It can happen to the best of us. There are times when uncertainty and the unknown can seem like too much. When we aren’t sure what we’re going to do or what the best path forward is. What do you do when indecision is holding you back?
The first half of 2020 was a shock for many people. We went from living our lives normally to suddenly scrambling to adapt our original plans.
While we may want to blame overwhelm & indecision on circumstances, these feelings can happen at any time.
But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope.
4 Tips When Indecision is Holding You Back
Indecision & overwhelm happen to everyone from time to time. But when you run a studio, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for this to go away on its own. Not when there are bills to pay & clients relying on you.
Here are 4 tips to help you move past indecision & into your best future.
1. Embrace the ebb & flow
If you look at life as an ebb & flow, just like your studio year, these times of uncertainty can be viewed as temporary.
There’s no way to constantly know exactly what to do. So, in those moments of uncertainty, realize that this too will pass.
Even the best of us feel indecision on how to move forward at times. It isn’t like anyone suddenly reaches a point where everything is always clear.
What is different is the way they handle it.
Certain emotions can paralyze us. Fear, yes. But, uncertainty is a big one as well.
When the pandemic first hit, I was overwhelmed. We had just moved into new studio projects, like composing recital pieces. I was just a few weeks away from early-bird registration. And, no one knew how long we were going to be in this situation.
On the one hand, yes, there was indecision. What would be the best thing for my studio … & for me? On the other hand, I needed the income & couldn’t risk having clients choose to leave piano lessons “for now”.
Those first 2 weeks, we went for walks as a family. Holding my husband’s hand as we talked about our adjustment to all being together 24/7 helped. Sometimes I got tears in my eyes. Sometimes I felt annoyed or frustrated. And, other times I was so excited to have solved a problem.
We didn’t necessarily solve anything on those walks. But, we did embrace the new ebb & flow of our lives.
If indecision is holding you back, remind yourself that your studio & your teaching will have its own ebb & flow. While circumstances may change things for a while, it’s always possible to get back into a groove. Even if that groove looks a little different than before.
2. Make your own path
There are very few things in this life that “have” to be done.
And even if they “have” to be done, there is more than one way of getting it done.
I love that I can get ideas from all over the world. It’s inspiring & pushes me to become better all the time.
And, I love that I’m able to talk through ideas or decisions with those closest to me as well.
But, that doesn’t mean I always use those ideas exactly the way they were presented. Or, use the advice exactly the way it’s given to me.
See, I’ve learnt the hard way that I had to choose my path.
While my independence has occasionally been frustrating for others, my life & businesses are better for it. The decisions I make are not based on what others expect, but what fits my priorities & goals.
Your path may be very different from others. That doesn’t make it wrong.
When you make decisions that are based on what is important to you, you choose the path that works best for you.
3. Innovate like a turtle
I don’t mean that you should stick your head in your shell when trouble comes. This is far from the right option.
In the tortoise & the hare fable, we see how slow & steady leads to great wins.
The hare (rabbit) moves through the race quickly. He is so confident that he chooses to take a nap before crossing the finish line.
The tortoise (we’ll think of him as a turtle to keep with the analogy) chooses a different strategy. He moves slowly & steadily forward. This approach allows him to slowly pass the napping hare.
While the hare does wake up eventually, there is no way to catch up in time. The cheering crowd congratulates the tortoise as he wins the race.
Innovate like a turtle. Make one small change at a time.
When I first moved lessons online, you may assume that I had it “all” figured out. I didn’t.
In the first week, we did FaceTime lessons since my students & I were familiar with it. In the second week, we switched to Zoom but made almost no use of the available features. Week three led to screen sharing digital music & basic annotation.
Three months after moving online, we had done:
- Digital escape rooms
- Games together
- Online group lessons
- A digital live recital
- Fully online registration
- Online scavenger hunt
And, it all started with innovating like a turtle.
Each week, I added something new. It was something small like how to share the screen so my students & I were looking at the same copy of the music. Or, it was bigger like figuring out how to do a digital live recital.
What I quickly realized is that each new change made it easier to make the next change. Many of the same steps or tricks were used, regardless of the project.
You don’t have to add everything all at once. It’s better for your clients & students if you don’t.
Rather than overwhelm yourself or anyone else, slow & steady will bring the best results.
4. Look for opportunities, not problems
We had an incredible opportunity in 2020. The “normal” way of doing things was not possible. And, that meant new ways needed to be created or embraced.
It also gave us the opportunity to look at preconceived notions & determine whether those thoughts or beliefs were helping or holding us back.
Taking the time to look at my own preconceived ideas led to a fundamental change in how my studio will run going forward.
Moving online made me a better teacher. I had to change the way I taught certain concepts.
But, it also gave me more time with my family. Instead of travelling to my students’ homes, I got to close up my laptop & join my family immediately.
Sure, there was more prep. But, I came up with ways to reduce that over time. To work smarter, not harder.
When things seem out of your control, it can be easy to focus on the problems. Or, how what you expected isn’t what happened.
Let yourself have a pity party. We all need one every once in a while. But, then you have to find a way to move forward.
You can not control everything.
There are times when life is going to smack you in the face & you’ll wonder what you did to deserve it.
I’m not saying that a positive mindset will miraculously change everything.
What I am saying is that focusing on problems & staying in a state of indecision will not help you change the situation.
Look for opportunities. Even the smallest opportunity can help you slowly gain back control.
And, that lack of control is why indecision is holding you back.
One opportunity is the activities in your lessons. What is something small you can add to your lessons this week?
One last bit of encouragement
Perhaps you’re looking into the next months & the path forward isn’t clear.
Some parts of the world have students back in schools, employees back at work & life is almost back to normal.
Other parts, like where I live, have more uncertainty. Things are slowly opening back up. But, we have no idea what school will look like after the summer break. Some employees are back at work, while others continue to work remotely.
Instead of indecision holding you back, remember this.
You have already done the hard part.
With very little warning, you transformed how you taught your students.
You learnt new digital tools & ways of guiding your students.
Forget about the annual cold & flu season. You kept your studio running during a pandemic.
This particular type of pandemic hasn’t happened since 1918.
You have learnt how to adapt quickly. Regardless of what happens in the future, you can do it again.
Isn’t that a freeing thought?
Regardless of what governments & health organizations decide, you can do this. You have much less to learn because you have already done the hard part.
In the comments below, share the step that will help you most when indecision is holding you back.