Indecision on an Important Decision? Some Wisdom from Ikea

I helped my daughter get settled in her first apartment recently. As an out-of-state student who lived in the dorms the prior two years, she didn’t have a stick of furniture to start with. Translation: time to visit Ikea!

girls-mom-couchWe met up with her new roommates and the roommates’ parents to tackle the enormous showroom floors at Ikea. Here’s a picture of all three roommates (and all three moms) testing out a couch that we settled on.

After navigating the IKEA warehouse area and checkout, we crammed all the heavy boxes into the car in the midst of Texas humidity, timidly drove the tollway in an unfamiliar rental car with now-limited rear-view mirror visibility, and eventually dragged our 80-pound boxes up several flights of stairs. Ugh!

Then the fun began: figuring out how to put it all together. I have to admit, my daughter was a champ—much better than I was. She and her roommates and one of the dads did the lion’s share. At one point during desk assembly, everyone was stumped on how it was supposed to go together.


That’s when my daughter said something that was simple but profound:

“If we just take the next step,
it will become clear.”

What wisdom.IKEA Desk Assembly Emmeline 2015-08-16

And now, the coaching application! People can struggle with decisions (welcome to the human race). They try to figure it all out in their heads, but can’t.

When things don’t make sense, the cognitive dissonance can send us back into a hamster wheel of trying to figure it all out in our heads—reasoning, doing pro-and-con lists, talking, talking, talking . . . when what really needs to happen is “buoyantly take the next step”! (Emphasis on buoyant, as in curiously confident, hopeful, and grateful that the answer is on its way!)

That next step could be many things—for example:

  • Indecision about a career move: Volunteer or job shadow to get additional understanding. Take a class, read a book, or join an online webinar to gain more information.
  • Indecision about a leadership direction: Go visit with the people or team members your decision will impact; get out and see how customers will be affected; meet with an expert in the field; etc.
  • Indecision about whether to move: Go home shopping in the new area and see what’s available. Check out the schools your kids would go to.

In essence, if talking about it isn’t solving it, stop talking and start moving. Eventually, the puzzle pieces will fall into place and . . . it will become clear!

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