Heather Hansen

Analysis Paralysis Is Holding You Back

When you fail to make decisions, you fail. While you torture yourself over what to do next, someone else has done the next thing, right or wrong, and left you in her dust. Decisions lead to movement, and in order to succeed you have to move. So you have to choose. But so many of you feel like you can’t.  In our webinar “How to Choose–Lessons from Jury Selection”, 44% of you said analysis paralysis was your biggest hurdle to making decisions. It’s time to get moving.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the flight or flight instincts, the idea that our brains react to fear by fighting the threat or by running away from the threat. But researchers say there’s actually a third response–freeze. When you have analysis paralysis, you’re responding to fear by freezing–just like a squirrel. You’ve seen it. You’re driving down the road, and a squirrel runs right in front of you. The squirrel doesn’t run away, and it doesn’t attack your car. It freezes, and so do we. In the face of what we believe is danger, we freeze. But our brains are bigger than squirrels’, and we can use them to overcome analysis paralysis. That’s what the best CEOs do. They choose.

Elena Botelho and Kim Powell have done extensive research on CEOs, and they found that decisive CEOs are 12 times more likely to be high performers. These CEOS didn’t start out any better at making decisions than you are. They just made more of them. And the more decisions they made, the easier it got. Repetition built skill AND confidence. Your can use repetition to build your skill and confidence as well. I did, because I had to. When I first started out as a trial attorney, I thought jury selection was fun until I had to actually select. I loved talking to jurors, listening to their stories, and trying to imagine what type of jurors they’d be. But when it came time to actually choose jurors, I was tempted to freeze. Fortunately, I didn’t have a choice. The trial had to go on, so we chose, and we learned to live with our choices. You can do the same.

The power is yours. You are not frozen. You can move, you can choose, and if you don’t like the results of your actions, you can choose again. Make the choice to make the choice. Now you’re first choice is made. The next choice will come easier, and soon you’ll find that your choices are leading you to greater success.

Heather Hansen

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