For those who struggle to get clarity on what they want

While freedom of choice is something so many of us desire and rightly fight for, decision making, or more specifically, feeling confident that we’re making the right choice, can be a real struggle.

And it’s no wonder really.

Not only are we more commonly taught how to follow the ‘norm’ more than how to trust of our own instincts, research shows we also make around 20,000 decisions a day! That is a LOT of brain power and potential for overwhelm.

While many of these decisions are made unconsciously or with relative ease (e.g. everyday habits and responding to basic needs), other decisions cause a lot of stress such as those related to the direction of our life, our relationships, who we want to be and what we wish to experience.

It’s these kinds of decisions that bring people to coaching and upon closer analysis, a lack of clarity regarding what choices we want to make is usually due to one (or many of!) the following reasons.

You will find it hard to make an aligned choice when you are:

  • Not willing to claim what you really want for yourself and your life.
  • Allowing fear of change to overshadow what you really need.
  • Attached to what other people think or want for you.
  • Not ready to let go of what’s holding you back.
  • Trying to please everyone.
  • Expecting there to be a perfect or easy choice that doesn’t have challenge.
  • Putting too much pressure on it to be THE ONE AND ONLY answer.
  • Forgetting that you can pivot and choose again at any point.
  • Scared of limiting yourself to the point where you don’t do anything at all.
  • If you resonate with any of the following, take a deep breath in an out. While these beliefs and experiences can feel heavy to hold, the good new is that you CAN put them down.

    And when you do? Life and your decision-making process feels a lot lighter.

    Here are 3 ways to start breaking free from decision-paralysis and practice making choices that you really have a YES for.


    Get honest with yourself about what you really want

    Notice how I haven’t said “find out what you want”. It’s been my experience that wanting things is a pretty natural human state. But unfortunately so is judging ourselves (and others) for what we want. When we feel like we have no idea, it’s usually because our personal truth is buried under so much noise, judgement, pain, emotions and fear about what it might mean to want what we want.

    This doesn’t mean that it’s easy to reclaim it. In fact, feeling worthy and capable of having what we want is a large part of the personal development work I do with my clients. This is really important, as it shifts our awareness from aimlessly seeking something we think is missing ‘out there’, and brings our focus back to where we can have our biggest impact: shedding the layers of fear and judgement so the truth that has always been inside of ourselves can make itself known.


    Follow the breadcrumbs

    Following on from point number one, it’s important to note that what we want rarely comes to us as a neat little package that immediately gives us the outcome and all the steps we need to take to get there. While that can sometimes happen, it will always be on the back of many smaller wants that needed to be responded to before or so that we can have the energy and skills to take on something bigger.

    For example, we might not immediately know the exact career we want, what our dream home looks like or where we will be in 5 years time. But we might know things such as: what our body wants, what we’re being called to learn more about it, what is inspiring us, the places we want to visit, what food we want to eat, who we want to spend time with etc.

    We often overlook these things while still proclaiming “I don’t know what I want.” The answer? Respond to what is immediate and know that while they might not seem important, they are! They are precisely what will lead you to the clarity about what comes next.


    Practice personal responsibility

    This means getting clear about what is and isn’t in your control, and taking action on the former. Many of us get into passive spaces where we’re waiting for life to happen to us, or on the other hand, try to change and mould others into who we need them to be, instead of finding the people who actually are those things!

    This is where it’s important to remember that we can’t change other people, only ourselves.

    When we try to change others, we often make decisions that ultimately lead to disappointment. We end up swimming against the tide, trying to force things that aren’t meant to be, and then feeling like we’ve failed or that nothing works out.

    When we make decisions based on what we can control, and take responsibility for finding the people and experiences that truly align with what we need, we actually get to experience what it is we’re seeking.

    This post was inspired by a talk on Clubhouse which I hosted together with career coach Sabina Haas and psychologist Doris Maybach. You can join us every second Wednesday at 08:00 am Zurich time in our club 'Gutes Leben und Arbeiten'.