How do you feel about making decisions?
The average [person] has other things on her mind. Like why she gained two pounds last week, and why her father is looking pale, and why the fucking computer keeps losing its WiFi signal, and why Timmy’s teacher wants to see her next week, and what’s that bump she noticed on her arm.
I read this quote by Bob Hoffman earlier.
It sounded so familiar. You have all those smaller worries and distractions that seem insignificant but add up to totally unmanageable, right? It’s not just me?
Honestly, I know it’s not me, because my clients feel the same. There are so many things to think about in everyday life. There are so many choices to make and things to do, it can be hard to figure out which one matters most.
How I decided to change my job
Let’s face it, all that activity and worrying gets pretty draining. The last time I had a full-time PAYE job, I had this massive crisis (let me give you some context first). I was already feeling pretty pissed off. I had this senior position with an “hours as required by the job” contractual stipulation and two workaholic directors above me. That basically meant that they would schedule in meetings at 8am and had an expectation that you’d often still be around at 8pm.
Because it was in theatre, it also meant that there were lots of out of hours events to attend. Just from that point of view I felt like I had barely any autonomy over my own life. The commute was long enough to make the working day take up nearly every waking hour. Which obviously impacted things like diet and exercise, friendships, family relationships, doing anything nice or relaxing. I thought about work all the time. I was worried that if I didn’t some crucial task or bit of information would escape my mind. It was rubbish.
I did that thing that people often do of surviving holiday to holiday. Until, the day before a holiday to Tuscany, I discovered that I couldn’t find my passport. It had evaporated into thin air. It had probably ended up in the bin, because we also happened to be renovating our house at the same time and were always moving things around. My husband and I sat on our kitchen floor together crying. We were so exhausted and sad. His job was too busy, my job was too busy. We hadn’t even had time to prepare (check our passports) and pack for our much-needed break. I can’t even describe how that felt. We’d booked and paid for everything, and it was too late to fix.
How does something like happen? I just didn’t have the space or time to make decisions, and actually I didn’t prioritise myself and what I needed at all. I thought I was too busy to think about anything other than what was going on at work. I was constantly distracted.
You might be suffering from Decision Fatigue
If you are in a similar situation to the one I was in: always busy, always preoccupied with some thing or another that demands your attention, how are you meant to make any decisions to improve your situation? There’s a phenomenon called decision fatigue which postulates that the more decisions people make at any given time, the harder subsequent decisions become (obviously there’s more to it than this, and if you want to read more you can in this excellent and detailed New York Times Article). But it means that if you are busy constantly dealing with big and small choices, you simply run out of steam, and find yourself unable to be as strategic or have the clarity you want.
How can you make decisions that benefit you?
So, why am I telling you this? Because even if it’s not work that fills up your every waking thought, there’s always something isn’t there? There’s always some reason that you can’t figure shit out to stop feeling overwhelmed. Even if the specifics of your situation are different than mine, I bet you’ve felt like you are paddling furiously upstream, and it’s not benefitting you at all.
If you have felt like lockdown has offered a bit of respite from the frenetic activity and all the expectations, know that you can choose change. Getting “back to normal” isn’t a requirement. You can change your lifestyle or change your career at any point. Even if you think that age or responsibilities preclude, it is possible to make positive changes with big impacts.
Know how I know that? I know because after that holiday I went on a coaching course. And on that course I decided to pack in my job and go freelance. That started the slow process of reclaiming my autonomy (slow because years of bad hustling habits and self-esteem problems were hard to kick). I definitely over-worked as a freelancer, but for the first time in my working life I started making a bit of space for me. Which, meant knocking off early on a Tuesday, and taking Friday morning off to go to a yoga class. It was a start.
And here’s where I can help. Through coaching I can give you some space and time to think, and to make good decisions. I can help you get clarity about and prioritise what really matters. Once you’ve done coaching, you’ll realise that you do have choices, and you can say no, you will make yourself and your relationships a priority. And if you are like my other clients, you will have made MASSIVE positive changes. It's taken me too many years to get to the point where I feel like I am in control of my time and I am not scared to chill the fuck out. But, oh my goodness, now I’m there it is glorious.
I’d love to help you get there more quickly and with more support than I did.
I’ve coached clients through redundancy, career change, job hunting, moving abroad, big decision making, habit changes, business strategy, finding work-life balance, presentations and public speaking, and doing degrees (of all levels). So if you wonder whether coaching could be useful for your specific challenge, the answer is that coaching can find the solutions to almost any problem that requires action to solve.
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Bob Hoffman, Marketers are From Mars, Consumers are from New Jersey (San Francisco: Type A Group, 2015), p.17
John Tierney, Do you Suffer From Decision Fatigue, New York Times Magazine, August 17 2011
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html (accessed 17 Jun 2021)
I'm Jodie Lamb and I have been running Trevnee Coaching since early 2020. I've been an accredited life coach since 2008. I focus on Careers and Change. I work with people that are either thinking about changing things in their work and want a plan and support with acting on the plan; and people that are experiencing any kind of change in their lives and need help to make the most of it.
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