I don’t usually have trouble making decisions. I learn what I can, evaluate, and decide. I am particularly good at deciding on the outline for workshops. I can see what an organization needs and then come up with the proper structure to provide the needed information and engagement.
However, last week I found myself dithering. Dithering! I am not a ditherer. I disdain dithering. Yet, there I was. Unable to decide whether to put two workshops in a month every other month or one workshop a month for six months or one workshop one month and then a virtual meeting the next. Ack! My mind was running around in circles.
Then I remembered one of the most valuable lessons of my life. When I’m dithering, I don’t have enough information. We can’t make good decisions unless we have all the information that we need. I was guessing at what would be best for the organization that I was working with.
The solution was to set up a meeting and ask what would be best for them. So easy! Finding out how quickly they wanted the training done, how much they wanted to spend, and the logistical challenges of people not all in one place made it easy to create a curriculum and structure.
Sometimes we don’t know everything. Sometimes we can’t know everything. It is possible to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Even after my discussion with the organization, we weren’t 100% sure that all the options would work. However, we pledged to be flexible and communicate any problems or challenges as they arose. Sometimes you just move forward with the intention of adjusting as necessary.
Sometimes, we don’t have any way of knowing what we need to know for a good decision right now. If possible, we want to postpone the decision, especially if it’s a big one like buying a house. I just lived that example.
In January 2018, I left my home and had no idea where to plant roots. I put things that I didn’t need for daily life in a storage room and loaded everything else in a 6’ x 12’ U-Haul trailer.
I was definitely dithering and feeling very lost. Should I move to be with one of my sons? One lives in New Jersey, and the other is in Texas. My sister also lives in Texas, so I have two relatives there, but precious grandchildren in New Jersey.
I started in North Carolina, where I have facilitated a leadership series for 11 years. I lived with a dear friend and did work that I love. It was a great beginning.
When word got out that I was staying in the area between workshops instead of returning to Alabama, an amazing thing happened. Former graduates started reaching out to me. I’ve graduated about 24 people a year. I realized that I had a community that was ready to welcome me with open arms. Add a few very close friendships that I had maintained since leaving the area six years earlier, and I had place that felt familiar and comfortable.
After a small stint of living on my uncle’s ranch after the leadership series was over, I decided that NC was the place that I wanted to call home. In July, I bought a condo. I am not with any blood relatives but am stationed so that I can head either direction to see mine. The people here may not be blood relatives, but they are family here. I also have work! I feel known and respected here for my professional abilities. Anywhere else, I would be starting from scratch professionally.
In January, I had no idea where I would live or what I would do. I am blessed to have so many kind and generous family members and friends who took me in while I was figuring out the next phase of life.
By relieving myself the need to make an immediate decision about where to live, I gave myself time to gather the information that would help me make a decision with which I would feel comfortable. I am very confident that I’ve invested in the right place to call home.
Facts! I love facts! They are the antidote to dithering and the foundation for great decisions.
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