Making Decisions With Confidence

Episode #63

There’s something about being faced with a decision that can cause us so much stress and anxiety. Whether it’s a big decision or even a small one like choosing what to eat for dinner. But why? In today’s episode, we talk about common reasons why decision making can feel so difficult and stressful and we discuss tips on how you can make decisions with confidence!


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
This is Episode 63. Making Decisions with Confidence. You’re listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the rise up and shine podcast here with Claudine, another lovely morning. So I wanted to start this episode off by asking you all a question that’s going to lead into our topic for the day. So here it is. Do you find it difficult to make a decision? Bom Bom Bom? Well, I do. I know many of us at one time or another no matter how big no matter how small have had have, have found it very difficult to make a decision for various reasons. And in today’s episode, Claudine and I are gonna dive into what some of those reasons are. Why does it feel so difficult sometimes, whether it’s a big decision or a small decision? I mean, I’ve been asked some of the smallest little things that really seem like no big deal, and it’s just caused me so much anxiety. I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s very amazing and powerful to discover why we do those things. Also focus on the practical that can really help decision making that much easier for us all for our own mental well being. So we don’t freak out like sometimes I would do.

Claudine
You know, decision making is a struggle for many of us. And a, you know, making a decision by definition is to make a final choice or to select as a course of action. That’s the definition. And I was reading an article that we can make up to 35,000 decisions a day. Now that sounded a little crazy.

Ashley
No wonder we’re stressed out.

Claudine
I know. But by the same token, there’s thoughts out there that we have 60,000 thoughts a day. So I guess more than half of those thoughts were deciding something that’s crazy. could be as simple as what should I wear today? And what’s breakfast? To what’s really more complicated. When should I marry this person? Which university should I attend? Which job should I take? I mean, decision making is from the tiny tiny to the humongous. So but we make a lot of them apparently, in one day. 35,000 I thought maybe I made 10. So I was shocked.

Ashley
That’s pretty amazing. You know, it’s funny what you were saying Claudine about even to, you know, deciding Are we going to marry this person? I was thinking, gosh, it was a lot easier for me to decide, yes, I want to marry this man. And it is so much harder for me to figure out what is for dinner.

Claudine
Right? Right.

Ashley
That causes me a lot more stress than money.

Claudine
Well, yeah. And I got married at 23. And then.

Ashley
Me too.

Claudine
My decision making involved This is the father of my child, I should marry him.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. Well, that was easy.

Claudine
Yeah, that was easy, right? So but we are talking today about decision making, because so many people can feel stuck and scared and frustrated. By having to make a decision. I have one child, one of my four, who shall remain nameless that when they were younger, and we would go to restaurants would get so stuck in what to order, they would literally ruin our evening, because they just could not order. And so we had to stop going out with the kids. Not that we did that a lot. But on the occasions that we did, we just had to stop. Now as this child became an adult, they were able to communicate that they always had a fear that they would make the wrong decision. And they wouldn’t like their food. And as a child that seemed pretty big in the scope of their life, right? No, you don’t like your food, either send it back, you don’t eat it, you order something else. There’s so many other options. But the time when they were younger, they were not developed enough to realize that ordering the wrong food that they might not like would not be the end of life as they knew it. But that was one thing. Just a decision over what to order was like, you know, it affected all of us to the point where I had to stop going out with the kids because I was like, Oh, we can’t go through this.


Ashley
Right. It’s not fun anymore.

Claudine
No, it wasn’t fun. As a side note, our family went on a cruise several years later. And they were allowed to order anything they wanted from the menu and as many items as they wanted off the menu and for some reason that they were fine with. I’ll take this and this and this. So worked out just fine. Well, that’s good.

Ashley
So Claudine, where do you fall on the spectrum? Because some of us it’s harder than others. Right? Some, it’s pretty easy, to some extent. But where do you fall? Is it hard? Is it more simple for you to make decisions?

