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This week I want to talk about why we make the choices we make and the actions that we take. We have opportunities every day to make choices, big and seemingly small. What time do I get up? Do I work out today? Do I eat a healthy lunch? Do I work on a new project? Do I meditate or watch TV longer? Do I look at my finances and make a different choice about my money?... You get the idea. Everyday we choose to do or not do certain things. The choices we make along with their actions shape the lives that we have, our health, our finances, our relationships, our careers, and ultimately our happiness today and in our futures are affected by every choice we make.


Where do we learn about money, relationships, self-worth, spirituality, health and all of our values to cope with and behave in the world around us? The answer is very well documented, we learn it at a very early age, from the people we are surrounded by from birth until early adulthood. The earliest years are the most influential in how we view every aspect of our lives creating our value systems and decision making skills.


The good news is that with conscious effort we can change those patterns, change our beliefs about ourselves, and consequently change our results in life. If there is bad news, it’s that it does take effort, there’s no magic pill, no medication that can change us. That is the key. It is easy to stay stuck in our old patterns, however once we notice and acknowledge dissatisfaction with an aspect of our lives, it becomes uncomfortable to continue living the patterns that created that dissatisfaction. This is where the real opportunity lies. When the discomfort of staying the same exceeds the discomfort of change, we are ready to move. 


I am no different, so here is a little about me:


I was unhappy, or more accurately depressed and full of anxiety, however I was not acknowledging those feelings, I was shoving stuffing deep down inside. I’d look at my life and tell myself that I have a very good life; for anyone looking at me from the outside that was true. Objectively I was physically healthy with no illnesses, owned more than one home, had a good job earning good money, my bills were paid, our cars were paid off, I have a successful marriage, had leisure time, etc. My life, by all accounts, was really good for me. I had nothing to worry about, nothing to be depressed about. In reality I was miserable, sullen, moody, difficult to be around, angry, silent, and not communicating. The people around me were very concerned and they were right to be.


I had to change and transform; that began with me being  honest with myself. I had to acknowledge my discomfort. Then I learned why I was not happy with myself and my current place in the world. After that I had to take action, I had to make new decisions and create new thought patterns and new habits. This is the hardest part because thought patterns are like grooves in an old vinyl record. The more the record is played, the deeper the grooves become and the harder it is to create new grooves in the record. It is very easy to fall back into old thought patterns and old habits. It’s the person that goes to the gym for a few weeks and then skips one day and says it’s not a big deal. Then next week skips 2 days and then not long after the gym becomes a memory. Change is possible, with persistence and commitment. I was committed to being a happier, more productive person. I created new grooves in the record, and every time I practice the new decision, action, or habit, the groove gets deeper and the old grooves lose their power.

What is slowing, stalling, or stopping my progress today?


Today my answers are twofold, Analysis Paralysis, and Perfectionism. I’ll examine these independently and talk about how I deal with them.


First, Analysis Paralysis:


Today is all about work and for today that is creating content to share with all of you.  This is where I’ve been a little stuck. What does that look like for me?  It looks like a multitude of questions such as…


  • What topic or topics do I want to talk about?

  • How do I want to support you today?

  • Where do I want to start?

  • How deep do I want or need to go?

  • Do I create a series for the week or for the month, or do I create a new topic every day?  

  • How do I want to interact with all of you? Video or just text posting?

  • Where do I put my content?

  • Who is my content for?

  • How long should my posts be?

  • What colors do I want to use?

  • How do I want videos to look and sound?

  • How do I dress for a video? 

  • ……and so much more, but you get the idea.


I’m analyzing and considering every aspect that goes into creating social content can be exhausting. Expending energy researching, thinking, pondering all the possibilities has held my attention. The one thing I was not doing was acting. Movement is absolutely required to get anything done. Certainly doing anything in life requires thought, planning, and considering options.  All of that is necessary, however there is a crossover point where it becomes the impediment to progress and growth. This has certainly been my experience, it can be overwhelming and can cause one to come to a full stop.  


