Have you ever experienced Analysis Paralysis?
This phenomenon is indecision that keeps you stuck prevents you from moving forward and taking action for fear of consequences or stories you believe to be true.
Sound familiar? If yes, you’re not alone!
Much of my coaching work revolves around helping people work through Analysis Paralysis. It’s worth noting that even though I coach people through their own Analysis Paralysis doesn’t mean that I don’t experience it too.
At its worst, Analysis Paralysis prevents people from believing that they are capable or deserving of living the life they’ve always dreamed could be theirs. Their dreams stay firmly locked away in a part of their brain and they say things like: “Wouldn’t that be nice?” or “I wish I could.” They accept limitations readily.
In my coaching practice, we do a lot of story interruption. We do some some serious rewiring in our brains so that we’re ready to confront Analysis Paralysis when it inevitably shows up. It’s easy to spot it when it arrives; it usually sounds something like: “What I’d REALLY love is [x, y, or z], but that’s not possible.” A-ha!
Immediately we bring out our tools in the form of a simple question: “Is that true?” and we work forward from there.
At its best, Analysis Paralysis can be a helpful diagnostic tool. It’s like a kid on the playground who’s tattling, pointing a finger and yelling: “TEACHER! HE/SHE TRIED TO TELL ME THAT WHAT I WANT ISN’T POSSIBLE!” By becoming aware of our own thought patterns, we can gently referee ourselves and turn them game of storytelling towards more forward movement rather than getting stuck in old mental patterns that don’t serve us.
Today I’m here to offer a simple awareness tool for Analysis Paralysis in the form of a question. The question is:
Are you expanding or contracting?
Expanded energy feels like exuberance and joy!
Contracted energy feels like obligation and resentment.
The question: “Are you expanding or contracting?” requires you to bring awareness into your body and mind around whatever the dilemma is that’s making you feel paralyzed with indecision.
For example, let’s say you’re invited to a friend’s birthday party. You adore this friend and showing up in celebration for the people you love is high on your values list. They’ve had a rough year and they could use your presence. You know the other people who’ve been invited and partying with them will be icing on the proverbial birthday cake. But something’s tugging at you. For some reason, you don’t feel like going to this friend’s party. Even though it’s a big milestone, say their 40th birthday and you know it will be a blast, a small part of you says: “let’s stay home”. You argue with that part of you and present all the evidence as to why going to the birthday party is the best idea and you should (‘should is another hint that you’re making decisions from a contractive mindset) go. Still, that part of you says: “let’s stay home”.
In this case, your energy is both expanding AND contracting, but clearly contracting more than expanding. You adore your friend and celebration is a value you hold deeply. And for whatever reason, you feel more of a contraction when you think of giving your RSVP to this party. At this point if you were coaching with me, I would ask you: “Can you think of why you might be feeling contraction when you think of going to this party?”and we would see what comes up for you. Maybe you’ve been showing up a lot for people. Maybe you’re maxed out for other perfectly good reasons. Whatever comes up, we would honor those parts of you. In the coaching container, I would then ask you: “What are some other ways that you could show up and celebrate your friend’s birthday?”
Can you think of a time when you agreed to do something but it felt tight and unavoidable and even though you waited a few days to say yes, you’re body and mind felt like they were shrinking and contracting and pleading with you to say NO? Can you think of a time when you agreed to do something instantly because the consensus in the body and mind was an easy, firm, clear, excited, and expansive YES! I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
If you’d like to coach with me around areas of expanded and contracted energy, this is what I live for! Contact me and let’s set up a time to help you worth through your Analysis Paralysis.
Breathe and believe, beauties.
P.S. The yoga posture (and most yoga postures) pictured here is made possible by both expansion and contraction of breath, strength, and coordination. That’s relevant in that expansion and contraction are not bad or good, they are both essential. We need to expand so that we can contract, and on and on it goes. <3