Are you familiar with analysis paralysis?
Analysis paralysis is a term used to describe indecision. In the absence of knowing what to do, we don’t choose. Analysis paralysis can keep you stuck and prevent you from taking action for fear of consequences or limiting stories. “I can’t start my own business; I need a business partner first” is an example of a limiting story.
Does this sound familiar? If yes, never fear! You’re not alone in experiencing analysis paralysis. And today we’re going to talk about a quick way to get through analysis paralysis by listening to the inner truth that can be accessed by listening in to somatic cues.
Much of my coaching work revolves around helping people work through analysis paralysis. I feel it’s worth noting that even though I coach people through their own analysis paralysis, doing so doesn’t make me immune to my own limiting stories about what is possible. We’re all in this together. The trick is to notice analysis paralysis when it’s happening and use our inner wisdom to move through it sooner rather than later. This is important because at its worst, analysis paralysis prevents people from believing that they are capable or deserving of what they want. I’ll let you in on a secret: I can often tell these stories are masquerading as truth when I hear people say: “Wouldn’t that be nice?” or “I wish I could.” This language tells me that people are limiting themselves from their true potential.
Limiting Stories as Clear Feedback
In my coaching practice, my clients and I do a lot of digging on limiting stories. My clients are brave enough to do some serious looking at the language they use when talking to themselves so that when it comes time to confront analysis paralysis, they can change their mindsets through changing language. These are small, but important changes in language for how we talk to ourselves sets the tone for what we believe to is possible. A very simple question to interrupt limiting beliefs is one that I gleaned from Byron Katie: “Is this true?”
At its best, analysis paralysis can be a helpful diagnostic tool. It’s like a kid on the playground who’s calling out bad behavior, pointing a finger and yelling: “SO-AND-SO 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 our limiting storytelling into an exploration of what is possible.
Today I’m here to offer a simple question to bring attention to analysis paralysis. it is a simple question that asks us to tap into the inner wisdom of the body to answer it.
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. Maybe 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 the 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 go. (By the way, the use of ‘should’ is another telltale hint that someone is making decisions from a contractive mindset.) Still, despite your many desires to go to this birthday party, there’s a part of you says: “Let’s stay home”.
In this case, your energy is both expanding AND contracting, but the calm and present inner truth is 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 my clients were in this space, I would ask: “Can you think of why you might be feeling contraction when you think of going to this party?” and we would listen to what comes up. Maybe my client has been showing up a lot for other people. Maybe my client is maxed out for other reasons. Whatever comes up, we honor those conflicting parts. In the coaching container, I would then ask: “Are there some other ways that you could show up and celebrate your friend’s birthday?”
Is Contractive and Expansive Energy Shrouding Your Decision-Making?
Can you think of a time when you agreed to do something but later the energy around the decision felt constrictive? Can you also 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’re feeling stuck in analysis paralysis and are having trouble discerning expansive and contractive energy and you’d like to be coached around this, contact me and let’s set up a time to get you back on track.
Breathe and believe, beauties.