To be or not to be? To go or not to go? To buy or not to buy? Big or small, we make decisions on a daily basis, so why do some decisions feel so much harder to make? Of course, there are the morally ambiguous, socially precarious, dramatic and life changing decisions that are understandably difficult.
But sometimes, super simple, insignificant decisions can cause so much unnecessary turmoil; like whether or not to go to a party or whether or not to buy a nice shirt, or even where to go out to eat.
How do such simple decisions become so complex? Would it really make a difference either way? How do we let go of our indecision and trade it up for peace of mind?
Listen to our new episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast to find out!
Read the episode's transcript here:
Did you like this episode? Let us know! Do you consider yourself an indecisive person? Do you have a case or a topic that you’d like us to talk about? Reach out! Please email us:
[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back™. You have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, and I'd like to introduce you to my incredible, amazing, absolutely phenomenal cohost, Ferne Kotlyar. And she happens to be my daughter. Ferne, welcome.
[00:00:27] Ferne Kotlyar:
Hello, hello! I must be on the best podcast ever if I get that kind of introduction.
[00:00:32] Kim Ades:
You are on the best podcast ever! In fact, we're starting to get some feedback from our listeners, which is really nice. They are sending us messages that they are listening and so that, for whoever of you have done so, thank you so much.
Keep doing that. We wanna hear from you. We love the feedback. We wanna know what you wanna hear about, and we're so grateful and happy that you are listening. Keep listening and keep letting us know what you want. Ferne, how are you today?
[00:01:06] Ferne Kotlyar:
I'm great! How are you?
[00:01:09] Kim Ades:
I'm good, I'm good I'm good. It's the weekend coming up and I am looking forward to a couple of days off, but I'm also looking forward to seeing you, so that'll be fun. So what do you wanna talk about today?
[00:01:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
So today I wanted to talk about the topic of indecision. I know for me that sometimes I'll have two really trivial things that I cannot decide between, and I just feel so ultimately torn between the two. And I know that either way it's gonna be fine, doesn't really matter where you decide, but I don't know.
I just can't get rid of that feeling of like missing out, the feeling of what if I make the wrong decision, the feeling of I should have done the other thing. So how do I kind of deal with that? How do people deal with that?
[00:01:57] Kim Ades:
You wanna give us an example?
[00:01:59] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, sure. So for example, two summers ago... I have this old bike, I've had it since I was like 16. It's a teenager bike, it's too small. It's pretty old and not great, like at all. Like, the gears are broken and just a mess. But it works.
And so I was living in Montreal for the summer, coming back to Toronto to start my Master's at the time, and I did not know whether I should get a new bike or if I should fix my current bike. My dad had offered to pay for a new bike, but I was worried that it was gonna get stolen because we're in the city.
I was worried that I would have to transport it by the end of the summer to Toronto, which would be a pain. I was worried that it was gonna be expensive. I didn't know what I wanted. I would have to do the research to get it, but I also wanted a new bike 'cause mine sucked, and I just felt so torn. And it's such a stupid thing, it's such a small decision.
[00:02:56] Kim Ades:
[00:02:56] Ferne Kotlyar:
But I really felt very torn about what to do.
[00:03:01] Kim Ades:
Wow. And this is two years ago?
[00:03:05] Ferne Kotlyar:
Two summers ago. Yeah, not this summer, but the summer before. So like a year and a half.
[00:03:09] Kim Ades:
So what did you do at the time?
[00:03:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
I ended up fixing my crappy bike, and then I took it to Toronto with me. So, not ideal, because I could have taken a new one. But anyway, then this summer I got a new bike, so, there you go.
[00:03:26] Kim Ades:
Okay. So, I mean, it's an interesting problem to have because as I listen to it, for me... The solution for me, had I been in your shoes, it would've been an absolute no brainer. If my father wanted to buy me a new bike, I'd be like "amazing! Let's go!"
[00:03:44] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:03:45] Kim Ades:
Right? And so the fact that you didn't have that reaction, to me, is fascinating. The fact that you didn't just jump on the occasion to get a new bike, especially when somebody else is paying the bill, is really fascinating to me. And so, what stopped you from just saying yes when someone was offering you a gift?
[00:04:11] Ferne Kotlyar:
I worry about, like... I have this thing where I don't-- I'm worried that I don't need it, and then therefore I shouldn't have something so expensive. Like, mine's fine, why shouldn't I just keep mine?
