Dealing with change inherently means that we must also deal with an abundance of options, which can make everything around us seem different. When there are so many choices in front of us, we sometimes “blank” and don't know what to do or how or where to start in dealing with that change. It’s like going to the Cheescake Factory and trying to decide what to pick from the 250 items on their 21 page menu! You open up that heavy spiral bound notebook and suddenly you have no idea what you want to eat! In a word, it can be overwhelming.
This phenomenon is actually backed by psychology. Psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that the more choices we have, the less likely we will take action and the less satisfied we will be with our eventual decision. Complexity (having too many options) leads to indecision and indecision leads to stagnation (not taking action).
Instead of letting “analysis paralysis” take over, there is one simple strategy we can use to move forward. We have to start by taking that first step and taking action! It might sound overly simple, but by taking one small step, one small action at a time, we start to build forward momentum. That first step will lead us to taking another step and then another and then another! Before you know it, you’re well on your way!
For example, perhaps you’re looking for a new job or you want to switch careers. Take the initiative to reach out to someone who recently did the same and ask them for advice on what they did to face that change and the many choices that come with it. Instead of just hoping and wishing for that next great job opportunity to magically appear in front of you on a silver platter, start taking action, one small step at a time! Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile with any new skills or certifications. Spend 15 minutes a day scanning Indeed for new opportunities. Reach out to any contacts you know who could provide referrals to the companies you’d love to work for. Join an association to build more connections in that industry. Don’t just rest on your laurels, take the bull by the horns and start taking action!
Just one small step is all it takes. Put one foot in front of the other and start taking action. One step leads to another, so once we start doing this every day, that progress starts adding up and helps us build momentum to move us through the change we are facing. By feeling empowered that we can take action one step at a time, we are able to overcome any change put in our path.
BONUS: “Analysis paralysis” describes an individual or group process when overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to stop, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon.