Fear vs Confusion from a runaway mind perspective

Over at Escape From Cubicle Nation, Pam tells us,

I have a lot of these conversations with clients too- but mine are a little different:

  • "I think maybe I want to do something different but I want to do all these three million things and I don’t want to pick the wrong one."
  • "I am pursuing 10 job leads and I’m not sure which to follow up on so I haven’t followed up on any because there are so many to follow up on and do I really want to change jobs?

Wait- you’re thinking: that sounds really insecure! Here’s the truth:

The inability to make a decision is NOT ALWAYS equivalent to a lack of confidence!

Sometimes it’s a lack of Executive Functioning. Your brain’s conductor/CEO/executive secretary is on vacation in Micronesia or otherwise unavailable to tell you what to think about.

But wait, what does this have to do with Fear vs Confusion?

It’s this: some folks don’t know if they’re afraid because they don’t even know what they’re thinking about! The mind has generated so many stories, so many lines of thinking about a given dilemma that it’s unclear what the dilemma is. I’ve had a lot of experience listening to clients’ conversations with themselves, and here’s what I have to say:

Tip #1: Identify the Ramble.
You can’t stop the flood of ideas and reasoning by sheer will. But you can’t navigate it unless you step back and realize what kind of thought landscape you’re traveling: a flooding river of thought.
Tip #2: The reasons won’t help.
The hyperactive thinker can be so ridiculously smart, that weighing the reasons to go one way or another is a trap. You might be great at arguing any point with yourself- but if you’re a well-practiced analytical thinker, all it means is that your argumentation is good- not that it gives you an answer. The winner of the debate doesn’t always give you the right answer for you!
Tip #3: Identify the Runaround.
Have you reasoned your way into something without even realizing you’ve done it? Did you forget about your initial impulse and instinct in the meantime? Do you even know why your thinking went down this path?
Tip #4 Identify the Signals- and Don’t Sweat It if You Don’t! You’re looking for the quiet signs of what you’re really feeling. What do you fear here? The signals will be quiet, but they are your guide. You might feel them in your muscles or hear them in your voice. If you can’t hear them, don’t sweat it. Just keep using Tips 1-3. This is where we go back to Pam. She has some pretty good tips for tuning in at her ezine article (which picks up on the blog post I quoted earlier), but I have to say it’s hard when your mind is a vortex of thought, so I’ll have to address this in a later post.