[00:04:24] Kim Ades:
[00:04:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
I guess I have this fear of it getting stolen because a's bike did get stolen in the city.
[00:04:34] Kim Ades:
[00:04:34] Ferne Kotlyar:
And so I didn't wanna have something really expensive and then need to worry about it. That was another big thing for me. Like, my shitty bike, I don't care if it gets stolen, I'll get a new one, it's not a big deal. But a nice bike that you invested in, you obviously don't want that to get stolen. So I think there were fears associated with it.
[00:04:54] Kim Ades:
Yeah. So we're gonna turn the word fears into beliefs, okay? So, "I believe that if I don't need something, then I shouldn't have it". Yes?
[00:05:10] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:05:12] Kim Ades:
Sometimes? Can you say that a little louder?
[00:05:14] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:05:14] Kim Ades:
[00:05:14] Ferne Kotlyar:
I said sometimes. [Laughs]
[00:05:16] Kim Ades:
And where does that come from? It certainly doesn't come from me.
[00:05:22] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:05:23] Kim Ades:
Who knows. So you have a belief, and I don't know if that's around like deserving something new or that's around your environmental orientation or it's around... What is that about exactly?
[00:05:39] Ferne Kotlyar:
I mean, yeah, maybe a bit of both. Like, I don't like waste, it really doesn't sit well with me, so I feel like it's a bit wasteful to get something new when you have one that works perfectly fine. Like, I will use my clothes, resow them, redo them, fix them up until they're really, I cannot use them anymore.
[00:05:58] Kim Ades:
Until your mother says enough is enough?
[00:06:01] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:06:03] Kim Ades:
[Laughs] Say that a bit louder.
[00:06:05] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Laughs] And then, yeah, there's this piece of like feeling, I guess, a bit spoiled. Like, I don't like that feeling of like showing off and like feeling almost like-- not everybody has the privilege to get a new bike. And so I feel entitled almost, and I don't like that feeling because, why should I have that when other people can't?
[00:06:30] Kim Ades:
Why shouldn't you?
[00:06:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
Because it makes me feel a bit spoiled and I don't like that.
[00:06:37] Kim Ades:
So all of that is stuff you've made up, by the way. Okay? All of that.
[00:06:43] Ferne Kotlyar:
I mean, isn't everything in life things we made up?
[00:06:45] Kim Ades:
Yeah, you made it up. "I don't deserve it. Why should I have it? I feel entitled. I feel spoiled. Nice things mean that I'm privileged and why should I be privileged when so many other people--" So here's a question, should you have good health?
[00:07:02] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:07:03] Kim Ades:
But so many other people don't have good health.
[00:07:06] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, so you've gotta take what you have and make the best out of it.
[00:07:12] Kim Ades:
No. What I'm really saying is your good health has no bearing on other people's good health. Your privilege, your wellbeing has nothing to do with anybody else's wellbeing.
[00:07:23] Ferne Kotlyar:
I mean, a little bit.
[00:07:25] Kim Ades:
Your job is to live the best life you can live, to live the healthiest life you could live, to live the life that's the most expansive. Yes? And that expansion takes nothing away from anybody else. In fact, if you get the new bike, you could take the old bike and give it to somebody else who might need it.
[00:07:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
I guess so.
[00:07:52] Kim Ades:
I guess so. And so what we're really demonstrating here, and we're not necessarily talking about indecision, we're talking about the beliefs we have around what we deserve, around what's okay for us to have, around the life that's okay for us to live.
[00:08:16] Ferne Kotlyar:
But this is case specific, no?
[00:08:19] Kim Ades:
But it's not. That's the whole thing. Lots of people say "no, no, no, I can't. I can't buy myself a new bike, that's like over the top. I don't deserve that. Why should I have that? That's unnecessary. Other people don't have such fancy bikes. I should just live with my crappy bike for the rest of my life. Or as long as it's still standing". Right?
"Why should I get coached? That's a real privilege". Right? "That's not something that anybody just gets, that's just for the elite", and it's not true. It's not true.
[00:08:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
So, how do we...
[00:08:57] Kim Ades:
Well, what we need to do is look at the beliefs we have about ourselves and what we deserve.
[00:09:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
Okay, so we've looked at them. Now what?
