Why judging yourself on your past decisions will lead to Decision Paralysis in the present... Recently, I was considering the next step to take in my business. I found myself obsessing over what to take next, weighing my options, trying to forsee the future and predict if deciding one way or the other would create the outcome I wanted. I found myself thinking back to all the other decisions I had made along my career and business journey, and Monday Night Footballing all the decisions leading up to where I was now.
"Taking that class, was a complete waste of money, looking back I can see that now, I knew I should have listened to my intuition."
"I should have taken that opportunity there (which I didn't) if I had I would be so much farther along now."
"I knew that was a great/amazing/terrible/wrong (fill in the blank) person to hire, looking back on it that was so obvious."
And on and on and on.
Then I stood back a bit further and looked at how I have done that exact same thing in my life in general from the time I was a kid. Going back and beating myself up for the "wrong" choices, and giving myself a pat (sometimes...) on the back for the "right" ones.
-The night before my dad died, having said to my husband, I should really call and check in, but I might interrupt dinner, I'll just wait until tomorrow. I knew I should have called!
-The time I let my son ride his bike alone for the first time, and he flipped and broke his arm. I knew I should have gone with him.
-I knew I should have listened to that person when they gave me that advice. If I had only listened to them. Not listening to them was really a big mistake, I can see it now.
It's like I'm Monday night quarterbacking my past decisions, ALL THE TIME.
I was running this operating system when I was looking at my past decisions, and I didn't even realize that my brain was doing that.
But here's the big AHA I had. Doing that was totally impacting and tripping me up in making big decisions (and little ones) and firmly deciding things, because I would second guess myself with the decisions I was needing to make.
Can you guess why?
I was trying to avoid "making mistakes" about future decisions and putting SO MUCH PRESSURE ON MYSELF, to get it right-ALL THE TIME. Because if I didn't get it right I was going to berate myself about how "I should have known, all the signs were there, how could I have been so BLIND" that I missed the signs.
I can't say I do that with all things. (Like I am not overthinking that I should go get a cup of coffee right now. INSERT GRABBING A CUP OF COFFEE HERE). But with many many many of my decisions I was doing that, and it is/was EXHAUSTING.
I am WAY over complicating my decision making process tenfold, because I was trying to look for signs that could foretell if it would be "a good decision" or "a bad decision". Now I do pride myself on being intuitive and a very good judge of character, but what I didn't realize is that I was TRYING to read the future (therein lies my love of all stories that involve time travel, alternate realities, and parallel universes), but still I am not THAT GOOD at predicting things.
Even more fascinating I wasn't putting that kind of pressure on anyone else. (Ok, once in a while I definitely do that with my husband, and well my mom- if I am being 100% honest)
The funny part in all of it is I spend a great deal of time telling my clients, friends, family-
"You made the best decision you could with the information you had. It's so important to give ourselves and others grace, have our own backs, we are all doing the very best we can. We know it was what was the what was supposed to occur that way, because that's what happened."
Even wilder, when looking at my own thinking around this was that when I was taking an action that lead to a positive outcome "I had just gotten lucky." When it ended an outcome that I deemed as negative or wrong I would say to myself, "You really should have seen that coming." So I wasn't even giving myself credit for my wins, I was just berating myself for my losses." (Not there are really wins or losses, but my brain sure likes me to think there is!)
So it was (still is) pretty mind blowing that I was doing this to myself. SNEAKY BRAIN!!!