Indulging in Confusion
Ep. 254
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On this podcast episode I want to share something that changed the way I think about certain emotions. I’ve noticed that there are some emotions that we tend to indulge in, even though they don’t actually feel good. These are emotions like confusion, worry, and overwhelm. It’s like your brain keeps going back to those emotions over and over again, almost on autopilot, which can create a cycle of being stuck. 

What’s interesting is that when we’re in this cycle, it feels like we’re being productive. Our brain convinces us that we’re solving a problem by constantly thinking about it. We believe that gathering more information, seeking others’ opinions, and waiting for certainty will lead us to the right decision. But the truth is, 100% certainty doesn’t exist. We need to be aware of when we’re simply indulging in confusion out of fear rather than genuinely needing more information.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons from a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams. Hi guys. How are you? Welcome. I'm so excited you are here and I'm so excited to let you know that at the end of May, I am doing a three day challenge called the Love It or Leave It Challenge. I'm so excited about this because what I've seen from so many of you that I've coached and so many people I talk to is that people spend forever just stuck in stuckness. Just one foot in, one foot out. I have no idea what to do.
I don't know if I should go and find a new career. I don't know if I should stay. I don't know if I should leave, if I should try something and pivot if I should do something tangential. There's so many options and I'm so confused and so I just stay in the same place for year after year. I can't tell you how many people tell me that I took this job and I was only gonna be here for six months or a year and I've been here for five or 10 or 15 and I don't want that for you. I want us to make a decision. Are you gonna stay and love it? Notice that I say that you're not gonna stay and just tolerate. We're not gonna stay and hate it. Are you gonna choose consciously to stay and love it or are you going to choose to leave it even if you can't right now?
Because here is the thing, the key to getting started on anything is making that decision. You can never start, you can't take action if you haven't actually decided which direction you're gonna go to, right? So if you're constantly stuck with one foot in one foot out or if you're constantly spinning, you can spin and it can seem like you're taking a lot of action and then you're just in the same space over and over again. And I don't want that for you guys. So we're gonna do this challenge and I'm gonna teach you why you're stuck, what lies you have been told about making decisions, what you have believed you needed before you could make a decision that are all BS so that you can actually make this decision. You can make it very quickly, you can make it during this challenge. I think a lot of you will.
It's gonna be awesome. So if you wanna join me, go to quitter I'm so excited because I haven't done a challenge in a number of years and I love doing challenges cause I get to know you guys so much better. I get to coach you on your actual issues. I get you to give you guys some small things to work on and you can do that and come back and tell me how it's going and we can make real progress and get some real wins under our belt. So I want you all there, come hang out with me and learn how to make a decision even when you don't know exactly what you should do, which is really the topic of today's podcast. So go to quitter and join me for that um, challenge at the end of the may, all of the info is on that page and I will send out replays if you can't make it live.
So I can't wait for that. And that does piggyback on what I wanted to talk about today and that is indulging in confusion. Now, this is something that I had done for years and years and didn't really know about and when I learned about this concept from my mentor but Christo, it really shifted the way that I think about certain emotions. And in the last week I've had two conversations with people who have said something that I was like, oh, this is just like a huge issue that so many people deal with and they don't realize that this is what they're doing. So I figured it's time to talk about it. So what does it mean to indulge in confusion? One of the things that I've learned and that really changed the way that I thought about certain emotions is that there are certain emotions that we like to indulge in.
Like it actually, it doesn't feel good. It feels safe, it feels familiar, okay? There are emotions like confusion, worry, overwhelm. Where if you find yourself experiencing that emotion over and over again, sometimes I find this with like resentment. It's like you just find your brain going back there every day all the time, right? There's a reason there's some kind of secondary gain that you're getting something you're gaining by indulging in that emotion. And oftentimes when we are doing this, it feels productive. It feels like we're doing something like our brain thinks it's solving some problem, right? It's like if I'm just gonna be thinking about this all day and I can be confused about what should I do now and what should I do here and is this the right move and is it none? And what if I fail and what if I regret it and I'm constantly spinning and thinking about this.
I think I'm doing something. It feels like, oh, I'm just gathering information. I see so many people just keep g talk to this person about it and learn some more about it and take another course about it and do this and that. And it feels like your brain is like, yeah, look, we just need more information. We need other people's opinions. We need what everyone else wants. We need permission from people. Let's keep going until we're certain, right? We want that a hundred percent certainty before I can take a step. And I don't have to tell you that a hundred percent certainty does not exist. It is not out there. You can keep searching, you'll search till the end of your life and you will not find it because nothing is certain, truly nothing. Your job certainly is not certain. We just talked about layoffs and like two episodes ago.
