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You are here: Home » Career » How to Overcome Your Fear of Making a Decision

How to Overcome Your Fear of Making a Decision

by amanda

how to overcome your fear of making a decision
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Helping working mums to overcome fear of making a decision is something I get a real kick out as a coach. There’s nothing I like better than to help my clients kick that little fear monster into the back of beyond. Last week, I received an email from a blog reader on the fear associated with stretching out of her comfort zone and making a big leap into the unknown. We’ll call her Sophie so that I can use the heading “Sophie’s Choice”!

With Sophie’s permission – but changing personal details -  I’m sharing her dilemma with you.

Sophie’s Choice… “Shall I Stay in My Well Paid Boring Job or Set Up a Franchise and See More of my Daughter?”

I know that it’s highly likely that you will be able to relate to this.  I know this because I’ve coached many, MANY women through making a decision and how to overcome fear that inevitably accompanies that decision.

Sophie wrote:

“I am worrying about something. I have a big decision to make.  Should I:

1.  Leave my well paid job and buy a franchise that will enable me to take and pick my daughter to school everyday and enable me to have school holidays off with her?  The potential earnings are good, but of course they are not guaranteed

2.  OR stay in current job and try and work part time:  School holidays will be tricky but income is good and steady, but no room for progression and I am bored!”

My Response to Sophie on Making a Decision

Well, I don’t usually give advice or my unreserved opinion directly to someone who I don’t know. As a Coach, I’m more likely to reply with another question rather than an answer!  But in this instance, I just couldn’t hold back. I replied in a short email:

“Go for option 1 and make it happen, Sophie. A life truly lived happens outside your comfort zone.”

And I absolutely believe this.  A longer email might have added:

  • You HAVE to take risks in life if you want to make a change
  • You only regret the things you DON’T do – in my humble opinion!


Sophie’s Response

“Thanks. Have you any tips on fear of failing?”

And of course here is the crux of the matter.… Sophie KNOWS what she wants to do, but fear is holding her back.  How to overcome fear is a theme that runs through most of my coaching sessions with clients. And fear is ultimately what holds us back from living our lives fully.

I told Sophie that I would write this week’s Friday Fives on how to overcome fear, and how to make a decision.  I started mulling on the best tips I know for both, but then I changed my mind.

You see, last week, I’ve had the pleasure of facilitating 6 of my fabulous clients on a goal setting retreat day in Warwickshire.

This group of clients, my “Crème de la Cremers” , all happen to be entrepeneurs and all of them have faced similar choices to Sophie and have felt that fear too.  So I thought, rather then me spout on, I’d ask them what THEY want to say to Sophie and anyone like Sophie who wants to make a leap but who is afraid of making it:


Wisdom from other Working Mums on How to Overcome Fear

So, for Sophie and for anyone else trying to make a decision and trying to overcome fear of making that decision, here are the highlights from my crème clients, discussed over a full English breakfast last Friday morning. I have included their names and given a short description of what they used to do and what they now do – so that you can see that they too have made decisions involving change!


Sarah Turner, Former Recruitment Consultant, now running her own Search Consultancy for Fundraising Managers in the Charity Sector

“I read this quote recently – that there is only one thing worth feeling scared of – being bored. Sometimes you need permission from someone else to go for it.” 

“It can be damaging to think that you’re the only one having fears.  Everybody has fears.”

Nicola Denny, former Marketing Director, now running Metamorphic Marketing in the Beauty, Fashion and Health Industries

Surround yourself with the right people.  For example, I think that my parent’s generation is quite a safe generation.  If I’d asked my mum about me leaving my company to set up on my own, she would have looked for the security, the safe option.

She would have said “Can’t you go part-time instead?”  She would not have taken the risk.  So you need to get that permission, that encouragement from the people who will be there as your cheerleaders rather than as your doubters.”


Catherine Morgan, Former Senior HR Manager and now HR Consultant and Coach to HR People who are stuck in a career rut

 “You have to remember that decisions are not irreversible. We have a tendency to think that decisions affect the rest of your life and that once we’ve made a decision, there’s no going back. That’s simply not the case! “


Maja Pawinska-Sims, Freelance Writer, specialising in writing award entries for PR Companies.  And soon to be published novelist!

“You can tell from the question that you know the answer already.  You know in your gut already.  Be brave and bold.  You can’t make decisions based on fear.  Fear is the driving force for people making decisions – what will people think, worried about money etc ….Do you want to be the woman who tried and it didn’t work out, or do you want to be the woman who didn’t even try?”

“It sounds like you are so unhappy in your job right now, that you’ll make it work. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

 “All of us have made this decision and not one of us have regretted it.  We have fleeting moments where we long for a job.  It continues to be challenging.  But we feel quite panicky at the thought at NOT doing what we do”. 


Rachel Swann,  Former Teacher, now Specialist Weight Loss Hypnotherapist for Mums struggling to lose baby weight, aka The “Like Yourself Fairy”

“You can surprise yourself about how little money you can survive on.  Just staying in a job because you’ve got money is not the be all and end all. You never get the time back with your kids.”

“My jitters were – Do I actually want to work, do I want to go back into the workplace?  We were in an uncertain place.  There’s always that fear – what if nobody comes?  What if it doesn’t work?  And you just have to say,  “Well you just have to make it work”.

 “I read a quote from Carrie Wilkerson.  She makes seven figures. She says she’s constantly scared of the next decision.  Carrie said you can be scared and broke or afraid and well paid.  You can be scared and not do anything. Or you can be scared and do something about it.  The point is to take action on your new franchise business.”


Margo Singleton, Former Globe Trotting Marketing Manager, Now Pilates Instructor and Corporate Well Being Consultant

 “You never lie on your deathbed and think, “I wish I’d stuck at that job”


And with Margo’s message, dear Sophie, there’s little left to add.  Whatever you decide, you’ll make it work – I’m sure of that!

Please share your wisdom for Sophie in the comments below.  Remember, she’s a real person – a working mum too – and she’ll be reading this.  What would YOU say to Sophie?  Or do you have a similar dilemma? Let me know below – I might even be able to  help you get unstuck!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

nicky February 8, 2013 at 09:51

I work for myself, I juggle my hours to suit my kids and in theory I can pick and choose the work I do.

The reality is I have child care Monday Wednesday & Friday morning to give me client facing time, I work evenings, I work Saturday mornings 6 till 12 and if need be Sundays too, as this is when my husband can look after the children. I can pick up and drop of most of the time but family days are limited at the weekend and me and my husband rarely see each other.

The parents I know who work regular hours Monday to Friday for corporates seem to have better balance to their family time as they all have the weekend together. As soon as both children are at school I will drop Saturday mornings and work school hours but that is another year and half away…

You work harder when you work for yourself, longer hours and my job involves alot of sitting in an office on my own which can be very boring. You can pick and choose the work, but the reality is you always have to make it happen for your key clients. And if your income is key to the household you have to do alot of the bread and butter stuff to pay the bills over the more exciting less profitable work…

But the choices are mine and so I choose to pick the girls up from school everyday, I can read at the school one morning a week, I go on holiday when I want but only for 5 days max!

If your motivation is not to be bored – be prepared to be bored in your new job once you have cracked it….If your motivation is too work less – you will work longer hours setting up your franchise for less return initially – If your motivation is to be your own boss and the franchise excites you alot – do it.

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