Have you ever been to a point where you need to make a decision, but you just don’t feel like you have what you need to make that decision when your brain can’t quite decide on its own?
Typically what happens when we’re in a state of indecision is that we want to get more information so that we can make the best decision. I’m all for having good data so that you can back up a decision that you want to make. But there’s also a tipping point where too much information can work against you.
And that’s where it’s valuable to understand a little bit about your brain, and how it can support you in that process of making a decision.
What to Do When Your Brain Can’t Quite Decide
In the book, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, they describe the part of the brain — the basal ganglia — that really helps us to make the best choices. And the interesting thing about that part of the brain is that there is apparently no connection between the basal ganglia and the verbal centers of our brain.
What that means for us is that we’ll have trouble putting words to what we want!
If you think about it, there are likely places in your life where you think,
“I know I need to do this, but I really can’t even explain to you why I need to do this. I just know in my heart of hearts or in my gut, that this is the right thing for me to do.”
I had a decision like that many years ago. I had just started my little solopreneur business providing secretarial services, and I was working ungodly hours trying to make ends meet. And then, out of the blue, I was offered a position that would have suited my strengths perfectly, and for a lot more money and fewer hours than I’d been putting into my secretarial business.
All of my friends said, “Susan, you should take that job, you’d be crazy not to take that job!”
But something in my gut said, “Susan, do NOT take that job!” And I could not explain to people why. I did not have words for it.
And, fortunately, I did not take the job.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t but a few months later that the man who had offered me that job passed away. The person was a well-respected attorney in my city, and yet he took his life, and people were flabbergasted.
As sad as I was for the pain that led him to this, there was also a part of me that thought, “I’m so grateful that I paid attention to what I knew was right for me at that moment.”
Pay Attention to Your Heart, Gut, and Emotions
So if you’ve got some kind of a decision to make, and you feel like you’ve gathered good data, yet you still can’t make the decision, consider this:
- Pay less attention to the words whirling around in your head saying, “Go this direction or that direction.”
- Pay more attention to your heart, your gut, and the emotions you experience as you consider being in that decision in the future.
When you can get a “full-body yes” on the direction you want to go, that’s when you’ll make the best decisions!
If you’d like to learn more about the brain-body connection and how it can influence our decisions and behaviors, check out The Academies’ neuroscience-based coaching programs. We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to reach out to explore your questions and curiosities! Contact us online or schedule a call to talk with us!