Dealing with indecision

Aug 6, 2013 by Rob Gannon

We have all been there, stuck in indecision, not sure which way to go. This could involve your career, a relationship, or sometimes just what is right or wrong. Sometimes it can be all three.

Let me offer some insights and reminders for when you’re floundering in the swampland of indecision.

A couple of years ago a crew member came to me for some coaching. She had the trifecta going on: She didn’t know if she wanted to stay with the yacht she was with. Her boyfriend was pressuring her to leave the industry and join him shore side. And she thought the captain of the vessel was unprofessional and dishonest, so much so that she felt she needed to say something to the owners.

I’ll get to her decisions in a moment, but first allow me to share some thoughts on the process that helped guide her there.

A coaching colleague of mine shared this exchange between her and a former client.

Coach: I think you may have an issue with making decisions.

Client: No, I don’t. Well, maybe I do. I don’t know; do I?

Reminds me of the line from that great American philosopher Jimmy Buffett: “indecision may or may not be my problem.”

So first things first. Some awareness and clarity is needed regarding your abilities in the area of decision making. Once that is understood and an intended goal can be stated, the process can proceed. With big, possible life-changing decisions, the process can get pretty involved. There is not the space here to go too deeply into process. So I’ll share a condensed version of some key points.

I’m a fan of writing things down. Putting thoughts down on paper about the situation — even random free thoughts — can be a good start. This can then be refined.

A popular and effective next step can be the old method of writing down pros and cons. You know, you make two columns and compare the pros and cons of your possible decision.

You can take that a step further and break down each pro and con into how empowering or weakening a choice may be. The key here is not to get too bogged down along the way. You don’t want to suffer paralysis from over analysis, which can happen when your two columns kind of cancel each other out and it seems there is no clear winner. This is the time to get out of your head and get in touch with how things feel.

Science has shown us overwhelming evidence regarding the connection between the mind and the body. Most of us are familiar with the basic gut feelings in certain situations but there are other energy centers in the body as well. The problem is many people have shut them down, disengaged from them, so they work everything out in their head.

Part of the reason for that is most of our early education is spent strengthening the brain. We figure out equations and memorize lots of facts, names and dates. We get used to solving everything with our heads but sometimes don’t get the full picture if we leave out how things feel.

I encourage a combination approach with thinking things through, writing thoughts out and getting in touch with how it all feels. But then, of course, you must decide.

Decide with conviction and put the power of intention and inspiration to work for you. Incredible things can begin to show up when you commit fully. The brilliant German scholar, writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (is that a great name or what?) states this beautifully: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. … Unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

I have seen this occur in my own life. I have seen those things, those people show up. Consider that some events are not just some crazy coincidence. Decide what you want, commit to your intentions, pay attention and be amazed with what unfolds. Be bold, raise your sails, and head out to the open sea. Your ship was made to sail, not to remain forever in safe harbors.

As for my former client, she ended up leaving the industry, broke up with the boyfriend, fell in love and married someone else and did not blow the whistle on her former captain. She is quite content with all her decisions.
Isn’t life interesting?

Rob Gannon is a 25-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach ( Comments on this column are welcome at