Claudine
I think for me, it’s become easier. I think, when I was younger, let’s say my 20s. And even 30s is probably a little more challenging. But I think my natural makeup is to kind of just jump into it and let the chips fall as they may. And so now, because over the course of several decades, I’ve made, you know, quite a few wrong if there is such a thing as a wrong decision, or not the best So, but I survived. So now my brain knows it’s not life or death. Right? Whatever I make a decision on it’s not life or death. So there’s some trust and safety built up, that I can make a decision and it won’t end the world as I know it. Now, I’m not talking about jumping out of airplanes, I’ve made a decision not to do that. Kind of self preservation, which we’ll be talking about next week. But there’s certain things I don’t do. I’ve made a decision not to do just, you know, to save my life.

Ashley
Yeah, you know, I’ve had times where I, you know, go into my closet, gosh, what am I gonna wear today? What am I going to wear? And I’ve had to figure out the the thing that helps me with just that, you know, the stress of picking out what I want to wear for the day is, well, who am I dressing for? I would ask myself, who am I dressing for? I’m dressing for me. So why is it such a big deal? What do I feel like wearing today, I feel like we’re in this one. But it means something so simple can cause us so much stress. And then once we’re dressed and we go on about our day, we don’t think we don’t give it a second thought. But for whatever reason, there are those little things that stop us in our tracks and right, like your child, I’m going to make the wrong choice. And that can be debilitating at times, especially when it comes to bigger decisions that need to be made in our life, which we all face. Right. So.

Claudine
So yeah, I mean, there’s lots of reasons that we get stuck, right, we get stuck because of fear. When we make the right choice, we get stuck because fear of judgment, you know, as simple as getting dressed, if we know we’re gonna go out or go to work or be out in public, we’re like, what will others think of me if I wear this and fear of judgment of ourself, right? So a lot of decisions, we get stuck and we fear, right? So we get stuck in making decisions because of fear. We also get stuck because of overwhelm. There’s so many choices, right? I mean, just even thinking

Ashley
Too many options.

Claudine
Way too many options. Wait, I mean, every night, my husband and I are skimming through Netflix, or maybe we should watch and there’s hundreds if not 1000s? We’re like no, no, I mean, it literally takes us about 30 minutes just to pick one film. And by that.

Ashley
That’s pretty good. It takes us over an hour. Friday night, so usually our night to sit down and watch a movie together, watch something together, and it takes over an hour. And usually, my husband will be putting the kids to bed, and I’ll start looking ahead of time to narrow the choices.

Claudine
Right? Exactly. It’s so many options, so many options. So that can lead to overwhelm. Right? Another reason we can get stuck in decision making is lack of confidence. Right? Like it kind of stems back to making the right choice but confidence in ourselves that we don’t know what else to go back to what if I make the wrong decision? negative self talk? I don’t know what’s right. I don’t know. You know, so we can get stuck because of lack of confidence in ourselves that we can make the right decision.

Ashley
Claudine. I have a couple to add on to that as well. One is people pleasing and you kind of touched on that the judgment but this could be to a whole nother level. You know, if you’re a codependent or just a people pleaser, in general you are it’s driven by fear, driven by fear and you feel like oh gosh, I got to make this decision. So I can make the other person happy. Or I’m going to do this for the other person. And it can become toxic to us. If we think that way all the time, and it could be extremely difficult to make a decision because we’re not in the other person’s head. You know, I mean, this, I’ve shared this in the past on our podcast, how I have had birthday parties for my children. And I would just overwhelm myself because I was trying to anticipate what other people would want to eat or drink or, you know, do while they’re there at the adults, especially not even just the kids, but their parents, their parents, I put so much stress on myself. But I was anticipating, okay, well, they might want this to drink, or they might like this, or maybe they don’t like this. But it was driven by such people pleasing that I drove myself crazy. Yeah. And I was exhausted. And I didn’t even enjoy it. Fortunately, my daughter did. And the people did, but I was exhausted. And I didn’t admit. And I had to learn, like, gosh, stop doing that. Like, why do I keep making decisions based on pleasing others, and that will cause so much stress. Another is disconnection from our desires and our needs. So I have really related to this that I have, you know, growing up, and this can come from previous relationships, childhood, whatnot, but you see many times where a kid might tell their parents, well, I want to do this, or I want to buy that, or I want to watch this. And the parents might say, No, no, no, no, and be told no a lot, where their desires just kind of got rejected, you know. And so you can grow up feeling like, Well, my desires and my wants or even needs maybe aren’t, weren’t met. And so maybe I need to make decisions for other people that can go into the people, right? So we can have such a disconnection of what we really want and need. And that can make it very hard to decide. And that goes into my other personal example of dinner. You know, what’s for dinner? Oh, my gosh, like, I would go visit my mother and she would ask me, before noon, what do you want for dinner tonight? Don’t ask me that. I’m not ready to answer that. Give me three o’clock. Okay, three o’clock. I’ll start thinking about it. But I did it. So I would have a very hard time deciding what I wanted to have for dinner, because I never really thought about what I want. It was very uncomfortable for me to consider what I want. Because it might be what something it might not be what someone else wants. So I will actually choose for dinner. And this happened a lot in my marriage. I mean, dinner was one of the most stressful times of the day for me, because I was trying to make something that maybe everyone else will like, and I’ll kind of get affirmed, you know, get that little affirmation or just that I made something that they all liked, which you know, you have two kids and a husband, how often is that gonna work out? Right?

