Don't Hesitate

When people call me, they are worried about a loved one who is experiencing a crisis of living, whether from substance abuse, mental health, process disorder, trauma, chronic pain, etc. They have tried everything in their repertoire to help and have not been successful. Hence, they reach out to discover hope and a thoughtful solution.

That being stated, not everyone who calls is ready to take action. The famed behavioral health researchers Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages Of Change Model call their inability to take action as being suck the contemplation stage, thinking about doing something yet not actually doing anything — dancing between contemplation and pre-contemplation.

In laymen’s terms let just say people HESITATE TO TAKE ACTION. Everyone has experienced hesitations at some point in their lives. Worrying about the outcome, paralyzed over the fear that the decision that is made may not be the right one. Mothers, fathers worry their young adult will never speak to them again, as they try to get them to stop acting out, are afraid to cut off their phones, which are often a direct dial to drug dealer. Husbands, wives and partners worry their loved ones will not listen, will walk away, will cut off their money supply. Folks worry that no matter what, the person will not change.

In truth we hesitate, we analyze a dwelling freeze. While hesitation can be good at times while we think through what direction we might take, if it lingers too long it can paralyze us and fear takes over. Essentially, hesitation can cause one to decide not to decide.

Overcoming Hesitation

There are ways to overcome your hesitation your fear of challenging the status quo your fear getting help. Here at some steps to help you

  1. Understand why you hesitate – One of the best ways to overcome hesitation is to write about the subject that is perplexing you. Another excellent way is to seek professional help and talk to someone like me best way is to talk to someone like me. Ask yourself the following questions. What is going on in my mind right now?
  2. What is disturbing me? What am I afraid of? What are my fears?
  3. What is the worst thing that can happen if I take action? What’s the worst thing that can happen if don’t take any action?

In my experience the underlying element to FEAR is hesitation


Challenge Your Fears – Challenge Your Anxiety

Often we get stuck, you can feel your palms getting sweaty, your heart racing, your chest hurting, your stomach is rumbling as you contemplate what action to take. Your fear stops you cold and to calm yourself, you put the action aside and fill yourself with mindless distraction. this is the Time to stop To Breathe and to be Gentle with your soul and realize that you do have courage.

This is the time to ask yourself SO WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN. In my business taking action means working to get a loved one the help they need. Ultimately this is heroic action and as I can share from my vast knowledge base, families can be, and are, heroic.

Try Deep Breathing to Relax

When we get anxious are heart rate increases adrenaline is released into the body and who this happens the part of the brain that’s responsible for problem solving goes haywire. Deep breathing helps with this.

Try Walking and Exercise

Walking, running, swimming and exercise help clear your mind as does yoga and other mediative practices.

Try Journal Writing

Writing is a great way to put your thoughts an feelings down.

Try Goal Setting

Take time and reflect about what your hesitation is, maybe you think the situation is not that bad even though you know it is. Try a bit of intention or goal setting. Break down your concerns into the smallness components. Doing this will allow you to achieve success.

Talk to A Professional

Taking to a professional like myself can help you formulate a decision by weighing the pros and cons with by making a decisional balance tree in the safety of ones confidential office can help you grow.

In my book Addiction in the Family: Helping Families Navigate Challenges, Emotions and Recovery I list more things you  can do and ways you can talk to help with decision making.

In researching this topic I came across a good  1999 article by  Canadian David Mclean   “Do you Hesitate or Do You Accelerate?  reminding us of how his dad spoke to him, “Son, he who hesitates is lost. You gotta be decisive!”

I think he was right – most of the time. There are certainly times when we need to hesitate in order to be decisive. But what I gathered from his sage advice is that when it’s time to decide you need to make the decision. Don’t dilly dally. Not every decision we make is going to be the right one, but we are better off making the decision than with refusing to decide and hoping the issue will somehow go away – that never ends very well.

I learned something profound about this topic from Mario Andretti. For those of you who may not have heard of Mario Andretti, he was one of the greatest race car drivers in the world. He was a champion driver and is the only man in the world to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship. He is the only person ever to be named the US driver of the year in 3 decades – 1967, 1978, 1984. When I was a kid, I dreamed I was a driver like Mario Andretti, and that probably continued right up until I was in my twenties.

A friend of mine had the opportunity to interview Mario. He asked him this question, “Why do you win more races than any other driver?”

Apparently, Mario didn’t hesitate with his answer – he knew why he won more races. He said that he wins more races because he has trained himself to do something that didn’t come naturally to him. When there is an accident on the track, or the beginnings of an accident about to occur, his natural tendency was to slow down and drive more cautiously – just like everyone else. It’s an autonomic response

However, he trained himself to not slow down, but to speed up. He would accelerate, not hesitate. When a situation was thrust upon him that would naturally cause him to hesitate, he trained himself to accelerate. One of two things would happen: he would crash, or he would pass a number of other drivers who were hesitating.

Wow, that’s gutsy.

He is a man who played to win. He didn’t play ‘not to lose’. Apparently, this strategy worked very well for him: he was one of the greatest drivers of all time.

So, when it comes to decisions that you find intimidating, do you hesitate, or do you accelerate? am not talking about simply making a quick decision with no real thought. Decisions that leaders make every day require some degree of thought. What I am talking about are those decisions that you are presented with that can cause fear and intimidation. It might be something that has gone wrong, or is going sideways like Mario faced with the accidents on the track. Your stomach starts to turn in knots as you inwardly groan and mutter to yourself, “I don’t want to have to deal with this…”

It’s in those moments, those times when we just wish the scenario would go away, that we can hesitate in a fashion that makes things worse. We are not necessarily deliberating to determine the best possible decision. No, we are avoiding dealing with what needs to be dealt with. We are not leading. We are hesitating. It’s ironic that in leadership it’s this kind of ‘hesitation’ that can lead to crashes. Refusing to engage, refusing to step in and lead, is what causes things to really go sideways and compounds the problem into a larger pile-up.

Courageous wholehearted leaders step into the midst of the mess and accelerate resolution. By engaging, making decisions and leading during situations that are blowing up, going sideways or skidding off course, leaders facilitate resolution with as little damage as possible.

Let’s learn a valuable leadership lesson from one of the greatest racing drivers of our time: when we are presented with difficult and demanding situations let’s choose to accelerate engagement and not hesitate. Let’s step up, step in, take a stand and step on it.

Accelerate, don’t hesitate!