When I’ve had important life decisions to make, I’ve always been in favour of thinking, researching and evaluating my options. After all, I didn’t want to get it wrong.
My logic was, the more informed I can make myself, the better.
Do you also feel like this when faced with big decisions?
Let me tell you that I have changed my view completely.
I believe that there IS such a thing as too much information and too many options, and often what this results in is PARALYSIS, rather than action.
What do I mean by this?
A few years ago I was asked to speak on national television about insects as a future source of sustainable protein (at the time I was running my ‘cricket flour’ snack bar company). My first reaction was over the moon EXCITEMENT, only to be followed by FEAR and OVERWHELM.
What if I didn’t know the answers to all their questions, what if being on tv would result in more interest than I could handle, etc. So, I told the producers I need a few days to think about it, do MORE research on the industry and consider the pros and cons.
You can maybe guess what happened next.
When I got back to them after 3 days to say that I’m ready, they had changed their minds, decided to run their story from a different angle, and hence didn’t need me anymore.
I was so disappointed and furious with myself, and decided that from that day on, I’ll never say ‘I need more time’ when I’m faced with an amazing opportunity.
Looking back at countless other experiences I’ve had, some of my most successful projects and businesses, have been when I’ve just thrown myself into the challenge, when I’ve done some research, but mainly gone with my gut and my excitement, and trusting that I would figure things out.
Here’s the deal…
Nowadays there are often SO many options to choose from, and I honestly don’t think more options make us happier or more successful.
On the contrary, MORE options means we always wonder what the options we didn’t go for would have been like.
We also put a lot of pressure on ourselves that BECAUSE there are so many options, we should be able to select one which is absolutely perfect.
This results in us being less happy with our choice (because nothing ever is perfect), as well as us often doing nothing, because we’re paralyzed by fear of choosing the wrong option.
I firmly believe that in life doing something is always better than doing nothing.
You always learn something about you or about the world, by taking action. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be forever.
The days of the lifelong career are long over, so don’t get stuck thinking you are ever bound by the career choices you make.
Instead, be excited about the thought that you don’t necessarily know what you’ll be doing in 3-5 years. Maybe you’re still really into the career you’ve just dived into, and maybe you’re doing something completely different.
Isn’t this what makes life feel exciting, resulting in stories and memories that are worth looking back on?
If you’re at a point where you’re facing a big shift, for example if you’re fed up with your job, or have been made redundant, then my advice is that you consider options that instinctively appeal to you, even though they look nothing like the rest of your CV.
Don’t worry about making ‘the wrong choice’, because there is no such thing.
The truth is….
You learn way more about your likes and strengths, being in a role that isn’t quite right, than you do from always choosing the safe option. If it isn’t quite right, your next move is going to be so much better, because of what you just learned.
PS: I’d love to hear from you what you have learnt from taking action in the past?
Let me know in the comments below,
Christine is a Life & Business Coach and works with driven professionals who are stuck on a career path without excitement and purpose. She takes a big picture approach and helps people figure out what they’d love to do, and how to make it happen.