That feeling of being pulled in two completely different directions and being certain that the wrong choice will ruin your life.
You're spending your nights worrying about what your next step is. It feels as though it's consuming all of your thoughts. Even considering making that decision paralyses you with fear.
You feel as though everyone else is so certain of their path and you're the only one struggling. If you make the wrong decision, everyone will know and you'll feel like a failure.
I totally get it.
What you don't know is that so many people struggle with making decisions and feel like they are constantly second guessing themselves.
They're just not talking about it!
Let's have a look at why you've been second guessing yourself so much lately...
1. You view all decisions as final
Every decision you make is irreversible. You can't go back on your word, you've already told people about it!
This type of thinking makes decision making feel so very serious. It's no wonder you're feeling overwhelmed.
The thing is - you can change your mind at any time.
There is no rule that says once you've chosen a path, you have to stay on it till the day you die.
It might feel that way.
Society glorifies longevity and stability as the gold standard. It celebrates staying in a job for 30 years, even if that job drains the life out of you. Its not your fault that you feel as though you need to stick to a decision no matter how you feel once you've made it.
You can choose to unsubscribe to this way of thinking.
Instead of seeing your choices as final, you can start to see them as one step in the journey.
I'm speaking from experience, moving from employment within the NHS to being self-employed felt like a huge change for me. I felt as though because I had put in the effort and spent 5 years of my life training to be a therapist, I had to do that until retirement.
It took quite a bit of soul-searching and reflection to realise that I could change careers. And actually, going into life coaching wasn't that massive of a change. I decided to do extra training to become a certified coach but that wasn't even necessary.
I realised I was making this career change more serious than it needed to be. I told myself that it was okay to change my mind. And guess what... if I decided in the future to go back to being a therapist, that would be okay too!
You can give yourself permission to change your mind, at any point. Don't let stubbornness hold you back from what you truly want.
2. You're using logic to determine how your life pans out
Now don't get me wrong I love a good pro and con list.
But have you ever noticed that you can spend hours compiling those lists and still feel as confused as when you started?
That's because some decisions can't be figured out by logic. We have learnt it's not logical to dream big or to want nice things for ourselves.
Yet there is something we can rely on, that doesn't set arbitrary limits on our choices.
We all have an inner compass that we can use to guide us towards what we want. It has a variety of names and I encourage you to use the one that makes the most sense to you - intuition, gut feeling, heart centre, instincts.
It's the part of you that knows your deepest desires, in spite of what your mind might say.
If you take time to listen to it, you will get a sense of what you want to do.
It can take some trial and error, and you may want to use a combination of intuition and logic. The key is to take steps towards what you actually want, and not what you think you should want.
3. You seek reassurance from other people out of fear of "getting it wrong"
It can feel really scary to trust our instincts.
It feels a lot easier to ask your mum's opinion, your partner's opinion and Betty down the road's opinion to determine what you should do.
If it doesn't work out, you can blame them.
And while you can give Betty an earful... it's still you that has to deal with the consequences.
Be decisive. A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than indecision.
- Bernhard Langer
It feels like it would be the end of the world if you made the "wrong" decision.
I've put "wrong" in quote marks for a reason. Again, this way of viewing decisions is what makes them feel so difficult.
There is no such thing as a wrong decision.
Susan Jeffers talks about the "No-Lose model" of decision-making in her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. She encourages her readers to push out any thoughts of what could be lost and instead focus on what could be gained.
Even if things don't work out the way you pictured, there are always things that can be learned from all experiences.
Every choice you make in life will have opportunities. You can't predict what will happen from the comfort of your armchair. You have to take action, make mistakes and learn on the way.
Have a think about times you made a "wrong" decision or things didn't work out as planned - were there any hidden opportunities or lessons that you'd never have come across if you hadn't took the action?
I know it might feel scary to rely on your own instincts, view decisions as changeable and commit to taking action, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.
If there's an area you know you've been second-guessing yourself like crazy - I invite you to start asking yourself the following questions:
What would a No-Lose situation look like for me?
If there were no "wrong" decisions, what would I do?
Imagine there are no limits - what do I actually want?
Do I want to change my mind from a previous decision?
Your brain is likely to come up with reasons as to why what you want isn't possible - that's okay. Thank that part of yourself for trying to keep you safe, and reassure it that these choices do not have to be life-or-death.
Let me know in the comments what decision you're committing to!