Do you have career decision analysis paralysis? Making important career decisions can be tough for physicians. The stakes are high and the consequences uncertain, making it easy to put off important choices. If you tell yourself you do your best work facing a deadline, it is possible this is really an excuse for procrastination.
To move past indecision, Dr. Chang and I worked through three stages of decision-making. I’ll tell you more about Dr. Chang, who needed to make a decision about how to allocate her work roles for the upcoming budget cycle.
Stage 1: Getting ready to make career decisions
Why do we procrastinate? Behavioral psychology research points to a phenomenon called “time inconsistency”. Our human brain tends to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. This trips us up because our best-intention plans for the future can lose out to what’s more desirable today.
For Dr. Chang, the long term career satisfaction of working with Residents, conflicted with the current rewards of seeing patients. The decision once made, would be costly to change.
Stage 2: Make a decision
Making a decision to get what you truly want is particularly challenging for women. As caregivers, we women often put family and patient needs over our own. That makes career decisions even more challenging. In an effort to get it ‘right”, we lean into data and analysis to make decisions, but rational analysis is not enough. You need a decision you can put both your heart and your back into.
Dr. Chang imagined a future that did not include working with Residents. Getting in touch with the emotions of that scenario influenced her commitment to her choice, in spite of the possible consequences.
Stage 3: Make your decision right
Dr. Chang’s choice felt particularly important because it would have lasting consequences. Reality is, there are far too many variables to know in advance what career choice will be best. What you can control is how motivated you are to support the success of your choice. You already know to expect the unexpected in the outcome of any choice we make. Where we have the most control is our day -to – day choices and activities -after we make that big decision.
Release the grip indecision with by anticipating how your choice will feel the future. If your heart is in it, you can make it work.
P.S. Need more help moving past indecision? Schedule your consult today!