Claudine
Try four kids and a husband? You know, it’s so funny with dinner because I made what I made. And if they didn’t like it, I would always tell them, this is not Burger King, and you do not get it your way. I am not a restaurant, this is what we’re having. Now, granted, over the years, there were certain items that came up, and they’re like, we really none of us like this. I was like, okay, cut that out. But overall,

Ashley
Well, I do so you’re gonna eat it?

Claudine
No, I didn’t do that. No, I didn’t do that. But


Ashley
I do one thing that has helped me with that just kind of side note, because it’s funny, but I will say Well, what do I feel like eating today. And I’ll start once in a while, not every night, but once in a while. Yeah, often throughout the week, I’ll make what I would like to eat. Because I really like having tacos or I feel like having pasta and like I’m allowed to make what I want to make too. And it I mean, it sounds silly, but some some of us really do have to go through that little rationale in our head, you know, and be okay with choosing something that you want and be a little more connected with your wants and desires and needs.

Claudine
Well, it’s so true and what you’re talking about a lot of it is in our subconscious. So a lot of the decision making that we do is made by our subconscious we’re not even aware of why we decide certain things. It’s from the programming, from the experiences from whatever we learned in our childhood like for you obviously pleasing others, somehow developed them became a huge part of who you are right at an early age. And so that started affecting your decision making process. And it can lead us astray. If it’s not intentional if our decision making process is done. Without awareness without intention, just on the subconscious level. We’re gonna end up making decisions that we look at and like, why did I do that? Don’t even make sense for the direction. I want my life. going, I don’t even understand why I did this or thought this or felt this. So, yeah, a lot of it is from our childhood programming, you know? So actually, let’s talk about some practicals to help those of us that can get stuck making decisions like how should we go about making big decisions, and we’re talking more big decisions, because really little decisions like what to wear and what to eat for dinner while we can get stuck with those, those really aren’t going to impact our life in a great way. We’re talking more about bigger decisions when we’re faced with Where should we move? And who should I marry those decisions that people can really get stuck with create anxiety can create depression, you know, when making those things? Actually, that’s one of the reasons sometimes we don’t make decisions because we’re depressed, that could really be a reason. Like, it’s hard to think clearly. When your brain your mind, your heart is depressed. Mm hmm. But making decisions can create anxiety, which is not the best place to come to to make a decision when you’re anxious. So for practicals, I’ve written down a few here for our listeners and for ourselves. The first one is Christian women, obviously, we’re motivated by a desire to honor and please God. So for me when I have to make a big decision. I really have to look at that. Well, this honor. God is real specific about principles in the Scriptures, but not about the How to like what to wear. I don’t think God really cares what I wear. But I do believe he wants me to honor the principle of obeying the laws of the lands, which is where something is when you’re going out in public, right? Don’t overthink it? It’s true, right?

