07/25/2017 by Kori Burkholder
7 Ways to Beat Career Indecisiveness
Have you ever experienced career indecisiveness? Where do you feel overwhelmed by too many career options and just gave up and stayed put because it was easier? Indecisiveness is a consequence of having too many choices and as researcher Barry Schwartz calls this "choice overload."
I’ve been there, too.
Early in my career, I worked at a big ad agency as an Executive Creative Assistant. Then, I had the opportunity to solo to Thailand for a month. While I was there, I met some fascinating people and had some eye-opening life experiences when I decided to give into my adventurous side, quit my job, travel around SE Asia, and teach English.
When I got back to New York 5 months later, I had no freaking clue what I wanted to do next. The problem was that I had so many interests and choices that I became paralyzed with indecisiveness, thinking:
Should I turn my passion projects into full-time gigs, become a producer, get a Master’s degree, teach English, or finally pursue A&R for a music label, which brought me to New York in the first place.
I started randomly interviewing for jobs I didn't want and bombed them all! Jobs like in-person wine sales, which lasted all of a day. This choice overload "problem" led me down a path of partying too much, perhaps as a way to deflect what was going on, which was depression and hopelessness.
Career Breakthrough Moment
While searching for jobs on Craigslist, I saw an ad, "Lost in your job search? Try working with a Life Coach". I didn’t know what a Life Coach was, but it got my attention, and I called the number. I met with him and decided to work with him. 2 months later, I landed my dream job at one of the biggest Indie record labels and found myself at the forefront of the multimillion-dollar ringtone business!
Let’s breakdown the process which helped me beat my indecisiveness:
Create a deadline and accountability first: I gave myself a goal to land a job in 3 months. Working with my coach, I created structure and goals and have accountability to keep myself on track. You could ask a friend, family member, co-worker, etc.
Process of elimination: I came into the meeting and laid down all my options like a deck of cards. We slowly eliminated some obvious ones until we were left with just a few that energized me. Over a few weeks, it was clear to me which card to pursue.
Have trust in your choice: I felt at ease once I decided. I trusted that I had made the right choice. Having confidence combats the fear of making the wrong choice. And look, sometimes it works out, while other times, not so much. In this case, it did! I was able to get on the ground floor of an exciting new revenue-generating product in the music industry. I wrote voice tone scripts for Pitbull and Lil Jon and recorded them together in the studio. What a dream!
Put blinders on to not get sidetracked: Before I landed the job at the Indie record label, I took a soul-sucking temp job at a major music label in the IT department. The office had no windows, and I had to work in the dark, cold shoebox. I lived in spreadsheets looking for duplicate numbers and entering new raw data. Yuck, my worst nightmare! I had to put my blinders on and remind myself that there was a bigger mission.
Detach from the outcome: In Deepak Chopra’s "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," he says, "When you attach yourself to a specific objective, your intention gets locked into a rigid mindset, and you lose the fluidity, the creativity, and the spontaneity inherent in the field. It’s much better to stay open and relaxed about outcomes. Have goals, but don’t make them part of your happiness." For the Indie music label interview, I prepared as much as possible and practiced my interviewing skills until I was confident. Afterward, I kept myself detached from the outcome as it helped create a sense of calm and trust in myself.
And Something More: I love the chapter in the book Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude called "…And Something More", meaning is there something more you could do to bring the success you are seeking? During the indie label job interview, I found out the woman hiring was getting married. My ‘something more’ idea was to bring her a beautiful orchid with a nice note and drop it off at reception. I walked out detached from the outcome and felt good to do something nice for someone else. Wouldn’t you know that that was the move that got me hired?
Act, examine your results, make adjustments, and move on: I chose to act and found a way to conquer my choice overload. In most cases, it’s not the end of the world if you make the "wrong" choice. Nothing is permanent. If I didn’t like the job, I didn’t have to stay. About one year in, I set a goal to double my income. When I saw no room for advancement, I started interviewing elsewhere. One month later, I landed my next dream job as the Music Merchandising Manager for a mobile entertainment company, and I did double my income that year!
If you choose to stay overwhelmed by "too many choices" and don’t take action, you’re depriving the world of your gifts. Being decisive and taking action impacted my life and turned me toward my purpose. Ironically enough, over a decade later, armed with more life experience, I now help others out of choice overwhelm, empowering them to feel more connected to life and experience more joy every day.
Are you experiencing career indecisiveness and can’t decide what to do next in your career?
I challenge you to write out all of your choices on different pieces of paper and spread them out like a deck of cards. Then, be decisive and toss out the ones you don’t feel energized by. What’s left are the ones you need to start the process of elimination.
Need help? Book a free 15 minutes brainstorming session, and we can tackle this step together!