To move forward: Get out of your head

© Graphicsdunia4you | Dreamstime.com

© Graphicsdunia4you | Dreamstime.com

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” ( George S. Patton)

Change is a scary thing.  Making big changes can be absolutely terrifying.  Whether you are starting your own business, leaving an old job or just networking with new people, making these changes requires you to take risks.

It’s only natural, therefore, to want to minimize those risks.  Before taking the big leap, we want to plan out all the details — where we will leap from, where we will land, what the arc of our leap will look like. etc.  We want that leap to be perfect.

The truth, though, is that there are an infinite number of data points that we could calculate before we leap; and there is a potential to get so caught in those details that we never actually take the big leap.  In project management, we referred to this as “analysis paralysis.”  Most other people refer to this as “getting caught in my own head.”

As a coach, I have helped many people who seem to have gotten lost in their noggin.  Here are the top three ways coachees get stuck there, and some tips for getting out:

  1. Settling for what you CAN do instead of what you WANT to do.
    When staring down the risks of chasing something new, it becomes tempting to settle for something easier and safer.  A war can erupt in your head as you weigh that less scary path against the one that leads to true happiness.
    To keep your courage up when it gets scary: stay focused on why you want to reach your goal.  Write it down (or make a vision board) and hang it somewhere you will see it every day. Keep your eye on the prize.
  2. Too many choices. 
    Since you are one traveler, you must travel one road (I love Robert Frost!) When you come to a point where you have multiple options, and you do not see one option as better than the other, it can become overwhelming to make a choice.
    To move forward: you need more information.  Create a detailed description of your ideal destination, then do some research and measure each possibility against your goal. Select the path that seems to take you closest (and don’t worry: unlike Frost’s traveler, you can always come back to one of the other paths later if you need to.)
  3. Comparing yourself to others.
    Once you’ve decided on something you really want to do, and you’ve started pursuing it, you are going to run into other people who are already doing it (and maybe quite successfully).  It is tempting to compare yourself to those people and find yourself lacking (hello, fear.)
    The truth is: it doesn’t matter what someone else is doing.  Even if it seems similar, your destination will be uniquely your own (because you are uniquely you!) Learn from your “competition.” Copy what they are doing right, consider what you would do differently, then use that information to build your own success.

Making big changes can indeed be very scary, and its easy to let the fear of risk stop you.  The key to reaching your goal is learning to get out of your head and get back on your path forward.

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