Ashley
Do us all a favor. Please wear something,


Claudine
please wear something out in public. It is the law of the land. And we are motivated to please God and honor the laws of the land. Right? I know, it’s a silly example. But it just tries to show that there are principles to hold to and not necessarily like the specifics. Another one for me is to write it down. If I’m really stuck, I’ll write down the pros and cons. Put it put pen to paper, get it out of your head, get it out of your thoughts, because in your thoughts, we’re doing all this. But but but it should, should should. But put it on paper, get it just the facts, like as much facts as we can do with that our opinion. But what are the pros? If you make this decision? What are the cons? If you make this decision? What are the pros? If you don’t make this decision? What are the cons if you don’t make this decision, it really helps to put it on paper, to really see it with our eyes to write it with our hands, it does something to the brain. And then we can kind of get out of our emotions, and get our prefrontal cortex more engaged into making a logical choice, and not an emotional choice. Because we don’t want to make decisions out of fear or out of some emotion.

Ashley
Not from an emotional place,

Claudine
Right? What’s that, quote, don’t make a permanent decision from a temporary feeling right? Not that anything’s permanent. But even buying a house, you know, you want to do on a feeling like well, I just feel like I should live here, then it may not line up with anything else. And that’s kind of a big decision to make. Another one is to pray about it. I think sometimes when I get stuck, I just pray. And it’s funny that God will really make it clear. He’ll just make it clearer. Maybe he’ll block an avenue and it’s like, well, I guess that’s not that was that’s not gonna work. So praying has been so helpful to me personally on so many occasions. Another one is seek advice, get input from others, there are people that know more than me on a lot of subjects on probably every subject. So you know, if I’m have to make a big financial decision, which we’re going to be coming up to soon after the sale of our house, you know, I’m going to want to sit down with you and your husband because you guys have some things going on. Right? You have more experience in managing money than my husband I do. We have great experience blowing through money and losing money. But now we have a little money from the sale of our house. And we’re going to seek advice like where should we put this? How should we invest this what has proven in your experience to be beneficial and to work in your favor? So seek advice. Finally, one of the final things too is just choose just make a decision making a decision is better than not making a decision because not making a decision. We’re just stuck. We don’t go anywhere. Then we get frustrated. We get depressed. It’s like we’re not living life to the full right when we’re not rising up and shining when we stay stuck. So just make a choice. One way or another it will work out it always does. I look at all our choices. I mean one of are probably worse decisions was to buy a house when we moved to Nashville for two years, we only went out one weekend and looked at houses and then just bought one needed work, we had to put work into it, we never sold our house in California. So it was completely a financial Wait, like, I don’t know how to say it, but it cost us financially. And then when we went to sell it was after the crash. So we actually lost about 100,000. So I could look back and say that was a really bad decision, it would have been better to just rent, decide which area make a decision financially, because we’re basing our decision on the fact that our California house would sell, which it didn’t. So we really couldn’t afford that house. But the truth of it is, when I look back, instead of getting discouraged or having negative self talk, I look at all the good, I focus on all the good that came out from it, my next door neighbor became a really close friend, I wouldn’t have had that experience that was something really good. from it. I loved my two years in that neighborhood in that house, it was a great experience, a very expensive experience, but it was a great experience. So a lot of good that came from what could be looked at as a bad decision. And we survived it, you know, we overcame it, we survived it. So for me just making a choice not getting stuck. And lastly is just trusting God during before and after, you know, when there’s a decision to be made, just trusting that He will guide us that it’ll work in our benefit in the long run. So for me, trusting God’s been huge, like I said, with that, that experience, I had to trust him after, okay, that didn’t turn out so well financially. But let me just trust you that in the end, you’re gonna work it all out, and that there was a lot of good that came from it. So those practicals for me that help me make decisions, bigger decisions.

