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Indecision – Don’t Become a Flattened Squirrel

discordance-798855_1920“Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.” Anonymous

We have all experienced indecisiveness to some degree. Sometimes, the indecisiveness is merely answering the question “What restaurant do you want to go to tonight?” You respond, “I don’t know. You choose.” Or, maybe you are shopping with your spouse for a special gift he wants to purchase for a dear friend, but he cannot make up his mind. So, you go store to store looking for that special something only to go home empty-handed. You are annoyed, but you understand the gift has to resonate and have to mean something.

For many of us, we struggle with making decisions and become habitual procrastinators and often complainers that nothing has changed. My aunt is a great example of this indecisiveness when for years she would grouse about not having a large picture(s) to complete her living room wall. It was a pure white blank canvas. Every time I visited, she would pass by this space and say “I can’t make up my mind about what I want to put there.” My initial thoughts and offer to her were “Let’s go shopping.” My cousin and I would drive her to numerous stores looking at paintings, photographs, structural art pieces but to no avail. She couldn’t make up her mind. Thirty years later that white blank canvas is dulled with age, and the pure white canvas is now yellowed. And, she still complains how she wants to fill the space.

Let’s go a step further. Habitual procrastination and indecisiveness comes from a place of anxiety not knowing what you want or if you know what you want but can’t make the decision it is often from a place of fear. A fear that paralyzes you resulting in you being that flattened squirrel on the road. Every day presents us with opportunities to make small decisions to life-altering decisions. Some of these decisions not only affect you but others around you so of course, it can be scary when the decision has a great impact regardless of whether it is a decision resulting in something positive or negative.

This indecisiveness can lead to growing tensions in relationships, conflict and even protracted disputes. Let’s say you are the boss. For the last two years, you have received complaints from your junior employees and even consulted with Human Resources about the complacency of a long-term employee. This employee doesn’t seem to carry the same workload as the others. She seems to feel entitled given her seniority and longevity in the company. She believes she has paid her dues and has proven her worth so why should she work long hours and go above and beyond. She doesn’t have the need to be a career driver but is at the time of her life where she is coasting down the path to retirement. As the boss, you need to take action but your indecisiveness and anxiety over the last two years has resulted in frustrated employees and a perception of you being a “weak” boss who won’t confront the situation in order to avoid conflict. The employees distrust you, and you can feel the tension and withdrawal. You feel disconnected, and as time progresses with no action on your part, your anxiety grows causing decision paralysis. You are definitely on the road staring at the cars heading straight for you. What will you do?

You can continue to duck and hide and then face the consequences; stand frozen and pray you won’t be flattened, or breathe through the anxiety and take the steps forward to move. Let me close with this quote from Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, a gifted Ghanaian writer, teacher and author of Distinctive Footprints of Life.

“Dare to keep moving when it is a must and there to keep waiting when you have to, but note, you shall always keep waiting if you keep waiting and you shall always keep moving when you keep moving!”

Pattie Porter

Founder and Host

The Texas Conflict Coach

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