 
Tug of War
Pretty soon, it’s easy to tell yourself, “Well, if X happens, then I’ll choose Y,” but then things get more complicated: X does happen, and suddenly…you still kinda sorta don’t want to choose Y. Perhaps then it’s, “Well, I know that X happened, but let me wait just another day to tell so-and-so that I’ve decided.”

Putting off telling someone? Another sign that you’re not really grounded in the decision (and deep down, you know it!).

It’s madness! And one of the places where this plays out the most is with factors that can’t be controlled, such as what someone else is going to say or how they’re going to react, fluctuations in the economy, and the like.

An example: I recently struggled with making a decision that had both economic ramifications AND “how will they react?” drama. The options kept playing in my head: how lucky I was to have the opportunity, how it could be a great platform, how it helped my career, how it could bring some cash flow my way…okay, then. I’d do it!

But–What about the dates and times that were tricky, given other things going on in my life? What about the feelings of constriction around the content I’d be working with? What about the resistance I kept feeling to the commute? and most importantly–What about the nagging sense I had that I was doing this because I wanted to be liked, more than to help my career?

My inner critic was having a field day. On one hand, I had Ego gratifications that–just like you–I’ve had several decades of conditioning to want. Cash. Being the center of attention. Pleasing others. So hard to resist.

Not doing it? No cash, no attention, and someone might be mad at me.

On the other hand, the voice that was yelling the loudest was, “You know that you’re largely doing this because you want to be liked, and that feels so fucking out of integrity, Kate.”

 

Ending Overwhelm, Practicing Courage

These moments? This is the heart of practicing courage. This, right here–this moment when it’s the hard choice between the easy route with all of the conditioned rewards, and the harder route that doesn’t make logical sense but that feels more right, in your heart.

How you learn to practice courage in such moments is a journey, and it’s layered, and it’s unique to you. Nab the Courageous Living Program if you’re ready to learn the tools. At the end of the day, I chose Door #2, and released the commitment to the project.

And that–that is where my overwhelm ended.

It didn’t end because I made the “right” choice. It ended because I made a choice.

The more you put off making decisions, the more overwhelmed you are. It’s less overwhelming to simply make a choice and deal with the consequences, than it is to continue to hang out in that place where you’re constantly debating for yourself, “What do I do?”

Had I chosen Door #1, I already know what I would have done. I would have looked for how I could make that choice one that was fully in integrity with me. I would have looked for how I could do what was being asked without caring what anyone else thought, thus removing the obstacle of “wanting to be liked.”

It’s not about which choice you make, if you know how to make the choice your own.

–Click here to tweet: It’s not about which choice you make, if you know how to make the choice your own. http://clicktotweet.com/ekJb4

That’s the bottom line. That’s personal power: knowing that whatever choice of action you decide upon, you can handle the consequences or challenges that arise. That, right there, is practicing courage in the face of fear.

responsiveness

You’re tired of putting out blog content and not seeing it turn into anything. You want responsiveness.

You’re tired of spending time on social media, and not seeing anyone comment back. You want responsiveness.

And–during the weeks when getting a newsletter out the door doesn’t feel too overwhelming? You’re tired of sending something out and hearing crickets chirping. You want responsiveness.

Everything that we do, be it business-related or identified as focused on personal-growth, really comes down to wanting to be:

  • connected (to our own values, and to others),
  • expressed (creatively, or as part of our vision for our lives), and
  • effective (we want to see that the investment of our time has an impact, and particularly in business, we’d like to do work we love AND pay the bills).

 

Most of the time, my head and heart are planted firmly in the world of personal growth, helping people create lives that are bold, confident, and courageous. A few years ago, other coaches started to ask me for business help, and that lead to the creation of The Coaching Blueprint.

In 2012, that also lead to the creation of The Blueprint Circle, a smaller and more intensive short-term mastermind.

It’s been through examining the “why” behind how I run a business, and helping other people to grow their coaching practices, that I’ve learned that the two are not really separate.

 

blueprint-circles When thinking about a theme for this year’s Blueprint Circle, the word “responsiveness” kept coming to me.