As you can see, I’m writing this, so I shifted from stalled to moving. How did I do that? I first had to see what I was doing, self-awareness is very important when something like this is happening. Without becoming aware of a problem nothing can be done about it.  With practice and self reflection I’ve learned to see when I am analyzing something to death and have become stuck in inaction. Now that I’ve seen the issue, what did I do? I had conversations with trusted advisors, those who are honest and genuine with me, without being judgemental. An outside perspective is very helpful because others can often see something about us that we cannot. They can see our blind sides and offer perspective. I then had a conversation with myself. I reminded myself that I know how to create content, I know what to say, I know what to write and how to offer it. I’ve done it before. It occurred to me in this conversation with myself that I had the perfect topic to discuss, and here it is. Simple.  Talk about what I am in the middle of because I am not the only person having this exact same experience right now. The next thing I did was sit down and with intention, stop asking questions because I know that intuitively I already know the answers. Then I opened a blank page and started typing. Having cleared my head the words just came out.  It was easy, but it started with noticing an issue and ended with taking action, mixed with some help and self reflection in the middle.


Second, Perfectionism:


Perfectionism is simply a fear of doing something wrong, which is an extension of Fear of Judgment. We all know intellectually that perfection is unattainable, a standard to which no person can live up to, yet so many of us seek it. In my case, it fuels some of the questions I noted above in Analysis Paralysis. It comes from having been taught that image is everything, that how I look, sound, act, behave, is more important than anything else. Getting everything correct is paramount. In me it creates in-action because if I can't do it perfectly, I shouldn’t do it at all. Someone might criticize my words, my work, my viewpoint, my activity, how I look, how I sound. I will also look at my work and have less than nice things to say about it. A Perfectionist tendency is a productivity killer and creativity destroyer. Ask an artist to create something perfect and the result will be a constrained display with a very frustrated artist; the piece might never be completed. I was attempting to write perfectly, to speak on the perfect topic, to create the perfect video content, displayed perfectly. This unattainable standard creates pressure, stress, anxiety….and inaction. 


What did I do about it? Similar to Analysis Paralysis, I had to notice I was doing this to myself. See it for what it was, an internal dialogue that does not serve me. I had to see that perfection is not required for things to be done well, to get a message across. I also looked at what other creators do. There is one creator I follow that has over 5 million followers whose video posts are very informal. She doesn’t worry about looking perfect, with the perfect makeup, perfect clothes, perfect setting.  She creates videos that are authentic, honest, informative, and helpful to her followers. They are perfectly imperfect and authentic. She’s not overly careful about word choice, she makes mistakes, she moves on. That’s inspiring to me and reminds me that action is required over being perfect. The ubiquitous Nike slogan “Just Do It” applies more often than not. Get it done. Be in motion. Learn from mistakes and move forward. I’ve often found out that by doing things, I’m more capable than I ever thought.


I'd love to see your comments, struggles, and especially your WINS! Please share.

2023 is coming to close. Commonly people use this time to reflect on accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year. The past 18 months for has been a time of growth, change, and new-found joy in life. I’ve found myself laughing more, taking more risks, connecting with my spirit and connecting more with the great people I surround myself with. I’m looking forward to even more growth for 2024 including expanding how I connect with people and how I help others grow. My biggest goal for 2024 relates to you. I want to help people see that their limitations are self-imposed, help them remove those personal barriers, and shift into a different way of thinking that allows them to achieve anything they want. This is what I do. 

 

I have many plans for 2024 besides business. First is growth. I believe that growth in relationships, knowledge, spirit, physical strength, mental health and strength, are an ongoing process. I expect this process to continue until I take my last breath. Second, I plan to travel with my Bride of 19 years, as this is something that she values greatly as do I. I like to get my hands dirty, so I plan on doing some projects such as renovating a home, much of the work I will do myself. 

 

My plans and goals are fluidic for 2024, and that is the way I want it to be. I have some solid quantifiable goals, and I have some that are more subjective. I expect to move the goal posts during the year, because the universe has a funny sense of humor and things rarely look like we expect them to look. The surprises can be quite joyful. One of my surprises for myself is having this website and writing a blog. 

 

What are some of your goals and plans for 2024? What have you accomplished and learned in the past year?  

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