Ashley
Yeah, and I’m gonna put one in there as well as acceptance. I know this kind of goes into even the journaling or writing things down and prayer, but accepting that no matter what choice you make is, is the best choice you can make right now with what information you have. Right? And then like you said, later down the road, you’ll say, Okay, well, maybe that wasn’t the best choice but to have grace with yourself. Take it as a learning experience. Right? And that helps to build wisdom. So you can make an even better choice the next time. Right, another thing that someone would always encourage me or with that it took me a while to actually appreciate this piece of advice, because at first it was really hard and like I really don’t like that. Right? Well, what’s the worst that can happen? And I’m sure we’ve most of us haven’t heard that before. Well, what’s the worst thing that can happen? But even when I would think the worst, and it relatively maybe to other people, it’s like, well, that’s really not that bad. In my brain, it still felt like this is horrible. It felt like death. You know, I mean, it felt so strong because of that fear. And because of the beliefs in my head. The thoughts that I had about this circumstance, it was so strong that it did feel really awful. You know? Yeah, I mean, it could be like, well, like, for example, and this is gonna sound silly, but this is my codependency the word No, I struggled. Probably most of my life with the word no being told no. also being able to say the word no. And so when someone says, Well, maybe the worst that can happen is they say no. But that feels like I’m going to die. It Right. feels that strong in my body. But it goes way back re back to childhood way back of why I kind of built that belief up in my head. But the awareness and understanding made me focus on just accepting, okay, if someone does say no, accept it, it’s gonna be uncomfortable, but accept it. If it is what it is. It’s not it’s right. It’s okay. You’re allowed to say no, I’m allowed to say no, be okay with that uncomfortable feeling. Right. And I think that is one thing that can really help us make decisions and easier yet take a lot of the pressure off is be okay with the uncomfortable feelings, right? It’s very hard for us as humans to do that. Because we want to avoid all discomfort at all costs. But when it comes to decisions, there is going to be a lot of uncomfortable, uncomfortable. This is going to be a lot of discomfort. So we need to just accept it and it’s part of life. It’s okay. You know.


Claudine
That’s a that’s a great point. I love the fact that you brought that up because you We want life to just be all sunshine and rainbows. And it’s not not emotionally, not mentally, not experientially. And even with our decisions, you’re right, some decisions we make are going to be uncomfortable. And that’s just part of life. And if we think that we have to make every decision correctly, and we have to feel good 100% of the time, we’re going to get ourselves in trouble, right over and over again. So just accepting that some decisions will be difficult, they will produce pain and discomfort. But it really is, after going the greater goal, you know, what’s the greater goal? What’s your eye on if we’re just making decisions haphazardly, if we’re not being driven by our values, or by something deeper by our goals? Like, again, for me, as a Christian, well, woman, I’m motivated by desire to honor God, that’s a, that’s a value deep within me that I strive to, and I know you do as well strive to live. So that motivates and shapes a lot of my decisions, right? But what to expect that all my decisions are going to be right, or quote, unquote, perfect are going to bring just blessings and sunshine and happiness is not even realistic. That’s just right. Like, that’s just not the human experience. We’re gonna experience at all the good, bad and the ugly.

Ashley
Yeah. And, you know, I also wanted to point out, I know, for us women, moms wives, when we feel like our decision can greatly impact for the positive or negative our family, it can be that much harder to make a decision or even consider making a decision. Because I mean, many of us have gone through Well, what school? Will my kids go to? Or even right now? Do I want? I mean, we’re getting surveys, do you want your children to go to school? in person? Or would you prefer virtual learning or even a hybrid? And that’s like, I don’t know, you know, I mean, you have to take all these. Gosh, why, right? What my kids to go. But is that bad? Is it safe? Is it you know, there’s a lot of decisions. And I know, when it comes to my children, it can be very challenging to make decisions, because especially as a mom, you know, when they’re young, we’re making decisions for them, right? where a lot of these things, and that is that can be very stress filled and overwhelming and debilitating at times. I know, for myself, I’m more of an avoider so I can avoid making decisions. I’ll share a little I’ll be honest, I’ll share a little something. This last week, my son’s teacher emailed me and said, Hey, your son showed interest in joining our cooking club, our little virtual cooking club. And the first thing I’m thinking great another thing on my plate that I have to manage. Okay, well I’ll check that out. I’ll fill out the information. And so she kept sending me the survey of which recipe. Ah, Claudine. I don’t know why I kept putting it off and putting it off. But I just I couldn’t I, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what I want my third grader to make. But you pick I know, I know. But the reason why is because I’m so overwhelmed with other things. And this happens when we’re dealt with a lot of stress. And we’re overwhelmed already. Our focus. One thing I’ve really paid attention to with myself is I when I feel stressed out overwhelmed, I can’t focus on one thing at a time, my mind. And that’s why even now I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m waking up thinking I have something to do I have to do away, it’s nighttime, and then I go back to sleep and then I wake up, I have something to do and no.