Businesses can’t operate if the efforts are one-sided. If there’s a lot of content being churned out by a coach, but it’s not going anywhere? That’s one-sided, and it fails.

Oh–and–it exhausts you, and with enough time, it gets harder and harder not to feel the sting of that.

I’ve opened up registration for the 2013 Blueprint Circle, a 30-day intensive for life coaches (acupuncturists and others who are in client-based businesses are welcome to inquire to see if the Circle would be right for them).

Registration closes on the hard-and-fast deadline of April 26th, and I’ll be sending out pre-course work to early adopters within the next week, to give them something extra to start getting acquainted and settled. You’ll receive the first week’s lesson on April 29th, with our first group call on Thursday, May 2nd.

 

What are the pre-requisites?

#1: Commitment. You’ve got to commit to yourself and your business, to get something out of this process.

#2: A functioning website with a functioning blog (you’ll need that to complete practices related to this process).

blueprint-circles Click the button to learn more about the course, including how each week is broken down with a specific focus to help your business. Once you’re officially registered, I’ll be sending a personal email to confirm your registration and I’ll be sending you the early-adopter materials within a week of confirming.

You could spend a year reading business blogs and trying things out–

–or you could spend 30 committed days cutting through the learning curve, and creating a coaching business that gets responsiveness and results. Let’s begin.

overwhelm sucks (.)

I was going to write some kind of dreamy prose on this, something sweet enough that it could almost be a pink-tinted Instagram picture.

But then I laughed and typed, “Overwhelm sucks.” At least, experiencing it does. Why make it any more or less straightforward than that?

Most people who are talking with me about overwhelm share some variation of the following:

“I’m tired of starting each day with a focus, and then getting caught up in distractions.”
“I want to stop freezing up when feelings of overwhelm happen.”
“I keep putting huge expectations on myself.”
“How can I finally stick with things?”
“There’s always more and more to do, but with less and less time.”

 

These are the voices of overwhelm. This is what it sounds like, and it’s exhausting. When client after client shared with me that they felt this way, I created Breathing Space, a unique once-a-year course that’s about releasing overwhelm so that you can get to feeling more ease, more connection, and ultimately, more confidence in your life.

Oh, and some side benefits of working through overwhelm? Greater productivity and focus.

The tricky part with shifting overwhelm, is this: we can’t shift those spaces by just implementing a new “time management strategy.” Having a lot to do isn’t the whole problem, and most of us know at least one person who has a lot to do but who manages it with less overwhelm.

If you’re going to crack overwhelm, you’ve got to examine three pieces: feelings, belief systems, and self-talk.

This is exactly the point where I appreciate the work of Dr. Brene Brown, who has given us clear research to back up what personal growth types have been saying for years:

“You can’t get to courage, without vulnerability.”

breathing space e-course overwhelm Color coding your files? Time-hacking your life, a la’ the Four-Hour WorkWeek? Finding the new scheduling app for your mobile device that perfectly organizes every life category?

These are all helpful–but they don’t stop overwhelm. Overwhelm is a flavor of fear, and fear requires courageous practices to work through it and past it, not to side-step it.

If you’re interested in joining or learning more about Breathing Space, click here: http://www.yourcourageouslife.com/breathing-space

This is the only circle of Breathing Space that I’ll be running this year.

Past participants said:

“The practices that Kate offered us to do each week were not time-consuming–thank goodness!–but were very thought-provoking and shape shifting. They were simple practices with the potential for big impact.”

I didn’t have to work hard to get results in the class, but it seemed to work all on its own, like an elixir whose healthful benefits are felt long after I’ve finished sipping.”

“Kate, you did a wonderful job of providing us with great support around saying ‘no’ and creating space and time to think about our responses before we automatically said ‘yes.’ It was helpful to have a dialogue around what the inner critic says…and being able to practice that in a group was fantastic!”

I am better able to let go of expectation around what I take on each day and what I set out to accomplish. I am able to recognize the things that are contributing to overwhelm and better equipped to move through it.”

“Kate, your leadership was so amazing. This group has seriously been a life-changing experience for me. Your ability to listen closely and provide amazing individual coaching within the group in a way that allowed all of us to learn from each other was truly fantastic.”