[00:09:07] Kim Ades:
Now what? Say "is that true? Is it true that I don't deserve this? If so, why? Do other people have fancy bikes? Sure. Why do they deserve it? Why is it okay for them to have fancy bikes? Is it something I want? Why is it bad to have what I want?" What now we're doing is we're challenging your beliefs. I challenge your beliefs all the time. Let's look at taking an Uber.
[00:09:37] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Quietly] It's your favorite topic.
[00:09:40] Kim Ades:
Say that a little louder.
[00:09:42] Ferne Kotlyar:
I said it's your favorite topic!
[00:09:44] Kim Ades:
It's my favorite topic. Ferne doesn't like to take Ubers. She thinks--
[00:09:47] Ferne Kotlyar:
That's not true that I don't like to take Ubers! I don't like to take Ubers on a regular basis if I don't have to. If I'm going out, let's take an Uber, that's fine. But if I have to take an Uber to get to school, that makes me uncomfortable because I would rather just live close to school. I don't wanna take an Uber to school every day. I wanna be self-reliant.
[00:10:04] Kim Ades:
Sure, it makes sense. It makes a whole lot of sense to live closer to school, so you don't have to take an Uber every day. A lot of sense. But nobody's asking you to take an Uber every day. But when we do tell you to-- ask you-- suggest that you should take an Uber, we can feel you bristling on the inside, just like you did a second ago.
[00:10:25] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, but I can feel you bristling when I say no. Why does it rile you up so much?
[00:10:29] Kim Ades:
Because you make your life more difficult when you choose options that are harder, longer, more strenuous, tedious, exhausting, stressful.
[00:10:40] Ferne Kotlyar:
Maybe that's your perception.
[00:10:44] Kim Ades:
It is my perception, and it often unfolds accurately.
[00:10:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
So you're saying you're right, and I'm wrong.
[00:10:54] Kim Ades:
I would never say that.
[00:10:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
Uh-huh, okay. Mm-hmm.
[00:10:57] Kim Ades:
[Laughs] I would never, ever say that.
[00:11:00] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:11:01] Kim Ades:
The point is you deserve nice things. You deserve to have a nice bike. You deserve to-- especially if you're using a bike all the time. Why do you need to live with a crappy bike? In fact, having a crappy bike could be potentially dangerous to drive on the road.
[00:11:21] Ferne Kotlyar:
[Quietly] Yeah, potentially.
[00:11:23] Kim Ades:
Say that a little louder.
[00:11:24] Ferne Kotlyar:
I said potentially!
[00:11:27] Kim Ades:
[Laughs] So, go back to indecision. Can we talk about indecision?
[00:11:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, let's apply it to other people this time.
[00:11:35] Kim Ades:
[Laughs] Okay. So, why are people indecisive? Because they have a set of beliefs about two options.
[00:11:46] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:11:47] Kim Ades:
Or three or four or five. They have a set of beliefs about what they think they deserve, they have a set of beliefs about missing out on things.
[00:11:54] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, let's talk about missing out. What happens if you have, like let's say someone invites you to some party or whatever-- Oh! Let's talk about like a dinner for networking, and you're like "this is a great opportunity! But also I'm exhausted. Should I go or should I not go? My plan was to go home and rest. Should I take this opportunity and push my rest one more day or should I go home and sleep?
Like , I would feel-- I do feel torn in those situations that happened to me quite recently, actually. So, I mean, that's not about whether or not I deserve something, that's about having this opportunity that you're worried about missing.
[00:12:31] Kim Ades:
Yeah. So, here it is, right? So when a person feels indecisive, they have a lack of clarity about what's most important to them.
[00:12:42] Ferne Kotlyar:
Well, why can't multiple things be important to them?
[00:12:45] Kim Ades:
But what's most important to them?
[00:12:47] Ferne Kotlyar:
Why does there only have to be one?
[00:12:48] Kim Ades:
In the moment there's gotta be one.
[00:12:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:12:52] Kim Ades:
Because that helps you make the decision.
[00:12:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, but what if you have two things of equal importance, like family and sleep or whatever, success, networking, whatever it may be.
[00:13:04] Kim Ades:
One needs to trump, one needs to take precedence, one needs to be slightly higher than the other...
[00:13:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
But not in every case.
[00:13:13] Kim Ades:
...until you make a decision.
[00:13:14] Ferne Kotlyar:
Okay, so how do you decide what you value more in a given instance?
[00:13:21] Kim Ades:
It's based on the moment, right? So, if right now you're exhausted and you can go to this event, but then what's gonna happen? What's the consequence of that? You're gonna be more exhausted, you're not gonna be able to function well the next day.
You're gonna go to the networking event and you're not gonna be on your best game anyway 'cause you're tired and it wasn't part of your plan, and you're pushing yourself, and what's driving you is that fear of missing out.
[00:13:50] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:13:51] Kim Ades:
So when the driver is fear, it's not a good driver.
[00:13:55] Ferne Kotlyar:
But let's take it-- Let's flip the script a bit. What if it's somebody who knows that this is a good opportunity, but is a bit uncomfortable with going out? They're like, I didn't-- Or even someone who has very strict plans in their head, and they don't like when plans go differently than the way they perceived it.
[00:14:11] Kim Ades:
[00:14:11] Ferne Kotlyar:
So now they're like "this is a good opportunity, but I didn't foresee it, so I feel stressed about going", should they go or not?
[00:14:17] Kim Ades:
I always like to lean on the question, what's your goal? What's your goal? And I wanna know what's your goal short term, but also what's your goal, your grander goal.
[00:14:28] Ferne Kotlyar:
Okay, what's your grander goal? Like, what's an example of a grand goal?
[00:14:31] Kim Ades:
Okay, so let's just go back to this networking thing. Your goal is to do your PhD and be very well networked and meet as many people as you can. But your ultimate goal is to crush whatever you're doing.
[00:14:52] Ferne Kotlyar:
Is that my ultimate goal?
[00:14:53] Kim Ades:
I don't know, you tell me.
[00:14:56] Ferne Kotlyar:
Well, I need an example of an ultimate goal so I can reference and decide on mine.
[00:15:00] Kim Ades:
I think your ultimate goal is to do whatever it is you're doing with as much enthusiasm, presence, clarity, excellence as you can.
[00:15:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
And what's your goal?
[00:15:14] Kim Ades:
My goal, my personal goal?
[00:15:16] Ferne Kotlyar:
Your grand goal.
[00:15:18] Kim Ades:
My grand goal is to live a life where I'm having a good time, where I feel good, where I'm healthy, and where I'm contributing or maximizing my skillset, my talents.
[00:15:34] Ferne Kotlyar:
You don't think that's most people's goal?
[00:15:38] Kim Ades:
Yes, but they're not aware of it. But no, you can't assume that.
[00:15:42] Ferne Kotlyar:
Why do I have a different goal than you?
[00:15:44] Kim Ades:
Well, specifically for your PhD.
[00:15:47] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:15:48] Kim Ades:
Right? You could say your goal is to have a good time too and maximize your talents, but I think that part of your goal is to do everything you can with the greatest level of energy and excellence.
[00:16:02] Ferne Kotlyar:
So then wouldn't it make sense for me to go?
[00:16:06] Kim Ades:
No, because I think that if you had gone tired, you wouldn't be doing what you want to do, then you're not doing everything with presence, energy, and excellence. You're not. 'Cause now tomorrow you're tired and you're not present, excellent or energetic.
But I guess the line is very fine, right? Like, how tired are you to make this bad? You know? Like, that line is very fine and when you're walking on that fine line, it's hard to make a decision because both options provide you something you want. And so that's where the question of indecision comes in.
[00:16:40] Ferne Kotlyar:
For me at least, how do I know which one is more valuable? Because they both provide value of different kind of value. So, how do you make that decision?
[00:16:52] Kim Ades:
Well, I think that there are two things. Number one is you have to envision yourself having made the decision and deciding how that feels. Does it feel good to be there or does it feel exhausting?
[00:17:04] Ferne Kotlyar:
I mean, you're not there yet, how do you know?
[00:17:06] Kim Ades:
Envision. Like, given my current state--
[00:17:10] Ferne Kotlyar:
Is envisioning not like Making assu-- not making assumptions, but making assumptions about how you're gonna feel, and then therefore, you might get disappointed.
[00:17:20] Kim Ades:
Judge how you feel now, take your current feeling now and say "okay, this is how I feel now. I'm gonna go to an event. How am I gonna perform? How am I gonna feel? How am I gonna enjoy it? Then I'm gonna come home and then I'm gonna sleep way later than I wanna sleep". And now envision that.
Envision having to wake up early 'cause the people that you live with-- above you wake you up at 6:30AM and now you're tired for the rest of the day. So now how do I feel? So like project, right? Okay? So, that's an option. Or I can go home and sleep and miss out, but then feel better tomorrow.
[00:18:03] Ferne Kotlyar:
But I guess the idea is like, if... I understand in this specific case, but in a case where the line is thinner.
[00:18:11] Kim Ades:
[00:18:12] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, like if you're not that tired, you're only kind of tired, you know? Like, one of those things. If the line is thinner between the two options, how do you make the decision? And I think you said something earlier that was of value is kind of what are you making the decision based off of. Is it based off of fear? Fear of missing out, fear of not doing something, fear of whatever it may be, then that's not a good driver.
[00:18:37] Kim Ades:
It's not a good driver. If your decision is based on something that excites you, a draw, something that pulls you in, it's a better decision. But one of the keys about making a decision, very important, is once you make a decision, get behind your decision. Don't contemplate the other decision anymore, it's over.
[00:18:58] Ferne Kotlyar:
Why is it so important?
[00:18:59] Kim Ades:
Get behind your position full force. Because then whatever decision you make, you're not gonna enjoy the experience. When you're always-- it's kind of like getting married, right? Once you get married, be in your marriage. Don't look at your other options.
[00:19:13] Ferne Kotlyar:
RIP. [Chuckles] Yeah.
[00:19:15] Kim Ades:
[00:19:16] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, don't do that.
[00:19:16] Kim Ades:
Be in your marriage. Focus on the person you're married to.
[00:19:20] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:19:21] Kim Ades:
Make this marriage the best mar-- You've already made the decision, so now put all of your force and energy behind your decision. Don't have one land in this marriage and the other land in being single. Doesn't work. That will make your decision a failure.
[00:19:37] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:19:38] Kim Ades:
So put your full force behind your decision. And the other thing is, and I just wanna say this, there are no wrong decisions. Every decision is an okay decision as long as you get behind your decision.
But sometimes when you have some options, you wanna look at a few things. Is it healthy? Is it engaging for me? Is it aligned with my values? And does it lead to a goal? That's actually the H. E. A. L. formula, by the way.
[00:20:08] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:20:08] Kim Ades:
H: is it healthy? E: is it engaging? Does it draw me in? A: is it aligned with my values? And L: does it lead to a goal or an outcome I'm looking for?
[00:20:21] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:20:22] Kim Ades:
So that's how we make decisions. And so... So the question for you is, in the case of going to this thing, what's, what's a higher value? Networking or taking care of yourself? When you put it that way, you can decide.
[00:20:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:20:42] Kim Ades:
[00:20:42] Ferne Kotlyar:
It's like, do you wanna be healthy or do you wanna go out with friends? [Chuckles]
[00:20:48] Kim Ades:
Some people will wanna go out with friends, no brainer.
[00:20:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:20:51] Kim Ades:
And here's the thing. If something's a no brainer, do it. But if suddenly you're like "Hey, I don't feel like doing this", it's not a no brainer anymore. So that's something you need to pay attention to. Don't just do it because you're supposed to do it. Don't do it because you have a fear of missing out. Don't do it because everybody else is doing it. Do it because it's good for you.
[00:21:17] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:21:18] Kim Ades:
And sometimes something that's good for you today might not be good for you tomorrow, and that's okay. You know, like I could stay up really, really late watching a movie tonight until two o'clock in the morning, but tomorrow I have Saturday. That probably isn't a wise eye thing for me to do on a Sunday.
[00:21:39] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:21:40] Kim Ades:
Right? When I have to wake up and get ready for work and everything else. So situational appropriateness is also at play here.
[00:21:51] Ferne Kotlyar:
[00:21:53] Kim Ades:
Very true. All right. For those of you who have trouble making decisions, it's a good conversation to have. What's the driver of your decision making? Are you making decisions outta fear or are you making decisions that are healthy for you? Think about that and if you'd like to discuss that, I'd love to have a conversation with you.
Go to frameofmindcoaching.com and schedule some time to talk. We have complimentary coaching sessions available, and I'd love to explore some of the things that plague you. And if you wanna reach out to me directly, it's Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Ferne, how do they reach you?
[00:22:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
Email me as well. My email is Fernekotlyar@live.com.
[00:22:38] Kim Ades:
All right. Make good decisions, Ferne. We'll see you next week.
[00:22:41] Ferne Kotlyar:
Thanks, mom. Bye!
[00:22:43] Kim Ades: