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By David Harder on May, 22, 2017

Do You Have Option Paralysis?

A few years ago, Stanford finished a study indicating the average professional doubles their knowledge every four years. They said “average.” What about today’s active learner? For those of us who open ourselves to growth, there is more under there every day. As we grow, if we do not update our surroundings and our work, life starts to turn into an ill-fitting suit. In my work, I’ve observed we can respond to this by either becoming pushed by the pain or pulled by a new vision.

The very nature of growth includes discomfort! Personally, I’ve experienced far more growth when a big mountain of obstacle drops onto my road than when floating in the Jacuzzi. As growth speeds up, many of us choose to take time out by stepping into “Option Paralysis.” This one often accompanies the high performer who does indeed have options and her or his narrative goes a bit like this. “Well, I have clearly outgrown what I’m doing but there are so many other things I could do. I could write a book, go into a new profession, start my own business, take a year off and travel.” The conversation might sound good, perhaps even glamorous. But, it is just as paralyzing and ultimately unsatisfying as presenting oneself as “clueless.” Because it is cruel loving someone for their potential.

Option paralysis can also show up with the feigned conversation that if we pick one option, we will lose another. “I would really love to become a professional photographer but if I do that, I will not be able to open a restaurant.” Behind all of these dialogues are several possible conditions:

  • It is frightening to change and the option paralysis narrative obscures the message.
  • We are too busy, even frenzied to conduct a high-quality self-inquiry.
  • We don’t have the skills to conduct an effective “this is it” self-inquiry.
  • We don’t believe we will get the right help if we pursue our real ambition.

No one is immune to fear of change.

I find that the most positive and transformative change requires courage, which is far more different than waiting for that ideal state of being unafraid, which can take a lot of valuable time. In fact, waiting to be unafraid often ends with all options being taken off the table. One of my mentors once told me someone came to him and said, “If I do what I believe I was put on earth to do, it could turn my life upside down.” He responded, “Perhaps you have a life that is worth turning upside down.”

Getting past option paralysis can be one of the single most rewarding of life’s experiences. Why not choose vision?

Why not pursue the means to become more of yourself, to give more of yourself and to experience the reward of being fully used?

Two days ago, one of my clients told me he was making 50% more in his new business than he did in his c-level job just one year ago. What an affirmation! However, what I found was even more moving and powerful is that he just turned down a job that he would have grabbed in a heartbeat, also just one year ago. He said, “I have far more power today. I make a far greater difference.”

For those of us who pursue growth, that is what I believe we want to experience:

·     Work that matters.

·     Making a meaningful difference in the world.

·     If it is important to us, making more money doing that.

For me, proving we can do this is what matters to me.

Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.

P: (310) 277-4850 / E:

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