We're all seeing that right now, right? Our lives aren't certain we can make plans. And again, it's not to say that it's not good to operate thinking that there is some certainty like sure, we wanna make plans for the future but there's no guarantee we're gonna hit thi we're gonna make it there. And I know that might be morbid or we don't think about those things as much and maybe we should. It's just the truth tomorrow isn't promised. None of us know. Think about marriage. Their marriage is a good example cuz most people now some people obviously have their doubts, but most people when they're taking those vows would say that they are certain. And yet we all know that marriage ends in the what, like 50% divorce rate. And it's not to say that they made the wrong choice or they shouldn't have done it the way that our society looks at like success and failure says that they shouldn't have.
But that's just not true. That relationship could have been a beautiful relationship and then it ended, that chapter ended. And when you took those vows, there's no way for you to have known how things were gonna change and how your relationship was gonna change 5, 10, 15, 20 years later. It doesn't make it wrong and you shouldn't have known because how could you have known without going through it? It's the same thing with your job. How could you have known the just this illusion of certainty? And we love to believe that you can get enough information to be certain, but truly it's just the decision. Like you just decide with the uncertainty that like this seems certain enough, I guess I have enough information. And for so many of us, we don't ever make that decision. We just indulge in this confusion over and over and over again because we're waiting for some sign about what the right decision is when, where the guarantee is, where the certainty is.
And our brain feels like, no, I'm, I'm thinking about this always. I'm losing sleep, I'm waking up in the middle of the night, I'm constantly ruminating over this. See I'm doing so much. And it's like, but you're spinning in the same spot over and over again. You don't make any progress, you don't move anywhere. It doesn't go anywhere and nothing changes because you're never gonna have that certainty. It's the same thing. There's like other emotions like worry or overwhelm. A lot of us indulge in those. I'm not a worry ward, I never really indulge in worry, but I certainly used to indulge and overwhelm all the time. And it was fascinating because I thought I was doing something. I thought feeling overwhelmed. It felt good, it felt self-righteous. Like I felt almost like ugh, I can't possibly be asked to do more. I can't possibly take on anymore, right?
And I could feel sort of angry and resentful and it was other people's fault and victim me and whatever it was. So I would constantly feel, feel overwhelmed every day. It didn't matter days I didn't even have anything to do If I was on vacation, I felt overwhelmed and I realized like my brain had just created this neural pathway and it loved to go there cause it. Then I got to feel all these other feelings. I got to feel self. It's the same thing with confusion. And I want you to really be onto yourself when you are simply indulging in that confusion when it's not that you need more information, it's just that you're scared and this is what happens. You want to be confused sometimes. And you might think like, why would I want to be confused? Feels terrible. But guess what? When you're confused, you don't have to take a step.
You don't have to do something scary. You don't have to try. You don't have to fail, you don't have to put yourself out there, you don't have to take a stand for anything. You can constantly just be confused and your brain loves that cuz you get to stay safe. You don't have to. Other people won't be mad at you, other people won't have opinions about what you're doing. Other people won't judge you. You won't fail, you won't try the thing and see that you don't like it. You won't have to deal with changing your mind. You won't have to deal with any of it. And so I see so many people sit in this confusion and validly think like, no I'm, I'm actually, I actually just don't have enough information to be able to do this, to be able to start at the business or decide I'm gonna quit or get married or whatever.
And it's like, no you do. You're just scared. That's okay. You don't wanna take action because it feels scary. And what's really fascinating with this like kind of counterintuitive is that the more you take action, the more you get outta confusion and you try things and you fail or you don't fail, you succeed. The more information you get, the more you learn, the better you become at quote unquote making the right decision. The more you start figuring out how you work, how the world works, how business works, whatever it is you're making a decision on, the more data you get that you can become, I don't know more, I don't even wanna say this like successful at making decisions, that's not the point. But as an example in business, right? The more you are in business, which means the longer you are failing, the longer you are taking risk, the longer you're doing things, the more you learn your success rate increases.