Claudine
I can tell you’re not writing things down.

Ashley
I’m not writing things down. No.

Claudine
Because if you put them on paper, they would not be whirling around in your head.

Ashley
I know. But it’s so funny because I’ve been putting it off and that decision. but then what happens when we put off decisions, then we’re just gonna have more stress and it wakes you up at night. Yep, that’s what it’s doing. I’ve been having insomnia, because, Hello, I’m just not making a decision. And it causes more stress and more harm on our physical, emotional, mental well being. You know, that’s really important to be aware of.

Claudine
And that’s such a small decision in the scheme of things in life, like what should my eight year old make in his virtual cooking class? You know, that’s like not gonna affect your family dynamics. It might affect you going the grocery store to make sure you have all the items that the extent of the effect but I would have delegated I’m a great delegator. I would have told the teacher you tell me and I’ll pick up the ingredients. Yeah, exactly. I am doing that lately with friends that want to meet like last week. I was. You tell me. You tell me. She’s like, Where do you want to have lunch? I’m like you tell me your choice today. Yeah. And unfortunately, she was like, no, it’s your turn. You have to make decision. I was like, Oh darn it. Cuz I really didn’t care. I wasn’t familiar with the area. So man, I had to get on my phone and just figure out where we could drive through or get takeout.

Ashley
It could feel like a daunting task, right? I mean, something simple like that.

Claudine
Can during a pandemic, trying to figure out where it lead can certainly feel, you know, never thought about it a lot. Now, we got to figure out okay, who’s open? Who’s got heaters? Because it’s been cold. So, you know, we don’t know. And do we sit on the phone make phone calls? Do we drive? It’s like, no, nevermind, let’s just stay home.

Ashley
No, but it’s so true Claudine. I mean, we we deal with the anxiety of it, even with small things, right. But when you think about I know, both you and I know people who have had to make very big decisions, whether it’s, I got to pick up and move my family or my spouse lost their job, and now we got to do I go back to work? How do we do this? I know even with a pandemic, and the schooling, people have had to figure out do do the grandparents, watch the kids and help them with school? Do one of us, I mean, all this balance. Another is I have a dear friend, close to me who’s dealing with custody issues, you know, in deciding that type of thing, okay, trying to be in agreement with their act, right? And or health issues, what type of health treatment are we going to go for, you know, like this or not, or medication or, you know, even if it’s like cancer, radiation, like, all these big big right, that people got faced with. And I mean, the best thing you can do is just pray, right? Give it over and really release a lot of the negative limiting beliefs, self doubt a lot of that and just make a choice. Based off the best information you have the best you can do for the moment, and accept it just be okay with the choice you made. You know.

Claudine
I love that. That’s a great one be okay, because in the end, in the end of it all, there’s no right or wrong decision, there are decisions that may work out more in our favor or less in our favor, get closer to our long term goals or not. But there’s no right or wrong, whatever decision we make, we can handle it, we can handle it, we can deal with it. And God can take those lemons and make it into lemonade. I keep thinking that I think of all the mistakes I’ve made and I think how he’s worked through them all. And acceptance is so huge if we stop resisting ourselves and the negative self talk and just trust just really have that deep faith that it’s all going to be okay. It really does in the long run

So well friends hopefully this has helped relieve a little bit of anxiety when it comes to decision making. And we have more resources on mindoverchaos.com and claudinesweeney.com and I have one really easy decision for you all. And that’s to hit the subscribe button below. So thank you for listening and we will see you next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.