Breaking the Decision Stalemate

October 13, 2015

Job Search, Self-Assessment

chess2(2)Have you ever felt stuck when making a tough career decision?  Some years ago I was in a tug of war between what I felt I should do and what I wanted to do.  It felt like  I was in a stalemate – what chess players call a situation where no viable move exists and, according to Wikipedia, “in which resolution or further action seems highly difficult or unlikely.”

I looked for counsel in a wise friend and she asked me to check in with three parts of myself:  my head, my heart and my gut. Well that sounded good – but the trio brought me back to square one: my heart said “follow your bliss!” while my head said “do what is practical!”  When I looked for an answer from my gut, it was unreachable for comment.  Stuck again.

You may be in just such a situation. You may have a sense that a job change is coming, but are having a difficult time initiating proactive steps. Or perhaps you have a job offer on the table and are having trouble deciding whether to take it or not. Whatever your work conundrum, try these strategies:

    •  Re-frame the head/heart/gut inquiry the way LeaderValues does, by engaging the highest expression of each of the parts of yourself – creativity (head), compassion (heart) and courage (gut).  Is there a way of thinking about this situation differently?  What happens if you simply acknowledge that you are in a challenging spot?  What action would you take if you could set aside your fear?
    • Waiting can be a very active choice. Sometimes decisions happen in their own timing.  Our heads, hearts and/or guts may not have enough information or feeling to guide us in one clear direction yet. Choosing to wait until you are strongly moved – or possibly until intensity of the fear subsides – is a viable option.
    • We may have to make a decision before our heads, hearts and guts are in alignment.  If that is the case, try another tool such as values bases decision making, where you identify and prioritize what you believe in and see how it stacks up to your choices.  Similarly, check out a fellow blogger’s  pro-con decision-making tool.
    • Check in with a trusted friend or career professional to discuss your stalemate further to see if there aren’t any other unidentified pieces in play that could change the game.

Whatever move you may be considering, know your stalemate is temporary! That career conundrum of mine from years ago? I ultimately let time pass until I could connect with my gut more clearly, and then moved forward. However long it takes and whatever tools you decide to use, you have the answers inside of you.

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3 Comments on “Breaking the Decision Stalemate”

  1. Zenana Says:

    Very helpful Aubrie! It’s great to hear that waiting is a good option. Sometimes when you are ready for change it is hard to be patient.


    • Aubrie De Clerck PCC, CPC Says:

      I’m so glad it helped, Zenana! I hear you on patience, it is not a skill I have much of. 🙂 Sometimes I need to find another outlet for that energy, or some other way to let go for a while. It’s an ongoing practice!


  2. Kim Says:

    Great thoughts here Dave!


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