How to get out of confusion


Everybody experiences confusion from time to time. Significant career, relationship and financial choices are common breeding grounds for confusion. But sometimes we can get stuck in confusion around much simpler decisions like creating a budget or deciding which diet or exercise plan to follow.

Feeling confused is a normal, very human response to making a choice. It’s often a signal that you need to do some deeper thinking. However, it can become a major obstacle when you sit in confusion versus using your mind and energy to sort through it. 

Confusion will not resolve itself.

So what do you do to work through confusion and come to a decision you feel confident about?

Here’s a great example, last week I was coaching a client who works as a lawyer at a top firm in NYC. Two years ago she decided she did not want to practice law any longer. She has some ideas for a future career but has essentially done nothing to further a change for one reason…..confusion! She doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do next.

The initial not knowing what’s next is OK but staying stuck in that mindset creates a roadblock. She’s using confusion as an excuse to do nothing and procrastinate!

If you are experiencing ongoing confusion in any area, it’s probably procrastination in disguise. On the surface, it looks and feels much better to not be making progress because you’re confused versus just not following through. Sometimes we even feel sorry for ourselves because we’re confused.

If you stay “confused” than you don’t have to take action until you “figure it out”. Confusion is a safe place and a breeding ground for procrastination.

Procrastination is not complicated.

It’s simply not doing what you said you would and choosing not to move forward with something repeatedly. Add in some confusion and it becomes seemingly more complex.

The only way to get clear and out of confusion is to take action. You don’t have to know the answer but you do have to keep moving in pursuit of finding it. No one ever gets out of confusion by doing nothing.

For example, the lawyer I mentioned earlier does have several ideas of what to do next in her career. They are varied, and each with pros and cons, but she is less confused than she believes. It’s really just the fear of making a big decision and a change. So what actions does she take to get to the answer? She started with a list of 5 careers that seemed interesting. I sent her off to investigate them one by one. She’s having conversations and even shadowing people who are in those jobs already, essentially finding out what it would be like in each of those new careers. There’s no clear answer yet but she’s on her way to finding one, which feels much better. 

If you’re feeling confused and stuck in an area of your life – don’t worry. Take it as a sign you need to create an action plan for yourself. It’s an opportunity to grow and get out of your comfort zone. Take steps daily and stay in motion. We never figure out an answer by sitting on the couch eating ice cream!