That only happens on the backs of tons of decisions that didn't work out right? But it happens on the back of actually making a decision and trying things and failing and deciding that you know you wanna go a different way. And yet for so many of us, we don't ever get those lessons. We don't ever learn. We don't ever like become better at making decisions because we refuse to make decisions cause we're so scared of making the wrong one. It's fascinating when you think about it like intellectually, we all understand that you're never going to make a hundred percent the quote unquote right decision. And what I mean by that is like there are going to be times where you're gonna take make a decision and then later you're gonna get more information. You're gonna try something, you're gonna get in that relationship, you're gonna see that it was different than what you thought it was gonna be and you're gonna wanna change your mind.
And in society we have somehow deemed that that is a failure or that was the wrong decision instead of just like, okay, well there was no way for me to know that without learning that. And so you make those decisions and we have this false expectation that there's a way to make a hundred percent the right one. Every decision I make has to turn out exactly the way I want it. The person I date has to be the one that I'm gonna marry. The job that I take has to be my favorite one. The career I pick has to be it for the rest of my life. Everything just has to work out a hundred percent right? And if it doesn't, then I'm just gonna spend the rest of my life beating myself up and telling myself that I don't know what I'm doing. I clearly can't make decisions, I can't trust myself.
You, your premise is just wrong. Of course they're not, you're not gonna make a hundred percent the quote unquote right decision or you're just not gonna like the outcome of every decision you make because you cannot control what other people do. What happens in the world, whether there's a pandemic, you know, I mean all these things that are uncertain in our world, you can't control any of it. So you can make a decision based on what you know now. And then that was, that's gonna change. And yet so many people are paralyzed, literally stuck, paralyzed, cannot make a decision for the life of them because God forbid, what if I make this decision and then later wanna change my mind? And so we just keep ourselves confused. We constantly, we tell ourselves we don't know what we want. Which in my experience coaching, when I lightly, lightly press people on what they want, everyone knows deep down they know what they want.
They're afraid to admit it. They're afraid like what if I try this thing and it doesn't work? What if I, the thing I want turns out not to be good. So then they just keep themselves in, I don't even know what I want. I don't know if I wanna stay, I don't know if I wanna leave. And we just keep indulging in this emotion thinking we're being productive and not making any progress whatsoever. I recently saw a quote and it like blew me away and it was so good. It was on this point and it said you can only tell an opportunity in hindsight, and this wasn't the exact quote, but I don't remember the exact quote, it was just the gist of it is that a thing is only an quote unquote opportunity in hindsight once it works out right before it looks like a risk.
And that was so mindblowing because it's so true for so many of us. We watch all of these people that are doing things that we wanna do that are having lives that we wanna have, that are really doing amazing things. And sometimes it's really easy to think, oh my God, look how lucky they are. That person is, look how, oh, look at that opportunity they got. They just happen to, I don't know, it just falls in their lap. And it's easy to think that. And sometimes that makes us feel better cuz it feels like I'm just unlucky or I didn't have that opportunity and I'm, again, I'm not saying there aren't, there are privileges and there aren't people that have certain opportunities. Of course there are. But I think that a lot of times we like to think when someone, let's say starts that business and then is wildly successful in that business, we like to believe like, oh they had this opportunity.
Like they had so many opportunities, they all of a sudden got all of these brand deals or they got this media attention or whatever. Like how lucky for them to do this. And we don't see all of the risk that they took to put themselves in a position to be lucky, quote unquote, right? We don't see all the risk when they were doing it, when it was uncertain, when nobody knew if it was gonna work, when they were willing to fail, when they were willing for people to see that it wasn't gonna work when they were willing to be wrong, maybe they were gonna do it and then decide they didn't wanna do it. They don't, we don't see all of the failures beforehand. We don't see all of the times that they made a decision and then changed their mind and pivoted. We just see the one that they have and we think, oh my God, they had such a great opportunity if I, if only I had that opportunity.
And I love thinking about this, like the next time you're thinking about doing something, the next time you're thinking about making a decision about something that feels like a risk to you, that feels like, oh I don't know if I try this. Like let's say I go for this job opportunity they're giving me, let's say I take this new title. Let's say I, oh started that business seems like a real risk. I want you to just ask yourself, what if this is just an opportunity? Do I want this opportunity or not? And again, some of the opportunities are not gonna work out the way you want and I have to change the way that I relate to that. I have to change the way I think about that, about failure. That's a conversation for a different time. But it's like, if certainty doesn't exist here, if I cannot know how this is gonna turn out, do I want to take this opportunity right now?
I was recently talking to two different people about investing. One was in my program, uh, about the membership and somebody else was just talking to me about something they were planning on investing in. And both of them said the same thing. This is why like prompted podcast. Both of them said like I'm waiting to be a hundred percent certain. Somebody said like they didn't wanna join the membership, they wanted to be a hundred percent certain it was going to help them. And somebody else was saying that they were gonna invest this money in this opportunity and they didn't wanna invest because they, until they knew that it was a hundred percent certain and I had said the same thing to both of them, I was like, well then you'll wait forever. You're waiting for a hundred percent certainty. It's not gonna happen. Even my program, right?
That I can't guarantee you with a hundred percent certainty it's gonna help you because I don't know what you're gonna, the effort you're gonna put into it, how much you're gonna show up. Are you gonna get coached? Who knows? But you know what I can tell you is that instead of waiting for it, you can try it for a month. And the worst case scenario is you're out $197. The best case scenario is that it changes your life. And even in that worst case scenario, you're out 1 97 and now you know, now you can decide, all right, I don't have to keep thinking about it. I don't have to keep going back and forth. This person was saying like, I keep wanting to join but I'm waiting to be a hundred percent certain. And I was just thinking like how much energy have you put in to going back and forth about this?
Like think about how much time you have indulged in thinking about is this really for me? Would this help? I don't know. Do the coaching calls help? Like we just do this all the time. Instead of being like, well let me just see. I guess, and it's not to be flippant, like I'm not saying $197 could be a lot for a lot of us. And I understand that. And I even think of this with this other person that was talking about investing and it was a larger sum. I've thought about this. When I invest, now whether I invest in coaches and programs and things or whether I'm just investing my money in the stock market, it's not certain I can know that. It may not go the way I want it to go. Am I willing to have that risk or have that opportunity and go forward anyway if I'm waiting, if I'm confused about like I don't know if I should invest in the stock market cuz I don't know if it's gonna go up or if it's gonna go down right now, I'll wait forever, literally forever.
Cuz how can I ever know? I just have to decide. This isn't um, judgment on anybody cuz we all do this, especially women, thank you patriarchy. And it is truly the patriarch, like women have been told explicitly and implicitly in every aspect of our society that we cannot trust our own choices. If you look at the history of how women have been treated, it is a very recent years that women could not open bank accounts or have credit cards by themselves that they needed either their fathers or their husband's permission to buy land. All of those things implicitly send in the message that women are not good with money, are not good with making decisions, are not good with trusting themselves, that they need a man to do that for them. And I know it seems like, well I wasn't raised with that, I wasn't told that, but it is in the water we swim in, right?
It's literally in the air. Our mothers were raised that way and they've passed it down. This is why it's not like some genetic predisposition to see that men can make quick decisions pretty easily. I always am amazed that like my husband who's lovely and super thoughtful constantly will make decisions super fast. And I don't mean to say like not care, but doesn't get bogged down with like, what if everybody else hates this? What if I pick the restaurant and other people don't like it? What if, you know, it's like if I ask him what he wants for dinner, he'll just tell me what he wants for dinner, right? Yet women, me and my two closest friends, we joke about this. It's like, oh God, here we go. Deciding on dinner between the three of us. Kyle's like, oh, I don't care. What do you want?
What do you, what do you guys feel like, you know, like we're just con because women have been told that we can't trust ourselves to just decide it has to be the right one. Everyone has to be happy with it. Nobody can be upset. It's a lot of pressure. And so it's not a huge mystery why so many of us do this, right? It's not even to say like it's your fault that you, you're not making a decision for, especially women from childhood. We have sort of been given the message that we are not leaders, that we are not the ones that need to make decisions, that we should constantly second guess ourselves. That somebody else has to give us permission and everybody has to weigh in and everybody has to think the decision's a good one. And if anyone thinks it's a bad one, then you have to rethink it.
And men are given more the message that like you get to be the leader, you get to decide, you need to have the confidence, you need to just forge through. It doesn't matter if other people are upset. And we've, and this isn't to say again, obviously it's not all everyone. There's tons of men who also indulge in confusion and there's tons of women that are great at making decisions. This isn't like a blanket statement, but it is fascinating to see how much it does tend to affect women more. And so it's good to just know that like, there's nothing wrong with me for doing this. This is how I've sort of been trained. But now that I can see it so I don't have to beat myself up, I don't have to, you know, now be like, oh, why can't I just decide because this is the water I've been swimming in since I was born, right?
I can't change that, but I can start practicing making a decision even when I'm not certain making a decision when there isn't a hundred percent certainty I can start practicing being aware of when I'm indulging in confusion. And that's gonna look different for every person. And you can start really seeing your own patterns when you start becoming aware of this. One of the things that I would really encourage you to do to figure this out is oftentimes we think we need more information and then there is no more information to be had. Basically like whatever we've gotten, we've gotten all the information we need or that we can get up until that point. Like I have to make a decision. Let's say as an example about a job opportunity. I get a job opportunity and I can, you know, research it and I can talk to the people that maybe work there and I can look at what people are posting on Glassdoor and I can do all these things to see like, what is this company?
What is this role? Do I wanna do it after a certain amount? There's only a finite amount of information. The rest of it I cannot know. I cannot know if I'll like it. I cannot know if my managers are gonna be nice or not or if they're gonna micromanage or if they're gonna whatever. Whatever they're, how could I know if they might be psychopaths? Like no idea. I cannot know what my coworkers are gonna be like. I cannot know if I like the data. There's not, I can't know that information beforehand. That only comes from me deciding to do it, right? And so when you start realizing like, am I in this position where like there is no more knowing, there's no amount of information that will tell me what this experience will be like, then I can know that like, okay, I'm just indulging in this emotion.
I just, I'm keeping myself confused and constantly spinning around the same question where I just need to make a decision and what I need to practice is feeling uncomfortable and still deciding to go move forward is knowing that this discomfort because I'm uncertain doesn't mean that it's not time to make the decision or that it's not the right decision for me right now, right? So like a lot of times when we get to this place where we think like I have to wait to feel good, I think a lot of times we think even certainty will be like, oh, then I can feel relief and I can feel super excited and I know this is the right decision and then I'll feel great. But often it's just gonna feel like crap cuz it is a risk because I don't know how it's gonna turn out.
Cause I don't know what opportunity this is and I'm gonna move forward. Anyway, Olivia Viro one of my friends and fellow life coaches who's brilliant and does really great work with lawyers. She always uses the phrase gag and go, right? It's like this is the motto, it's just gag and go like, am I in a place where I cannot have any more information? And so I just need to feel that nauseous feeling like I'm gonna throw up and I need to gag and make the decision anyways and go. And so you have to get really real with yourself. Now it's not to say sometimes you do need to collect more information. Sometimes you wanna give yourself more time to figure out is this the right decision? Great, but how long do you need? How much time? What information are you looking for? Get really specific about it.
Because usually if you don't have an answer for that, it's simply that you're just too scared to make the decision. And your brain thing is like if I just convince myself that I'm confused, then I can't make the decision. Cuz I don't know. Instead of I, I don't wanna make the decision cuz I'm scared cuz I don't know how it's gonna turn out and I don't know if I'm gonna beat myself up and I don't know if I'm gonna feel terrible and I don't know if people are gonna judge me. And that's what I'm really stopping myself from. And so if you notice this for yourself, I want you to just really sit with this understanding if you're sitting in a decision that you've been sitting on for a long time and know that you will not feel a hundred percent certain ever. So what decision do you wanna make now without needing to be a hundred percent certain, without needing to know that it's gonna turn out amazing?
And if you need help with that, I want you to join me in the challenge in the Lover or leave it challenge because this is what we're gonna work on is how can you make that decision when you don't have all of the information, when you don't know how it's gonna turn out, when it's not certain, when you're still scared? And how can you start strengthening this muscle of making a decision in the face of that? Because this is the muscle that you're gonna have to build throughout the rest of your life. We're constantly making decisions every single day. Like I just said, like even small decisions like what restaurant you wanna go to. You have to learn the skill of being able to make a decision when there is no right answer, when you don't know how it's gonna turn out, when there is no certainty.
So you can stop indulging in confusion and actually get on with your life and actually start taking action. So join me for the challenge, go to quitter so that I can teach you the lies that have kept you stuck and how to get unstuck and how to start making these decisions and how to love your career or leave it, either one. Um, we'll be doing that on May 23rd and you can check out the membership, the Quitter Club, where I will help you stop indulging in these emotions, stop wasting your life spinning around and actually start taking action. You can find that at lessons from a club. All right, my friends, I hope this was helpful and I will be back with another episode. Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome, and we start working on what does and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life and you will get the coaching tools and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to lessons from a club and get on the wait list. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.