FROM THE EMPRESS BLOG

Simplicity, analysis paralysis and the indecision roundabout.

JOANNA MARTIN

Co-founder Empress Global


Oh my goodness. We overcomplicate. Seriously.

If I had a magic wand and could choose a Fairy Godmother superpower it would be the ability to help people see how damned complicated they’re making things, when its actually really, really simple.

One of the biggest problems that arises from our gold medal efforts at overcomplicating is: indecision. And prolonged indecision usually lands us in analysis paralysis. Which in turn slows down business. Which subsequently gives us great fodder for our inner critic to point out just how crap we are at life in general…

Let me explain.

I was recently working with a client. Let’s call her Nala.

In an effort to help her to discover how awesome she really is, I have asked her to take on a project related to a cause she cares about. This is alongside her business- that’s fine. I want her to have an experience of brilliance in a different sphere.

But she spent the last 3 months finding lots of reasons not to choose a cause. It’s complicated you see. It has to be perfect. And cause A does this, and cause B does some of that and a bit of something else, but she likes cause C because they do ONLY that and this one other thing. When I was talking to her about what was holding her stuck, the bottom line was “it’s complicated”.

Now by not making a decision, Nala had now moved into analysis paralysis. She couldn’t make a decision. Her little inner critic was taking much glee in pointing out to her “see- another example of how stupid you are. You can never make a decision. You never do it right… blah blah blah”.

Now- here’s my thoughts on “it’s complicated”.

In my humble opinion (and it is just one of many), “it’s complicated” is usually code for “I’ve made this complicated to stall an action that I don’t want to take”.

We often know exactly what to do, but for whatever reason we don’t want to do that thing.

And nothing kills business momentum faster than indecision.

 

You’ve got a cashflow crunch. You have way too many great ideas about how to overcome it. It’s not complicated. You should focus on selling the one simplest product with high profit margin. You don’t want to- it’s boring.

You love him. He treats you like crap. Its not complicated. You know you should leave. You don’t want to- it’s scary.

You’re putting on weight. You’re busy. Its not complicated. You know you need to eat well and exercise. You don’t want to- it’s hard not eating cake.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many valid reasons you may not want to take one of these actions. But ITS NOT COMPLICATED. Its simple. Your heart knows. You’re just not listening. Your head is making it complicated to avoid doing something uncomfortable.

“It’s complicated” means we stop listening to our heart. Because “complicated” obviously has to be figured out by the infinitely superior head- right? (I hope you can sense the tongue firmly in my cheek!)

“Its complicated” puts us firmly on the indecision roundabout.

I don’t know about you, but for me its like driving along with Mr Sat Nav (ours is called Sean. We preferred the Irish accent telling us where to go!)

So- I’m heading onto the roundabout with 6 exits. I think I know which exit to take. But then once I’m ON the roundabout, the pink line looks to be going off THAT exit, not THIS exit. But it takes about 2 seconds for Sean’s satellites to tell him where I am on the roundabout. By which stage I’ve missed the exit. Sean is trying madly to re-catchup, yelling at me “Take the 4th exit” but I’m still moving, and which one is the 4th anyway and it’s chaos!?

The only way to solve it is to take an exit. Any exit.

And I drive on down that road a little way.

And then Sean tells me one of two things:

Either “turn around when possible”.

Or the next lot of directions because I miraculously chose the right path.

It’s the same in business, and life for that matter.

If you’re on the Indecision Roundabout- choose any exit to get off, and then use the feedback to work out if it’s the right exit or not.

Here’s a little system you can use to help you turn “It’s complicated” into actions.

  1. Imagine you are in your Queen PowerType: serene, decisive, loving, powerful.
  2. About the situation you’re facing, ask “What do I know in my heart?”
  3. Ask yourself, do I have enough information to make this decision?
    1. If yes: choose an exit. And identify your first action
    2. If no: take action to get the information you need.

The Queen never says “Its complicated” and throws her hands up in dismay. She is never indecisive. She may not have all the information she needs to decide. So she asks more questions until she does.

As soon as she has the information she needs- she chooses.

Using this system Nala identified her choice.

And she realized by not choosing she was preventing herself from making a difference for anyone!

She hadn’t seen that she had 40plus years of great philanthropic work ahead of her, and this was just one little project for now. She could do it all. Just not all this week!

So what decisions are you stalling on? Business or life? I’m keen to hear!

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